The Full Wiki

British East India Company: Wikis

Advertisements
  
  

Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.

Did you know ...


More interesting facts on British East India Company

Include this on your site/blog:

Encyclopedia

(Redirected to East India Company article)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

East India Company
Fate Dissolved and activities absorbed by the British Raj
Founded 1600
Defunct 1858 (formally dissolved in 1873)
Headquarters London

The East India Company (also the East India Trading Company, English East India Company[1] and then the British East India Company)[2] was an early English joint-stock company[3] that was formed initially for pursuing trade with the East Indies, but that ended up trading mainly with the Indian subcontinent and China. The oldest among several similarly formed European East India Companies, the Company was granted an English Royal Charter, under the name Governor and Company of Merchants under the chairmanship of Lord Mayor of London To form an association to trade directly with india, by Elizabeth I on 31 December 1600.[4] After a rival English company challenged its monopoly in the late 17th century, the two companies were merged in 1708 to form the United Company of Merchants of England Trading to the East Indies, commonly styled the Honourable East India Company,[5] and abbreviated, HEIC;[6] the Company was colloquially referred to as John Company,[7] and in India as Company Bahadur (Hindustani bahādur, "brave").[8]

The East India Company traded mainly in cotton, silk, indigo dye, saltpetre, tea, and opium. However, it also came to rule large swathes of India, exercising military power and assuming administrative functions, to the exclusion, gradually, of its commercial pursuits. Company rule in India, which effectively began in 1757 after the Battle of Plassey, lasted until 1858, when, following the events of the Indian Rebellion of 1857, and under the Government of India Act 1858, the British Crown assumed direct administration of India in the new British Raj. The Company itself was finally dissolved on 1 January 1874, as a result of the East India Stock Dividend Redemption Act.

The Company long held a privileged position in relation to the English, and later the British, government. As a result, it was frequently granted special rights and privileges, including trade monopolies and exemptions. These caused resentment among its competitors, who saw unfair advantage in the Company's position. Despite this resentment, the Company remained a powerful force for over 200 years over India.

In 2005, Sanjiv Mehta, an Indian businessman bought East India Company from the "30 to 40 people" who owned the shares of East India Company[9]. Starting with Mayfair in Central London, Mr. Mehta plans to launch several stores around the world for selling luxury goods under the East India Company brand[10].

Contents

History

Advertisements

The foundation years

Soon after the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588, a group of merchants of London presented a petition to Queen Elizabeth I for permission to sail to the Indian Ocean.[11] The permission was granted and in 1591 three ships sailed from England, around the Cape of Good Hope, to the Arabian Sea; one of them, the Edward Bonaventure then sailed around Cape Comorin and on to the Malay Peninsula, and subsequently returned to England in 1594.[11] In 1596, three more ships sailed out east, however, these were all lost at sea.[11] Two years later, on 24 September 1598, another group of merchants of London, having raised £30,133 in capital, met to form a corporation. Although their first attempt was unsuccessful, they nonetheless set about seeking the Queen's unofficial approval, purchased ships for their venture, increased their capital to £68,373, and convened again a year later.[11] This time they succeeded, and on 31 December 1600, the Queen granted a Royal Charter to "George, Earl of Cumberland, and 215 Knights, Aldermen, and Burgesses" under the name, Governor and Company of Merchants of London trading with the East Indies.[12] The charter awarded the newly formed company, for a period of fifteen years, a monopoly of trade (known today as a patent) with all countries to the east of the Cape of Good Hope and to the west of the Straits of Magellan.[12] Sir James Lancaster commanded the first East India Company voyage in 1601.[13]

Initially, the Company struggled in the spice trade due to the competition from the already well established Dutch. However the Company did open a factory (trading post) in Bantam on the first voyage and imports of pepper from Java were an important part of the Company's trade for twenty years. The factory in Bantam was finally closed in 1683. During this time ships belonging to the company arrived in India, docking at Surat, which was established as a trade transit point in 1608. In the next two years, it managed to build its first factory in the town of Machilipatnam on the Coromandel Coast of the Bay of Bengal. The high profits reported by the Company after landing in India (presumably owing to a reduction in overhead costs affected by the transit points), initially prompted King James I to grant subsidiary licenses to other trading companies in England. But, in 1609, he renewed the charter given to the Company for an indefinite period, including a clause which specified that the charter would cease to be in force if the trade turned unprofitable for three consecutive years.

The Company was led by one Governor and 24 directors who made up the Court of Directors. They were appointed by, and reported to, the Court of Proprietors. The Court of Directors had ten committees reporting to it.

Foothold in India

English traders frequently engaged in hostilities with their Dutch and Portuguese counterparts in the Indian Ocean. The Company achieved a major victory over the Portuguese in the Battle of Swally in 1612. Perhaps realizing the cost of waging trade wars in remote seas, the Company decided to explore the feasibility of gaining a territorial foothold in mainland India, with official sanction of both countries, and requested the Crown to launch a diplomatic mission. In 1615, Sir Thomas Roe was instructed by James I to visit the Mughal Emperor Nuruddin Salim Jahangir (r. 1605 - 1627) to arrange for a commercial treaty which would give the Company exclusive rights to reside and build factories in Surat and other areas. In return, the Company offered to provide the Emperor with goods and rarities from the European market. This mission was highly successful as Jahangir sent a letter to James through Sir Thomas Roe:[14]

Upon which assurance of your royal love I have given my general command to all the kingdoms and ports of my dominions to receive all the merchants of the English nation as the subjects of my friend; that in what place soever they choose to live, they may have free liberty without any restraint; and at what port soever they shall arrive, that neither Portugal nor any other shall dare to molest their quiet; and in what city soever they shall have residence, I have commanded all my governors and captains to give them freedom answerable to their own desires; to sell, buy, and to transport into their country at their pleasure.

For confirmation of our love and friendship, I desire your Majesty to command your merchants to bring in their ships of all sorts of rarities and rich goods fit for my palace; and that you be pleased to send me your royal letters by every opportunity, that I may rejoice in your health and prosperous affairs; that our friendship may be interchanged and eternal.

Expansion

The Company, benefiting from the imperial patronage, soon expanded its commercial trading operations, eclipsing the Portuguese Estado da India, which had established bases in Goa, Chittagong and Bombay (which was later ceded to England as part of the dowry of Catherine de Braganza). The Company created trading posts in Surat (where a factory was built in 1612), Madras (1639), Bombay (1668) and Calcutta (1690). By 1647, the Company had 23 factories, each under the command of a factor or master merchant and governor if so chosen, and 90 employees in India. The major factories became the walled forts of Fort William in Bengal, Fort St George in Madras and the Bombay Castle.

In 1634, the Mughal emperor extended his hospitality to the English traders to the region of Bengal (and in 1717 completely waived customs duties for the trade). The company's mainstay businesses were by now in cotton, silk, indigo dye, saltpetre and tea. All the while in 1650-56, it was making inroads into the Dutch monopoly of the spice trade in the Malaccan straits, which the Dutch had acquired by ousting the Portuguese in 1640-41. In 1657, Oliver Cromwell renewed the charter of 1609, and brought about minor changes in the holding of the Company. The status of the Company was further enhanced by the restoration of monarchy in England. By a series of five acts around 1670, King Charles II provisioned it with the rights to autonomous territorial acquisitions, to mint money, to command fortresses and troops and form alliances, to make war and peace, and to exercise both civil and criminal jurisdiction over the acquired areas.[citation needed] In 1711, the Company established a trading post in Canton (Guangzhou), China, to trade tea for silver.

The road to a complete monopoly

Trade monopoly

The prosperity that the officers of the company enjoyed allowed them to return to their country and establish sprawling estates and businesses, and to obtain political power. Consequently, the Company developed for itself a lobby in the English parliament. However, under pressure from ambitious tradesmen and former associates of the Company (pejoratively termed Interlopers by the Company), who wanted to establish private trading firms in India, a deregulating act was passed in 1694. This allowed any English firm to trade with India, unless specifically prohibited by act of parliament, thereby annulling the charter that was in force for almost 100 years. By an act that was passed in 1698, a new "parallel" East India Company (officially titled the English Company Trading to the East Indies) was floated under a state-backed indemnity of £2 million. However, the powerful stockholders of the old company quickly subscribed a sum of £315,000 in the new concern, and dominated the new body. The two companies wrestled with each other for some time, both in England and in India, for a dominant share of the trade. However, it quickly became evident that, in practice, the original Company faced scarcely any measurable competition. Both companies finally merged in 1708, by a tripartite indenture involving them both as well as the state. Under this arrangement, the merged company lent to the Treasury a sum of £3,200,000, in return for exclusive privileges for the next three years, after which the situation was to be reviewed. The amalgamated company became the United Company of Merchants of England Trading to the East Indies.[citation needed]

In the following decades there was a constant see-saw battle between the Company lobby and the Parliament. The Company sought a permanent establishment, while the Parliament would not willingly allow it greater autonomy, and so relinquish the opportunity to exploit the Company's profits. In 1712, another act renewed the status of the Company, though the debts were repaid. By 1720, 15% of British imports were from India, almost all passing through the Company, which reasserted the influence of the Company lobby. The license was prolonged until 1766 by yet another act in 1730.

At this time, Britain and France became bitter rivals. Frequent skirmishes between them took place for control of colonial possessions. In 1742, fearing the monetary consequences of a war, the British government agreed to extend the deadline for the licensed exclusive trade by the Company in India until 1783, in return for a further loan of £1 million. The skirmishes did escalate to the feared war. Between 1756 and 1763, the Seven Years' War diverted the state's attention towards consolidation and defence of its territorial possessions in Europe and its colonies in North America. The war took place on Indian soil, between the Company troops and the French forces. This angered the Indian people. In 1757, the Law Officers of the Crown delivered the Pratt-Yorke opinion distinguishing overseas territories acquired by conquest from those acquired by private treaty. The opinion asserted that, while the Crown of Great Britain enjoyed sovereignty over both, only the property of the former was vested in the Crown.[15]

With the advent of the Industrial Revolution, Britain surged ahead of its European rivals. Demand for Indian commodities was boosted by the need to sustain the troops and the economy during the war, and by the increased availability of raw materials and efficient methods of production. As home to the revolution, Britain experienced higher standards of living. Its spiralling cycle of prosperity, demand and production had a profound influence on overseas trade. The Company became the single largest player in the British global market. It reserved for itself an unassailable position in the decision-making process of the Government.

William Pyne notes in his book The Microcosm of London (1808) that

"On the 1 March 1801, the debts of the East India Company to £5,393,989 their effects to £15,404,736 and their sales increased since February 1793, from £4,988,300 to £7,602,041."

Saltpetre trade

Sir John Banks, a businessman from Kent who negotiated an agreement between the King and the Company, began his career in a syndicate arranging contracts for victualling the navy, an interest he kept up for most of his life. He knew Pepys and John Evelyn and founded a substantial fortune from the Levant and Indian trades. He also became a Director and later, as Governor of the East Indian Company in 1672, he was able to arrange a contract which included a loan of £20,000 and £30,000 worth of saltpetre for the King 'at the price it shall sell by the candle'[citation needed] - that is by auction - where an inch of candle burned and as long as it was alight bidding could continue. The agreement also included with the price 'an allowance of interest which is to be expressed in tallies.'[citation needed] This was something of a breakthrough in royal prerogative because previous requests for the King to buy at the Company's auctions had been turned down as 'not honourable or decent.'[citation needed] Outstanding debts were also agreed and the Company permitted to export 250 tons of saltpetre. Again in 1673, Banks successfully negotiated another contract for 700 tons of saltpetre at £37,000 between the King and the Company. So urgent was the need to supply the armed forces in the United Kingdom, America and elsewhere that the authorities sometimes turned a blind eye on the untaxed sales. One governor of the Company was even reported as saying in 1864 that he would rather have the saltpetre made than the tax on salt.[16]

The basis for the monopoly

Colonial monopoly

Robert Clive, 1st Baron Clive, became the first British Governor of Bengal.

The Seven Years' War (1756 – 1763) resulted in the defeat of the French forces and limited French imperial ambitions, also stunting the influence of the industrial revolution in French territories. Robert Clive, the Governor General, led the Company to an astounding victory against Joseph François Dupleix, the commander of the French forces in India, and recaptured Fort St George from the French. The Company took this respite to seize Manila[17] in 1762. By the Treaty of Paris (1763), the French were allowed to maintain their trade posts only in small enclaves in Pondicherry, Mahe, Karikal, Yanam, and Chandernagar without any military presence. Although these small outposts remained French possessions for the next two hundred years, French ambitions on Indian territories were effectively laid to rest, thus eliminating a major source of economic competition for the Company. In contrast, the Company, fresh from a colossal victory, and with the backing of a disciplined and experienced army, was able to assert its interests in the Carnatic from its base at Madras and in Bengal from Calcutta, without facing any further obstacles from other colonial powers.[citation needed]

Military expansion

The Company continued to experience resistance from local rulers during its expansion. Robert Clive led company forces against Siraj Ud Daulah, the last independent Nawab of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa(only Midnapore district) to victory at the Battle of Plassey in 1757, resulting in the conquest of Bengal. This victory estranged the British and the Mughals, since Siraj Ud Daulah was a Mughal feudatory ally. But the Mughal empire was already on the wane after the demise of Aurangzeb, and was breaking up into pieces and enclaves. After the Battle of Buxar, Shah Alam II, the ruling emperor, gave up the administrative rights over Bengal, Bihar, and Orissa (only Midnapore district, rest of Orissa was under the rule of Maratha and Nizam of Hyderabad). Clive thus became the first British Governor of Bengal.

Haidar Ali and Tipu Sultan, the legendary rulers of Mysore (in Carnatic, modern day Indian state of Karnataka - capital city Bangalore), gave a tough time to the British forces. Having sided with the French during the war, the rulers of Mysore continued their struggle against the Company with the four Anglo-Mysore Wars. Mysore finally fell to the Company forces in 1799, with the slaying of Tipu Sultan.

With the gradual weakening of the Maratha empire in the aftermath of the three Anglo-Maratha wars, the British also secured Bombay and the surrounding areas. It was during these campaigns, both against Mysore and the Marathas, that Arthur Wellesley, later Duke of Wellington, first showed the abilities which would lead to victory in the Peninsular War and at the Battle of Waterloo. A particularly notable engagement involving forces under his command was the Battle of Assaye. Thus, the British had secured the entire region of Southern India (with the exception of small enclaves of French and local rulers), Western India and Eastern India.

The last vestiges of local administration were restricted to the northern regions of Delhi, Oudh, Rajputana, and Punjab, where the Company's presence was ever increasing amidst the infighting and dubious offers of protection against each other. Coercive action, threats and diplomacy aided the Company in preventing the local rulers from putting up a united struggle against it. The hundred years from the Battle of Plassey in 1757 to the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857 were a period of consolidation for the Company, which began to function more as a nation and less as a trading concern.

The first cholera pandemic began in Bengal, then spread across India by 1820. 10,000 British troops and countless Indians died during this pandemic.[18] Between 1736 and 1834 only some 10% of East India Company's officers survived to take the final voyage home.[19]

Opium trade

In the eighteenth century, Britain had a huge trade deficit with Qing Dynasty China and so in 1773, the Company created a British monopoly on opium buying in Bengal. As opium trade was illegal in China, Company ships could not carry opium to China. So the opium produced in Bengal was sold in Calcutta on condition that it be sent to China.[20]

Despite the Chinese ban on opium imports, reaffirmed in 1799, it was smuggled into China from Bengal by traffickers and agency houses (such as Jardine, Matheson and Company, Ltd.) averaging 900 tons a year. The proceeds from drug-runners at Lintin Island were paid into the Company’s factory at Canton and by 1825, most of the money needed to buy tea in China was raised by the illegal opium trade. In 1838, with opium smuggling approaching 1400 tons a year, the Chinese imposed a death penalty on opium smuggling and sent a new governor, Lin Zexu to curb smuggling. This finally resulted in the First Opium War, eventually leading to the British seizure of Hong Kong.

Regulation of the company's affairs

Two ships in a harbor, one in the distance. Onboard, men stripped to the waist and wearing feathers in their hair are throwing crates overboard. A large crowd, mostly men, is standing on the dock, waving hats and cheering. A few people wave their hats from windows in a nearby building.
Monopolistic activity by the company triggered the Boston Tea Party.

Financial troubles

Though the Company was becoming increasingly bold and ambitious in putting down resisting states, it was getting clearer day by day that the Company was incapable of governing the vast expanse of the captured territories. The Bengal famine, in which one-third of the local population died, set the alarm bells ringing back home. Military and administrative costs mounted beyond control in British administered regions in Bengal due to the ensuing drop in labour productivity. At the same time, there was commercial stagnation and trade depression throughout Europe following the lull in the post-Industrial Revolution period. The desperate directors of the company attempted to avert bankruptcy by appealing to Parliament for financial help. This led to the passing of the Tea Act in 1773, which gave the Company greater autonomy in running its trade in America, and allowed it an exemption from the tea tax—which its colonial competitors were required to pay. When the American colonists, who included tea merchants, were told of the act, they tried to boycott it, claiming that, although the price had gone down on the tea when enforcing the act, it was a tax all the same, and the king should not have the right to just have a tax for no apparent reason. The arrival of tax-exempt Company tea, undercutting the local merchants, triggered the Boston Tea Party in the Province of Massachusetts Bay, one of the major events leading up to the American Revolution.

Regulating Acts of Parliament

East India Company Act 1773

By this Act (13 Geo. III, c. 63), the Parliament of Great Britain imposed a series of administrative and economic reforms and by doing so clearly established its sovereignty and ultimate control over the Company. The Act recognized the Company's political functions and clearly established that the "acquisition of sovereignty by the subjects of the Crown is on behalf of the Crown and not in its own right."

Despite stiff resistance from the East India lobby in parliament, and from the Company's shareholders, the Act was passed. It introduced substantial governmental control, and allowed the land to be formally under the control of the Crown, but leased to the Company at £40,000 for two years. Under this provision, the governor of Bengal Warren Hastings was promoted to the rank of Governor General, having administrative powers over all of British India. It provided that his nomination, though made by a court of directors, should in future be subject to the approval of a Council of Four appointed by the Crown - namely Lt. General John Clavering, George Monson, Richard Barwell and Philip Francis. He was entrusted with the power of peace and war. British judicial personnel would also be sent to India to administer the British legal system. The Governor General and the council would have complete legislative powers. Thus, Warren Hastings became the first Governor-General of India. The company was allowed to maintain its virtual monopoly over trade, in exchange for the biennial sum and an obligation to export a minimum quantity of goods yearly to Britain. The costs of administration were also to be met by the company. These provisions, initially welcomed by the Company, backfired. The Company had an annual burden on its back, and its finances continued steadily to decline.[21]

East India Company Act (Pitt's India Act) 1784

The India Act of 1784 (24 Geo. III, s. 2, c. 25) had two key aspects:

  • Relationship to the British government: the bill differentiated the East India Company's political functions from its commercial activities. In political matters the East India Company was subordinated to the British government directly. To accomplish this, the Act created a Board of Commissioners for the Affairs of India, usually referred to as the Board of Control. The members of the Board were the Chancellor of the Exchequer, a Secretary of State, and four Privy Councillors, nominated by the King. The act specified that the Secretary of State "shall preside at, and be President of the said Board".
  • Internal Administration of British India: the bill laid the foundation for the centralized and bureaucratic British administration of India which would reach its peak at the beginning of the twentieth century during the governor-generalship of George Nathaniel Curzon, 1st Baron Curzon.
The expanded East India House, Leadenhall Street, London, as rebuilt 1799-1800, Richard Jupp, architect (as seen c. 1817; demolished in 1929)

Pitt's Act was deemed a failure because it quickly became apparent that the boundaries between government control and the company's powers were nebulous and highly subjective. The government also felt obliged to respond to humanitarian calls for better treatment of local peoples in British-occupied territories. Edmund Burke, a former East India Company shareholder and diplomat, was moved to address the situation and introduced a new Regulating Bill in 1783. The bill was defeated, however, due to intense lobbying by company loyalists and accusations of nepotism in the bill's recommendations for the appointment of councillors.

Act of 1786

This Act (26 Geo. III c. 16) enacted the demand of Lord Cornwallis, that the powers of the Governor-General be enlarged to empower him, in special cases, to override the majority of his Council and act on his own special responsibility. The Act also enabled the offices of the Governor-General and the Commander-in-Chief to be jointly held by the same official.

This Act clearly demarcated borders between the Crown and the Company. After this point, the Company functioned as a regularized subsidiary of the Crown, with greater accountability for its actions and reached a stable stage of expansion and consolidation. Having temporarily achieved a state of truce with the Crown, the Company continued to expand its influence to nearby territories through threats and coercive actions. By the middle of the 19th century, the Company's rule extended across most of India, Burma, Malaya, Singapore and Hong Kong, and a fifth of the world's population was under its trading influence.

Charter Act 1813

The aggressive policies of Lord Wellesley and the Marquis of Hastings led to the Company gaining control of all India, except for the Punjab, Sindh and Nepal. The Indian Princes had become vassals of the Company. But the expense of wars leading to the total control of India strained the Company’s finances to the breaking point. The Company was forced to petition Parliament for assistance. This was the background to the Charter Act of 1813 (53 Geo. III c. 155) which, among other things:

  • asserted the sovereignty of the British Crown over the Indian territories held by the Company;
  • renewed the Charter of the Company for a further twenty years but,
    • deprived the Company of its Indian trade monopoly except for trade in tea and the trade with China;
    • required the Company to maintain separate and distinct its commercial and territorial accounts; and,
  • opened India to missionaries.
Charter Act 1833

The Industrial Revolution in Britain, and the consequent search for markets, and the rise of laissez-faire economic ideology form the background to this act. The Act:

  • removed the Company's remaining trade monopolies and divested it of all its commercial functions;
  • renewed for another twenty years the Company’s political and administrative authority;
  • invested the Board of Control with full power and authority over the Company. As stated by Kapur Professor Sri Ram Sharma, thus, summed up the point: "The President of the Board of Control now became Minister for Indian Affairs";
  • carried further the ongoing process of administrative centralization through investing the Governor-General in Council with, full power and authority to superintend and, control the Presidency Governments in all civil and military matters;
  • initiated a machinery for the codification of laws;
  • provided that no Indian subject of the Company would be debarred from holding any office under the Company by reason of his religion, place of birth, descent or colour. However, this remained a dead letter well into the 20th century;
  • vested the Island of St Helena in the Crown.

Meanwhile, British influence continued to expand; in 1845, the Danish colony of Tranquebar was sold to Great Britain. The Company had at various stages extended its influence to China, the Philippines, and Java. It had solved its critical lack of the cash needed to buy tea by exporting Indian-grown opium to China. China's efforts to end the trade led to the First Opium War with Britain.

Charter Act 1853

This Act provided that British India would remain under the administration of the Company in trust for the Crown until Parliament should decide otherwise.

Indian Rebellion of 1857-8

The Indian Rebellion of 1857, known to the British as the "Great Mutiny", but to Indians as the "First War of Independence", resulted in widespread devastation in India and condemnation of the Company for permitting the events to occur.[citation needed] One of the consequences was that the British government nationalized the Company. The Company lost all its administrative powers; its Indian possessions, including its armed forces, were taken over by the Crown pursuant to the provisions of the Government of India Act 1858.

The Company continued to manage the tea trade on behalf of the British government (and the supply of Saint Helena) until the East India Stock Dividend Redemption Act came into effect, on 1 January 1874, under the terms of which the Company was dissolved.[22]

Legacy

The East India Company has had a long lasting impact on the Indian Subcontinent. Although dissolved following the rebellion of 1857, it stimulated the growth of the British Empire. Its armies after 1857 were to become the armies of British India and it played a key role in replacing the official language of India from Persian to English. Even today the English language has official status in Pakistan and India, being used by the government and civil service. Some phrases introduced by the company are considered to be archaic in British English today, such as do the needful, but live on in the English of South Asia and are used daily.[23]

They are seen as the villains in the movies Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End.

East India Club

The East India Club in London was formed in 1849 for officers of the East India Company. The Club still exists today as a private Gentlemen's Club and its club house is situated at 16, St. James's Square, London.

The East India Club in Edinburgh was active earlier, at least as early as August 22, 1806, when the Club hosted an evening of entertainment to honor Warren Hastings, the former Governor-General of India, then visiting the Oman Tavern in Edinburgh.[24]

Flags

The East India Company flag changed over time. From the period of 1600 to 1707 (Act of Union between England and Scotland) the flag consisted of a St George's cross in the canton and a number of alternating Red and White stripes. After 1707 the canton contained the original Union Flag consisting of a combined St George's cross and a St Andrew's cross. After the Act of Union 1800, that joined Ireland into the United Kingdom, the canton of the East India Company's flag was altered accordingly to include the new Union Flag with the additional St Patrick's cross. There has been much debate and discussion regarding the number of stripes on the flag and the order of the stripes. Historical documents and paintings show many variations from 9 to 13 stripes, with some images showing the top stripe being red and others showing the top stripe being white.

It has been suggested that the stripes were inspired by the flag of the Majapahit Empire, whose flags may still have flown across the Spice Islands in the Company's early days.

At the time of the American Revolution the East India Company flag would have been identical to the Grand Union Flag. The flag probably inspired the Stars and Stripes (as argued by Sir Charles Fawcett in 1937).[25] Comparisons between the Stars and Stripes and the Company's flag from historical records present some convincing arguments. The John Company flag dates back to the 1600s whereas the United States adopted the Stars and Stripes in 1777.[26]

The flag of Malaysia may also be derived from the British East India Company's flag, as well as the flag of Hawai'i

The stripes and gridlike appearance of the flag gave rise to several pieces of imperial slang. Most notably is the phrase 'riding the gridiron'; this referred to travelling on a ship flying the company flag to / from India.

Ships

A ship of the East India Company can also be called an East Indiaman.[27]

East India Company records

Unlike all other British Government records, the records from the East India Company (and its successor the India Office) are not in The National Archives at Kew, London, but are stored by the British Library in London as part of the Asia, Pacific and Africa Collection. The catalogue is searchable online in the Access to Archives catalogues.[28] Many of the East India Company records are freely available online under an agreement that FIBIS have with the British Library.

Trading Again

On 14 September 2004, the name The British East India Company Limited [1] was purchased from The British Government Agents by Captain William George MacDonald.[citation needed]

The Company Registered Number is now on The British Companies House Register and it is Number 3667052.

The Company Head Office is The John Laird Centre, Park Road North, Birkenhead, Wirral, CH41 4EZ, United Kingdom.

On 21 July 2006, the name and the house flag of The British East India Company Limited was trademarked on The British Trademark Registry and two certificates were issued.

The first certificate was for the name (The British East India Company Limited) - Trademark Number 2404311B (Dated 28 September 2005).

The second certificate was for The Original House Flag of The British East India Company Limited - Trademark Number 2404311A (Dated 28 September 2005).

Both trademarks belong exclusively to Captain William George MacDonald who is Chairman of The British East India Company Limited.[citation needed]link title

Indian entrepreneur Sanjiv Mehta buys The British East India Company Limited. With a $15-million investment, Mehta is poised to open the first East India Company store in London’s upmarket Mayfair neighbourhood in March. He says,“But, at an emotional level as an Indian, when you think with your heart as I do, I had this huge feeling of redemption — this indescribable feeling of owning a company that once owned us.”

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Encyclopaedia Britannica 2008, "East India Company"
  2. ^ 1. Columbia Encyclopedia 2007, "East India Company, British". 2. Marx, Karl (June 25, 1853), "The British rule in India", New York Daily Tribune  republished in Carter, Mia; Harlow (editors), Barbara (2003), Archives of Empire, Raleigh: Duke University Press. Pp. 802, ISBN 0822331640, http://books.google.com/books?id=13pyxO8o4moC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_summary_r&cad=0#PPA117,M1 . Quote (p. 118): "I do not allude to European despotism, planted upon Asiatic despotism, by the British East India Company, forming a more monstrous combination than any of the divine monsters startling us in the temple of Salsette."
  3. ^ The Dutch East India Company was the first to issue public stock.
  4. ^ The Register of Letters &c. of the Governor and Company of Merchants of London trading into the East Indies, 1600–1619. On page 3, a letter written by Elizabeth I on January 23, 1601 ("Witnes or selfe at Westminster the xxiiijth of Ianuarie in the xliijth yeare of or Reigne.") states, "Haue been pleased to giue lysence vnto or said Subjects to proceed in the said voiadgs, & for the better inabling them to establish a trade into & from the said East Indies Haue by or tres Pattents vnder or great seale of England beareing date at Westminster the last daie of december last past incorporated or said Subjecte by the name of the Gournor & Companie of the merchaunts of London trading into the East Indies, & in the same tres Pattents haue geven them the sole trade of theast Indies for the terme of XVteen yeares ..."
  5. ^ A. Oxford English Dictionary (Draft Edition, September 2008, requires subscription) entry for "honourable": "2b. Applied as an official or courtesy title of honour or distinction." Usage: ... the prefix ‘Honourable’ ... is also applied to the House of Commons collectively; ... also formerly to the East India Company, etc. Examples: 1698 FRYER Acc. E. India & P. 38 "In pay for the Honourable East India Company." B. Encyclopaedia Britannica 1911, "HONOURABLE (Fr. honorable, from Lat. honorabilis, worthy of honour), a style or title of honour common to the United Kingdom, the British colonies and the United States of America.... The epithet is also applied to the House of Commons as a body and to individual members during debate ('the honourable member for X.'). Certain other corporate bodies have, by tradition or grant, the right to bear the style; e.g. the Honourable Irish Society, the Inns of Court (Honourable Society of the Inner Temple, &c.) and the Honourable Artillery Company; the East India Company also had the prefix 'honourable' . The style may not be assumed by corporate bodies at will, as was proved in the case of the Society of Baronets, whose original style of 'Honourable' Society was dropped by command." C. Birdwood, George (1891), Report on The Old Record of the India Office, London: W. H. Allen & Co., Limited, and at Calcutta, http://books.google.com/books?id=m-WBAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA14&dq=Charter+of+1709+%22Honourable+East+India+Company%22&lr=&num=100&as_brr=1  Quote (p. 14): "The English Company [Including The General Society chartered by William III, 3rd September 1698] trading with the East , commonly called "the New Company," was incorporated by William III, 5th September 1698; its charter running to 1714. The above Company of Merchants of London and the English Company, were finally incorporated under the name of "The United Company of Merchants of England trading to the East [commonly styled, "the Honourable East India Company"] in 1708-9."
  6. ^ Hawes, Christopher J. (1996), Poor Relations: The Making of a Eurasian Community in British India, 1773-1833, London: Routledge. Pp. 217., ISBN 0700704256, http://books.google.com/books?id=d22WUEmG49IC&pg=PR13&vq=HEIC&lr=&source=gbs_search_r&cad=1_1  Quote (p. xiii): "Abbreviations: Honourable East India Company (HEIC)."
  7. ^ Ride, Lindsay; Ride, May; Mellor, Bernard (1995), An East India Company Cemetery: Protestant Burials in Macao, Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press. Pp. 304, ISBN 9622093841, http://books.google.com/books?id=flbXWNoVraEC&pg=PA7&dq=charter+1709+%22honourable+east+india+company%22&lr=lang_en&num=100&as_brr=3  Quote (p. 7): "In 1709, the Company amalgamated with a rival group, which had been chartered in 1698 by William III. This union took the title 'The Honourable East India Company,' which was shortened for general use to 'the Honourable Company' and more often still to John Company, until it ceased operations in 1834, after its monopoly of British trade with China was discontinued."
  8. ^ Gandhi, M. K. (1997), Hind Swaraj and other writings, (Edited by Anthony J. Parel) Cambridge and London: Cambridge University Press. Pp. 208., ISBN 0521574315, http://books.google.com/books?id=oc47gUOPZfcC&pg=PA39&dq=%22Company+Bahadur%22#PPA39,M1 . Quote (p.39): "... They came to our country originally for the purpose of trade. Recall the Company Bahadur. Who made it Bahadur? They had not the slightest intention at the time of establishing a kingdom. Who assisted the Company's officers? Who was tempted by their silver? Who bought their goods? History testifies that we did all this. ... †: 'the Company Bahadur': an honorific title by which the East India Company was known among Indians. 'Bahadur' means brave, powerful, sovereign."
  9. ^ Sarkar, Dipanker (2010-02-14), East India Company now has n Indian owner, The Hindustan Times, http://www.hindustantimes.com/News-Feed/business/East-India-Company-now-has-an-Indian-owner/Article1-508853.aspx }}
  10. ^ Fresco, Adam (2010-02-10), With one eye firmly on the past, new chapter begins for East India Company, The Times Online, http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/retailing/article7018409.ece 
  11. ^ a b c d Imperial Gazetteer of India vol. IV 1908, p. 454
  12. ^ a b Imperial Gazetteer of India vol. II 1908, p. 6
  13. ^ Gardner, Brian (1972). The East India Company: a History. McCall Publishing Company. ISBN 0841501246. 
  14. ^ Indian History Sourcebook: England, India, and The East Indies, 1617 A.D
  15. ^ Thomas, P. D. G. (2008) "Pratt, Charles, first Earl Camden (1714–1794)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, online edn, accessed 15 February 2008 subscription or UK public library membership required
  16. ^ SALTPETER the secret salt - Salt made the world go round
  17. ^ Company incursion, Manila 1762-1763. See the Bib. for the citation of Sirs Draper and Cornish; see also Cushner's citation.
  18. ^ Cholera's seven pandemics. CBC News. December 2, 2008
  19. ^ Sahib: The British Soldier in India, 1750-1914 by Richard Holmes
  20. ^ EAST INDIA COMPANY FACTORY RECORDS Sources from the British Library, LondonPart 1: China and Japan
  21. ^ Anthony, Frank. Britain's Betrayal in India: The Story of the Anglo Indian Community. Second Edition. London: The Simon Wallenberg Press, 2007 Pages 18- 19, 42, 45.
  22. ^ The Times reported, "It accomplished a work such as in the whole history of the human race no other company ever attempted and as such is ever likely to attempt in the years to come."
  23. ^ Deccan Herald
  24. ^ from William Matthews Gilbert, Edinburgh in the Nineteenth Century: Being a Diary of the Chief Events Which Have Occurred in the City from 1800 A.D. to 1900 A.D., p. 44.
  25. ^ The Striped Flag Of The East India Company, And Its Connexion With The American "Stars And Stripes"
  26. ^ http://www.kimber.org/flag/index.htm
  27. ^ Sutton, Jean (1981) Lords of the East: the East India Company and its ships. London: Conway Maritime
  28. ^ A2A - Access to Archives Home

References

  • Andrews, Kenneth R. (1985). Trade, Plunder, and Settlement: Maritime Enterprise and the Genesis of the British Empire, 1480–1630. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521257603. 
  • Bowen, H. V. (1991). Revenue and Reform: The Indian Problem in British Politics, 1757–1773. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521403162. 
  • Bowen, H. V.; Margarette Lincoln, and Nigel Rigby, eds. (2003). The Worlds of the East India Company. Rochester, NY: Brewer. ISBN 0851158773. 
  • Brenner, Robert (1993). Merchants and Revolution: Commercial Change, Political Conflict, and London’s Overseas Traders, 1550–1653. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. ISBN 0691055947. 
  • Carruthers, Bruce G. (1996). City of Capital: Politics and Markets in the English Financial Revolution. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0-691-04455-2. 
  • Chaudhuri, K. N. (1965). The English East India Company: The Study of an Early Joint-Stock Company, 1600–1640. London: Cass. 
  • Chaudhuri, K. N. (1978). The Trading World of Asia and the English East India Company, 1660–1760. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521217164. 
  • Farrington, Anthony (2002). Trading Places: The East India Company and Asia, 1600–1834. London: British Library. ISBN 0712347569. 
  • Furber, Holden (1976). Rival Empires of Trade in the Orient, 1600–1800. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. ISBN 0816607877. 
  • Imperial Gazetteer of India vol. II (1908), The Indian Empire, Historical, Published under the authority of His Majesty's Secretary of State for India in Council, Oxford at the Clarendon Press. Pp. xxxv, 1 map, 573. 
  • Imperial Gazetteer of India vol. IV (1908), The Indian Empire, Administrative, Published under the authority of His Majesty's Secretary of State for India in Council, Oxford at the Clarendon Press. Pp. xxx, 1 map, 552. 
  • Lawson, Philip (1993). The East India Company: A History. London: Longman. ISBN 0582073863. 
  • Sen, Sudipta (1998). Empire of Free Trade: The East India Company and the Making of the Colonial Marketplace. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. ISBN 978-0812234268. 
  • Steensgaard, Niels (1975). The Asian Trade Revolution of the Seventeenth Century: The East India Companies and the Decline of the Caravan Trade. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0226771385. 
  • Dirks, Nicholas (2006). The Scandal of EMPIRE : India and the creation of Imperial Britain. Cambridge, Massachusetts, London, England: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. ISBN 0674021665. 

External links

[2] East India Company now has an Indian owner


Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

English

Proper noun

Wikipedia

British East India Company

  1. A seventeenth-century joint-stock company founded to trade with India to Britain's advantage

Advertisements






Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address
Message