The East India Company (also known as the East India Trading Company, English East India Company, and, after the Treaty of Union, the British East India Company) was an early English joint-stock company that was formed initially for pursuing trade with the East Indies, but that ended up trading mainly with the Indian subcontinent and China. The oldest among several similarly formed European East India Companies, the Company was granted an English Royal Charter, under the name Governor and Company of Merchants of London Trading into the East Indies, by Elizabeth I on 31 December 1600. After a rival English company challenged its monopoly in the late 17th century, the two companies were merged in 1708 to form the United Company of Merchants of England Trading to the East Indies, commonly styled the Honourable East India Company, and abbreviated, HEIC; the Company was colloquially referred to as John Company, and in India as Company Bahadur (Hindustani bahādur, "brave"/"authority").
The East India Company traded mainly in cotton, silk, indigo dye, saltpetre, tea, and opium. The Company also came to rule large areas of India, exercising military power and assuming administrative functions, to the exclusion, gradually, of its commercial pursuits; it effectively functioned as a megacorporation. Company rule in India, which effectively began in 1757 after the Battle of Plassey, lasted until 1858, when, following the events of the Indian Rebellion of 1857, and under the Government of India Act 1858, the British Crown assumed direct administration of India in the new British Raj. The Company itself was finally dissolved on 1 January 1874, as a result of the East India Stock Dividend Redemption Act. The East India Company often issued coinage bearing its stamp in the regions it had control over.
The Company long held a privileged position in relation to the British Government. As a result, it was frequently granted special rights and privileges, including trade monopolies and exemptions. These caused resentment among its competitors, who saw unfair advantage in the Company's position. Despite this resentment, the Company remained a powerful force for over 250 years.Contents [hide] 1 Foundation
2 Foothold in India
4 Forming a complete monopoly
4.1 Trade monopoly
4.2 Saltpetre trade
5 Basis for the monopoly
5.1 Colonial monopoly
5.2 Military expansion
5.3 Opium trade
6 Regulation of the company's affairs
6.1 Financial troubles
6.2 Regulating Acts of Parliament
7 Indian Mutiny of 1857–58
9 East India Club
13 See also
16 External links
Sir James Lancaster commanded the first East India Company voyage in 1601
Soon after the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588, a group of London merchants presented a petition to Queen Elizabeth I for permission to sail to the Indian Ocean. The permission was granted and in 1591 three ships sailed from England around the Cape of Good Hope to the Arabian Sea. One of them, the Edward Bonaventure, then sailed around Cape Comorin and on to the Malay Peninsula and subsequently returned to England in 1594. In 1596, three more ships sailed east; however, these were all lost at sea. Two years later, on 24 September 1598, another group of merchants, having raised £30,133 in capital, met in London to form a corporation. Although their first attempt was not completely successful, they nonetheless sought the Queen's unofficial approval, purchased ships for their venture, increased their capital to £68,373, and convened again a year later. This time they succeeded, and on 31 December 1600, the Queen granted a Royal Charter to "George, Earl of Cumberland, and 215 Knights, Aldermen, and Burgesses" under the name, Governor and Company of Merchants of London trading with the East Indies. For a period of fifteen years the charter awarded the newly...
References: William Pyne notes in his book The Microcosm of London (1808) that
"On the 1 March 1801, the debts of the East India Company to £5,393,989 their effects to £15,404,736 and their sales increased since February 1793, from £4,988,300 to £7,602,041."
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