The East India company Some believe that the East India Company was one of the “most powerful engines” of state and empire in British history. – Huw V. Bowen -The Company lasted from 1600- 1874 and was chartered by Queen Elizabeth I for trade with Asia -In the year 1600, a group of merchants were given exclusive control over all trade with the East Indies -Trading ports started to be established along the east and west coasts of India -The Company focused mainly on trade in cotton, silk, indigo dye, tea, saltpetre (potassium nitrate) and opium -English communities started developing around the cities of Calcutta, Bombay, and Madras
-The Battle of Plassey in 1757 transformed the East India Company from a trading element into a ruling enterprise. Battle of Plassey -The photo shows the emperor Shah Alam II granting Robert Clive tax- collecting powers in Bengal in 1765.
Within the battle, Robert Clive ( a military official of the East India Company) defeated Siraj- uddaulah who was the Nawab of Bengal (the provincial governor of Bengal).
After the fall of Bengal, the province became poor and there was a famine from 1760- 1770 in which many people died.
-In order to diminish the exploitative practices of the company and to gain a share of revenues, the British government intervened and passed the Regulating Act of 1773.
In 1773, the East India Company was involved with an illegal opium trade with China
- The Chinese banned opium imports but it was still smuggled into China (The East India Company bought the opium in Bengal) -The Governor- Generals allowed British rule to greatly expand in India and they collected revenue from the Indians. Collecting revenue
These significant Governor- Generals include Warren Hastings and Charles Cornwallis.
- The Company faced much resistance from local rulers in India but eventually the company gained control of almost all of India.
Eventually the Rebellion of 1857- 1858 (Sepoy Mutiny) occurred which led to the decline of the East India Company
- The rebellion occurred because of annexation of native states, harsh revenue policies, and the plight of the Indian peasantry Sepoy Mutiny