Student Projects/British in India
British In India The British is said to have ruled India for almost 200 years. Starting out as a small company based in London, they secured monopolised trade in the East with the help of the Charter Act given by the Queen Elizabeth 1.
Traders in India
The English East India Company were, however, not the only powers from the Europe that went around the world searching for places to secure raw materials and trade goods. It is extremely famous a narration that the Portuguese explorer, Vasco da Gama discovered the sea route to India in 1498 when he stepped foot in the shores of Calicut. Soon the Dutch, English, French followed. The trade battles soon started among the various European powers to gain sole right to trade within India. Sinking each other’s ships and destroying and stealing goods were the first few methods they resorted to establish supremacy over one another. The exotic, rich, fragrant and colourful spices of India were always a leading product supplied to Europe. Cotton, Indigo, silk and other raw materials were also exported from India to the European market. To secure their hold in the competition, the East India Company secured various trade agreements with the Indian rulers. The Company soon started bribing various officials to gain the upperhand over trade. Soon, they began meddling with the administration and governance of provinces to support their trade and increase their profits. The Battle of Plassey in 1757, established a supremacy of the British in India.
1857- Strengthening British Power
A hundred years later, Indians fought their First war of Independence in 1857, which was termed the 1857 revolt or the Sepoy Mutiny by the British. The war was a reaction of the Indians to the various policies and reforms brought in by the British in India.
Reasons for the Revolt
There were many political, social, religious, military and economic factors that led the battle of 1857. The Doctrine of Lapse brought in by Lord Dalhousie, the annexation of Oudh on the pretext of misgovernance, social reforms like abolishment of Sati and remarriage of widows, prevention of polygamy, introduction of English language education, conversion of Christianity, introduction of General Service Enlistment Act, the exorbitant revenue collected by the British officials are many of the reasons for the discontentment among the Indians.
Though, the revolt was unsuccessful because of lack of planning, organisation and no proper leadership, it is an important event in the history of India. It also made the British cautious about their future steps in India and made them take necessary precautions to avoid such an uproar. Thus, the traders eventually became the rulers of the country.