English chartered company formed for trade with East and Southeast Asia and India, incorporated in 1600

. It began as a monopolistic trading body, establishing early trading stations at Surat, Madras (now Chennai), Bombay (Mumbai), and Calcutta (Kolkata). Trade in spices was its original focus; this broadened to include cotton, silk, and other goods. In 1708 it merged with a rival and was renamed the United Co. of Merchants of England Trading to the East Indies. Becoming involved in politics, it acted as the chief agent of British imperialism in India in the 18th – 19th century, exercising substantial power over much of the subcontinent. The company's activities in China in the 19th century served as a catalyst for the expansion of British influence there; its financing of the tea trade with illegal opium exports led to the first Opium War (1839 – 42). From the late 18th century it gradually lost both commercial and political control; its autonomy diminished after two acts of Parliament (1773, 1774) established a regulatory board responsible to Parliament, though the act gave the company supreme authority in its domains. It ceased to exist as a legal entity in 1873. See also Dutch East India Co., French East India Co. British History: East India Company Home > Library > History, Politics & Society > British History The first English East India Company was formed in 1599 to compete with the Dutch for the trade of the spice islands. However, following the Amboyna massacre of 1623, it abandoned the East Indies to concentrate on the Indian subcontinent. The company began to acquire a territorial empire in India after the battle of Plassey in 1757, and the defeat of the Maratha empire in 1818 gave it undisputed supremacy. Territorial conquest, however, brought about more direct parliamentary control through the Regulation Act of 1773 and the India Act of 1784. It survived as a quasi-department of the British state until the Indian mutiny of 1857, whereafter it was abolished and its powers vested in a secretary of state for India. US History Encyclopedia: English East India Company Home > Library > History, Politics & Society > US History Encyclopedia The English East India Company (1600–1874) was one of the longest-lived and richest trading companies. It exercised a pervasive influence on British colonial policy from early in its history because of its wealth and power both in England and in the rest of the commercial world. Nevertheless, not until the era of the American Revolution did the company figure in American affairs. At that time it was expanding its activities in the East, particularly in China, and in order to strengthen its rather precarious foothold at Canton, the company purchased increasing amounts of tea. Soon, with its warehouses overflowing and a financial crisis looming, the company surrendered part of its political power for the exclusive right to export tea directly to America under Lord North's Regulating Act (1773). This development coincided with and influenced the outbreak of disputes between Great Britain and its American colonies. After Britain imposed the tea tax in 1767, American boycotts reduced colonial tea consumption from 900,000 pounds in 1769 to 237,000 pounds in 1772. The Regulating Act allowed the East India Company to ship huge quantities of tea to America duty-free. Although this act allowed Americans to purchase tea

these settlements became subject to increasing harassment by local princes. The company continued to control commercial policy and lesser administration. it also enabled the East India Company to undersell colonial smugglers who had benefited from tea boycotts. During the 17th cent. Finally. but the British government became increasingly the effective ruler of India. after 1623.at a discounted rate (even accounting for the tea tax). and the East India Company was dissolved. When Boston importers resisted Patriot pressure to refuse tea shipments. barter was . To check the exploitative practices of the company and to gain a share of revenues. such as textiles. By the East India Act of 1784 the government assumed more direct responsibility for British activities in India. the first governor-general. and it gradually acquired unequaled trade privileges from the Mughal emperors. Parliamentary acts of 1813 and 1833 ended the company's trade monopoly. and the company began to protect itself by intervening more and more in Indian political affairs. proponents of the tea boycott organized anti-British activities. which culminated in the Boston Tea Party (1773). the British government intervened and passed the Regulating Act (1773). Revenues from Bengal were used for trade and for personal enrichment. laid the administrative foundations for subsequent British consolidation. when the English traders at Amboina were massacred by the Dutch. The original object of the group of merchants involved was to break the Dutch monopoly of the spice trade with the East Indies. PRE-COLONIAL HISTORY OF INDIA The 1872 census revealed that 99. Warren Hastings. the company admitted defeat in that endeavor and concentrated its activities in India. As Mughal power declined. Although the company was soon reaping large profits from its Indian exports (chiefly textiles). It had established its first factory at Machilipatnam in 1611. moreover. Home > Library > Miscellaneous > Columbia Encyclopedia 1600–1874. The victories (1751–60) of Robert Clive over the French made the company dominant in India.[19] whose economies were largely isolated and self-sustaining. by which a governor-general of Bengal (whose appointment was subject to government approval) was given charge of all the company's possessions in India. company chartered by Queen Elizabeth I for trade with Asia.” In 1698 a rival company was actually chartered. its monopoly of Indian trade was constantly challenged by independent English traders called “interlopers. which under Joseph François Dupleix launched an aggressive policy of expansion. and Calcutta (now Kolkata). Columbia Encyclopedia: British East India Company. Bombay (now Mumbai). after the Indian Mutiny of 1857– 58 the government assumed direct control. Although many kingdoms and rulers issued coins. After the Revolution the company had little or no contact with America. This satisfied the food requirements of the village and provided raw materials for hand-based industries. but the conflict was resolved by a merger of the two companies in 1708. and by a treaty of 1765 it assumed control of the administration of Bengal.3% of the population of the region constituting presentday India resided in villages. However. a serious rival in the French East India Company. It had. it had to deal with serious difficulties both in England and in India. By that time the company had established in India the three presidencies of Madras (now Chennai). with agriculture the predominant occupation. setting up a board of control for India. food processing and crafts.

at this time. manufacturing and credit. which totalled £16 million. while its craftsmen received a part of the crops at harvest time for their services. allowing manufacturers to achieve narrow specialization. It existed alongside a competitively developed network of commerce. ensuring the division of labour.5 million.[20] Religion. Nagpur.[25] Colonial . was a largely traditional agrarian economy with a dominant subsistence sector dependent on primitive technology. The Maratha Empire's budget in 1740s. 30M. and the caste and the joint family systems. Jhansi. owing to the lack of quantitative information.[24] India. Until 1857. Pune and Kolhapur. Baroda.[22] Textiles such as muslin. the Maratha Empire disintegrated into confederate states of Gwalior. when India was firmly under the British crown. India was administered by Maratha Empire.[21] The caste system functioned much like medieval European guilds. providing for the training of apprentices and. opium and indigo were exported to Europe. For instance. One estimate puts the revenue of Akbar's Mughal Empire in 1600 at £17. especially Hinduism. Estimates of the per capita income of India (1857–1900) as per 1948–49 prices. was Rs. British East India company entered the Indian political theatre. the Middle East and South East Asia in return for gold and silver. Calicos. in certain regions.prevalent. After the fall of the Mughals. Gwalior state had a budget of Rs. However.[23] Assessment of India's pre-colonial economy is mostly qualitative. After the loss at Panipat. shawls. at its peak. the country remained in a state of political instability due to internecine wars and conflicts. and agricultural products such as pepper. Indore. 100 million. producing each variety of cloth was the speciality of a particular sub-caste. played an influential role in shaping economic activities. cinnamon. in contrast with the total revenue of Great Britain in 1800. Villages paid a portion of their agricultural produce as revenue to the rulers. by the time of the arrival of the British. in some cases.

India was particularly renowned for its ivory work and its fine muslins (known in Roman literature as 'woven air'). standardized weights and measures. aromatics.An aerial view of Calcutta Port taken in 1945.[30] India's colonisation by the British coincided with major changes in the world economy—industrialisation. wine.3%. and significant growth in production and trade. The balance of payments had to be met in precious metals. right-wing historians have countered that India's economic performance was due to various sectors being in a state of growth and decline. which was the economic hub of British India. adversarial legal system. or other valuables like red coral (i.[31] with industrial development stalled. capital markets. the hard currency of the ancient world). The impact of the British rule on India's economy is a controversial topic.AHistory The history of Indian exports id very old. IndiaNExports. Export goods are provided to the foreign consumers by the domestic producers. (Rome supplying exotic items such as cut-gems. quality textiles (muslins and cottons). either gold or silver coinage. ivory. a well developed system of railways and telegraphs. guaranteed property rights among the colonizers. While a good portion of Indo-Roman trade was reciprocal. Company rule in India brought a major change in the taxation environment from revenue taxes to property taxes resulting in mass impoverishment and destitution of the great majority of farmers. During prehistoric times India exported spices to the other parts of . at the end of colonial rule. high quality iron and gems. resulting from changes brought about by colonialism and a world that was moving towards industrialization and economic integration. papyrus. copper.[27][28] An estimate by Cambridge University historian Angus Maddison reveals that India's share of the world income fell from 22. a civil service that aimed to be free from political interference. and left-nationalist economic historians have blamed colonial rule for the dismal state of India's economy in its aftermath. comparable to Europe's share of 23. India inherited an economy that was one of the poorest in the developing world. and created a single currency with fixed exchange rates.8% in 1952. encouraged free trade. the trade balance was considerably weighted in India's favor. to a low of 3. resulting in numerous famines. agriculture unable to feed a rapidly growing population. and low rates of literacy. Calcutta.6% in 1700.[26] The economic policies of the British Raj effectively destroyed India's large handicrafts industry and caused a massive drain of India's resources. on paper. one of the world's lowest life expectancies. tin and lead ingots).[32] HISTORY ASPECTS OF CRAFT & TRADE IN INDIA The chronicles of the Greek Periplus reveal that Indian exports included a variety of spices. and a common-law. Considered items of luxury in those days. these items must have been quite expensive since the Roman writer Pliny (AD 23-79) complained of the cost of these and other luxury commodities that were imported from India . these were in high demand. While leaders of the Indian independence movement. WHAT DOES EXPORT MEAN? Export means the transferring of any good from one country to another country in a legal way for the purpose of trade.[29] It also created an institutional environment that. perfumes. However. However. saw increased industrial activity during World War II. coral.e.

The Indian government has outlined certain export policies. LeadingExportItemsofIndia. . preserved vegetables etc etc. Some of India's main export items are cotton. Textiles and cotton were exported to the Arab countries from Gujarat. contrary to any prohibition imposed by or under the customs act or any other law is liable for confiscation. Russia etc. A few items are subject to export control to prevent their shortage. Exports are the major focus of India's trade policy and most of the items can be freely exported from India. jams. rice. The packaging and branding such be such that countries are interested to export from India. But during the British era. cocoa products. any good exported or attempted to be exported.4% in the GDP. juices. coffee. NOTE. tea. jute goods. pickles. Indian exports declined as the East India Company foreign trade of India.the world. READ IT &MAKE IMPROVEMENTS. RestrictionontheExportsofItems However there are some restrictions on the export of goods. Some commodities have enjoyed faster export growth than others. India was also famous for its textiles which were a chief item for export in the 16th century. IndianExports:CurrentScenario Every year India earns billion of dollars by exporting various goods and items. pearls. wheat. Indian exports contribute nearly 12. ProblemsoftheIndianExportSector But there are few problems which need to be solved before India makes a mark for itself in the export sector. tortoise stones etc. mango pulp. I HAV NOT READ FURTHER INFORMATION PL. The government should frame policies which gives boost to the exports. The export policies tell about the products to be exported and the countries to whom exports are to be done. Under sub section (d) of section 111 and sub section (d) of section 113. exports have grown at a rate of nearly 22%. In the past ten years. the leading export promotion organization of India. China. The government of India works with the Federation of Indian Export Organization. Belgium. India exports its goods to some of leading countries of the world such as UK. textiles. During the Mughal era India exported various precious stones such as ivory. The profits from exports are exempted from income tax. The Indian goods have to be of superior quality. USA. At the same time India must look for potential market to sell their goods.

The important cities in the west included Ahmedabad. Hoogli. Ibn Batuta the 14 th century . trade and commerce flourished.e. The prime urban centres during the Mughal era were Agra. It was very much in demand among the wealthy classes in Malaysia. The Mughal era witnessed the establishment of a stable centre and a uniform provincial government. These towns grew into trade and industrial centres which in turn led to the general prosperity. The production of handicrafts increased in order to keep up with the demand for them in foreign countries. Indonesia. The flourishing trade centres in the eastern part of the country were Dacca. Even during the medieval period. Patola. Bombay. Products and Manufactures The accounts of foreign travellers contain descriptions of the wide variety of exquisite goods sold in the markets of those days. was highly popular in South-east Asia. which is a kind of silk dyed in natural colours. Most of these cities boasted of sizeable populations. the economy of the towns flourished. During the Sultanate period. Surat. Patna. which formed one of the chief items of export. roughly from the 12 th to the 16th centuries. Multan.Right from ancient times till the establishment of the British Empire. This was due to the establishment of a sound currency system based on the silver tanka and the copper dirham. Sonargaon and Jaunpur. Ibn Batuta the 14th century Moorish traveller had visited India during the Sultanate period. Thatta and Srinagar in the north. the country was prosperous despite the frequent political upheavals. The important centres of trade and industry were Delhi. This development was the result of the political and economic policies followed by the Muslim rulers. Bombay (then known as Khambat). Lahore. A notable feature of this period was the growth of towns in various parts of the country. Gujarat and Southern India. which lasted from the early 13th to the early 16th centuries. Duarte Barbosa a Portuguese official in Cochin in the early 16th century described Gujarat. and the Phillipines. During the two hundred years of Mughal rule i. In the east Bengal was another important region for a wide variety of textiles. Malwa. Ujjain and Patan (in Gujarat).e. Ahmedabad. Delhi. i. India was famous for its textiles. India was famed for her fabulous wealth. The burgeoning foreign trade led to the development of market places not only in the towns but also in the villages. He had described the teeming markets of the big cities in the Gangetic plains. During this age of relative peace and security. Textiles from Gujarat were exported to the Arab countries and to South-east Asia. Coastal towns also developed into booming industrial centres with large populations. from the 16th to the 18th centuries the urbanisation of India received a further impetus. Chitgaon and Murshidabad. in the western region as a leading cotton trade centre. Lahore.

pearl and tortoise shells were produced in South India. The affinity of the Great Mughals with nature is evident from the designs of the carpets made during their times. Kasimbazaar in Bengal was an important trade centre for cotton and silk goods. Pearl fishing was a major industry here. Gujarat and the Deccan. Diamonds were procured from the Deccan while sapphires and rubies were imported from Pegu and Ceylon. Similarly. a type of cloth used for tying turbans was manufactured in Bengal. Domestic Trade . The carpets produced during the Mughal era depicted either animals in combat or flowers. which were another variety of painted fabrics. The textile products included quilts of embroidered tussar. Golconda was famous for its Kalamkaaris. or munga on a cotton or jute. Major centres were established at Pulicat. Shaliat and Pulicat. Mother-of pearl inlay against a black lac background was a traditional design in Gujarat. The flowers were woven so meticulously that they could be easily identified. Malabar in Kerala was also famous for its coloured and printed cloth material.Moorish traveller saw many cotton trade centres during his sojourn in Bengal. Gujarat or the South were highly appreciated abroad for their fine texture. ivory. These were bedspreads made of Calico cloth. Palampores. were popular in the Mughal and Deccan courts. silk and brocade edged handkerchiefs. They were exported through the port city of Masulipatnam. It had become an important profession by then and all the major courts of the country encouraged it. The furniture was modelled on the European design but the expensive carvings and inlays were inspired by the ornate Mughal style. elaborate design and brilliant colours. The last two were major trading centres for a wide variety of cottons. Dhaka muslin was renowned for its fineness. During the Mughal era the European traders used to employ local artisans at the manufacturing centres set up by them at various places in India. Many varieties of ornamental work in cut stones. Indian textiles whether from Bengal. Indian arts and crafts were patronised by Indian rulers. It was highly popular in Europe. They were unmatched for their beauty and skill and were popular in the European countries. Carpets were used both in ancient and medieval India but it was in the 16th century during the Mughal era that the skill of carpet weaving touched new heights. These were finely painted cotton fabrics with motifs from Hindu mythology. Hardwood furniture. Sirbund. The production centres were in Sindh. embellished with inlay work was a very popular item. The other important textiles producing centres in the south were Golconda. Calicut and Vijaynagar for cutting and polishing these stones. The borders of these pieces were block printed while the centre depicted deoicted the ‘Tree of Life’ motif made by hand. Silks were also manufactured there.

The threat from bandits did not in any way affect the flow of goods as merchants travelled in well-armed groups to ensure their security. The most superior quality rice and sugar from Kannauj. wheat from Punjab and betel leaves from Dhar in Madhya Pradesh found their way to the markets of Delhi. Such circumstances forced the trader to hoard his wealth and lead a frugal existence. corals. scented oils. The chief articles of import were horses. thus incurring heavy losses in the process. These included wines. Some of the merchants had their own large boats. while in Gujarat and Rajasthan it was in the hands of the Bhats. Foreign traders from Central Asia. the trading community used to face unfair treatment from the government officials. Foreign Trade India’s exports far exceeded her imports both in the number of items as well as in volume. the royalty and the nobility either purchased luxury goods at very low prices or did not pay at all. Vijaynagar traded in diamonds with other southern cities. Boats carrying goods used to ply on the Indus and the Ganges. They set up their own manufacturing centres wherein local artisans were employed. used to strictly supervise the market places. India also imported glassware from Europe. Ibn Batuta had described Delhi as a major trade centre. Shopkeepers. Different communities dominated trade in various parts of the country. Multani and Punjabi merchants handled the business in the north. However. Members of the nobility and the royalty took an interest in trading activities. The roads facilitated the exchange of goods between the different parts of the country. known as Khorasanis engaged in this profession all over India. . Well-maintained roads linking various parts of the country facilitated domestic trade. while China supplied raw silk and porcelain. which linked the northern and southern halves of the country. According to Barbosa’s account. Limbodar in Gujarat and Dabhol in Maharashtra were major trade centres. high grade textiles like satin from West Asia. dry fruits and precious stones. Sometimes they were forced by these officials to sell their products at reduced rates or on credit. who were caught violating the rules. trade between Gujarat and Malwa was possible owing to the routes established in this area. The 14th century Sultan Alauddin Khilji for instance. River routes also facilitated trade between different parts of the country. precious stones. from Kabul and Arabia. Internal trade flourished due to the organised system set up by the government. Accounts of foreign travellers give instances of the trade between Vijaynagar and Bhatkal in Goa with 5000-6000 bulls carrying goods between the two places. Foreign luxury goods were highly popular among the royalty and the nobility. During the period of the later Mughals in the 18 th century. The price list fixed by the government brought in low returns for the traders. were severely punished.Foreign travellers gave extensive accounts about domestic trade in medieval India. dry fruits.

Cochin and Quilon. China and the Far East. Khambat. Trade with China and Southeast Asia was mainly carried on through the port of Sonargaon now known as Dacca. guns. gold and wool were brought in through Goa. gold-embroidered cloth caps. China and the numerous islands in the Indian Ocean. knives and scissors. Gujarat and foreign settlers controlled business in the port cities of Calicut. The traders of Malabar. Foreign trade was in the hands of both local and foreign merchants. the Malayan Archipelago. Limbodar in Gujarat was a major exporting centre. exquisitely designed clay pots and pans. Calicut. Many European travellers had settled in the coastal regions. diamonds and material wealth. The people. The other prime articles of export were sugar. wax. oils. In China. the Khurasani ambassador to the court of Vijaynagar. ivory sandalwood. Vijaynagar. Africa. Indian products were also sent to East Africa. This fact gives an idea of the magnitude of India’s foreign trade during the medieval period. spices. Imports like bronze. Chinese ships docked at Quilon and Calicut while in Khambat the volume of trade was such that 3000 ships visited this port annually. Abdur Razzak. These included silks. The shipbuilding industry flourished in the coastal towns. Burma. The route lay through Kashmir. diamonds and other precious gems and coconuts. Central Asia and Persia. Arabia and Persia from Bengal and Cambay. and Mangalore. indigo. The city of Vijaynagar was a teeming marketplace for both exports and imports.perfumes and velvets. The magnitude of trade can be surmised from the fact that there were 300 ports to facilitate the movement of goods. Arabia. Horses imported from Arabia were sent from the port of Bhatkal in Goa to the southern kingdoms. The Gujarati and Marwari businessmen who controlled the trade between the coastal towns and North India were extremely wealthy and spent large sums for the construction of temples. irrespective of which strata of society they belonged to. Trade was also conducted through overland routes with Afghanistan. Indian textiles were valued more than silk. The fabulous wealth of the Empire left the foreigners dumbfounded. which was the richest and most extensive state in the 15th and 16th centuries. Domingo Paes described the citizens as being heavily bejewelled. Arab traders shipped Indian goods to European countries through the Red Sea and the Mediterranean ports. enjoyed the most voluminous maritime trade with diverse countries such as Persia. The merchant community in the other parts of the country was a prosperous lot. refers to the treasury which had chambers filled with molten gold. iron. Iraq and Bukhara were the other countries with which India conducted trade via the land route. Quetta and the Khyber Pass. Malaya. During the Sultanate period articles of everyday use as well as luxury articles were exported to Syria. Many of these Multanis and Khurasanis settled in Delhi . The Multanis who were Hindus and the Khurasanis who were Muslim foreigners controlled the trade with Central and West Asia. possessed vast quantities of gold.

This period was marked by decline of the Mughal government and the rise of the Maratha power. The Decline in Prosperity However the political conditions in India in the 18th century brought about a sea change in the situation. they did not have the economic and military means to sustain it.where they lived luxurious lives. but also it started importing various items such as cloth. Thus the once glorious arts and crafts of India died a natural death. Thus India had always enjoyed a favourable balance in her trade relations with other countries. Cambay was also home to an affluent mercantile community. the Company imposed heavy duties on both imports and exports. horses. Her earnings from the export of textiles. Though the regional powers did extend patronage to the artisans and manufacturers. After Aurangzeb. In order to disrupt the trade relations between the Indian mercantile community and the foreigners. etc. the state crumbled and it could not protect the mercantile community as before. Not only did it cripple the indigenous manufactures. who was the last of the great Mughal Emperors. from England. Copyright ©2005 . sugar. Consequently trade dwindled. The state coffers were amply stocked with gold and silver. which had flourished during the Mughal rule. This so adversely affected the Indian traders that they turned to other professions for their livelihood. it prevented merchants from Asian countries from coming to the eastern provinces for trading purposes. The Maratha invasions in northern India also adversely affected trade and commerce. had dwindled to non-existence by the end of the eighteenth century. The Company increasingly monopolised the foreign trade in India thereby reducing the mercantile community to bankruptcy. The rise of the British East India Company in the mid 18 th century dealt a fatal blow to the prosperity of the country. The victory of the English over the Nawab of Bengal at the Battle of Plassey in 1757 marked a turning point in the fortunes of the country. The great trading community. The export of Indian textiles to England was totally banned. spices and indigo alone went up to crores of rupees. utensils. After the Company had established its supremacy in Bengal.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful

Master Your Semester with Scribd & The New York Times

Special offer for students: Only $4.99/month.

Master Your Semester with a Special Offer from Scribd & The New York Times

Cancel anytime.