How did India come under foreign British Raj (British Rule)?
India became an independent nation on August 15th, 1947. That fact makes you wonder how did we get to be ruled by this foreign power that came here on ships as merchants and slowly became rulers? How British Raj in India started?
The answer is complicated but it takes us back to to 1600 AD when The British East India company was given a Royal Charter to pursue trade in the East Indies. Competing European kingdoms all had subjects trading with the kingdoms of India, these foreign merchants would befriend kings and serve as a foreign diplomat in their courts.
The Portuguese were the first major presence in the region and was mostly restricted to the west coast in Calicut, Cannanore, and Cochin in Kerala; Daman and Diu in Gujarat; and Goa, which became the headquarters of the Portuguese empire in India. But they are known to have been one of the first to open a factory in India which was on the banks of river Hugli, near present day Kolkata in 1579.
The next to follow were the French who settled on the East coast. Their largest trading post was Pondicherry. Then came the British who also began to acquire land and build factories with permissions from different Rajas.
The foreign trading companies used their diplomatic relations with local kings to protect their interests against traders from other kingdoms. They also helped their patrons overthrow their enemies in return for privileges over land and commerce in the newly acquired kingdom.
They expanded their trade from there and invited traders to settle near their factory itself. They also persuaded Aurangzeb, the Emperor then, to allow them to trade without paying taxes.
After Aurangzeb died, the Nawabs began to assert their authority and refused any concession to the Company. They accused the Company of deceit while the Company on their part accused the Nawabs of denying trade to flourish within their own kingdoms.
In 1756, Sirajuddaulah, the then Nawab of Bengal, was aware that the British intended on colonising India. He took Fort William of Calcutta and began to shut down English factories and warehouses. In retaliation, the British sent Robert Clive with forces from Madras to counter Sirajuddaulah at Plassey.
This led to the very famous Battle of Plassey in 1757, which the English won because they bribed Mir Jafar, Sirajuddaulah’s army chief and other top officials of his court.
After the Battle of Plassey, the British realised that they could install puppet kings whom they could control and eventually dethrone.
At first the British East India company brought over private mercenaries to help them fight these battles, even employing native Indians to protect the company’s properties.
But when the Indian soldiers also revolted in 1857, the English monarchy sent in imperial troops. In 1858 the British monarchy took over supervising the military affairs in the region and by 1874 the British East India Company was nationalised and absorbed by the government.
In 1876, Queen Victoria was crowned Empress of India. It then went on to become the Jewel in the Crown of the British Empire and the largest colony under British Raj. Indian soldiers fought for the British in both World Wars while India was a large source of tea, cotton, indigo and spices.
Royal Charter: formal permission given by a monarch for exclusive rights to operate in any activity
Diplomat: a person who is appointed by the a government or king to conduct official negotiations and maintain political and social relations with another country
Commerce: an interchange of goods on a large scale
Imperial: of, like, or pertaining to an emperor or empress
In what year was the British East India Company awarded a royal charter to trade with Indian kingdoms?
In what year did the Portuguese build a factory in Hoogli, which is now near modern day Kolkata?
How did the Battle of Plassey change British presence in India?
In what year was Queen Victoria crowned Empress of India?
Research essay: The British colonization of India
Published under category: Sample Academic Papers | 2015-06-02 01:03:45 UTC
Context: European foreign colonial policy
Research essay: The British colonization of India
Cartographic representation of Colonial India
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The colonization of India presents a history of a unique relation to the colonization of other countries under the British dominion. As early as the 1600s, the British had already created an interest in India with the development of the East India Company. The dominion and establishment of the rule in India were the first step towards realization of the country. However, the dominion of the British helped revolutionize a number of systems in India that reflect the changes the country has faced and translated to the current society. On the other hand, despite the strong governance that the country had established before the coming of the British, a number of reasons helped the British colony establish dominion in India. Therefore, this paper focuses on the factors that were of importance for the development of the dominion in India.
Colonization in different countries and kingdoms in the world was a result of a number of factors that were for the benefit of the colonizing countries. Dictated by the power of the country, countries sought to make colonies out of the many of those countries, which were not yet colonized. With the advantages that these colonies provided, countries sought to acquire many colonies for their advantage. Cheap labor, raw materials, and ready markets for products form a number of reasons for the acquisition of colonies in different parts of the world. Britain, for example, had an influence in many countries in Africa and the Asian continent. Among the colonies, India stands out with the pull factors that drove the British to gain dominion over the country. The first factor to consider in the British dominion in India is linked to the establishment of the British East India Company. The company had its operational bases in Bombay, Madras, and Calcutta where the Company could monitor the social and cultural practices of the people, a way of identifying with the communities and creating an impact on them. The Mughal Dynasty, which was the strongest dynasty in the 17th century, had the ruling power, which helped the country oppose the British influence. However, as the power of the dynasty faded, the East India Company troops under the leadership of Robert Clive attacked and overtook the power over the Indian provinces. The fall of the Mughal Dynasty provided a loophole for the British government through the East India Company to develop its dominion in the country. On the other hand, with the fall of the Mughal Dynasty, the influence that the company had created in Indian provinces helped the British government gain support for the different activities and programs that it had to create in India.
Secondly, the attack on the Mughal Dynasty opened a way for a change in leadership for the country. As the leading system of the country, the attack left the governance system of the dynasty unable to protect the country from external invaders. The initial role that the Mughal Dynasty played remained vacant and since the company had envied the governance role for a long time, it presented the leadership role that they would exploit for the benefit of the British government. India presented a market for the industries in the Britain and a continuous supply of raw materials for the development of the companies back in Britain. However, the differences that existed between the different leaders in the Mughal Dynasty gave the East India Company a flaw to use to their advantage. The British convinced a number of leaders to the side with them, weakening the governance system and making it easy to overturn and replace it with a new government system. With the industrial revolution, which was a wave of great changes back in Britain, the populations in India provided a ready market for the products manufactured in the companies. As the markets in India were still in the early stages of development, the injection of new products into these markets were a platform, which the companies could assess the quality of their products and generate extra amounts. The products from the Britain companies made ways into the markets of India and; as a result, helped the British government take over the economy of India. With the economy and the governance of the country in their power, the dominion of the country was easy to control.
Thirdly, the economy of India had not stabilized, and the market revenues were still run in the traditional systems. The economy of India was promising with the influx of raw materials that British could export back to Britain for the development of its new companies. With the full control of the Indian Ocean, the transportation of raw materials and other resources from India to Britain was cheap compared to if the companies were to ferry the resources with the help of other countries. Therefore, by changing the economies and the market trends, Britain was not only creating ground to increase revenues but also creating a new source for raw materials. The direct access to resources and raw materials from India and transferred to Britain cut on the costs of expenditure on acquisition and transportation, lessening the costs for acquisition. India was considered a great source for raw materials for production and processing countries that are the first of companies developed in Britain.
The governance system of India, which was still developing gave the British an opportunity to take over the governance. The Indian rulers were at cross hairs about the system of government and the system through which the country could be governed. Consequently, a number of leaders were constantly in dispute making the system even weak. Therefore, the British saw it as a tool they could use to infiltrate the country and exploit the resources for the development of its own economy and the industrial sector. On the other hand, mistrust among the Indian leaders led to the growth of trust in the British enforcement and systems of leadership. Therefore, the British got a strong support from the Indians who saw British leadership as the only solution for the issues in the country. With good systems in the education, leadership, and economic sectors, the leaders in India were of support to the influence of the British, thereby giving them reasons to establish their operations in India.
Indian traders relied much of their activities on the Indian Ocean, which was the only channel for the country to access a global market for the imports and the exports. The British government, on the other hand, had an influence in the Indian Ocean activities compared to other European countries giving them control of many activities in the Indian Ocean. With the constant supply of materials through the Indian Ocean, the British government would develop a constant supply of resources and at the same time keep watch of the activities in India as part of the colony.
Vasco Da Gama reached India in 1498
Different cultures in India existed in segregation sectors with less relation to one another. Each community with their governance ideas and systems overlooked the other communities. The multi-lingual society, which consisted of 15 languages and approximately 720 dialects created an opportunity for the British to gain support of different communities and turn against the others. The differences of these communities were a trigger to many projects that the British government sought to establish in India. The system of divide and rule worked well with the colonization of India as the support of a fragment of the society was enough to create a wide influence into the Indian communities. With the strife between two communities, the British, who were the neutral party, provided solution to the problems that the communities faced. With the support from the British, the communities viewed the help from the British as a third party, which would help them solve their problems. Consequently, with the support from the British, communities shifted their trust and ideals to support the British. Additionally, the communities found interest in adopting English as a common language and a unifying factor. Therefore, with the different communities united with a common language and common ideals, influencing the influence in India became easy for the British.
Lastly, with the establishment of an education system in India, which was monitored by the British the systems of leadership and garnering of support for the different ideals of the British, took ground among the Indians. The education system gained ground in the school systems owing to a change in the education system, which the British were influencing on the school systems. With time, there emerged elites among the Indian populations who backed the system of government the British were using to rule. The western education influenced the rise of human rights activists, freedom of speech, liberalism, and associations that sought to revolutionize the systems in the societies as opposed to the imperialism in the societies before the coming of the British. The rise of new leaders in the political scenes supported the changes in the governance system to revolutionize the governance system.
In conclusion, the colonization of India by the British follows the loopholes within the societies that the British saw of potential to their advantage. The multi-lingual segregated societies gave a direct influence that the British government could use to turn different societies and leaders in the governing system against each other. However, the education system that was introduced into the societies helped create a wide influence with the rise of intellects that had idea of the British system of government and social systems. However, the influence of the British in India brought with it the changes in economic trends, government systems, education, and idealism, which revolutionized the social groups in India and led to the independence of the country. Moreover, the British helped the Indian economy create an industrial system of manufacturing and changes in the industry and companies. The development and stabilization of the textile industries, ornaments production, and technology gained grounds as an influence from the British government.
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