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Thursday, August 13, 2020

THE ENGLISH (1600 - 1717) - HISTORY


English too had become impatient to participate in the profitable Asian Trade. 

1599: A company to trade with the East was formed under the auspices of a group of merchants known as - the Merchant Adventurers. The company popularly came to be known as the East India Company (or EIC, nickname- John Company).

Fig: Flag of EIC. 

 A Glance of English East India Company:

1600: The English Company:

  • The company was granted a royal charter by Queen Elizabeth giving it to the exclusive privilege of trading east of the Cape of Good Hopes for a period of 15 years.
  • In the beginning, the English company concentrated on the spice trade.
  • The initial voyages of the Company were made to the Spice Islands in Indonesia.
  • Soon the English discovered the importance of Indian goods especially textiles as a barter (trading) commodity for the spice trade.
  • Surat (Gujarat) was established as the trade transit point & the company ships were docked there.
  • The company now planned to open a factory at Surat & Captain Hawkins was sent.
1608: Captain Hawkins-
  • He was sent as a representative of the English Company to the Court of Jahangir to obtain permission to open a factory - at Surat (Gujarat).
  • He was the first Englishman to set foot on Indian soil.
  • He could speak the Turkish language & he came in a ship named - 'Hector'.
  • 1609: He arrived at Surat & from there went to the Court of Jahangir at Agra.
  • He obtained permission to open factories on the west coast but the Company not satisfied as to wanted permission for the whole of the country.  
1611:  MusaliptnamThe English opened their first factory in the south. 

1612: 'Battle of Swally Hole' The English defeated the Portuguese, near Surat.

1613: The English were allowed to set up a permanent factory at Surat (Gujarat)

1615: Sir Thomas Roe-
  • He was sent by King James I as an ambassador to the court of Jahangir.
  • Roe was successful in obtaining royal Farman permitting the British to trade and establish factories in all parts of the Mughal Empire.
  •  Soon the English began to feel insecure in absence of fortified settlements & made an attempt to fortify Surat but the Mughal frustrated the attempt & imprisoned the English. 
  • The English then decided to shift their focus to South India to avoid direct confrontation with the Mughals.
  • Conditions in South India were more favorable to English as they did not have to face a strong Indian government there.


  • Sultan of Golconda issues a golden Farman in favor of the English, permitting them to trade freely from the ports of Golconda on an annual payment of 500 pagodas.
1639: Francis Day-
  • He was able to join obtain Madras on lease from the Raja of Chandragiri & shifted the center of their activity to Madras.
  • The Raja allowed the English to fortify Madras, to administer it & to coin the money on the condition that the English will pay him half the customs revenue of the port.
  • The English set up a factory & built a small fort around it called 'Fort St. George'.
1690: The British bought the Fort Devanampatnam, near Madras, and renamed it as- Fort St. David.


  • At Hugli, the first English factory in Bengal was set up upon receiving permission from Sultan Shuja (second son of Emperor Shah Jahan), the Subahdar of Bengal.
  •  All establishment of the Company in Bengal, Bihar, Orissa, & Coromandel Coast were brought under the control of Fort St. George.

1690: Job Charnock-
  • He established a factory at Sutanuti which was fortified in 1696 and is called Fort William.
  • The English Company obtained from Subahdar of Bengal Azim-us-Shan, the zamindari (right to collect revenue) of the villages of Sutanuti, Kalikata, and Gobindpur on payment of Rs.1,200. to the previous proprietors. 
  • The Bengal factories were placed under Fort William.
  • Soon the Kalikata village grew into a city known as- Calcutta.


  • King Charles II received Bombay as dowry on marrying a Portuguese princess.
  • The Crown transferred it to the Company on an annual rent of 10 pounds and it was soon fortified in the wake of threats from the raising Maratha Power.
  • Bombay quickly replaced Surat as the principal depot of the Company on the West coast. 
1717: Magna Carta by Farrukhsiyar-
  • Farrukhsiyar granted the English Company valuable trading privileges under the Farman of 1717 described as the Magna Carta of the Company.
  • The Farman was granted because earlier in 1714, William Hamilton, a surgeon in the British East India Company had successfully cured Farrukhsiyar of a disease (swelling in the groin).
  • After successful treatment, Farrukhsiyar finally arranged his marriage to the daughter of Raja Ajit Singh of Jodhpur, which had been delayed by the illness. 
  • The Farman was instrumental in increasing the Company's stronghold in Bengal which later colonized Bengal followed by the rest of India.
Provisions of Farman:
  • The British were allowed duty-free trade in Bengal in lieu of an annual payment of Rs.30,000.
  • Exemption from payment of all dues at Surat in lieu of a one-time settlement of Rs.10,000.
  • The Campany retained its old privilege of exemption from payment of all dues at Hyderabad & for Madras was required to pay only the existing rent.
  • The Company was allowed to rent more territory around Calcutta.
  • The Company was allowed to use its own currency (minted at Bombay) throughout India.
  • The Company was also granted the right to issue passes or dastaks for the movement of such goods.
  • The Company's' servants were also permitted to trade but were not covered under this Farman. 
Farman as Source of Conflict:
  • This Farman became a perpetual source of conflict between the Company & the Nawab of Bengal.
  • The strong Nawab of Bengal Murshid Quli Khan & Alivardi Khan- objected to the English interpretation of the Farman of 1717.
  • They exercised strict control over the English traders & prevented them from misusing the Dastaks.
  • Despite strong political control by native rulers, the commercial affairs of the Company flourished.
  • Madra, Bombay, Calcutta - became the nuclei of commercial activities.



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