British East India Company

British East India Company

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  • The company received a Royal charter from Queen Elizabeth I on 31 December 1600. Wealthy merchants and aristocrats owned the company's shares. Initially the government owned no shares and had only indirect control.
  • This company was tasked with the "Advancement of Trade of Merchandise" between Britain and India
  • This was because the British was interested in goods such as pepper, silk tea and spices.
  • India was a major producer of these things, therefore the British endeavored to trade directly with the Mughal Empire, which was the ruling government in India at that time. Ja-hangir, the Mughal emperor, formally issued a firman, a treaty allowing trade within Mughal territory.
  • Soon after establishing trade with India, the company found itself in a bitter rivalry with the Dutch East India Company, which would consistently work to hinder British trade. This rivalry escalated until armed clashes between the two companies began to occur. Jahangir took an interest in this rivalry, for he believed that whichever company emerged victorious would be worthy of exclusive trading rights with his empire.
  • Eventually the British forced the Dutch out of the Mughal empire. As a result, the British found themselves in a position of almost complete control over European trade with India. Taking advantage of this, the company began to expand rapidly. As its territory grew, so too did its influence over the Indian economy.
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