The geographical discoveries towards the end of 15th centuries brought a number of European trading companies to India through the sea route. This opened a new course in Indian History, which led to the foundation of the British rule in India finally. A Portuguese where the first to come the English where the second, the Duthch the third, the Denish the fourth and the French the fifth and last European power to enter Indian territories.
Vasco da Gama reached the port of Calicut on 17th May, 1498 and was received by Zamorin the Hindu ruler of Calicut. However, it was Alfonaso de Albuquerque who laid the real foundation of Portuguese power in India. He came to India in 1503 and was appointed governor of Portuguese affairs in 1503. In 1510 he captured Goa. He adopted a bitter Anti-Muslim policy. The Portuguese established their settlements in Diu, Daman, Salsatte, Bassein, Chaul and Bombay and Hoogly. However, they lost most of these pleases except Diu, Daman and Goa. The Portuguese loss their Indian trade by the 18th century because of their secrete trade practices, religious interlaces and
Failure to compete with other European companies.
Commercial interest brought the Dutch to India where they establish factories at Masuly Patam (1605), Pulicate (1610), Surat (1616), Bimli Patam (1641), Karikal (1645), Chinsura (1653), Kasim Bazar, Barana Gore, Patna, Balasore, Negapatam (1658) and Cochin (1663). The Dutch replaced the Portuguese and monopolized the spice trade in the east throughout the 17th century. The English became a strong rival of the Dutch in India until 1759.
The English East India Company
The East India Company was formed on 31 December 1600 when Queen Elizabeth granted a charter to the company, which provided it a monopoly of eastern trade for fifteen years. In 1608, the EIC made the first attempt to establish factories in India. Captain Hawkins reached the court of Jahangir in 1609. He requested the Mughal Emperor to permit the English to settle at Surat, which was refused. Hawkins left Agra in 1611. In 1613, Jahangir issued a firman permitting the English to establish a permanent factory at Surat. In 1615, Sir Thomas Roe was sent to Jahangir’s Court as an Ambassador of King Jemes I. He remained at Jahangir’s Court between 1615 and 1618. By February 1619, the English had established factories at Surat, Agra, Ahamdabad and Broach. In 1668, Charles II who had it as dowry from the Portuguese transferred Bombay to EIC. Bombay replaced Surat as the chief settlement of the English on the Western Coast in 1687. On the South Eastern Coast, the English established a factory at Masulipatam in 1611.
In 1626, another factory was established at Arma Gaon near Pulicate. In 1639, Francis day obtained the lease of Madras from the ruler of Chandra Giri and built fort St. George, which replaced Masulipatam as the headquarters of English settlements on the Coromandal Coast. In 1633, the English established their factories at Harihar Pur and Balasor in the North East. In 1651 a factory was established at Hoogly. Soon factories were also opened at Patna and Kasim Bazar.
In 1690 Job Charnock established an English factory at Sutanuti which developed into Calcutta later on. In 1700 Fort William was established at Calcutta and Sir Charles Eyre became the first president of Fort William. Hamilton an English Surgeon and the emperor granted firman to the company, which gave the English trading, rights in Bengal free of all duties in 1717, cured Mughal Emperor Farrukah Siyar of painful diseases. This firman became the magna carta of the company because it gave a free hand to the company to trade in Mughal territories.
The French East India Company
The French were the last to come to India to compete for commercial gains. The French company was formed in 1664. Francois established the first French company at Surat in 1668 A.D. Caron. Another French factory was opened at Masulipatam in 1669. In 1673 Francois Martin Developed Vallikondapuram as Pondicherry. In Bengal, the French established their factory at Chandar Nagar in 1690 with a permission of the Bengal Nawab Shaisatha Khan.