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European Arrival – The Dutch and English

The Dutch

Corneil De Hastman was the first Dutch to arrive in India via the Cape of Good Hope. Subsequently, the Dutch East India company was founded in 1602. And after the establishment of the Dutch East India Company in 1609-10, the Dutch developed a factory at Pulicat near Madras.

In 1616, the Dutch established themselves at Surat in Gujarat. Masulipatnam, Vizakapatnam, Cambay, Cochin, Pullicot, Kasim Bazaar, Bengal, etc were their trade centers.

Some of the Dutch exports from India were indigo, raw silk, cotton textiles, saltpeter and opium.

The Dutch were more interested in mercantile trade than in expansion of land. They never intervened in Indian politics and consequently lost their significance after the arrival of the British. Their rule in Kerala was more focused on spice trade rather than on the expansion of territory.

The Dutch never sought to control  the Malabar coast. Nor did they want to drive out the Arabs, nor  reduce the Zamorin to a puppet like the Raja of Cochin. In 1659, the English defeated the Dutch settlement at Chinsura. Slowly, the English captured all the Dutch possessions in South India

The English

 In 1601 the East India Company was chartered, and the English began their first inroads into the Indian Ocean. At first they were little interested in India, but rather, like the Portuguese and Dutch before them, with the Spice Islands. But the English were unable to dislodge the Dutch from the Spice Islands.

In 1610, the British chased away a Portuguese naval squadron and the East India Company created its own outpost at Surat. This small outpost marked the beginning of a remarkable presence that would last over 300 years and eventually dominate the entire subcontinent. And in 1612, the British established a trading post in Gujarat.

In 1614, Sir Thomas Roe was instructed by James I to visit the court of Jahangir. He was to arrange a commercial treaty and to secure for the East India Company sites for commercial agencies, -“factories” as they were called. He was successful in getting permission from Jahangir, and the Company set up factories at Ahmedabad, Broach and Agra.

In 1640, the East India Company established an outpost at Madras. In 1661 it obtained Bombay from Charles II and converted it to a flourishing center of trade by 1668.

English settlements rose in Orissa and Bengal. In 1633, in the Mahanadi delta of Hariharpur at Balasore in Orissa, factories were set up. In 1650, Gabriel Boughton an employee of the Company obtained a license for trade in Bengal. An English factory was set up in 1651 at Hugli.

In 1690 Job Charnock established a factory. In 1698 the factory was fortified and called Fort William. The villages of Sutanati, Kalikata and Gobindpore were developed into a single area called Calcutta. Calcutta became a trading center for East India Company.

Once in India, the British began to compete with the Portuguese, the Dutch, and the French. Through a combination of outright combat and deft alliances with local princes, the East India Company gained control of all European trade in India by 1769. In 1672 the French established themselves at Pondicherry and stage was set for a rivalry between the British and French for control of Indian trade.

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