Establishment and expansion of Europeans Companies

Commercial contacts between India and Europeans were very old via the land route but there were various factors of Land-based routes like multiple taxations, theft, conflicts with tribes/kingdoms, etc. which led to ease of discovering new trade routes directly to India. Therefore in 1494, Columbus of Spain started for India in search of a Sea Route and discovered America instead. In 1498, Vasco da Gama of Portugal discovered a new sea route from Europe to India. He reached Calicut by sailing around Africa via the Cape of Good Hope. This was the first arrival of European in India by Sea route

The arrival of European Trading Company

The 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, 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. Multani’s were the dominant groups involved in inland trade. In 1453, Constantinople was captured by Turks; they started demanding very high prices from European merchants because Turks and Europeans were having hostile relations. They fought for a century with each other before Turk could come victorious. This obstruction of traditional trade made life in Euro-difficult because of life in Euro unthinkable without spices & pepper.

The struggle for survival forced European to search for direct sea routes to reach India. In 1487, Bartolomeu Dias reached the 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.

First European landed in America
Christopher Columbus

Christopher Columbus tried to reach India by taking a different direction but ended up in America for some year believed that the land that Columbus reached was the other side of Asia. Amerigo was the 1st who explains that it was a separate landmass. Vasco da Gama followed the route, Bartolomeu Dias, & reached Calicut successfully in 1498. He carried pepper from India & made a profit of 60 times even after deducting all expenses of the journey. The success of Vasco da Gama inspired Portuguese merchant to form a trading company & this company reached India in 1500 C.

Vasco Da Gama
Vasco Da Gama

Cochin was the early Portuguese headquarters. In 1510, the Portuguese captured Goa from Vijapar & here after it became headquarter. Portuguese maintained a monopoly over external trade for almost 100 years of tight help of the 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 the 1st factory at Surat. In 1611, 1st English factory in the South was setup at Masulipattnam.  In 1639, the company got the site of Madras from Raja Chandragiri, gradually it became the main English center in the south. In 1651, 1st English factory in Bengal was established at Hugli in 1698, the company purchased Jamindari returns of Sutanuti, Calicut & Govindpur. These villages were merged to create Calcutta & Fort William was built here.

The company received Bombay from the British crown in 1668; Bombay was originally a Portuguese territory. It was given to British prince Charles in dowry by the brink of Portugal in 1661. The same was transferred to East India Company in 1668 at an annual rent of 10 pounds. Bombay became the main headquarter of English in the west. Danes (Denmark) reached India in 1616. The French company was last to arrive in India in 1664. It was the only Government Company among all European companies reached in India.