The East India Company: A History by Philip LawsonThis is the first short history of the East India Company - the trading company that became an imperial power - to be designed for student and academic use. It covers the Companys entire history from its foundation through to its demise after the Indian Mutiny in 1857, paying particular attention to the Companys important but often neglected early years. An important contribution to both Anglo-Indian and imperial historiography, it also reflects the very lively state of scholarship in both fields today. The East India Company received its charter from parliament in 1600 for the monopoly of trade in the eastern hemisphere. Unable to compete with the Dutch in the East Indies themselves, the Company soon came to concentrate its energies on trade with India. Its growing regional influence - mercantile, political and military - led to clashes with the French, who had expansionist ambitions of their own. The campaigns of 1745-61, culminating in Clives spectacular victories, made the Company the dominant power in India. It remained in essential control of the subcontinent until the upheaval of the Mutiny, in the aftermath of which the Crown assumed direct government of India in 1858. The crucial role that the East India Company played in the development of British overseas expansion is fully surveyed here by Philip Lawson; but he breaks new ground in also analysing the impact that the Companys developing role had on Britain itself. He throws new light on the global imperatives affecting policy decisions in London, as well as the diplomatic complexities under which the Company operated in India. He also shows that the dynamic by which the Company acquired its imperial role was not always inthe interests of the state, the Company, India or the East Indies: the progress, profitability and even the viability of the Company were frequently compromised by destructive internal forces, like political corruption and militarism, long before its formal demise. Philip Lawson
East India Company
Starting as a monopolistic trading body, the company became involved in politics and acted as an agent of British imperialism in India from the early 18th century to the midth century. In addition, the activities of the company in China in the 19th century served as a catalyst for the expansion of British influence there. Incorporated by royal charter on December 31, , it was started as a monopolistic trading body so that England could participate in the East Indian spice trade. It also traded cotton, silk, indigo, saltpeter, and tea and transported slaves. It became involved in politics and acted as an agent of British imperialism in India from the early 18th century to the midth century.
The company ended up seizing control over large parts of the Indian subcontinent , colonised parts of Southeast Asia , and colonised Hong Kong after a war with Qing China. Originally chartered as the "Governor and Company of Merchants of London Trading into the East-Indies",   the company rose to account for half of the world's trade,  particularly in basic commodities including cotton , silk , indigo dye , salt , spices , saltpetre , tea , and opium. The company also ruled the beginnings of the British Empire in India. These Dutch companies amalgamated in March into the United East Indies Company VOC , which introduced the first permanent joint stock from meaning investment into shares did not need to be returned, but could be traded on a stock exchange. By contrast, wealthy merchants and aristocrats owned the EIC's shares. During its first century of operation, the focus of the company was trade, not the building of an empire in India.
In , a group of London merchants led by Sir Thomas Smythe petitioned Queen Elizabeth I to grant them a royal charter to trade with the countries of the eastern hemisphere. Few could have predicted the seismic shifts in the dynamics of global trade that would follow, nor that years later, the company would pass control of a subcontinent to the British crown. In reality, how did this company gain and consolidate its power and profit? The company had initially planned to try and force their way into the lucrative spice markets of south-east Asia, but found this trade was already dominated by the Dutch. After EIC merchants were massacred at Amboyna in present day Indonesia in , the company increasingly turned their attention to India. From these coastal toeholds, they orchestrated the profitable trade in spices, textiles and luxury goods on which their commercial success was predicated, dealing with Indian artisans and producers primarily through Indian middlemen. The company grew in both size and influence across the 17th and 18th centuries.
The British East India Company — the Company that Owned a Nation (or Two)
As The Company grew, it mapped trade routes through unchartered territory and changed social customs, tastes and ways of thought to influence the very fabric of our lives today. Their warehouses were places of wonder, stocking never before seen silks, chintzes, calicos, porcelain, coffees, chocolates and spices from around the world. The mission, led by James Lancaster, carried six letters of introduction from The Queen, each with a blank space for the name of the local King. By return, Hidetada presented Saris with two suits of armour for King James I, while Ieyasu gave to him ten spectacular painted gold-leaf screens, as well as a warm letter for the King and an official Vermilion Seal Letter granting the English permission to live and trade throughout Japan, thus beginning a remarkable friendship between two countries on opposite sides of the world. In England, with the demand for tea booming, The East India Company placed an order for lbs of tea and by annual imports reached 4,, Lbs. The Company received Chinese permission to trade from Guangzhou Canton importing silk, tea and porcelain, and so trade began with the Hongs who controlled trade within China. Having initially traded tea for silver, the English were concerned that too much silver was leaving their shores.
The East India Company was perhaps the most powerful commercial organisation that the world has ever seen. In its heyday it not only had a monopoly on British trade with India and the Far East, but it was also responsible for the government of much of the vast Indian sub-continent. Both of these factors mean that the East India Company or, to call it by its proper name, the British East India Company was crucial to the history of the tea trade. But in Queen Elizabeth I gave a royal charter to a new trading company, the East India Company, by which it was given a monopoly over all British trade with the Indies. The East India Company's first major base was in western India, where it found a rich source of exotic textiles and other produce, which could be exported back to Britain or taken further east to exchange for spices.
East India House, which stood for 60 years Wikimedia Government bailouts. Rogue traders. Bought-off politicians. These are not only the headlines that have dominated since the Great Recession. They were also major developments in the history of what was for years the world's most successful multinational corporation: the East India Company.