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24 Jul 2021

As trade of both the company and of private individuals in Asia grew in the first half of the 18th century, Indian rulers came under increasing pressure to yield political concessions.

The disintegration of the Mughal Empire and the dispatch of forces to India in 1740s to fight one another (the British and French were at war with each other in Europe), by the British and the French on a large scale changed the scene and made possible the acquisition of a British Empire in India.

List of Europeans

The First Europeans to come to India were Portuguese.


Year of estab.




1. Cochin

2. Goa

East in Company (English)


West Cost: Surat, Bombay

East Coast: Koromandal, Masulipattanam, Madras

Bengal: Calcutta

Dutch (Netherland)


East Coast: Koromandal, Pulicut, Negapattanum

Bengal: Hugli



Serampur (Bengal)



Surat, Pondicherry.

What led to the discovery of new routes to India?

  • In 1453, the Turks captured the capital of East roman Empire, “Byzantine” or “Constantinople” and hampers the commercial contract between East and West.
  • There Was great demand of Spices in European market, the European started to search another route to reach India.
  • Vasco Da Gama, through the cape of good hope, reached at Calicut in 1498.
  • The Hindu ruler of Calicut “Jamorian” welcomes Vasco Da Gama and made a trade relation with “Portugal”.

The Portuguese

  • Vasco-de-Gama landed at Calicut in 1498. In his wake cane the Portuguese to trade with India.
  • The system worked with remarkable success for about a century and then broke down because of the challenges from other European powers.

Almeida (1505-1509)

  • Francisco de Almieda was the first Governor of Portuguese in India.
  • He introduced the ‘Policy of Blue Water’.
  • He established 1st Portuguese factory at “Cochin”.

Albuquerque (1509-1515)

  • He was the real Portuguese founder in India.
  • In 1510,he captured Goa from – “Adil Shahi Sultan” Of Bijapur. (Adil Shahi Dynasty was founded by – “Yusuf Adil Shah”)
  • He encouraged Portuguese settlers to marry with Indian Woman. (Reason was to increase Portuguese Population).

The Portuguese power witnessed a decline by the end of 16th century.

  • In 1661, the King of Portugal gave Bombay to Charles II of England as dowry when he married the former’s sister.
  • In the end they were left with only Goa, Daman and Diu which they retained till 1961.


Note 1The Portuguese monopoly on Indian ocean was continued till 1595.

Note 2The 1st printing press was established by Portuguese at Goa in 1556.

Note 3 - The cultivation of Potato and Tobacco was started by Portuguese in India in 16th century.

Origin of Potato - South America

Origin of Tomato – China

Note 4 Main reason for decline of the Portuguese power in India – They discovered Brazil. So, they picked their attention towards it and started neglecting India.

The Dutch

  • Holland sent the first fleet to the East in 1595.
  • The main purpose of the Dutch was the spice trade.

1605 – The 1st Dutch factory was established at “Masulipattanam” (Andhra Pradesh).

The Dutch replaced the Portuguese as the most dominant power in European trade with the East, including India.

The Dutch Conceded to English after their defeat in the ‘Battle of Bedera’ in 1759.


Note - At last they sold all their settlements to British India Company.

The Danish

In 1616, the 1st Danish factory was established at Pulicat.

Note - At last they sold all their settlement to British East India Company and went back.

NoteDutch and Danish mainly focused in South East Asia.

The English

The timeline from formation of East India Company to grant of Magna Carta to English traders is given below:

1600 – Queen Elizabeth granted a charter with the rights of exclusive trading for 15 years to the East India Company.

1608 - English Went to Surat and applied to the Mughal court for privilege.

1609-1611 – William Hawkins, resided at Jahangir’s court but could do nothing because of Portuguese opposition.

1611 – The 1st British factory was established At Masulipattanum.

1613 – Jahangir issued a ‘farman’ permitting English to establish a factory permanently at Surat.

1615-1618 – Thomas Roe, ambassador of James-I, went to Jahangir’s court. He obtained the permission to establish factory in different parts of empire such as Agra, Ahmedabad and Baroch.

1668 -  The Company obtained Bombay at the nominal rent of 10 pounds P.A. from Charles-II. Who had got it from the Portuguese as a part of the dowry of his wife Catharine Of Braganza.

1687 – East India Company replaced its headquarter from Surat to Bombaby.

1690 – Job Charnock, established A factory at Sutanati (in Bengal), (Job Charnock is the founder of Calcutta).

1714 –The company sent a messenger under John Surman to Mughal Emperor Farrukhsiyar to secure comprehensive commercial privilege throughout the Mughal Empire.

An English surgeon named William Hamilton accompanied to the messenger and cure painful disease of Farrukhsiyar.

1717 – Farrukhsiyar confirmed the privilege as a reward for this medical service.

·       The right to English to trade in Bengal free of all duties but subject to the payment of Rs.3000 p.a.

·       He allowed the right of coining and issuing money from Bombay Mill.

Note: The Farman of Farrukhsiyar was called as MAGNA CARTA for East India Company.

The Company continued its existence till 1858.

The French

1664 – The French East India Company was established by Colbert (he was a minister of French Emperor “Louis XIV”).

1668 – The 1st French factory was established at “Surat”.

1742 – The French governor general of Pondicherry “Dupleix” wanted to increase French influence in Southern India which was great confrontation with British East India Company and a war started between both which was known as “Carnatic Wars”.