Advent of The Europeans:Modern India

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Advent of The Europeans:Group D-UPSC

Advent of the europeans



The commercial contacts between India and Europe were very old via the land route either through the Oxus valley or Syria or Egypt.But, the new sea route via the Cape of Good Hope was discovered by Vasco da Gama in 1498. Thereafter, many trading companies came to India and established their trading centers. They entered India as traders at the outset but by the passage of time indulged in the politics of India and finally established their colonies.

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  • The Portuguese were the first European community to discover a direct sea route to India.
  • On 20th May 1498, a Portuguese sailor named Vasco da Gama arrived at Calicut, an important sea port of South-West India. He was received by the Hindu ruler of Calicut, Zamorin.stayed in India for a period of three months.
  • This lead to the establishment of trading station at Calicut Cochin and Cannanore.Pedro Alvarez Cabral arrived in 1500 and Vasco da Gama also made a second trip in 1502.
  • Cochin was the initial capital of Portuguese in India, letter on replaced by Goa.
  • First Portuguese factory was established at Calicut.
  • The first governor of Portuguese in India was Francisco Almeida(1505-09) and introduced the policy of Blue Water.
  • In 1503, Alfonso d’ Albuquerque arrived in India and introduce the policy of imperialism.In 1509, he became governor of Portuguese in India.In 1510, he captured Goa from the ruler of Bijapur.He  tried to wipe out the sati system from the Indian society.In this regard, he was the forerunner of Lord William Bentinck.he was particularly intolerant towards the Muslims due to the enmity of the Portuguese with the Arabs. In 1530,
  • Nino-da-Cunha (1529-28) transfer the capital from Cochin to Goa and in 1534, acquired Diu & Bassein from Bahadur Shah of Gujarat.
  • In 1559, Portuguese acquired Daman & lost Hooghly.
  • In 1661, the Portuguese King gave Bombay to Charles II of England as dowry, for marrying his sister.
  • However,Portuguese lost all their territories in India. Only Goa, Diu and Daman remained with them until 1961.


  • In 1602, the United East India Company of the Netherlands was formed and it received the sanction of the government to trade in the East Indies.
  • The dutch east India company established factory in India at Masulipatnam in 1605,Pulicat,Surat,Bimlipatnam,Karaikal,Chinsurah,kasimbazar Patna Bilaspur Nagapattinam and Cochin.
  • Pulicat was there main centre in India till Nagapattinam replace it in 1690.
  • In the seventeenth century they won over the Portuguese and emerged the most dominant power in European trade in the East.
  • They monopolized the trade in black pep per and spices. The most important Indian commodities the Dutch traded in were silk, cotton, indigo, rice and opium.
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  • The Dutch Conceded to British after their defeated in the battle of Sedera in 1759.


  • Before the establishment of English East India Company John mildenhall who was the first Englishman who arrived in India in 1599 by the overland route, to trade with Indian merchants.
  • The English East India Company was established on 31 December 1600 as per the Royal Charter issued by the Queen of England, Elizabeth I.
  • In 1608, first factory was built at Surat. than Surat was replaced by Bombay acquired from Charles II on lease as the headquarter on the West Coast in 1687.
  • The Company had sent Captain Hawkins to the court of the Mughal Emperor, Jahangir in 1609 to seek permission to open a factory(store house of goods) at Surat.
  • In 1615,sir Thomas Roe came to India as ambassador of James I to Jahangir’s court to obtain the permission to trade and erect factories in different parts in India.
  • In 1690, Job Charnock, the agent of the East India Company purchased three villages namely, Sutanuti, Govindpur and
    Kalikatta, which, in course of time, grew into the city of Calcutta.
  • In 1700,the factory at sutanuti was fortified and named Fort William.It was fortified by Job Charnock, who named it Fort William after the English King, William III.
  • In 1694, the British Parliament passed a resolution giving equal rights to all Englishman to trade in the East. In 1698,a new rival company, known as the English company of merchants trading to the east indies was formed.
  • In 1717, John Sharman obtained Royal Farman from Mughal emperor farrukhsiyar. This farman is also called the Manga Carta of the British rule in India as it gave large concession to the company.By this Farman the Company was permitted to export and import their goods in Bengal without paying taxes.It also authorized the Company to issue Dastaks (passes) for the transportation of such goods.


  • The Danish arrived in India in 1616. In 1620,hey established settlement at tranquebar (Tamil Nadu) & in 1676 Shrirampur(Bengal).
  • Shrirampur was the headquarter.
  • They were forced to sell their settlement to British in 1854.


  • The French were the last European people to come to India with the purpose of trade.
  • The French East India company was formed in 1664 by colbert under state patronage.
  • In 1664, the first French factory was established at Surat by Francois Caron.A factory at Masulipatnam was set up in 1669.
  • They occupied Mahe,Yanam and Karaikal.Francois Martin obtained a village called Pondicherry in 1673 from Sultan of Bijapur.
  • The vision of the French power in India was further reinforced by the appointment of Joseph Francois Dupleix as the Governor of the French East India Company in 1741. In fact, Dupleix was the first European statesman to dream of establishing an empire in India. During his time political motives began to overshadow business interests. Dupleix successfully used the mutual mistrust and weakness of the local rulers for securing more and more political benefits.

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