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The British East India Company is simply referred to as the East India Company (EIC), although it goes by several names such as the Honourable East India Company (HEIC), or informally John Company, Company Bahadur, or The Company. The company was known to be so powerful that it successfully took control of the majority of the Indian subcontinent.
See the fact file below for more information on the British East India Company or alternatively, you can download our 24-page British East India Company worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- The British East India Company dealt in the industry of international trade and opium trafficking.
- The Company traded cotton, silk, indigo dye, salt, spices, saltpetre, tea, and opium.
- The East India Company was founded by John Watts, an English merchant and shipowner, and George White, another merchant and served as the company’s co-founder.
- The East India Company was founded on December 31, 1600.
- The headquarters of the East India Company were located in London, Great Britain.
- The Government of India Act of 1858 was enacted by the Parliament of the United Kingdom on August 2, 1858, and ordered the liquidation of the East India Company, for its functions to be transferred to the British Monarchy.
- The East India Company became defunct on June 1, 1874.
HOW THE BRITISH EAST INDIA COMPANY WAS FORMED
- September 22, 1599: A group of English merchants met to discuss plans to venture in the East Indies, and accumulated a total capital of £30,133.
- September 24, 1599: The group of merchants applied for the Queen’s approval, however they were not successful.
- Nonetheless, the group planned to seek the Queen’s informal approval and continued their plan.
- They bought additional ships and their capital increased to £68,373.
- December 31, 1600: The group of merchants received the Queen’s approval. The Queen granted a Royal Charter to the Governor and Company of Merchants of London trading with the East Indies.
- For 15 years, the company established a monopoly on English trade from Spain to Portugal.
EARLY TRAVELS TO EAST INDIES
- The first voyage of the East India Company happened in 1601.
- Sir James Lancaster commanded the ship Red Dragon.
- The English captured an expensive 1,200-ton Portuguese ship in the Malacca Straits and the voyagers built two factories at Bantam, Java and Molucas (Spice Island).
- The voyagers returned to England in 1603 and found out that the Queen had died. Sir Lancaster was knighted by James I.
- The second voyage happened in 1604, led by Sir Henry Middleton.
- The third happened in 1607, led by General William Keeling. He led the voyages of the Red Dragon until 1610.
- The ships Ascension and Union sailed from Woolwich on March 14, 1608 and got lost.
- The East India Company ships docked at Surat, Gujarat in 1608.
- The first Indian factory of the East India Company was built in 1611 at Masulipatnam, Andhra Pradesh.
- The second factory was built in 1612 in Surat.
- The company initially struggled in trade due to the existence of the Dutch East India Company.
HOW THE COMPANY BECAME POWERFUL
- Before the British East India company was made, Spain and Portugal held a monopoly on trade in the Eastern part of the world.
- Britain wanted to have power in the trading industry as well.
- In 1588, Britain defeated the Spanish Armada and seized its ships, which is how it gained mobility overseas.
- What followed was the establishment of the British East India Company mentioned above, where a Royal Charter was given to the merchants.
- Trading was tough business. The Royal Charter gave the East India Company the ability to use military forces against rival traders.
- The “factory” the British East India Company relied on was not an actual factory, but a system, wherein they would leave a representative called “factors” that would set up trading posts to source and negotiate for goods.
- The Treaty with the Mughal emperor Jahangir enabled them to set up a factory in Surat, now part of Western India.
- In 1757, the East India Company waged war on rival traders, and eventually seized control of the entire state of Mughal, Bengal.
- Robert Clive commanded an army of 3000 people.
- Eventually, Clive became Mughal’s governor and implemented taxation and customs.
- The tax and customs were used to buy Indian goods and export them to England.
- The French and Dutch traders were driven out of the Indian subcontinent due to the victory of the British East India Company, enabling Britain’s monopoly on trade.
- Later on, the East India Company annexed different regions and allied with powerful rulers as well.
- Their abuse of power made Britain seek direct control of the East India Company.
- In 1858, Britain put an end to the company’s rule and transferred its power to them.
- The company was dissolved in 1874.
British East India Company Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about the British East India Company across 24 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use British East India Company worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the British East India Company which is simply referred to as the East India Company (EIC), although it goes by several names such as the Honourable East India Company (HEIC), or informally John Company, Company Bahadur, or The Company. The company was known to be so powerful that it successfully took control of the majority of the Indian subcontinent.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- British East India Company Facts
- Company Glossary
- Date Match
- Trade Items
- Event Arrangement
- Picture Analysis
- Notable Voyagers
- Word Correction
- My Voyage Attire
- Trading Then and Now
- Fact Recap
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Use With Any Curriculum
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