Advent of the Europeans
After the capture of Constantinople
by the Turks in A.D. (C.E.) 1453, the land route between India and Europe was
closed. The Turks penetrated into North Africa and the Balkan Peninsula. It
became imperative on the part of the European nations to discover new sea
routes to the East.
possessing both a sound and a visual component, such as slide-tape
presentations. Audio-visual service providers frequently offer web streaming,
video conferencing and live broadcast services. Television, films, internet are
called ‘Audio-visual media’.
Amongst the entire European nations
Portugal was the foremost to make a dynamic attempt to discover a sea route to
India. Prince Henry of Portugal, who is commonly known as the “Navigator”,
encouraged his countrymen to take up the adventurous life of exploring the
unknown regions of the world. Bartholomew Diaz, a Portuguese sailor reached the
southern-most point of Africa in 1487. He was patronized by the King John II.
Vasco da Gama
Vasco da Gama, another Portuguese
sailor reached the southern-most point of Africa and he continued his journey
to Mozambique from where he sailed to India with the help of an Indian pilot.
In A.D. (C.E.) 1498, he reached
Calicut, where he was cordially received by King Zamorin, the ruler of Calicut.
A second Portuguese navigator, Pedro Alvares Cabral, sailed towards India,
following the route discovered by Vasco da Gama with 13 ships and a few hundred
soldiers in 1500. On his arrival at Calicut, there arose conflicts between the
Portuguese and king Zamorin.
Vasco da Gama came to India for the Vasco da Gama second time in 1501 with 20 ships and founded a trading centre at Cannanore. One after another, they established factories at Calicut and Cochin. King Zamorin attacked the Portuguese in Cochin, but was defeated. Cochin was the first capital of the Portuguese East India Company. The third voyage of Vasco da Gama was in 1524. He soon fell ill, and in December 1524 he died in Cochin.
Francisco de Almeida (1505-1509)
In 1505, Francisco de Almeida was
sent as the first Governor for the Portuguese possessions in India. Almeida had
the aim of developing the naval power of the Portuguese in India. His policy
was known as the “Blue Water Policy”.
As Portuguese tried to break the
Arab's monopoly on Indian Ocean trade, it negatively impacted on the trade
interests of Egypt and Turkey. Sultans of Bijapur and Gujarat were also
apprehensive of the expansion of Portuguese control of ports which led to an
alliance between Egypt, Turkey and Gujarat against Portuguese invaders. In a
naval battle fought near Chaul, the combined Muslim fleet won a victory over
the Portuguese fleet under Almeida’s son who was killed in the battle. Almeida
defeated the combined Muslim fleet in a naval battle near Diu, and by the year
1509, Portuguese claimed the naval supremacy in Asia.
Alfonso de Albuquerque (1509-1515)
The real founder of the Portuguese
power in India was Alfonso de Albuquerque. He captured Goa from the Sultan of
Bijapur in November 1510. In 1515, he established the Portuguese authority over
Ormuz in Persian Gulf. He encouraged the marriages of the Portuguese with
Indian women. He maintained friendly relations with Vijayanagar Empire.
Nino de Cunha (1529-1538)
Governor Nino de Cunha moved capital
from Cochin to Goa in 1530. In 1534, he acquired Bassein from Bahadur Shah of
Gujarat. In 1537, the Portuguese occupied Diu. Later, they wrested Daman from
the local chiefs of Gujarat. In 1548, they occupied Salsette.
Thus during the 16th century,
Portuguese succeeded in capturing Goa, Daman, Diu, Salsette, Bassein, Chaul and
Bombay on the western coast, Hooghly on the Bengal coast and Santhome on the
Madras coast and enjoyed good trade benefits. The Portuguese brought the
cultivation of tobacco to India. Due to the influence of Portuguese Catholic
religion spread in certain regions on India’s western and eastern coasts. The
printing press was set up by the Portuguese at Goa in 1556. A scientific work
on the Indian medicinal plants by a European writer was printed at Goa in 1563.
In 17th century, the Portuguese power began to decline to the Dutch and by 1739
the Portuguese pockets became confined to Goa, Diu and Daman.
The Dutch followed the Portuguese
into India. In 1602, the United East India company of Netherlands was formed
and it received the sanction of their government to trade in East India. After
their arrival in India, the Dutch founded their first factory in Masulipatnam,
(Andhra Pradesh) in 1605. This company captured Amboyna from the Portuguese in
1605 and established its supremacy in the Spice Islands. They captured
Nagapatnam near Madras from the Portuguese and made this place as their strong
hold in South India. At first, Pulicat was their headquarters. Later, they
shifted it to Nagapatnam in 1690.
The most important Indian
commodities traded by the Dutch were silk, cotton, indigo, rice and opium. They
monopolized the trade in black pepper and other spices. The important factories
in India were Pulicat, Surat, Chinsura, Kasim bazar, Patna, Nagapatnam,
Balasore and Cochin.
The English East India Company
remained engaged in rivalry with the Portuguese and the Dutch throughout the
17th century. In 1623, the Dutch cruelly killed ten English traders and nine
Javanese in Amboyna. This incident accelerated the rivalry between the two
Europeans companies. Their final collapse came with their defeat by the English
in the Battle of Bedera in 1759. The Dutch lost their settlements one by one to
the English and was completely wiped out by the year 1795.
Dutch in Tamil Nadu
The Portuguese who established a
control over Pulicat since 1502 were over thrown by the Dutch. In Pulicat, the
Dutch built the fort Geldria in 1613. This fort was once the seat of Dutch
The Dutch established their
settlement at Pulicat in 1610. Diamonds were exported from Pulicat to the
western countries. The other Dutch colonial forts and possessions were
Nagapattinam, Punnakayal, Porto Novo, Cuddalore and Devanampatinam.
On 31st December 1600, Elizabeth,
the Queen of England granted a charter to the
governorandcompanyofMerchantsofLondon to trade with East Indies. The Company
was headed by a Governor and a court of 24 directors. Captain Hawkins visited
Jahangir’s court in 1608 to get certain concessions for the company. He secured
permission to raise a settlement at Surat. However, the Emperor cancelled the
permission under pressure from the Portuguese.
In 1612, the English Captain Thomas
Best, inflicted a severe defeat over the Portuguese in a naval battle near Surat.
The Mughal Emperor Jahangir permitted the English to establish their factory in
1613 at Surat, which initially became the headquarters of the English in
western India. Captain Nicholas Downton won another decisive victory over the
Portuguese in 1614. These events enhanced the British prestige at the Mughal
court. In 1615, Sir Thomas Roe was sent to Jahangir’s court by King James I of
England. He remained at Agra for three years and succeeded in concluding a
commercial treaty with the emperor. Before the departure of Sir Thomas Roe, the
English had established their trading centres at Surat, Agra, Ahmadabad and
On the coastline of the Bay of
Bengal, the English established their first factory in 1611 at Masulipatam, an
important port in the territory of the kingdom of Golconda. In 1639, the
English merchant, Francis Day, obtained Madras as a lease from Chennappa
Nayaka, the ruler of Chandragiri. The East India Company built its famous
factory known as 'Fort St. George' in Madras, which became their headquarters
for the whole of the eastern belt and first fort built by British.
King Charles II of England received
the island of Bombay as a part of his dowry from the Portuguese King, on the
occasion of his marriage with Catherine. In 1668, the East India Company
acquired the island at an annual rent of £ (pounds) 10 from Charles II.
In 1690 a factory was established at
Sutanuti by Job Charnock. The Zamindari of the three villages of Sutanuti,
Kalikata and Govindpur was acquired by the British in 1698. These villages
later grew into the city of Calcutta. The factory at Sutanuti was fortified in
1696 and this new fortified settlement was named as ‘Fort William’ in 1700.
After the Battle of Plassey in 1757
and the Battle of Buxar in 1764, the Company became a political power. India
was under the East India Company’s rule till 1858 after it came under the
direct administration of the British Crown.
On March 17, 1616 the King of
Denmark, Christian IV, issued a charter and created a Danish East India company.
They established settlement at Tranquebar (Tamilnadu) in 1620 and Serampore
(Bengal) in 1676. Serampore was their headquarters in India. They failed to
strengthen themselves in India and they sold all their settlement in India to
the British in 1845.
Danish called Tranquebar as Danesborg. The king of Denmark sent
Ziegenbalg to India. Ziegenbalg set up a printing press at Tranquebar
The French East India Company was
formed in 1664 by Colbert, a Minister of King Louis XIV. In 1667, a French
expedition came to India under Francois Caron. France was the last European
country to come India as traders. Caron founded the first French factory in
India at Surat. In1669, Marcara founded second French factory at Masulipatam by
securing a patent from the Sultan of Golkonda.
In 1673, the settlement of
Pondicherry was founded by Martin under a grant from Sher Khan Lodi, the ruler
of Bijapur. Pondicherry became the most important and prosperous French
settlement in India. A fort known as St. Louis was built by Francois Martin in
Pondicherry. In 1673, the French obtained permission from Shaista Khan, the
Mughal Subedar (governor) of Bengal to establish a township at Chandranagore,
The French East India Company
established factories in different parts of India, particularly in the coastal
regions such Mahe, Karaikal, Balasore and Kasim Bazar. These were a few
important trading Centers of the French East India Company.
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 1742. He succeeded Dumas as the French governor of Pondicherry.
The Swedish East India
Company was founded in Gothenburg, Sweden, in 1731 for the purpose of
conducting trade with the Far East. The venture was inspired by the success of
the Dutch East India Company and the British East India Company.