French East India Company -was a commercial
enterprise, founded in 1664 to compete with the British
and Dutch East India companies in the East Indies.
Planned by Jean-Baptiste Colbert, it was chartered by
King Louis XIV for the purpose of trading in the Eastern
Hemisphere. It resulted from the fusion of three earlier
companies, the 1660 Compagnie de Chine, the Compagnie
d'Orientand Compagnie de Madagascar. The first Director
General for the Company was De Faye, who was adjoined
two Directors belonging to the two most successful trading
organizations at that time: François Caron, who had spent
30 years working for the Dutch East India Company,
including more than 20 years in Japan, and Marcara
Avanchintz, a trader from Ispahan, Persia.
French king Henry IV authorized the first Compagnie des Indes Orientales, granting the
firm a 15-year monopoly of the Indies trade. This precursor to Colbert's later Compagnie des Indes
Orientales, however, was notwas not able to maintain itself financially, and it was
The Company a joint-stock corporation, and was funded by the Crown.
French-issued 1769, about 20 years before the French Revolution. King Louis
abolished incopper coin, cast inPondichéry for internal Indian trade.
The initial capital of the revamped Compagnie des Indes Orientales was 15 million livres,
XVI issuedshares of 1000 livres apiece. Louisthe funded the first 3transfer to the state all
divided into a 1769 edict that required XIV Company to million livres of investment,
its properties, assets and 10 years were to be charged.The initial stock offering quickly sold
against which losses in the first rights, which were valued at 30 million livres. The
out, as courtiers of Louis XIV recognized that it was in their interests to support though
King agreed to pay all of the Company’s debts and obligations,the King’s overseas
initiative. The Compagnie
holders of Company des Indes Orientales was grantedonly an estimated 15 percent in
stock and notes received a 50-year monopoly on French trade
the Indian and Pacific Oceans, a region stretching from the Cape of Good Hope to the Straits of
of the face value of their also granted the by the end of corporate liquidationisland
Magellan.The French monarch investments Company a concession in perpetuity for the in
of Madagascar, as well as any other territories it could conquer.
The company was reconstituted in 1785 and issued but was shares
The Company failed to found a successful colony on Madagascar, 40,000 able to of
establish ports on the nearby islands of Bourbon and Île-de-France . By 1719, it had established
stock priced atthe firm was near bankruptcy.was given year theCompagnie des Indeswith
itself in India, but 1,000 livres apiece. It In the same monopoly on all trade
countrieswas combined under the direction of John Law an agreed period of seven to
Orientales beyond the Cape of Good Hope for with other French trading companies
form the Compagnie Perpétuelle des Indes). not anticipate the French Revolution, and
years. The agreement, however, didThe reorganized corporation resumed its operating
independence in 1723.
on 3 April 1790 the monopoly was abolished by an act of the new French
French-issued "Gold Pagoda" forSouthern India trade, cast in Pondichéry1705-1780.
Assembly which enthusiastically declared (1719-1748) for Northern India trade, cast in
French-issued rupee in the name of Mohammed Shah that the lucrative Far Eastern trade
would henceforth be "thrown open to all Frenchmen".[ The company,
With the decline competition nor the French decided to intervene steady
accustomed neither toof the Mughal Empire, official dis favor, fell into in Indian political
affairs to protect their interests, notably by forging alliances with local rulers in south India. From
decline French under Joseph François Dupleix pursued an aggressive policy against both the
1741 the and was finally liquidated in 1794.
Indians and the British until they ultimately were defeated by Robert Clive. Several Indian trading
ports, including Pondichéry andChandernagore, remained under French control until 1954.
French-issued "Gold Pagoda"
for Southern India trade, cast
French East India
Company cannon("Canon de
4"). Bronze, 1755, Douai.
French-issued rupee in
Caliber: 84mm, length:
the name of Mohammed
237cm, weight: 545kg, (1719-1748) for
Monument to Joseph
ammunition: 2kg iron balls. India trade,
François Dupleix in
cast in Pondichéry.
French-issued copper coin,
cast in Pondichéry for
internal Indian trade.