British interests in india before the raj
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  • 1. British interests in India before the Raj
  • 2. British East India Company
    • Private trading company with the endorsement of the British government
    • Arrived in India in the 17 th Century
    • Primary goal was to secure trade monopolies
    • Gradually gained territory through battle and diplomacy
    • As time went on, it began to function more as a nation than a trading company
  • 3. What did they want from India?
    • Financial gains
    • To ‘civilise’ the ‘savages’
    • To spread Christianity
  • 4. Financial gains
    • BEIC wanted trade monopolies on cotton, silk, indigo dye, stone salt, tea, and later opium which was illegally smuggled into China
    • Set up factories in India for the manufacture of goods (with permission of local rulers)
    • Leaders of BEIC won power and wealth by using their armed forces to assist certain Indian leaders
  • 5. ‘ Civilising’ the ‘savages’
    • Desire to provide the people of India with a stable, liberal, incorrupt system of government
    • Desire to ‘civilise’ people to European standards
    • Is this humanitarianism or justification?
  • 6. Spreading Christianity
    • During this period Europeans were typically avid churchgoers
    • Missionaries sought to convert as many people to Christianity as possible
    I am now prepared to reply to the Committee in the words of the Prophet, ‘Here am I, send me.’ The work is most arduous, but is of God, and must prosper; many sacrifices painful to ‘ flesh and blood’ must be made but not any correspondent to the glory of winning souls for Christ. I feel myself almost transported with joy, everything else appears to fall out of view as vain and insignificant. (Alexander Duff, 1828)