On May 20, 1498, Vasco da Gama arrived in Calicut, establishing a sea route connecting Europe and East Asia. Following this, India became a focal point for European trade, as well as the scope of European ambitions to gain control of the Spice Islands trade monopoly, resulting in numerous naval conflicts. The British East India Company arrived in India to conduct business, primarily in spices. They also traded silk, cotton, indigo dye, tea, and opium, among other things.
John Watts and George White created the British Joint Stock Company, or East India Company, in 1600 AD to seek trade with South and South-East Asian nations. The majority of the shares in these joint-stock companies were owned by British merchants and nobles. The British government had no direct relationship with the East India Company. Initially, the British enter the Indian subcontinent as spice dealers. Prior to the modern era, spices were the principal means of preserving meat in Europe. The subcontinent was then dragged into the Empire by force, thanks to more modern and effective weapons. “The sun never sets on the British Empire,” as the saying goes. It would have been more true to argue that the British Empire was primarily made up of regions that were occupied and controlled under force. On August 24, 1608 AD, the British arrived in the Indian Subcontinent at the port of Surat for the purpose of trade, but it was not until 7 years later that they received a royal order (i.e. Farman) to construct a factory in Surat under the command of Sir Thomas Roe (Ambassador of James I). Following this, the Vijaynagara Empire granted the East India Company permission to build a second factory in Massulipatnam. The British gradually surpassed the other European commercial companies, and their trading operations in India grew dramatically over time. Numerous trading posts sprang up around India’s east and west coastlines, and significant English settlements grew up around the presidential capitals of Calcutta, Bombay, and Madras. Silk, Indigo Dye, Cotton, Tea, and Opium were their main commodities. By establishing a facility in Kolkata 20 years later, the Company had expanded its footprint to the East of India. During their time as a trade corporation, they recognized that the entire Indian Subcontinent was divided into regional kingdoms in fact, therefore they began to consider how to consolidate all of the resources. The East India Company began interfering in Indian politics in the 1750s. When one of the Company’s military officials, Robert Clive, beat the armies of the Nawab of Bengal, Siraj-ud-daulah, in the Battle of Plassey in 1757, the Company’s fortunes rose and it transformed from a commercial endeavor to a ruling enterprise. After the First War Independence in 1857, also known as the Revolt of 1857, the East India Company’s reign finally came to an end in 1858. Following the breakup of the East India Company in India, the British Crown assumed direct authority of the country, ushering in the British Raj.