Modern History: The advent of the Europeans

By Naveen Singh|Updated : June 13th, 2022

The commercial contacts between India and Europe were very old via the land route either through the Oxus valley or Syria or Egypt. With the discovery of the new sea route via the Cape of Good Hope by Vasco da Gama in 1498, trade increased and many trading companies came to India and established their trading centres.

The Advent of Europeans

Portuguese

  • Vasco-da-Gama reached the port of Calicut in 1498 during the reign of king Zamorin (Hindu ruler of Calicut).
  • Settlements: Daman, Salsette, Chaul, and Bombay (West coast), San Thome (near Madras) and at Hooghly.
  • Alfonso de Albuquerque, the second Governor of India (first being Fransisco de Almeida) arrived in 1509 and captured Goa in AD 1510.

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Dutch

  • Dutch East India Company was formed in AD 1602.
  • Dutch were defeated by English at the Battle of Bedara in AD 1759 and as per the agreement, the Dutch gained the control over Indonesia and the British over India, Sri Lanka and Malaya.
  • Settlements They set-up their first factory at Masulipatnam in 1605. Their other factories were at Pulicat, Chinsura, Patna, Balasore, Naga pattanam, Cochin, Surat, Karikal, and Kasimbazar.

English

  • The English East India Company was formed in 1599 under a charter granted by Queen Elizabeth in 1600. Jahangir granted a Farman to Captain William Hawkins permitting the English to erect a factory at Surat (1613).
  • In 1615, Sir Thomas Roe succeeded in getting an imperial farman to trade and establish a factory in all parts of the Mughal Empire by ruler Jahangir.
  • In 1690, a factory was established at Suttanati by Jab Charnock. In 1698, following the acquisition of zamindari of three villages of Suttanati, Kalikata and Govindpur, the city of Calcutta was founded. Fort William was set-up in 1700.
  • In 1717, John Surman obtained a farman from Farrukhsiyar, which gave large concessions to the company. This farman has been called the Magna Carta of the Company.
  • Battle of Plassey (1757) English defeated Sirajuddaula, the Nawab of Bengal.
  • Battle of Buxar (1764) Captain Munro defeated joint forces of Mir Qasim (Bengal), Shujauddaula (Awadh) and Shah Alam II (Mughal).

Danes

  • The Danish East India Company was formed in 1616.
  • The Danish colony 'Tranquebar' was established on the Southern Coromandel coast of India.
  • Settlements Serampur (Bengal) and Tranquebar (Tamil Nadu) sold their settlements to the English in 1845.

French

  • The French East India Company was formed by Colbert under state patronage in 1664. The First French factory was established at Surat by Francois Caron in 1668. A factory at Masulipatnam was set-up in 1669.
  • French were defeated by English in the Battle of Wandiwash (1760).

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