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East India Company (EIC)

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Colonial India:

The '''East India Company''' ('''EIC'''), originally chartered as the '''Governor and Company of Merchants of London trading into the East Indies+''', and more properly called the '''Honourable East India Company''', was an English+, and later (from 1707) British+ joint-stock company+, formed to pursue trade with the East Indies+ but that ended up trading mainly with the Indian subcontinent+, Qing Dynasty+ China, North-West Frontier Province+ and Balochistan+. The Company rose to account for half of the world's trade, particularly trade in basic commodities that included cotton+, silk+, indigo dye+, salt+, saltpetre+, tea+, and opium+. The Company also ruled the beginnings of the British Empire in India.

The Company received a Royal Charter+ from Queen Elizabeth+ in 1600, making it the oldest among several similarly formed European East India Companies+. Wealthy merchants and aristocrats+ owned the Company's shares. The government owned no shares and had only indirect control. The Company eventually came to rule large areas of India with its own private armies+, exercising military power and assuming administrative functions. Company rule in India+ effectively began in 1757 after the Battle of Plassey+ and lasted until 1858 when, following the Indian Rebellion of 1857+, the Government of India Act 1858+ led to the British Crown+ to assume direct control of India in the new British Raj+.

The company was dissolved in 1874 as a result of the East India Stock Dividend Redemption Act+ passed one year earlier, as the Government of India Act had by then rendered it vestigial, powerless, and obsolete. The official government machinery of British India+ had assumed its governmental functions and absorbed its presidency armies+.




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Soon after the defeat of the Spanish Armada+ in 1588, London merchants presented a petition to Queen Elizabeth I+ for permission to sail to the Indian Ocean. The permission was granted and on 10 April 1591 three ships sailed from Torbay+ England around the Cape of Good Hope+ to the Arabian Sea+ on one of the earliest English overseas Indian expeditions. One of them, the ''Edward Bonventure+'', 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, bought 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 Knight+s, 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 formed company a monopoly on trade with all countries east of the Cape of Good Hope and west of the Straits of Magellan+. Sir James Lancaster+ commanded the first East India Company voyage in 1601 and in March 1604 Sir Henry Middleton+ commanded the second voyage+.

Initially, the Company struggled in the spice trade+ due to the competition from the already well-established Dutch East India Company+. The Company opened a factory+ in Bantam+ on the first voyage and imports of pepper+ from Java+ were an important part of the Company's trade for twenty years. The factory in Bantam was closed in 1683. During this time ships belonging to the company arriving in India docked at Surat+, which was established as a trade transit point in 1608.

In the next two years, the Company built its first factory in south India in the town of Machilipatnam+ on the Coromandel Coast+ of the Bay of Bengal+. The high profits reported by the Company after landing in India initially prompted King James I+ to grant subsidiary licences to other trading companies in England. But in 1609 he renewed the charter given to the Company for an indefinite period, including a clause which specified that the charter would cease to be in force if the trade turned unprofitable for three consecutive years.

The Company was led by one Governor and 24 directors+, who made up the Court of Directors. They, in turn, reported to the Court of Proprietors which appointed them. Ten committees reported to the Court of Directors.





In 1612, James I instructed Sir Thomas Roe+ to visit the Mughal Emperor+ Nuruddin Salim Jahangir+ (r. 1605 – 1627) to arrange for a commercial treaty that would give the Company exclusive rights to reside and build factories in Surat+ and other areas. In return, the Company offered to provide the Emperor with goods and rarities from the European market. This mission was highly successful as Jahangir sent a letter to James through Sir Thomas Roe:





The Company, benefiting from the imperial patronage, soon expanded its commercial trading operations, eclipsing the Portuguese Estado da India+, which had established bases in Goa+, Chittagong+ and Bombay+ (which was later ceded to England as part of the dowry+ of Catherine de Braganza+). The East India Company also launched a joint effort attack with the Dutch United East India Company on Portuguese and Spanish ships off the coast of China, which helped secure their ports in China. The Company created trading post+s in Surat+ (where a factory was built in 1612), Madras+ (1639), Bombay (1668), and Calcutta+ (1690). By 1647, the Company had 23 factories, each under the command of a factor+ or master merchant and governor if so chosen, and had 90 employees in India. The major factories became the walled forts of Fort William+ in Bengal, Fort St George+ in Madras, and the Bombay Castle+.

In 1634, the Mughal emperor extended his hospitality to the English traders to the region of Bengal+, and in 1717 completely waived customs duties for the trade. The company's mainstay businesses were by then in cotton+, silk+, indigo dye+, saltpetre+ and tea+. The Company's future, however, was braked by the signing of the Treaty of Münster+ in 1648, which freed the Netherlands from Spanish control allowing it to turn its full attention to expanding its trade both in home and distant waters and enter a period recognised as Holland's 'Golden Age'. The Dutch were aggressive competitors, and had meanwhile expanded their monopoly of the spice trade in the Malaccan straits+ by ousting the Portuguese in 1640–41. With reduced Portuguese and Spanish influence in the region, the EIC and Dutch East India Company+ (VOC) entered a period of intense competition, resulting in the Anglo-Dutch Wars+ of the 17th and 18th centuries.

Meanwhile, in 1657, Oliver Cromwell+ renewed the charter of 1609, and brought about minor changes in the holding of the Company. The status of the Company was further enhanced by the restoration of monarchy in England.

In an act aimed at strengthening the power of the EIC, King Charles II+ provisioned the EIC (in a series of five acts around 1670) with the rights to autonomous territorial acquisitions, to mint money, to command fortresses and troops and form alliances, to make war and peace, and to exercise both civil and criminal jurisdiction over the acquired areas.

William Hedges+ was sent in 1682 to Shaista Khan+, the Mughal+ governor of Bengal in order to obtain a firman+, an imperial directive that would grant England regular trading privileges throughout the Mughal empire. However, the company's governor in London, Sir Josiah Child+, interfered with Hedges's mission, causing Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb+ to break off the negotiations.

In 1689 a Mughal fleet commanded by Sidi Yaqub+ attacked Bombay. After a year of resistance the EIC surrendered in 1690, and the company sent envoys to Aurangzeb's camp to plead for a pardon. The company's envoys had to prostrate themselves before the emperor, pay a large indemnity, and promise better behaviour in the future. The emperor withdrew his troops and the company subsequently reestablished itself in Bombay and set up a new base in Calcutta+.

In September 1695, Captain Henry Every+, an English pirate on board the ''Fancy+'', reached the Straits of Bab-el-Mandeb+, where he teamed up with five other pirate captains to make an attack on the Indian fleet making the annual voyage to Mecca+. The Mughal+ convoy included the treasure-laden ''Ganj-i-Sawai+'', reported to be the greatest in the Mughal fleet and the largest ship operational in the Indian Ocean+, and its escort, the ''Fateh Muhammed''. They were spotted passing the straits en route to Surat+. The pirates gave chase and caught up with the ''Fateh Muhammed'' some days later, and meeting little resistance, took some £50,000 to £60,000 worth of treasure.

Every continued in pursuit and managed to overhaul the ''Ganj-i-Sawai'', who put up a fearsome fight but it too was eventually taken. The ship carried enormous wealth and, according to contemporary East India Company sources, was carrying a relative of the Grand Mughal, though there is no evidence to suggest that it was his daughter and her retinue. The loot from the ''Ganj-i-Sawai'' totalled between £325,000 and £600,000, including 500,000 gold and silver pieces, and has become known as the richest ship ever taken by pirates.

In a letter sent to the Privy Council by Sir John Gayer+, then governor of Bombay+ and head of the East India Company, Gayer claims that "it is certain the Pirates...did do very barbarously by the People of the Ganj-i-Sawai and Abdul Ghaffar's ship, to make them confess where their money was." The pirates set free the survivors who were left aboard their emptied ships, to continue their voyage back to India.

When the news arrived in England it caused an out-cry. In response, a combined bounty of £1,000 (considered massive by the standards of the time) was offered for Every's capture by the Privy Council and East India Company, leading to the first worldwide manhunt in recorded history. The plunder of Aurangzeb+'s treasure ship had serious consequences for the English East India Company. The furious Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb ordered Sidi Yaqub+ and Nawab Daud Khan+ to attack and close four of the company's factories in India and imprison their officers, who were almost lynched by a mob of angry Mughals+, blaming them for their countryman's depredations, and threatened to put an end to all English trading in India. To appease Emperor Aurangzeb and particularly his Grand Vizier+ Asad Khan, Parliament exempted Every from all of the Acts of Grace (pardons) and amnesties it would subsequently issue to other pirates.


Image:Henry Every.gif|An 18th-century depiction of Henry Every+, with the ''Fancy'' shown engaging its prey in the background





The prosperity that the officers of the company enjoyed allowed them to return to Britain and establish sprawling estates and businesses, and to obtain political power. The Company developed a lobby+ in the English parliament. Under pressure from ambitious tradesmen and former associates of the Company (pejoratively termed ''Interlopers'' by the Company), who wanted to establish private trading firms in India, a deregulating act was passed in 1694.

This allowed any English firm to trade with India, unless specifically prohibited by act of parliament, thereby annulling the charter that had been in force for almost 100 years. By an act that was passed in 1698, a new "parallel" East India Company (officially titled the ''English Company Trading to the East Indies'') was floated under a state-backed indemnity of £2 million. The powerful stockholders of the old company quickly subscribed a sum of £315,000 in the new concern, and dominated the new body. The two companies wrestled with each other for some time, both in England and in India, for a dominant share of the trade.

It quickly became evident that, in practice, the original Company faced scarcely any measurable competition. The companies merged in 1708, by a tripartite indenture involving both companies and the state. Under this arrangement, the merged company lent to the Treasury a sum of £3,200,000, in return for exclusive privileges for the next three years, after which the situation was to be reviewed. The amalgamated company became the ''United Company of Merchants of England Trading to the East Indies''.

In the following decades there was a constant see-saw battle between the Company lobby and the Parliament. The Company sought a permanent establishment, while the Parliament would not willingly allow it greater autonomy and so relinquish the opportunity to exploit the Company's profits. In 1712, another act renewed the status of the Company, though the debts were repaid. By 1720, 15% of British imports were from India, almost all passing through the Company, which reasserted the influence of the Company lobby. The licence was prolonged until 1766 by yet another act in 1730.

At this time, Britain and France became bitter rivals. Frequent skirmishes between them took place for control of colonial possessions. In 1742, fearing the monetary consequences of a war, the British government agreed to extend the deadline for the licensed exclusive trade by the Company in India until 1783, in return for a further loan of £1 million. Between 1756 and 1763, the Seven Years' War+ diverted the state's attention towards consolidation and defence of its territorial possessions+ in Europe and its colonies in North America+.Thomas, P. D. G. (2008) "", ''Oxford Dictionary of National Biography+'', Oxford University Press, online edn, accessed 15 February 2008 ODNBsub:

The war took place on Indian soil, between the Company troops and the French forces. In 1757, the Law Officers of the Crown+ delivered the Pratt-Yorke opinion+ distinguishing overseas territories acquired by right of conquest+ from those acquired by private treaty+. The opinion asserted that, while the Crown of Great Britain enjoyed sovereignty over both, only the property of the former was vested in the Crown.

With the advent of the Industrial Revolution+, Britain surged ahead of its European rivals. Demand for Indian commodities was boosted by the need to sustain the troops and the economy during the war, and by the increased availability of raw materials and efficient methods of production. As home to the revolution, Britain experienced higher standards of living. Its spiralling cycle of prosperity, demand, and production had a profound influence on overseas trade. The Company became the single largest player in the British global market.
William Henry 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."



Sir John Banks+, a businessman from Kent+ who negotiated an agreement between the King and the Company, began his career in a syndicate arranging contracts for victualling the navy, an interest he kept up for most of his life. He knew that Samuel Pepys+ and John Evelyn+ had amassed a substantial fortune from the Levant+ and Indian trades.

He became a Director and later, as Governor of the East India Company in 1672, he arranged a contract which included a loan of £20,000 and £30,000 worth of saltpetre — also known as potassium nitrate+, a primary ingredient in gunpowder+ – for the King 'at the price it shall sell by the candle+' — that is by auction — where an inch of candle burned and as long as it was alight bidding could continue. The agreement included with the price 'an allowance of interest which is to be expressed in tallies.' This was something of a breakthrough in royal prerogative because previous requests for the King to buy at the Company's auctions had been turned down as 'not honourable or decent.'

Outstanding debts were also agreed and the Company permitted to export 250 tons of saltpetre. Again in 1673, Banks successfully negotiated another contract for 700 tons of saltpetre at £37,000 between the King and the Company. So urgent was the need to supply the armed forces in the United Kingdom, America, and elsewhere that the authorities sometimes turned a blind eye on the untaxed sales. One governor of the Company was even reported as saying in 1864 that he would rather have the saltpetre made than the tax on salt.






The Seven Years' War+ (1756–1763) resulted in the defeat of the French forces, limited French imperial ambitions, and stunting the influence of the industrial revolution in French territories. Robert Clive+, the Governor General, led the Company to a victory against Joseph François Dupleix+, the commander of the French forces in India, and recaptured Fort St George from the French. The Company took this respite to seize Manila+ in 1762.

By the Treaty of Paris (1763)+, France regained the five establishments captured by the British during the war (Pondichéry+, Mahe+, Karikal+, Yanam+, and Chandernagar+) but was prevented from erecting fortifications and keeping troops in Bengal (art. XI). Elsewhere in India, the French were to remain a military threat, particularly during the War of American Independence, and up to the capture of Pondichéry in 1793 at the outset of the French Revolutionary Wars without any military presence. Although these small outposts remained French possessions for the next two hundred years, French ambitions on Indian territories were effectively laid to rest, thus eliminating a major source of economic competition for the Company.

In contrast, the Company, fresh from a colossal victory, and with the backing of a disciplined and experienced army, was able to assert its interests in the Carnatic region+ from its base at Madras+ and in Bengal+ from Calcutta+, without facing any further obstacles from other colonial powers.




The Company continued to experience resistance from local rulers during its expansion. Robert Clive led company forces against Siraj Ud Daulah+, the last independent Nawab+ of Bengal, Bihar+, and Midnapore+ district in Odisha+ to victory at the Battle of Plassey+ in 1757, resulting in the conquest of Bengal. This victory estranged the British and the Mughals, since Siraj Ud Daulah was a Mughal feudatory ally.

With the gradual weakening of the Maratha+s in the aftermath of the three Anglo-Maratha wars+, the British also secured the Ganges-Jumna Doab, the Delhi-Agra region, parts of Bundelkhand, Broach, some districts of Gujarat, the fort of Ahmmadnagar, province of Cuttack+ (which included Mughalbandi/the coastal part of Odisha+, Garjat/the princely states of Odisha, Balasore+ Port, parts of Midnapore+ district of West Bengal), Bombay (Mumbai+) and the surrounding areas, leading to a formal end of the Maratha empire and firm establishment of the British East India Company in India.

Hyder Ali+ and Tipu Sultan+, the rulers of the Kingdom of Mysore+, offered much resistance to the British forces. Having sided with the French during the Revolutionary war, the rulers of Mysore continued their struggle against the Company with the four Anglo-Mysore Wars+. Mysore finally fell to the Company forces in 1799, with the death of Tipu Sultan.


The last vestiges of local administration were restricted to the northern regions of Delhi, Oudh+, Rajputana+, and Punjab+, where the Company's presence was ever increasing amidst infighting and offers of protection among the remaining princes. The hundred years from the Battle of Plassey in 1757 to the Indian Rebellion of 1857+ were a period of consolidation for the Company, which began to function more as an administrator and less as a trading concern.

A cholera+ pandemic began in Bengal, then spread across India by 1820. 10,000 British troops and countless Indians died during this pandemic. Between 1736 and 1834 only some 10% of the East India Company's officers survived to take the final voyage home.

In the early 19th century the Indian question of geopolitical+ dominance and empire holding remained with the East India Company. . The three independent armies of the Company's Presidencies, with some locally raised irregular forces, expanded to a total of 280,000 men by 1857. First recruited from mercenaries and low-caste volunteers, the Bengal Army+ especially eventually became composed largely of high-caste Hindus and landowning Muslims.

Within the Army, British officers who initially trained at the Company's own academy at the Addiscombe Military Seminary+, always outranked Indians, no matter how long their service. The highest rank to which an Indian soldier could aspire was Subadar-Major (or Rissaldar-Major in cavalry units), effectively a senior subaltern+ equivalent. Promotion for both British and Indian soldiers was strictly by seniority, so Indian soldiers rarely reached the commissioned ranks of Jamadar or Subadar before they were middle aged at best. They received no training in administration or leadership to make them independent of their British officers.

During the wars against the French and their allies in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, the East India Company's armies were used to seize the colonial possessions of other European nations, including the islands of Réunion+ and Mauritius+.

There was a systemic disrespect in the company for the spreading of Protestantism+ although it fostered respect for Hindu+ and Muslim+, caste+s and ethnic groups. The growth of tensions between the EIC and the local religious and cultural groups grew in the 19th century as the Protestant revival grew in Great Britain. These tensions erupted at the Indian Rebellion of 1857 and the company ceased to exist when the company dissolved through the East India Stock Dividend Redemption Act 1873+.




In the 18th century, Britain had a huge trade deficit with Qing Dynasty+ China and so in 1773, the Company created a British monopoly on opium+ buying in Bengal by prohibiting licensing opium farmers and prohibiting private cultivation. The monopoly system established in 1799 continued with minimal changes until 1947.
As the opium trade+ was illegal in China, Company ships could not carry opium to China. So the opium produced in Bengal was sold in Calcutta+ on condition that it be sent to China.

Despite the Chinese ban on opium imports, reaffirmed in 1799 by the Jiaqing Emperor+, the drug was smuggled into China from Bengal by traffickers and agency houses such as Jardine, Matheson and Co+ and Dent and Co.+ in amounts averaging 900 tons a year. The proceeds of the drug-smugglers landing their cargoes at Lintin Island+ were paid into the Company's factory at Canton+ and by 1825, most of the money needed to buy tea in China was raised by the illegal opium trade.

The Company established a group of trading settlements centred on the Straits of Malacca+ called the Straits Settlements+ in 1826 to protect its trade route to China and to combat local piracy. The Settlements were also used as penal settlements for Indian civilian and military prisoners.

In 1838 with the amount of smuggled opium entering China approaching 1,400 tons a year, the Chinese imposed a death penalty for opium smuggling and sent a Special Imperial Commissioner, Lin Zexu+, to curb smuggling. This resulted in the First Opium War+ (1839–1842). After the war Hong Kong+ island was ceded to Britain under the Treaty of Nanking+ and the Chinese market opened to the opium traders of Britain and other nations. The Jardines and Apcar and Company+ dominated the trade, although P&O+ also tried to take a share.
A Second Opium War+ fought by Britain and France against China lasted from 1856 until 1860 and led to the Treaty of Tientsin+ which legalised the importation of opium. Legalisation stimulated domestic Chinese opium production and increased the importation of opium from Turkey and Persia. This increased competition for the Chinese market led to India reducing its opium output and diversifying its exports.



The Company employed many junior clerks, known as "writers", to record the details of accounting, managerial decisions, and activities related to the Company, such as minutes of meetings, copies of Company orders and contracts, and filings of reports and copies of ship's logs. Several well-known British scholars and literary men had Company writerships, such as Henry Thomas Colebrooke+ in India and Charles Lamb+ in England.



Though the Company was becoming increasingly bold and ambitious in putting down resisting states, it was getting clearer that the Company was incapable of governing the vast expanse of the captured territories. The Bengal famine of 1770+, in which one-third of the local population died, caused distress in Britain. Military and administrative costs mounted beyond control in British-administered regions in Bengal due to the ensuing drop in labour productivity.

At the same time, there was commercial stagnation and trade depression throughout Europe. The directors of the company attempted to avert bankruptcy by appealing to Parliament for financial help. This led to the passing of the Tea Act+ in 1773, which gave the Company greater autonomy in running its trade in the American colonies, and allowed it an exemption from tea import duties which its colonial competitors were required to pay.

When the American colonists, who included tea merchants, were told of the act, they tried to boycott it, claiming that although the price had gone down on the tea when enforcing the act, it also would help validate the Townshend Acts+ and set a precedent for the king to impose additional taxes in the future. The arrival of tax-exempt Company tea, undercutting the local merchants, triggered the Boston Tea Party+ in the Province of Massachusetts Bay+, one of the major events leading up to the American Revolution+.


By the Regulating Act of 1773+ (later known as the East India Company Act 1773), the Parliament of Great Britain+ imposed a series of administrative and economic reforms and by doing so clearly established its sovereignty and ultimate control over the Company. The Act recognised the Company's political functions and clearly established that the "acquisition of sovereignty+ by the subjects of the Crown is on behalf of the Crown and not in its own right."

Despite stiff resistance from the East India lobby in parliament and from the Company's shareholders the Act was passed. It introduced substantial governmental control and allowed the land to be formally under the control of the Crown, but leased to the Company at £40,000 for two years. Under this provision governor of Bengal Warren Hastings+ became the first Governor-General of Bengal+, and had administrative powers over all of British India. It provided that his nomination, though made by a court of directors, should in future be subject to the approval of a Council of Four+ appointed by the Crown – namely Lt. General Sir John Clavering+, The Honourable Sir George Monson+, Sir Richard Barwell+, and Sir Philip Francis+.Anthony, Frank. Britain's Betrayal in India: The Story of the Anglo Indian Community. Second Edition. London: The Simon Wallenberg Press, 2007 Pages 18- 19, 42, 45.

Hastings was entrusted with the power of peace and war. British judicial personnel would also be sent to India to administer the British legal system. The Governor General and the council would have complete legislative powers. The company was allowed to maintain its virtual monopoly over trade in exchange for the biennial sum and was obligated to export a minimum quantity of goods yearly to Britain. The costs of administration were to be met by the company. These provisions were initially welcomed by the Company, but with the annual burden of the payment to be met, its finances continued steadily to decline.

The East India Company Act 1784 (Pitt's India Act+) had two key aspects:
* Relationship to the British government: the bill differentiated the East India Company's political functions from its commercial activities. In political matters the East India Company was subordinated to the British government directly. To accomplish this, the Act created a Board of Commissioners for the Affairs of India+, usually referred to as the Board of Control. The members of the Board were the Chancellor of the Exchequer+, the Secretary of State+, and four Privy Councillors+, nominated by the King. The act specified that the Secretary of State "shall preside at, and be President of the said Board+".
* Internal Administration of British India: the bill laid the foundation for the centralised and bureaucratic British administration of India which would reach its peak at the beginning of the 20th century during the governor-generalship of George Nathaniel Curzon, 1st Baron Curzon+.

Pitt's Act was deemed a failure because it quickly became apparent that the boundaries between government control and the company's powers were nebulous and highly subjective. The government felt obliged to respond to humanitarian calls for better treatment of local peoples in British-occupied territories. Edmund Burke+, a former East India Company shareholder and diplomat, was moved to address the situation and introduced a new Regulating Bill in 1783. The bill was defeated amid lobbying by company loyalists and accusations of nepotism in the bill's recommendations for the appointment of councillors.

The Act of 1786 (26 Geo. 3 c. 16) enacted the demand of Earl Cornwallis+ that the powers of the Governor-General be enlarged to empower him, in special cases, to override the majority of his Council and act on his own special responsibility. The Act enabled the offices of the Governor-General and the Commander-in-Chief to be jointly held by the same official.

This Act clearly demarcated borders between the Crown and the Company. After this point, the Company functioned as a regularised subsidiary of the Crown, with greater accountability for its actions and reached a stable stage of expansion and consolidation. Having temporarily achieved a state of truce with the Crown, the Company continued to expand its influence to nearby territories through threats and coercive actions. By the middle of the 19th century, the Company's rule extended across most of India, Burma+, Malaya+, Singapore, and British Hong Kong+, and a fifth of the world's population was under its trading influence.

The Company's charter was renewed for a further 20 years by the Charter Act of 1793+. In contrast with the legislative proposals of the past two decades, the 1793 Act was not a particularly controversial measure, and made only minimal changes to the system of government in India and to British oversight of the Company's activities.

The aggressive policies of Lord Wellesley+ and the Marquis of Hastings+ led to the Company gaining control of all India (except for the Punjab and Sindh), and some part of then kingdom of Nepal under the Sugauli Treaty+. The Indian Princes had become vassals of the Company. But the expense of wars leading to the total control of India strained the Company's finances. The Company was forced to petition Parliament for assistance. This was the background to the Charter Act of 1813+ which, among other things:
* asserted the sovereignty of the British Crown over the Indian territories held by the Company;
* renewed the charter of the company for a further twenty years, but
** deprived the company of its Indian trade monopoly except for trade in tea and the trade with China
** required the company to maintain separate and distinct its commercial and territorial accounts
* opened India to missionaries



The Industrial Revolution+ in Britain, the consequent search for markets, and the rise of ''laissez-faire+'' economic ideology form the background to the Government of India Act 1833+ (3 and 4 Will. 4 c. 85). The Act:
* removed the Company's remaining trade monopolies and divested it of all its commercial functions
* renewed for another twenty years the Company's political and administrative authority
* invested the Board of Control with full power and authority over the Company. As stated by Professor Sri Ram Sharma, "The President of the Board of Control now became Minister for Indian Affairs."
* carried further the ongoing process of administrative centralisation through investing the Governor-General in Council with, full power and authority to superintend and, control the Presidency Governments in all civil and military matters
* initiated a machinery for the codification of laws
* provided that no Indian subject of the Company would be debarred from holding any office under the Company by reason of his religion, place of birth, descent or colour
* vested the Island of St Helena+ in the Crown

British influence continued to expand; in 1845, Great Britain purchased the Danish colony of Tranquebar+. The Company had at various stages extended its influence to China, the Philippines, and Java+. It had solved its critical lack of cash needed to buy tea by exporting Indian-grown opium to China. China's efforts to end the trade led to the First Opium War+ (1839–1842).



The English Education Act by the Council of India in 1835 to reallocated funds from the East India Company to spend on education and literature in India.

This Act (16 and 17 Vict. c. 95) provided that British India would remain under the administration of the Company in trust for the Crown until Parliament should decide otherwise. It also introduced a system of open competition as the basis of recruitment for civil servants of the company and thus deprived the Directors of their patronage system.



The Indian Rebellion of 1857 resulted in widespread devastation in India; many condemned the East India Company for permitting the events to occur. One of the consequences of the Indian Mutiny was that the British Government nationalised the Company. The Company lost all its administrative powers; the Crown, pursuant to the provisions of the Government of India Act 1858+, took over its Indian possessions, including its armed forces.

The Company continued to manage the tea trade on behalf of the British Government (and the supply of Saint Helena+) until the East India Stock Dividend Redemption Act 1873+ came into effect, on 1 January 1874. The Act provided for the dissolution of the company on 1 June 1874, after a final dividend payment and the commutation or redemption of its stock. ''The Times+'' reported, "It accomplished a work such as in the whole history of the human race no other company ever attempted and as such is ever likely to attempt in the years to come."



The Company's headquarters in London+, from which much of India+ was governed, was East India House+ in Leadenhall Street+. After occupying premises in Philpot Lane, Fenchurch Street+, from 1600 to 1621; in Crosby House+, Bishopsgate+, from 1621 to 1638; and in Leadenhall Street from 1638 to 1648, the Company moved into Craven House, an Elizabethan mansion in Leadenhall Street. The building had become known as East India House by 1661. It was completely rebuilt and enlarged in 1726–9; and further significantly remodelled and expanded in 1796–1800. It was finally vacated in 1860 and demolished in 1861–62. The site is now occupied by the Lloyd's building+.

In 1607, the Company decided to build its own ships and leased a yard on the River Thames+ at Deptford+. By 1614, the yard having become too small, an alternative site was acquired at Blackwall+: the new yard was fully operational by 1617. It was sold in 1656, although for some years East India Company ships continued to be built and repaired there under the new owners.

In 1803, an Act of Parliament, promoted by the East India Company, established the East India Dock Company, with the aim of establishing a new set of docks (the East India Docks+) primarily for the use of ships trading with India. The existing Brunswick Dock, part of the Blackwall Yard+ site, became the Export Dock; while a new Import Dock was built to the north. In 1838 the East India Dock Company merged with the West India Dock Company+. The docks were taken over by the Port of London Authority+ in 1909, and closed in 1967.

The East India College+ was founded in 1806 as a training establishment for "writers" (i.e. clerks) in the Company's service. It was initially located in Hertford Castle+, but moved in 1809 to purpose-built premises at Hertford Heath+, Hertfordshire+. In 1858 the college closed; but in 1862 the buildings reopened as a public school+, now Haileybury and Imperial Service College+.


The East India Company Military Seminary+ was founded in 1809 at Addiscombe+, near Croydon+, Surrey, to train young officers for service in the Company's armies+ in India. It was based in Addiscombe Place, an early 18th-century mansion. The government took it over in 1858, and renamed it the Royal Indian Military College. In 1861 it was closed, and the site was subsequently redeveloped.

In 1818, the Company entered into an agreement by which those of its servants who were certified insane in India might be cared for at Pembroke House, Hackney+, London, a private lunatic asylum+ run by Dr George Rees until 1838, and thereafter by Dr William Williams. The arrangement outlasted the Company itself, continuing until 1870, when the India Office opened its own asylum, the Royal India Asylum, at Hanwell+, Middlesex.

The East India Club+ in London was formed in 1849 for officers of the Company. The Club still exists today as a private gentlemen's club+ with its club house situated at 16 St. James's Square+, London.

The East India Company has had a long lasting impact on the Indian Subcontinent. Although dissolved following the rebellion of 1857, it stimulated the growth of the British Empire+. Its armies after 1857 were to become the armies of British India and it played a key role in introducing English as an official language in India.

The East India Company was the first company to record the Chinese usage of orange-flavoured tea which led to the development of Earl Grey tea+.

The East India Company introduced a system of merit-based appointments that provided a model for the British and Indian civil service."The Company that ruled the waves", in The Economist, 17–30 December 2011, p. 111.

Although the EIC used Indian soldiers, these soldiers never could reach a title higher than Non-commissioned officer+, such as sergeant+ or corporal+ but never an officer in command of his own unit.











The English East India Company flag changed over time. From the period of 1600 to the 1707 Acts of Union+ between England and Scotland the flag consisted of a St George's cross+ in the canton and a number of alternating Red and White stripes. After 1707 the canton contained the original Union Flag+ consisting of a combined St George's cross and a St Andrew's cross+. After the Acts of Union 1800+ that joined Ireland with Great Britain to form the United Kingdom, the canton of the East India Company's flag was altered accordingly to include the new Union Flag with the additional Saint Patrick's Flag+. There has been much debate and discussion regarding the number of stripes on the flag and the order of the stripes. Historical documents and paintings show many variations from 9 to 13 stripes, with some images showing the top stripe being red and others showing the top stripe being white.

At the time of the American Revolution+ the East India Company flag was identical to the Grand Union Flag+. Sir Charles Fawcett+ argued that the East India Company Flag inspired the Stars and Stripes+.


The East India Company's original coat of arms+ was granted in 1600. The arms was as follows:

''"Azure, three ships with three masts, rigged and under full sail, the sails, pennants and ensigns Argent, each charged with a cross Gules; on a chief of the second a pale quarterly Azure and Gules, on the 1st and 4th a fleur-de-lis or, on the 2nd and 3rd a leopard or, between two roses Gules seeded Or barbed Vert."'' The shield had as a crest+: ''"A sphere without a frame, bounded with the Zodiac in bend Or, between two pennants flottant Argent, each charged with a cross Gules, over the sphere the words DEUS INDICAT"'' (Latin+: God Indicates). The supporters+ were two sea lions (lions with fishes' tails) and the motto+ was ''DEO DUCENTE NIL NOCET'' (Latin: Where God Leads, Nothing Hurts).

The Honourable East India Company's arms, granted in 1698, were: ''"Argent a cross Gules; in the dexter chief quarter an escutcheon of the arms of France+ and England+ quarterly, the shield ornamentally and regally crowned Or."'' The crest was: ''"A lion rampant guardant Or holding between the forepaws a regal crown proper."'' The supporters were: ''"Two lions rampant guardant Or, each supporting a banner erect Argent, charged with a cross Gules."'' The motto was ''AUSPICIO REGIS ET SENATUS ANGLIÆ'' (Latin: By right of the King and the Senate of England).As described.

Ships of the East India Company were called East Indiamen+ or simply "Indiamen". Some examples include:
* ''Red Dragon+'' (1595)
* ''Doddington (East Indiaman)+'' Lost 1755
* ''Royal Captain+'' (before 1773)
* ''Grosvenor+'' Lost 1782
* ''General Goddard+'' (1782)
* ''Earl of Abergavenny+'' (1797)
* ''Earl of Mornington+'' (1799); packet ship+
* ''Lord Nelson+'' (1799)
* ''Kent+'' (1820): Lost on her third voyage
* ''Nemesis+'' (1839): first British-built ocean-going iron warship
* ''Agamemnon+'' (1855)

During the period of the Napoleonic Wars+, the East India Company arranged for letters of marque+ for its vessels such as the ''Lord Nelson''. This was not so that they could carry cannons to fend off warships, privateers and pirates on their voyages to India and China (that they could do without permission) but so that, should they have the opportunity to take a prize, they could do so without being guilty of piracy. Similarly, the ''Earl of Mornington'', an East India Company packet ship+ of only six guns too sailed under a letter of marque.

The company also had its own navy, the Bombay Marine+, equipped with warships such as the ''Grappler+''. These vessels often accompanied vessels of the Royal Navy on expeditions, such as the Invasion of Java (1811)+.

At the Battle of Pulo Aura+, which was probably the company's most notable naval victory, Nathaniel Dance+, Commodore of a convoy of Indiamen and sailing aboard the ''Warley+'', led several Indiamen in a skirmish with a French squadron, driving them off. Some six years earlier, on 28 January 1797, five Indiamen, the ''Woodford'', under Captain Charles Lennox, the ''Taunton-Castle'', Captain Edward Studd, ''Canton'', Captain Abel Vyvyan, and ''Boddam'', Captain George Palmer, and ''Ocean+'', Captain John Christian Lochner, had encountered Admiral de Sercey+ and his squadron of frigates. On this occasion the Indiamen also succeeded in bluffing their way to safety, and without any shots even being fired. Lastly, on 15 June 1795, the ''General Goddard'' played a large role in the capture of seven Dutch East Indiamen off St Helena+.

The HEIC's ships were well built, with the result that the Royal Navy+ bought several Company ships to convert to warships and transports. The ''Earl of Mornington'' became HMS ''Drake''. Other examples include:
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The company had many ports of call, some of which have seen their names changed over time.


Unlike all other British Government records, the records from the East India Company (and its successor the India Office+) are not in The National Archives+ at Kew, London, but are stored by the British Library+ in London as part of the Asia, Pacific, and Africa Collection: see India Office Records+. The catalogue is searchable online in the ''Access to Archives+'' catalogues. Many of the East India Company records are freely available online under an agreement that the Families in British India Society+ have with the British Library. Published catalogues exist of East India Company ships’ journals and logs, 1600–1834; and of some of the Company's daughter institutions, including the East India Company College+, Haileybury, and Addiscombe Military Seminary+.



'''East India Company:'''
* List of BEIC directors+
* Governor-General of India+
* East India Company Cemetery in Macau+
* India Office Records+

'''East India Company – UK:'''
* East India House+
* Addiscombe Military Seminary+ 1809–1861
* East India Company College+ 1805–1858
* East India Docks+, London
* Blackwall Yard+, London

'''UK administration of India:'''
* Commander-in-Chief, India+
* Presidencies+
** Madras Presidency+
** Bengal Presidency+
** Bombay Presidency+
* Presidency armies+
** Madras Army+
** Bengal Army+
** Bombay Army+
** British Raj+ (British Indian Empire 1858–1947)

'''Other East India Companies:'''
** Assada Company+, English, founded 1635 and ceased 1657
** Austrian East India Company+, a series of companies going under the names of ''Société impériale asiatique de Trieste et Anvers,'' or ''Société asiatique de Trieste,'' based in Ostend and Trieste, founded 1775 by William Bolts+ and ceased 1785
** Dutch East India Company+, founded 1602 and ceased 1798
** Danish East India Company+, founded in 1616 and ceased 1846
** French East India Company+, founded 1664 and ceased 1769
** Portuguese East India Company+, founded 1628 and ceased 1633
** Swedish East India Company+, founded 1731 and ceased 1813

'''General:'''
* Chartered companies+
* Spice trade+
* Carnatic Wars+
* British Imperial Lifeline+
* Commercial Revolution+
* Political warfare in British colonial India+
* Trade between Western Europe and the Mughal Empire in the 17th century+

;Notes

;Bibliography

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* Riddick, John F. ''The history of British India: a chronology'' (2006) , covers 1599–1947
* Riddick, John F. ''Who Was Who in British India'' (1998), covers 1599–1947
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Refend:


* Charter of 1600+
*
* : Boydell and Brewer, Woodbridge, 2009
* : Historical Dynamics of the East India Companies
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* The basis of the monopoly.
* – a learning resource from the British Library
* , a free seminar from the British Library+ on the history of the British East India Company.
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* Nick Robins, ''New Statesman+'', 13 December 2004,
* Karl Marx, ''New York Tribune+'', 1853–1858,
* article by Karl Marx, MECW Volume 12, p. 148 in Marxists Internet Archive+
* Gentlemen's club originally for officers and former officers of the Company, now open to others.
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*
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* on BBC Radio 4+’s ''In Our Time+'' featuring Huw Bowen, Linda Colley and Maria Misra
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Chartered companies:



+
Category:British India+
Category:British rule in Singapore+
Category:British Malaya+
Category:Colonial Indian companies+
Category:History of England+
Category:Former monopolies+
Category:Chartered companies+
Category:1600 establishments in England+
Category:Trading companies+
Category:Mysore invasion of Kerala+
Category:History of foreign trade in China+
Category:British Indian history+
Category:Defunct companies of the United Kingdom+
Category:Companies established in 1600+
Category:Companies disestablished in 1857+
Category:World Digital Library related+
Category:Age of Sail+

East India Company+ The East India Company (EIC), originally chartered as the Governor and Company of Merchants of London trading into the East Indies, and more properly called the Honourable East India Company, was an English, and later (from 1707) British joint-stock company, formed to pursue trade with the East Indies but that ended up trading mainly with the Indian subcontinent, Qing Dynasty China, North-West Frontier Province and Balochistan.
East India Company College+ The East India Company College, or East India College, was founded in 1806 and served as the training establishment for administrators of the Honourable East India Company (HEIC).
 List of East India Company directors+ The East India Company controlled most of the subcontinent of India. No other company in history has ever governed so many people.
 East India Company (disambiguation)+ The East India Company, also known as the English East India Company and the British East India Company, was a historical English, and later British, company, founded in 1600, and chartered with the monopoly of trading with Southeast Asia, East Asia, and India.
East India Company (video game)+ East India Company is a real-time strategy computer game developed by Finnish company Nitro Games and published by Paradox Interactive.
Company rule in India+ Company rule in India (sometimes, Company Raj, "raj," lit. "rule" in Hindi) refers to the rule or dominion of the British East India Company on the Indian subcontinent.
 East India Company Act+ East India Company Act is a stock short title used in the United Kingdom for legislation relating to the East India Company.
Regulating Act of 1773+ The Regulating Act of 1773 was an Act of the Parliament of Great Britain intended to overhaul the management of the East India Company's rule in India.
 Pitt's India Act+ The East India Company Act 1784, also known as Pitt's India Act, was an Act of the Parliament of Great Britain intended to address the shortcomings of the Regulating Act of 1773 by bringing the East India Company's rule in India under the control of the British Government.
Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose Indian Botanic Garden+ The Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose Indian Botanic Garden (previously known as Indian Botanic Garden) is situated in Shibpur, Howrah near Kolkata.