The East India Company - Research Paper Example

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The East India Company was formed in the year 1600 as a joint stock company by a group of traders who were looking to expanding trade opportunities.Initially trading was planned for the East Indies region however as events unfolded the Company saw itself trading more in India and China…
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Download file to see previous pages However the Company’s trading practices were challenged by a rival English company in the late 17th century which led to the amalgamation of both companies. The new Company was formed in 1708 and was proclaimed as United Company of Merchants of England Trading to the East Indies. Under the new arrangement the Company was provided with an environment that favoured the creation of a monopoly. The Company was largely involved in the trade of commodities such as tea, silk, saltpetre, opium and indigo dye. The burgeoning trading enterprise eventually formed into a mega-corporation and was responsible for governance in India as well as for military expansion in India. (Ride, Ride, & Mellor, 1995) The Company loomed large on the British trading and political scenes for a good two and a half centuries. One of the most important time periods for the Company comprises of the Company’s amalgamation with the rival English company in the late 17th century to the impeachment of Warren Hastings. In between the company went from an ordinary trading enterprise to become the eventual master of India. A combination of human factors helped transform the Company into a behemoth that wielded power in both England and abroad alike. This paper attempts to analyse the subject period in the Company’s history to discover how the Company was able to achieve such a transformation. (Anderson, 1854) Expansion of the Company’s Influence By the mid 16th century the Company had establishments all across India including Bengal. Oliver Cromwell also supported the Company’s charter and this helped the Company fortify its position. The Company was also allowed by Charles II in 1670 to acquire territory, to mint money, to command troops and fortifications as well as to exercise criminal and civil jurisdictions in the acquired territories. Political manipulation by the Company had also begun by this period. Consequently the Company was allowed to trade in Bengal with no duties on the trade in 1717 by the Mughal emperor. The later part of the 17th century also saw trouble with the Mughal Empire although the Company acted diplomatically to convince the Mughal emperor for concessions. On the other hand the Company was able to expand into China as well and was able to establish a trading post at Canton in 1711 for trading silver and tea. (Gandhi, 1997) Forming Trade Monopolies Service for the Company allowed the officers to develop large estates and businesses. This in turn allowed the accumulation of political power for the officers of the Company. This political power was projected in the British parliament as a lobby for the Company. In contrast former Company employees who wanted to establish smaller private firms and trading enterprises were allowed to do so after a deregulation act in 1698. These people were termed as Interlopers pejoratively. Later these opposing groups tried to wrestle each other and were subsequently merged as mentioned before. The emerging Company was a tripartite venture between the original East India Company, the British government and private traders and former employees of the Company. The newly formed Company lent the Treasury a total sum of 3.2 million pounds in exchange for exclusive privileges for the next three years. (Dean, 2009) In the years that followed the Company’s lobby and Parliament were in constant battle. The lobby for the Company was looking for an establishment of a more permanent nature but the Parliament was reluctant to give the Company any more power. An act in 1712 helped to renew the Company’s status even though the existing debts were repaid. The Company gained strength with time and by 1720 the Company was processing around 15% of ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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