The earlier foreign merchants had mere commercial motives and had very little or no support from their native govts. But the European merchants who came to India during this period had the political and military support of their respective of their respective govts.

From the very beginning, the European trading companies began to establish their fortified trading settlements, called factories, on the coastal part of India, immune from the administrative control of the local powers.

No doubt, due to the tripartite participation of the Portuguese, the dutch and the English, india’s foreign trade grew phenomenally in the sixteenth centuries, but it was the last spark of the dying lamp.

By the close of the eighteenth century India, from a bulk exporter, turned into one of the biggest importers industrially manufactured goods.

The Portuguese:

In the seventh century, india’s seaborne trade with the countires of the west fell into the hands of the Arabs who supplied Indian goods to the merchants of Venice and genoa in italy to meet the needs of the European market.

Vasco da gama was sent in 1497 from Lisbon to find the direct sea-route to India. The Malabar coast was then
divided among petty hindu chiefs.

One of them, the ruler of calicut, whose hereditary title was zamorin, gave the newcomers, a friendly reception.
At calicut, arab merchants resented the appearance of a commercial rival, but the armed guards of the zamorin protected the Portuguese.

The Portuguese allied themselves against bijapur with powerful pirate chiefs on the coast, like timoja, and with the hindu rajas of honnavar, bankipur and bhatkal, who were all feudatories of VN.

Cochin was the best of all the ports on the Malabar coast. Its ruler was subordinate to the zamorin and jeleous of him.

Other important ports on the coast were Quilon which carried on trade with China, Arabia and other countries.

The ports of cranganore and cannanore, which though nominally under the zamorin, were virtually independent.

At calicut vasco da gama encountered violent and open opposition from the muslim merchants and only the armed guards of the zamorin protected the Portuguese from their fury.

A second expedition, under Alvarez Cabral, reached calicut in 1500, seized the arab vessel lying in its harbour and sent as a present to the zamorin.

The arabs stormed the Portuguese factory and put all its occupants to the sword, while cabral retaliated by bombarding calicut and setting fire to its wooden houses.

He then went away to cochin and cannanore whose friendship he had secured.

Cabral was now convinced that, for his own safety, he must force calicut into submission and root out the arab trade of that place.
A fresh expedition under vasco d agama, which started in 1501, demanded from the zamorin the banishment of every muslim resident from calicut.

He strengthened the factories at cochin and cannanore and left a squadron to patrol the Malabar coast and to destroy all arab vessels coming to it from the red sea.

On his departure the arab merchants and the zamorin attacked the raja of cochin who bravely held out until relieved by the arrival of the next Portuguese fleet in 1503.

Their artillery gave the Portuguese a great advantage in sea warfare.

Even on land the Portuguese proved the better fighters.

The next Portuguese expedition under Lopo Soares destroyed all the ports in which arab influence prevailed, and prevented any ships from coming to or leaving cochin expect their own.

Soaers burnt cranganore and laid a good part of calicut in ruins.

It was now realized in Portugal that command over the eastern trade could not be established by sending an annual fleet and establishing a few isolated factories.

A new policy was adopted in 1505; a governor was to be appointed on a 3 year term.

The person choosen for the post was Francisco De Almeida who was ordered to built fortresses at kilwa, anjadiva, cannanore and cochin and invested with full power to wage war, conclude treaties and regulate commerce.

Almeida reached India in September 1505, built a fort at Anjadiva, and settled, in Portuguese interest, a question of succession of the throne of cochin.

The systematic assault of the Portuguese on the muslim (mainly arab) monopoly of trade in the Indian ocean and the red sea deprived Egypt and turkey of the duties on the Indian goods passing through the sea-route and across Egypt to alaxandria.

The sultan of bijapur and Gujarat feared that the Portuguese would extend their net from the southern (Malabar) ports to the northern ports and encroach upon their interests.

This brought an alliance between Egypt, turkey and Gujarat against the Portuguese intruders.

In a naval battle fought near Chaul, the combined muslim fleet won a victory over the Portuguese fleet under Almida’s son who was killed in the engagement (January 1508).

In February 1509 Almida defeated the combined muslim fleet in a naval battle near Diu.

This victory secured to Christendom naval superemacy in asia and “turned the Indian ocean for the next century into a portuguese sea”.

Albuquerque, the next governor, built up a great territorial power India.

His struggle was against the combined foreces of the muhammadian world.

His efforts were directed towards the conquest of goa, malaka, aden, and ormuz which he considered essential for his purpose.

The plan of Albuquerque formed stragegically a complete whole and consisted of three series of operations:
1. the contol of the Persian gulf and the red sea.
2. the establishment of the head quarters of the Portuguese power at the central port on the west coast of India.
3. the destruction of arab trade in the Malaya peninsula and the far east.

The conquest of goa from the adil shahi sultan of bijapur was albuquerque’s first achievement (February 1510).
But as the city was quickly recaptured by the sultan of bijapur, he had to undertake a second expedition.

He recaptured the place and fortified it against any surprise attack.

Albuqueque thus enlarged and fulfilled the aims of almeida.

He gave the Portuguese power a territorial base in India, while Malacca, ormuz and aden were to serve as strategic point for Portuguese shipping.

In view of the paucity of manpower in Portugal, Albuquerque encouraged the lower classes of the Portuguese settlers to marry Indian women.

He manintained friendly relations with VN and even tried to secure the goodwill of bijapur.

He created regular bodies of trained troops from among Indians.

Albuquerque’s immediate successor, Nuno da Cunha (1529-38), captured Mombasa on the African coast, established settlements at Santhome near madras and at hughli in Bengal, and thus commerce on the eastern coast.

In 1535 he got possession of diu in kathiawar, inspite of its gallant defence both by sea and land jointly by the Turkish admiral and the sultan of Gujarat in 1538.

Joa de castro, governor (1545-48), decisively defeated the bijapur forces which advanced against goa.

In 1571, the Asiatic empire of Portugal was divided into three independent commands, viz.,
1. a governorship at Mozambique controlling the settlements on the African coast.
2. a viceroyalty at goa incharge of the Indian and Persian territories.
3. a governorship at Malacca to control the trade of java and the spice archipelago.

After 1540, the Portuguese govt in India markedly came to be dominated by priests – Dominicans, Franciscans and Jesuits – who displayed an intolerant bigoatry and introduced all the horrors of the inquisition into India.

The Portuguese monopoly of the Indian ocean remained unbroken till 1595, 15 years after the fital union of Portugal and spain.

Philip II of spain neglected Portuguese dominion in India and involved Portugal in his costly and disastrous European wars.

Sir lanka first rebelled against the Portuguese about 1580.
In 1595, the first dutch fleet rounded the cape of good hope in defiance of the hold over the route to the Malacca and of the spice islands.

In 1603 they blockaded goa itself. Soon after, they made themselves masters of java.

They expelled the Portuguese all together from sri lanka in the year 1638-58.

In 1641 they captured the great port of Malacca and in 1652 got possession of the cape of good hope as well.

In 1611 an English squadron under Middleton defeated the Portuguese fleet of Bombay.

Four year later came their great victory over the Portuguese, off swally, in the surat roadstead.

In 1616 they entered into direct commercial relations with the zamorin of calicut.

Two years later, they began to trade in the Persian gulf.

In 1622, they had captured Ormuz and established a factory at gombroon.

In 1654, the Portuguese had to recognize the right of the English to reside and trade in all their eastern possessions.

In 1632, the mughal emperor, shahjahan, completely destroyed their settlement at hughli and carried away, as prisoners, more than a thousand of the Portuguese inhabitants.

The Portuguese and half-state parties who had established themselves at chittagong and rided the coasts of Bengal and arakan, were easily defeated by the king of arakan.

The descendents of those parties, known as the ferinehis who infested the whole of the eastern Bengal coast, were totally swept away in about 1665, by the mughal viceroy of Bengal.

Even before the time of Albuquerque, priests, monks and friars had flocked in large number to Portuguese India.

In 1538, goa was made the seat of a bishop; in 1557 it was raised to the dignity of an archbishopric.

They established at goa, in 1560, the hated inquisition which burnt or punished in other cruel, unbelievers, relapsed, converts and all who were dangerous to the faith in the eyes of the priests.

They didn’t give freedom even to the ancient Syrian Christians of the Malabar coast.

In 1552, a complaint was made that the Portuguese terms in India were largely depopulated owning to the forced conversion of hindus and muslims.

The chief results of this intolerant policy were a practical deniel of justice to all non-christians and the depopulation of goa and other Portuguese terms.

The Portuguese Indian church was organized under the guidance of St. francis Xavier, the apostle of the indies who came to goa with the Jesuits in 1542. to st. francis is due the conversion of the paravars, the fisherman tribe who lived on the coromandal coast between Kanniyakumari and adam’s bridge, as well as the mukkuvas, the
fisherman of the Malabar coast.

St. francis also travelled to Malacca and japan for this purpose.

Before his death in 1552, the great apostle after the indies is said to have converted some 700,000 men.

The later history of the Portuguese in India is a continuous record of poverty and misery.

They lost bassein in 1739 to the Marathas.

The old goa pourado (golden goa) whose glories were sung by the Portuguese poets, was subsequently depopulated and ruined.

More important than the poets, who sang to the deeds of the Portuguese in the east, are the histories and works of :
1. Duarte barbosa (1521)
2. gaspar correa (1495-1561)
3. joao de barros (1496-1570)
4. diogo do couto (1542-1616)
5. the commernaties of bras de Albuquerque, he natural son of the great governor, who supplemented the letters of his father
6. dom joao de castro (1500-1548)
7. Garcia da orta (1570) and several Jesuit writers.

The Portuguese maritime trade and supremacy over the Indian ocean:

The Portuguese maritime empire acquired the name of Estado da India, which intended to monopolise the pepper and spice trade of the east.

The cartaze system by which every Indian ship sailing to a destination not reserved by the Portuguese by the own trade had to buy passes from the Portuguese viceroy of goa or the Portuguese captains of the seas; if it was avoided the merchandise of the errant ship was seased and confisicated.

In 1534, the Portuguese secured permission to build factories at Satgaon (porto piqueno, little port) and chittagong (porto grande, great port) from the sultan of Bengal.

Chittagong continued to be the ‘great port’; but satgaon, the ‘little port’, lost its prosperity in the second half of the 16th century and hughli became the porto piqueno.

Both akbar and jahangir left the Portuguese in undisturbed enjoyment of their rights and privileges at hughli.

But shahjahan captured hughli in 1632.

The Portuguese pirates of chittagong was exterminated in aurangazeb’s reign.

In aurangazeb’s time, the Portuguese were weak and decandent; their territory comprised goa and the province of the ‘north’, stretching from chaul to daman.

The Portuguese brought to India, the cultiviation of tobacco.

The first printing press in India was setup by the Portuguese at goa in 1556.

The first scientic work on Indian medicinal plants by a European writer was printed at goa in 1563.


As early as in 1565 they had opened up by trade with Russia and begun to explore, through land, eastwards
towards china.

In 1593, under the famous William Barents, they made their first determined effort to reach asia by the north-east passage.

The first dutch expedition which successfully reached the east indies was that of Cornelius houtman in 1596. he concluded a treaty with the ruler of bantam in java and opened up the spice archipelago to Holland.

His voyage was mainly due to the impetus given to voyages of discovery and exploration by huyghen van linschoten who had come to goa in 1583, lived there till 1589, and on his return to Holland published a book dealing with the sea-routes to the east.

Linschoten’s book, published in 1596, produced a great sensation in western Europe and was translated into several languages.

The translation of his book into English in 1598 might be said to have given a direct impetus to the foundation of the English east India company.

Ralph Fitch, an English traveller, who had reached India by the Euphrates valley and Ormuz, and had visited Goa and Agra, Bengal, Burma and Malacca, returned to England in 1591, with an account of the magnificient possibilities of commerce in the east.

Fitch was to England what Linschoten was to Holland.

The expedition of Cornelius houtman was quickly followed by numerous others fitted out by the dutch.

Houtman himself undertook a second expedition to India in the course of which he perished.

Between 1595 and 1601, as many as fifteen voyages had been made by the dutch to the east.

The dutch clearly saw that it was necessary to stop small and separate voyages by individual traders and to display a united front to the enemy.

In 1602 they combined together the several Indian companies formed within their different provinces into one huge association under the title of the dutch united east India company.

It was granted an exclusive right to trade with India and the east indies for 21 years and vested with ample powers of attack and conquest by the state.

It was a national undertaking and constituted a national force.

From the early years of its trade, the vereenigde Oost-indische compagnie (VOC) was determined to establish and defend with real strength an exclusive trade in superior spices and pepper.

The skilful administrative system that they set up in the islands, the vigour with which they preserved their commercial monopoly, the cruelty with which they suppressed the local inhabitants, and the enthusiastic national support which their company enjoyed, enabled the dutch to realize their dream of commercial monopoly, as indeed the Portuguese before them had never done; nor could the English do afterwards.

Dutch settlements in India:

the dutch settlements in India, except the fort of Geldria at pulicat, were all unfortified trading posts and did not constitute the centre or a principal field of their power in the east, either strategically or economically or even administratively.

The spices of the archipelago were exchanged for cotton goods from Gujarat and the coromandel coast.

Barring an earlier abortive attempt to start trade at surat and on the Malabar coast, admiral van der haghen opened up trade with the coromandel coast and planned to set up a permanent factory at masulipatam (early in 1605).

Another factory was found at Pettapoli (nizampatam); but the oppressions of the local governors were heavy and there was little relief even after a mission to the sultan of golcunda secured farmans fixing the duty levied at 4%.

Soon another factory was founded at devanampatnam (tegnapatam), o fort St. David as it came to be called later (under English occupation), and a treaty guaranteeing a limited levy on goods was obtained from the representative of krishnappa, nayaka of gingee.

He permitted the dutch to rebuild an old fort at devanampatnam and a factory at tirupapulilyur (southern pataliputra) situated three kilometers in the interior, in spite of Portuguese opposition.

In 1610, upon negotiating with the king of chandragiri, the dutch were permitted to found another factory at pulicat.

Portuguese opposition, though foiled, persisted for some years and they contrived to effect a raid on pulicat
(june 1612) from their base at san thome.

The new fortress, for which stones were carried from tegnapatam to be overlaid on its walls, ws christened fort geldria, in honour of the home province of van berchem, the director-general of the coromandel factories.
Pulicat continued to coin its gold pagodas, and served as a place of refuge for the neighbourhood in the days of
golcunda depredations that followed.

Textiles, woven according to special patterns sent from bantam and Batavia, constituted the chief export of the coromandel ports.

Indigo was exported from masulipatnam.

Rice, diamonds and slaves for Batavia were also exported.

As early as 1612, the coromandel trade was described as the left arm of the Malaccas and neighbouring islands, since without the cottons from thence, trade would be dead in the Malaccas.

Apart from spices, the chief articles of import to the coromandel were sandalwood and pepper from the archipelago, copper from japan, tatenag and textiles from china.

In 1617 the directorate of the coromandel coast was raised to the dignity of a government.

The chief of the pulicat became the governor and extraordinary councilor of the indies.

Negapatam, on the tanjore coast, acquired from the Portuguese in 1659, superseded pulicat as the seat of the governor and as the stratergic centre of coromandel in 1689.

It was equipped with a strong castle far more powerful than geldria.

The account of Daniel harvart of the dutch factories on the coromandal coast (published in 1693) tells us that some factories like pettapoli and nizampatam had been abandoned, that porto novo which was started in 1680 was a prosperous centre of cotton-weaving, that sadraspatam (to the south of the madras) was noted for the special excellence of its textiles, that devanampatnam and masulipatam were very busy ports, that the chief of
the factory at the golcunda (which had been started in 1660 was also the company’s agent at the qutbshahi court, and that nagalwanche and palakollu were noted for indigo and dyeing.

There were also factories at draksharam and and at bhimilipatam further north.

Aurangazeb’s conquest of golcunda marked the decline of the coromandel govt.

The factory at nagalwanche was destroyed.

Van reede transferred the seat of the govt to negapatam.

Stimulated by the success of English efforts at surat, the dutch governor of coromandel sent van ravensteyn to that port in 1615. but he despaired of starting a factory in the mughal dominions and of getting a farman from the emperor for this purpose, though he went as far as burhanpur in the company of sir Thomas roe.

Even before ravesteyn’s adverse report could be received, van coen, the GG of Batavia, had sent Pieter van den broecke to the Gujarat coast.

Broecke landed at surat in August 1616, and got from its governor permission to erect a provincial factory.

In the following year van ravesteyn was left in charge of the surat factory.

He contrivedto secure in 1618 from prince khurram-much to the chagrin of roe – a treaty of commerce.

Van den broecke arrived at surat in October 1620, having been appointed by coen as director both of mocha and surat.

Factories were organized at broach, Bombay, ahmedabad, agra and burhanpur, which had all been explored during the previous years.

The indigo trade became as valuable at surat and at broach as cotton.

In Bengal the dutch first established a factory at pipli, but soon abandoned it for balasore, which was in turn neglected when a firm footing was obtained at chinsura on the hughli in 1653.

The dutch constructed fort Gustavus at chinsura, which along with baranagar, was held by them in perpetual fief from the nawab of Bengal.

They established factories at Qasim bazaar and patna.

The chief articles of export were cotton cloth, silk, saltpeter and opium, the last of which was consumed in java and china and yielded enormous profits.

The dutch in Malabar:

Pepper trade of Malabar was considered to be less valuable than the coromandel cloth trade, the dutch ignored this coast.

The only port belonging to them on this dise ws vengurla, to the north of goa.

In October 1661 van goens appeared with a large fleet off Quilon, and after taking it sailed for cranganore which was also seized after a stiff fight (January 1662).

Soon he occupied the island of vypeen, to the north of the cochin inlet, and built on it the fortress of new orange (niev oranje).

The operations against cochin were complicated and difficult.

When the situation became disheartening, the siege was cleverly abandoned: before the besieged knew what was happeing, the dutch had embarked.

In November 1662, the dutch, with a new fleet from Batavia, renewed their siege of cochin.
Van goens completed the dutch conquest of the Malabar coast by the subjugation of the chief of porakkad and the reduction of cannanore.

Cochin and cannnanore, the Portuguese plead, ought to be restored to them, as they had been taken after the ratification of the dutch-portuguese treaty of August 1661.

The dutch factories on the Malabar coast, including vengurla, were under the commandeur of cochin.

All administrative and commercial matters were controlled from Batavia.

The nature of the dutch trade:

The dutch instead of the spices, greatly promoted the export of textiles.

The number of cotton goods sold in Amsterdam alone by the dutch company during 1684-89 came to 1.12 million pieces.

Other commodities exported by the dutch were indigo, saltpeter and Bengal raw silk.

The credit for making Indian textiles the premier export from India goes to the dutch.


The voyages of discovery of coloumbus and vasco da gama had removed the centre of gravity of the commercial world from the Mediterranean to the atlantic.

Henry VII displayed great interest in the promotion of foreign trade.

Both henry VII and his son henry VIII were eager to share in the trade with the indies.

By a charter granted by queen Elizabeth I on 31 December 1600 those interested in such a venture were incorporated under the title of ‘the governor and company of merchants of London trading into the east indies’.

The immediate aim of the company was the acquistionof the spices and pepper of the eastern archipelago.
Englnad was at war with spain and Portugal. So the first (1601-03) and second (1604-06) voyages were made, not to India, but to Achin (in Sumatra), bantam (in java) and the malaccas.

After the conclusion of peace with spain and Portugal (1604) it was decided that the third expedition should, on its way to bantam, attempt to open up trade at aden and surat.

The second in command, William Hawkins, who had experience in such ventures and could speak Turkish, was provided with a letter from king james I to akbar.

Captain William Hawkins journeyed from surat to the mughal court (1608), but failed to get permission to erect a factory at surat.

In 1611 captain middleton landed at swally near surat in spite of Portuguese opposition, and got permission from the mughal governor to trade at the place.

The victory of captain best in the surat roadstead broke the tradition of Portuguese naval supremacy and an English factory was permanently established at surat.

The English soon build subordinate factories at ahmednagar, burhanpur, ajmer and agra.

Sir Thomas roe, the royal ambassador from king james I to the mughal emperor, succeeded in getting two farmans by 1618, one of the king and the other of the prince khurram confirming the trade and its continuance as well as exemption from inland tolls.

English trades largely in the fine cotton fabrics and muslins of upper India, as well as in indigo which was cultivated in large quantitites in the neighbourhood of agra.

Surat was one of the chief centres of maritime trade from the straits of Malacca to the Persian gulf.

Thomas aldworth, a merchant of great enery and determination, remained at surat, taking whatever advantage he could out of Best’s victory. He secured permission for the eastablishment of factories – apart from that of surat – at three other places on the gulf of cambay.

By 1616, the English had contrived to establish four factories at ahmednagar, burhanpur, agra and surat, while an attempt was made to oust the Portuguese from cochin and destroy their influence in Malabar.

Though the efforts of best and downtown, aldworth and Thomas roe, the English factory at surat attained a fairly high degree of reputation.

In 1618 the shah of Persia permitted the English to open trade at the port of jask near the entrance to the Persian gulf.

In 1620, the English gained a victory over the Portuguese which secured for them great influence and respect in the Persian gulf.

Two years later they co-operated with the Persians and captured ormuz from the Portuguese.

The capture of ormuz weakened the trade and strength of the Portuguese port at diu.

In 1629 and 1630 the English secured further victories and they were entrusted by the mughal emperor with the duty of keeping watch over the seas and safeguarding the annual fleet of piligrim ships that travelled from India to the red sea.

In 1630 the trade of the surat had grown to such dimentions, that the directors constituted it into the chief of the English settlements in the east and subordinated even distant bantam in java to its control.

The dutch held possession of cochin and had a share in the pepper trade to Malabar.

The English and the dutch completed for the trade of masulipatam which was the chief sea port of the great inland kingdom of golcunda and largely traded in diamonds, rubies and textiles of that region.

In 1614, and again in 1624, the English had serious quarrels with the dutch who tried to win over the local ruler to their side.

In 1628, the English abandoned masulipatam in despair and attempted to settle at armagaon in the present nellore dist. Only two years later they were able to revive their factory at masulipatam.

It was only with the foundation of madras by the English in 1639, their arrival at hughli in 1650 and their establishment of a factory at balasore in north orissa that the position of the English on the eastern coast became
strong and permanent.

The prosperity of surat was threatened by a terrible famine, following by pestilence, which broke out in Gujarat in 1631.

In 1620, the English began to trade at pulicat, but the hostility of the dutch compelled them to abandon the place three years later.

For the same reason they had to abandon masulipatam (where they had been permitted to trade in 1613) in 1628. but they returned to masulipatam in 1630 and secured the ‘golder farman’ from the sultan of golcunda (1632) which ensured safety and prosperity for their trade.

At masulipatam the English purchased piece-goods for export to Persia.

In spetember 1641 fort st. george in madras superseded masulipatam as the company’s head quarters on the coromandel coast.

In 1661, the Portuguese gave Bombay as a part of dowry to princess, Catherine of braganza, on her marriage with charles II.

The English secured Bombay at a very crucial moment when surat was being repeatedly attacked by the Marathas.

Gerald aungier, who was the president of surat and governor of Bombay from 1669 to 1677, was the true founder of bombay’s greatness.

He fortitfied the citadel, consturucted a dock, laid out a town, established a court of justice, created a police force and a militia, and started a mint which coined both silver and copper money.

He saved the enlgish lives and prosperities during shivaji’s second sack of surat in 1670.
Under aungier, Bombay became the best naval station on the Indian coast and a harbour of refuge from the
Marathas and the Malabar pirates.

During the governorship (1677-82) of rolt, aungier’s successor, bombay’s very existence as an English settlement hung in balance, while the islands in its neighbourhood were occupied by the mughals or the Marathas.

The peaceful and orderly govt of aungier was in striking contrast with the terror which prevailed under sir john childe.

In 1686 two pirate ships captured several mughal vessels in the red sea, upon which the mughal governor of surat violently reacted against the English, particularly at sir john child, presient of surat and governor of

These pirates and the interlopers were the principal cause of the disastrous war which the English subsequently waged with the mughals.

John child got really frightened and hastened to assure the emperor aurangazeb, who was then in deccan, that he had really no hostile intentions.

But aurangazeb was not deceived by child’s profession of friendship; he issued orders that the English should be treated as enemies and that the Abyssinian sides in his service should blockade and capture Bombay.

Early English settlements in Bengal:

Between 1633-1663 the English factories in Bengal aimed at nothing more than peaceful trade under the protection of the mughal power.

In the next stage, 1663-85, the English merchants in Bengal were hampered by quarrels with native powers, by quarrels with interloping rivals, and by quarrels among themselves.

After 1685, when they had come to despair in respect of maintaining their trade by peaceful means and by treatise with the Indian powers, they resolved to protect themselves by force and enterered into open war with the mughal power.

At last in 1690 they returned to Bengal at the invitation of the mughal viceroy and formed a forfified settlement at Calcutta.

It was in the fourth period which begins from 1690 that the English settlement took a definite shape.

In 1633, the mughal governor of orissa gave the English merchants permission to establish factories at hariharapur (near the mouth of mahanadi), balasore, pipli.

In England there was a growing demand for Bengal goods, especially for silk and saltpeter; and the trade of Bengal factories consequently increased.

In 1667 aurangazeb gave the English a farman for trade in Bengal, and five years later, in 1672, the mughal governor, shayista khan, issued an order confirming all the privileges already acquired by the English.

Even before this date, shayista khan had extirpated the numerous river and sea-pirates of chittagong and arakan who had for more than a centrury infested the whole of the bay of Bengal.

In this time the French and the danes commenced their commercial activities in Bengal.

In spite of certain privileges granted to the company by the nishans of shah shuja, the mughal governor of

Bengal (1651), the company’s trade was occasionally obstructed by local customs officers who demanded
payment of tolls.

The mission of William hedges (the first governor and agent of the English company in Bengal) in August 1682, to shayista khan, governor of Bengal, proved to be of no avail.

Four years later, hostilities broke out between the English and the mughal govt in Bengal.

In retaliation for the sack of Hughli (October 1686) the english captured the imperial forts at thana (modern garden reach), raided hijili on the east of the midanpore dist, and stormed the mughal foritifications at balasore.

But the English were forced to leave hughli and to retire to an unhealthy place at the mouth of the river.

Their agent, job charnock, opened negotiations for permission to return to sutnauti. But the hostilities were renewed on the arrival of company’s new agent, captain William heath.

In November 1688, he stormed the mughal fort at balasore and committed inhuman atrocities on the people there. His attempt to capture chittagong did not succeed and he sailed away for madras on February 17, 1689.

After the conclusion of peace between the company and the mughal govt in February 1690, job charnock returned to Bengal as agent and reached satanauti on August 24, where he established an English factory on February 10, 1691.

On the same day, an imperial order was issued permitting the English “to contentedly continue their trade” in
Bengal on payment of Rs. 3,000 a year in lieu of all dues.

The rebellion of Sobha singh, a zamindar in the district of burdwan, gave an opportunity to the English to fortify their settlement at sutnauti in 1696.

They were permitted by azimush shah, governor of Bengal, to purchase the zamindari of the three villages of sutnauti, kalikata and govindpur on payment of Rs. 1,200 to the old proprietors.

In 1696, a serious rebellion occurred in Bengal under an afghan named rahim khan who plundered the whole country along the hughli.

Alarmed by the rebellion and the inability of the mughal viceroy to put it down, the English at Calcutta as well as the dutch at chinsura asked permission to fortify their factories, and to raise troops.

The viceroy ordered them, in general terms, to defend themselves; so the English began to build walls and bastions round their factory (1697). This was the origin of the fort William, named after king William III.

Next year they got from the viceroy permission to rent, besides Calcutta, the villages of sutanuti and govindpur.

In 1700, the directors constituted Bengal as a separate presidency independent of madras, and nominated sir charles eyre as its first president.

Eyre resigned his post soon after and was succeeded by an old servant of the company which was started in 1698 and had also to meet a series of attacks on the English by the local powers.

In 1701, aurangazeb, who had often suspected the English of piratical acts and was now confirmed in his suspicions by the two rival English companies accousing each other of piracy, ordered the general arrest of all the Europeans in India.

The company’s servants at patna and qasimbazar were seized and beard had to see that fort William was made sufficiently strong to resist any sudden attack.

The English got confirmation of their privileges from the new emperor, shah alam, and the de facto ruler of Bengal, murhshid quli khan.

The most important event in the history of the company during these years was the diplomatic mission led by john surman in 1715 to the court of the mughal emperor farukhsiyar, resulting in the grant of 3 famous farmans addressed to the officials in Bengal, hyderabad and Gujarat.

The farman gave the company many valuable privilages. In Bengal it exempted the company’s imports and exports from additional customs duties, expecting the annual payment of Rs. 3,000 as settled earlier.

The company was allowed to rent additional lands around Calcutta.

At surat, the company was exempted from the levy of all duties for its exports and imports lieu of an annual payment of Rs. 10,000; and the coins of the company minted at Bombay where to have currency through out the mughal empire.

The importance of caluctta increased and its population grew to 1,00,000 by the middle of the 18th century.

Thomas pitt, governor of madras from 1698-1709, obtained from the nawab of karantak a grant of 5 villages near madras in 1708; and in 1734 it also got vepery and four other settlements.

Some disturbances for nearly 2 decades due to quarrels between the Portuguese and the Marathas and the exploits of the Maratha sea captains, notably kanhoji angria, on western coast.

In 1744, Bombay had a population of 70,000 and the revenues amounted to about 16 lakh rupees.

The Frecnch:

Richelieu, one of the ablest ministers of france who did much to enhance her influence in Europe, realized the importance of trade for the development of his country.

Under his guidance was granted, in 1642, the permission to sail to Madagascar and the neighbouring islands, to establish colonies and trade there.

The reign of Louis XIV, a brilliant period in the history of france in several ways, was also marked by a significant step in respect of French commercial enterprise.

French missionaries and travelers had succeeded in finding a land route to India through asia minor.
Colbert, the famous minister of louis XIV, had a genuine desire to help his country’s economic development
through maritime trade and france owed him in the foundation of the compagnie des indes orientales in 1664.

In 1667, an expedition was sent under francois caron, who established the first French factory in India at surat.

In 1669, marcara founded another French factory at mauslipatam by securing a patent from the sultan of golconda.

A French squadron under De la haye encountered a fleet of the dutch, who were in hostility with the French, near kanniyakumari on February 21, 1672. but due to the treachery or wrong advice of the doctors, francois caron didn’t act on this occasion with vigour and promptness.

In july, de la haye occupied san thome near madras, which the sultan of golcunda had conquered from the
Portuguese 10 years earlier. This led to a combine of the dutch and the sultan of golcunda against the French.

Faced with a crititcal situation, de la haye had a capitulate (September 6, 1674) and surrender san thome to the dutch who allowed the sultan of golcunda to re-occupy it.

In 1673, francois martin, director of the masulipatam factory, obtained from sher khan lodi, governor of valikondapuram, a site for a factory. Thus “began a modest fashion the historic role of pondicherry”.

After taking charge of pondicherry in 1674, franchois martin developed it as a place of importance “amid the clash of arms and the clamour of falling kingdoms”.

In bengal, the French laid the foundation of their famous settlement of chandranagar in 1690 on a site granted to them by shayista khan.

From 1672 to 1713 france was almost continuosly at war with Holland.

We have seen how in the war of 1672-74 the dutch recovered trincomalai and san thome martin was left at pondicherry with but six Frenchmen, “to act as affairs may require”.

The dutch, who profited from their close union with the English after the revolution of 1688, cast covetous eyes upon pondicherry in 1693. The movement was opportune.

The French navy was to busy in European waters to be of any use for the defence of French settlements in India.
Pondicherry fell into the hands of the dutch after a short siege (August-september 1693); and for 6 years it remained under their rule.

In the treaty of Ryswick (1697) it was stipulated that pondicherry should be return to the French with all its fortifications intact; the place was not, however, actually handed over to them till 1699.

In 1701 pondicherry was made the headquarters of all the possessions of the french in the east, and martin was appointed director general of French affairs in India.

He built solid walls round pondicherry, helped to strengthen the company’s position at chandranagar in Bengal where deslandes had planted a factory in 1690, and attempted to revive even the decline French factory at surat.

He completed the building of fort louis at pondicherry.

Martin died in December 1706.

French were very well treated at the courts of the local rulers, and their progress didn’t create any envy or jeleousy in the minds of the latter.

He was considered to be their well-wisher and frequently invited to mediate in their disputes.

By these means, he succeeded in lying the foundation for “that intimate connection with native powers which the most illustrious of his successors (Dupleix) used” with success.

Their factory at surat was abandoned in 1714.

The facory at masulipatam was not flourishing.

Chandranagar on the hughli in Bengal was occupied by the French in 1676 and ceded to them by a grant of the mughal emperor in 1688.

It was not until dupleix was appointed in 1731 as chief of chandranagar, that vigourous attempt was made to infuse fresh life into this settlement.

There was also small French factories at balasore and qasimbazar, but nothing is known about them.

The nature and the organization of European trade:

Four European companies – the Portuguese estado da India, the dutch united east India company and vereenigde oost indische compagnie (VOC), the east India company and French east India company were established in India.

The Portuguese were mainly interested in pepper and spices, while the dutch introduced Indian textiles and other products to the markets of Europe. Because of the textile trade, the dutch established their factories on the coromandel coast which was famous for weaving and printing of fine chintz and other finer varieties of textiles.

Since the Portuguese had been ousted by the mughal from the Bengal in 1633, the English and the dutch companies established their trade in Bengal, which was known as sub-continent’s food granary and chief textile producing area in the mughal empire.

“the tripartite participation of the dutch, the English and the frecnch”.

Indian exports comprised textiles, food products like rice, wheat, pulses and oil and commercial products like indigo and opium.


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