Advent of Europeans

Arrival of European Trading Company

  • Fall of Constantinople in 1453 to Turks forced Europeans to search the direct sea roots to reach India because India was the supplier of spices & pepper which were fundamental European necessities.
  • Traditionally, the Indian goods like spices & pepper were carried through sea root/land root to Constantinople where these goods were exchanged between Europeans and the Asian merchants.
    • The Arabs were dominating Indian external trade being practiced through sea routes since 1st Century A.D.
    • Multanis were dominant group involved in land trade.
  • In 1453, Constantinople was captured by Turks; they started demanding very high prices from European merchants because Turks and Europeans were having hostile relation. They fought for century with each other before Turk could come victorious. This obstruction of traditional trade made life in Euro-difficult because life in Euro unthinkable without spices & pepper.
  • Struggle for survival forced European to search for direct sea routes to reach India.
  • In 1487, Bartolomeu Dias reached southern tip of Africa named by him a cape of great storms. It was later renamed as Cape of Good Hope. He had to return from this point because as ration/supply got exhausted & many of his co-navigator lost their life.
  • Christopher Columbus tried to reach India by taking different direction but ended up in America for some year believed that land that Columbus reached was other side of Asia.
  • Amerigo was the 1st who explain that it was separate land mass.
  • Vasco da Gama followed the route Bartolomeu Dias & reached Calicut successfully in 1498. He carried pepper from India & made profit of 60 times even after deducting all expense of journey.
  • Success of Vasco da Gama inspired Portuguese merchant to form trading company & this company reached India in 1500 C.
  • Cochin was the early Portuguese headquarter.
  • In 1510, Portuguese captured Goa from Vijapar & here after it became headquarter.
  • Portuguese maintained complete monopoly over external trade for almost 100 year tight help of cartage system.
  • Dutch was 2nd European company in 1600.
  • In Dec 1600, the English trading company was farmed it reached in India in 1608 & established 1st factory at Surat.
  • In 1611, 1st English factory in South was setup at Masulipattnam.
  • In 1639, company got site of Madras from Raja Chandragiri, gradually it became main English center in south.
  • In 1651, 1st English factory in Bengal was established at Hugli in 1698, company purchased Jamindari returns of Sutanuti, Calicut & Govindpur. These villages were merged to create Calcutta & Fort William was built here.
  • Company received Bombay from British crown in 1668; Bombay was originally a Portuguese territory. It was given to British prince Charles in dowry by brink of Portugal in 1661. The same was transferred to East India Company in 1668 at annual rent of 10 pounds. Bombay became main headquarter of English in west.
  • Danes (Denmark) reached India in 1616.
  • French company was last to arrive in India in 1664. It was only Government Company among all European company reached in India.

 

Cartage System

  • Cartage refers to permit or pass, this system was developed by Portuguese to maintain their monopoly over Indian external trade begin practiced through sea. First Cartage was issued in 1502.
  • Portuguese enjoyed naval supremacy by using their superior naval power. Portuguese could seize any ship to regulate the ships involved in Indian extension trade & to ensure the Portuguese monopoly over sea trade Cartage system development.
  • This system required non-Portuguese ships to visit parts controlled by Portuguese purchase permit by paying fee before venturing into sea.
    • If any ship entered into water without purchasing Cartage, it was seized & goods were confiscated.
  • The Portuguese was so powerful on sea that even Mughal ship had to purchase Cartage from them.
  • Cartage clearly mentioned that ship was not carrying spices, pepper, horses & salt petre (potassium nitrate). These items only traded by Portuguese.
  • Cartage System remained effective till early decade of 17th Century when Portuguese monopoly shattered by Dutch, English & other European company.

 

Beginning of Struggle for Political Supremacy in India

  • Portuguese captured-territories along vast Goa, Daman & Diu. But they couldn’t venture into the land to spread their political dominance.
  • At that time Mughal empire was very powerful.
  • Portuguese failed to win support of locals, their attitude towards Indians marked by extension racial hat rate.
  • Portuguese lacked resources to finance long series of politico-military conflict in India.
  • Dutch didn’t focus on India because their main attention was Indonesia.
  • Dense were more interested in missionary activities, they didn’t pay much attention to politico-military matter.
  • England-French company fought three Carnatic Wars to establish their supremacy in India.
  • Initially French enjoyed upper hand but gradually the English became more powerful in India & they could successfully counter the French challenge to establish English political dominance in India.

Factors responsible for English Victory/French defeat in Anglo French struggle for supremacy in India

 

Anglo-French Conflict (in India)
  • Anglo-French rivalry was worldwide, it was not limited to India, as and when the English & French used to fight in Europe. The Englishmen & Frenchmen all over the world used to start participating in it. The Anglo-French conflict in India in India was the expression of same.
  • During the initial phase, French enjoyed upper hand in their struggle against English but gradually the English gained an edge over the French & emerged victorious.
  • Success of English company & defeat of French was not an accident but in reality it was outcome of combined effect of a number of politico-admin.
  • Difference in nature of two companies played an important role in the success of English against French.
  • English company was private entity. Its officers could take decision on the spot as per need of circumstance.
  • On the other hand, French company was government department. Its every important decision was taking in Paris. The decision makers were completely disconnected with circumstances prevailing on ground of India. Because of this, French company couldn’t stand against English in long run.
  • The difference in nature of government in Britain & France also contributed to English company.
  • A liberal & progressive monarchical regime in Britain in the mid of 18th The glorious revolution of 1688 had resulted in replacement of despotic monarchy based on the concept of divine returns of king by a constitutional monarchy.
  • On other hand, a despotic monarchical regime was present in France. French government was not accountable to anybody & because of this it didn’t take much interest in progress of people.
  • The British government provided crucial support to English company on many occasions on other hand, French government failed to provide any such support. Instead French government was bringing to extract as much as from its company.
  • French pre-occupation in continental matters also contributed to the defeat of French against English in struggle for supremacy in India.
  • French government involved in continuous wars & battle in Europe & because of this it could not pay attention to development going on India.
  • Superior leadership of English company also contributed to its success against French.
  • Duplex was one of the ability Europeans to put their feel on Indian soil. He was a fine leader without any doubt but he lacked team spirit.
  • Other French commander also failed to support each other when it required most.
  • On the other hand, English company was lucky to have services of number of capable leaders as Clive, Eyre cot, Hector Monroe. They fought as team as result of this English company emerged victorious.
  • Naval supremacy enjoyed by Britain also contributed to success in Anglo-French rivalry.
  • Because of Naval supremacy English could get extension support as & when it required on the on hand. On other hand, English could deny such support to French whenever situation demanded so.
  • English conquest of Bengal was most decisive factor responsible for success of English company against French.
  • Resources of Bengal transformed the English company into an invisible force.
  • The outcome of short war was decided by quality of leadership & strength of arm but outcome of long drawn out conflict is always decided by strength of resources.
  • Once English conquered Bengal, they had huge resources at their disposal, these resources turned the table against French forever in Anglo-French rivalry.
  • Pondicherry was deficient in resources & duplex made a plunder by concerting all its energy in Madras, that’s why it’s commented that duplex made cardinal blunder by the king for the key of India in Madras, Clive sought & found it in Bengal.
  • History of 18th Century in India was the age of great transformation while Mughal Empire got disintegrated during 18th Century a number of other forces emerged on scene in various parts of India. These developments had triggered a very complex power struggle involving various forces at different levels. This struggle facilitated British Indian Empire both directly as well as indirectly.
  • One dimensions of this complex struggle involved central authority & regional power.
  • Taking advantage of weakness of Mughal Empire, Mughal provinces like Awadh, Bengal & Hyderabad transformed themselves into powerful autonomous state.

At time of center were becoming weak regional forces gaining immense strength.

  • Other regional forces like Marathas & Mysore were also trying to strengthen themselves.
  • Indian regional forces were also involved in a serious conflict with each other.
  • Mysore, Marathas & Hyderabad were involved struggle for supremacy in Deccan,
  • Nadir Shah, Ruler of Persia invaded India in 1759.
    • Mughal defeated in Battle of Karnal & he plundered Delhi where he left the Mughal Empire, lost his prestige completely.
  • Ahmad Shah Abdali (Afghanistan) invaded India 7 times during 1748-61. At one time it was appearing as if the Marathas would succeed in replacing Mughal Empire. But their defeat in 3rd battle of Panipat soiled faith of Maratha Empire.
    • A situation of vacuum development in India.