Arrival of Europeans in India

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The history of trade between India and Europe dates back to the ancient times of the Greeks. During the Middle Ages, several routes were used to transport goods between the two regions:

  • Sea along the Persian Gulf
  • Via land through Iraq and Turkey
  • By sea to Venice and Genoa
  • Via the Red Sea and then overland to Alexandria in Egypt and front there by sea to Venice and Genoa
  • Through passes of the North-West frontier of India, across Central Asia, and Russia to the Baltic (very less frequent route)

Issues with these trade routes

Trade of Europeans with Asian part of the trade was carried on mostly by Arab merchants and sailors, while the Mediterranean and European part was the virtual monopoly of the Italians. Goods from Asia to Europe passed through tax barriers of intermediate states.

Pirates and natural calamities where another hurdle in the trade of Europeans with India.

Despite of these hurdles the trade was profitable due to high demand of Indian Spices. European food was as highly spiced as Indian food till the 17th century. It was an important need. Meat was important food for them in winters when there was less vegetables to eat and grass for cattle. The meat with Indian spices was main food for Europeans in winter.

Search for New Routes

The old trading routes between the East and the West came under Turkish control after the Ottoman conquest of Asia Minor and the capture of Constantinople in 1453. Moreover, the merchants of Vcnlce and Genoa monopolised the trade between Europe and Asia.

The trade with India and Indonesia couldn’t be discontinued as it was heavily profitable. The wealth of India was also attracting Europeans for gold. Gold was medium of exchange and hence was important for continuous trade.

For more profitable trades, the West European States and merchants began to search for new and safer sea routes to India and the Spice Islands of Indonesia, then known as the East Indies. Europeans wanted to break trade monopoly of Arabs.

The arrival of new technology in ship building and Navigation, and spirit of innovation and adventure gave strength to the idea of discovering new sea routes.

Arrival of Portuguese in India

Voyages for the discovery of the sea route to India was supported and encouraged by Prince Henry of Portugal. Bartholomew Diaz reached Cape of Good Hope in 1487.

Vasco da Gama succeeded in reaching India in 1498. Vasco da Gama landed at Calicut on 21 May, 1498 which is a landmark in the history of India’s Maritime trade. Vasco da Gama reached the Malabar Coast. After sailing around Africa via the Cape of Good Hope, he reached Calicut and returned with a cargo worth 60 times the cost of the voyage.

Alvarez Cabral seized an Arab vessel and presented it to Zamorin. The Arabs destroyed Portuguese factory during his period. He encouraged friendship with Cannanore and Cochin.

Vasco da Gama during his second voyage demanded the banishment of every muslim resident from Calicut.

The Portuguese dominated the lucrative Eastern trade for nearly a century, establishing trading settlements in India including Cochin, Goa, Diu, and Daman. Loposoares was the second governor who destroyed all the parts which were under Arab influence.

Governors of Portuguese

Francisco de Almeida: He was the first Portuguese governor in India appointed on a three year term. He built fortresses at Cochin, Cannanore, Kilwa and Anja-diva. Almeida was defeated in the battle of Chaul by a confedera-tion of the rulers of Egypt, Turkey and Gujarat (January 1508). Almeidia defeated the Trio in the battle of Diu (February 1509).

Albuquerque(1509-29): He Conquered Goa from Adil Shahi Sultan of Bijapur in Feb. 1510. He encouraged settlers to marry Indian women. During his reign Malacca. Ormuz and Aden served as Strategic points for Portuguese shipping.

Nuno Da Cunha (1529-38): Nuno Captured Diu from the Sultan of Gujarat. He Captured Mombasa on the African coast. Established factories at San thome (Madras) and Hughli (Bengal).

Joa De Castro (1545-48): He was the last important governor. No further conquering was done.
Religious Influence by Portuguese: In 1560 the Portuguese established the inquisition which burnt or punished cruelly the unbelievers and all those who were dangerous to the faith in the eyes of the priests. The Portuguese church was orgainsed by St. Francis Xavier who came to Goa in 1542. It is also known as Apostle of Indies. They converted Fishermen of Coromondal and Malabar.

Decline of Portuguese Influence

The Portuguese monopoly of the Indian ocean continued till 1595. An English naval fleet under Midelleton defeated Portuguese in 1611. A treaty was signed between Portuguese and English. Portuguese recognised the right of the English to reside and trade in all their eastern possessions 1654.

Cartaze System

Portuguese started this system by which Indian ship sailing had to buy pass from Portuguese authorities. It is also called ‘Policy of Blue Water’.

Portuguese Settlement in Bengal were at Satgoan, Chitgoan and Hughli.

Portuguese started tobacco and Potato cultivation in India. The first printing press was installed by Portuguese in 1556 in Goa.

Reasons of Decline of Portuguese in India

  • Portugal was won by Spain in 1580. Spain showed hardly any interest in India.
  • They lost Hugli in 1631 after being driven out by Qasim Khan, a Mughal noble. They lost Hormuz in 1622 to the British. The Marathas captured Salsette and Bassein in 1739.
  • Portuguese discovered Brazil. They were more concentrated toward it.

Who was the first Portuguese Viceroy in India?
(a) Vasco da Gama
(b) Francisco Diaz
(c) Francisco de Almeida
(d) Albuquerque

The correct answer is option (c). Francisco de Almeida was the first Portuguese viceroy in India. In 1505, the King of Portugal appointed Dom Francisco de Almeida as the first Portuguese viceroy in India, followed in 1509 by Dom Afonso dc Albuquerque.

Arrival of Dutch in India

The Dutch had been dealing in Eastern produce from long, which they bought in Portugal and sold all over Northern Europe. This made them to develop better ships, scientific sailing techniques, and efficient business methods and organisation.

Dutch were in war against the Spanish domination of Netherlands. Portugal mugged with Spain. Now, they had to make direct trade relation with East.

In 1595, four Dutch ships sailed to India via the Cape of Good Hope. In 1602, the Dutch East India Company was formed and the Dutch States General —the Dutch parliament— gave it a Charter empowering it to make war, conclude treaties, acquire territories and build fortresses. The main interest of the Dutch lay not in India but in the Indonesian Islands of Java, Sumatra, and the Spice Islands where spices were produced.

The business company established at Dutch is named as ‘The United East India Company of Netherlands’ Dutch set up their first permanent factory at Masulipatam (1605). They found a factory at Pulicat (1610), which was later known as Fort Geldria. After seeking permission from the king of Chandragiri. The Chief of the Pulicat was established as Dutch Governor in India, from 1617.

The Dutch factory at Nagai Wanche was destroyed by the Mughals. Van den Broecke organised Dutch factories at Bombay, Ahmedabad, Agar, Burhanpur and Broach (1620). In Bengal the first Dutch factory was established at Pipli. Further, they established Factories in Chinsura, Qasim Bazaar and Patna.

The Dutch has been given credit for making Indian textiles of export quality. The first Dutch expedition which reached the East Indies was led by Cornelius Houtman (1596). Linschoten was pioneer in the matter of the discovery of com-mercial possibilities in East (Particularly India).

Famous Dutch Establishments

  • The Dutch settlement at Devanampatnam later came to be known as the famous Fort St. David in English occupation.
  • Fort Geldria at Pulicat.
  • Fort Gustavus at Chinsura

Reasons for Decline of Dutch Establishments in India

  • Rise of English naval power against the Dutch.
  • The authority was highly centralized. There was no headquarter in India. Every matter was con-trolled from Batavia (Presently part of Indonesia).
  • The officers of the company became corrupt.

Arrival of English in India

The first voyage of the English East India Company was made in 1601 when its ships sailed to the Spice Islands of Indonesia. In 1608 it decided to open a factory, at Surat on the West coast of India and sent Captain Hawkins to Jahangir‟s Court to get Royal support.

Initially, Hawkins was welcomed in Mughal court. He was given a man sab of 400 and a jagir. Later, he was expelled from Agra as Mughals were at good terms with Portuguese. They defeated a Portuguese naval squadron at Swally near Surat in 1612 and then again in 3 614. These victories led the Mughals to hope that in view of their naval weakness they could use the English to counter the Portuguese on the sea.

Mughals permitted British to open factories at certain places in India. The English were not satisfied with this concession. In 1615 their ambassador Sir Thomas Roe reached the Mughal Court. They also exerted pressure on the Mughal authorities by taking advantage of India’s naval weakness and harassing Indian traders and shipping to the Red Sea and to Mecca.

In 1662 the Portuguese gave the Island of Bombay to King Charles II of England as dowry-for marrying a Portuguese Princess. Eventually, the Portuguese lost alt their possessions in India except Goa, Din and Daman. The Dutch, the English, and the Marathas beflefitted, the Marathas capturing Salsette and Bassein in 1739.

In 1667, the English received a ‘Farman’ to trade in Bengal from emperor Aurangzeb. In 1701, Emperor Aurangzeb ordered the general arrest of all the Europeans in India. The most important event was the English diplomatic mission led by John Surman to the Court of Forrukhsiyar in 1715, which obtained a great of three famous farmans’ to the officers in Bengal, Gujarat and Hyderabad.

In 1708, all the rival English companies were amalgamated into one organisation named ‘The United Company of Merchants of England Trading with the East Indies’.

Arrival of French in India

The Compagnie des Indes Orientales’ was formed in France in 1664 at the instance of the minister Colbert in the reign of Lousis XIV. While the English company was a private commercial venture, the French company was created, financed and controlled by the state. In 1667 the first French factory was established at Surat by Francois Caron.

The site of Pondicherry was obtained from Sher Khan Lodi (Governor of Valikondapuram) by Francois Martin (director of Masulipatam factory). The famous site of Chandra-nagar in Bengal was obtained by the Mughal Governor Shayista Khan in 1690. Francois Martin was the first French Director General in India. A famous fortress named Fort Louis was erected at Pondicherry. In 1719 the ‘United Compagnie des Indes’ was formed in order to save the French factories from gradual decline.

The battle of ‘Condore’ is one of the most important, fought by the English in India. It struck the first blow to the ascendancy of the French in the Deccan. The Battle of Condore took place near Masulipatam on 9 December 1758 during the Third Carnatic War, part of the Seven Years’ War.
Danish Establishment

A Danish factory was founded in 1616. The other factories established by them included Tranquebar (1620) and Serampore (1755). The Danes sold their establishments to the English in 1845.

Arrival of Danish in India

In 1616, the Danish established the East India Company.

Their headquarters was at Serampore, which they established in 1676 after establishing settlements in Tranquebar (Tamil Nadu) in 1620.

It has been estimated that Danish and Swedish East Asian companies once imported more tea to Europe than the British.

The British eventually took over all their Indian settlements in 1845 after they were unable to establish a presence in India.

Swedish Establishment

A Swedish East India company was established in 1731. It didn’t flourished as other European Establishments.

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