Advent of the Europeans in India - Civil Services Preparation Online! UPSC & IAS Study Material

Advent of the Europeans in India

by Devender

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The advent of Europeans in India started with the Portuguese and ended with the Britishers. The first Portuguese arrived in India in 1498 when even the Mughal Empire was not set in India.

The advent of the Europeans in India

  • Portuguese:
  • In 1498, Vasco-de-Gama reached Calicut via cape of good hope. He was very warmly welcomed by the Ruler of Calicut, Zamorin. Franci–De–Almeida became the first Portuguese governor in India.

  • Albuquerque became governor in 1510
  • Soon he captured Goa which became the capital of Portuguese settlements in India from the ruler of Bijapur
  • He built a fort at Calicut & encouraged his countrymen to marry Indian girls
  • He died in 1515 but by then, the Portuguese had the strongest Naval power in India

  • Dutch (Netherlands):
  • Dutch East India Company came to India in 1602 and soon they emerged as the most dominant European trade power by defeating the Portuguese. Pulicat became their main center in India which was later replaced by Nagapattinam.

  • By mid 17th century, English began to emerge as big colonial power in India
  • Somewhat English Dutch contention went on for a very long time, during which Dutch lost their settlements to the British one by one

  • British:
  • In 1600, the English East India Company was established whose charter was issued by Queen Elizabeth of England. In 1609, Captain Hawkins of England arrived at the royal court of Jahangir to seek permission for establishing England trade center at Surat. However, Jahangir refused due to Portuguese pressure.

    After a few years in 1613, Jahangir issued a Farman to English to establish their trade center.

  • British established their 1st trading factory at Surat in 1613
  • Sir Thomas Roe came to India as an ambassador of James 1 (King of England) in 1615
  • He obtained permission from Jahangir to settle English trading factories in different parts of India
  • By 1700, Bombay, Madras & Calcutta became 3 presidency towns of English settlements in India with capital at Calcutta

  • French:
  • French east India company was formed in 1664 and they established their 1st factory at Surat by Francis Caron. In 1673, Francis Martin founded Pondicherry and became its first governor. Pondicherry became the headquarter of French possessions in India.

  • In the 18th century, English & French were competing for their supremacy in India mainly in the Bengal and Karnatic region
  • After 3 Karnnatic wars, the French were defeated
  • They were only limited to Pondicherry

  • Dane (Denmark Settlements):

They settled at Tranquebar & Serampore in Bengal but they couldn't strengthen themselves in India and hence, sold all their settlements to the British in 1845.



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