The decline of Mughal Empire became advantageous for Europeans who were eyeing on India. Though they approached India for trading business, their main motive was to loot India of its wealth. Europeans could easily fight the newly formed small states than the actual mighty Mughal Empire. Moreover Europeans were good sea fighters and Mughal emperors never felt the importance of sea. So they had no good navy.
Portuguese were the first European traders who came to India. They established themselves at Goa. They maintained naval supremacy for many decades and dominated Indian overseas trade with trading taxes from Asian and Indian traders. Later few other Europeans came to India as trading companies. These trading companies shared their expenses and profits
Why did Europeans come to India?
The factors which welcomed European traders into India are:
- Huge demand for goods from India like textiles and spices.
- Arabs had the monopoly over the trade of Indian goods. And obviously Arabs demanded huge price from European merchants. This provoked European merchants to trade directly with India.
- European merchant community became very wealthy and thus there was a sharp increase in the production of goods. Hence they were exploring new markets to trade their goods. Also they were in need of large quantities of raw material at low rates for their industries.
Following are various centers and the raw materials they supplied:
||Cotton textiles and Indigo
||Spices and Pepper
||Silk and Salt petre
European trading companies
Initially Denmark formed Danish East India Company on East coast of India at Tranquebar (South of Madras). They could not compete with the Dutch company established of Holland, also called as United East India Company from Netherlands. Dutch merchants traded spices with Java and Sumatra. They wanted to use India ports as halting places for their ships going from Europe to south-east Asia. English east India Company turned to India mainly for textile trade.
English formed trading company in 1600 and tried to get trading rights in India. They sent an ambassador to the court of Jahangir with farman requesting trading rights. English company strategically established companies at Masulipatnam (Machlipatnam), Surat, Fort St. George (Madras) and Fort William (Calcutta). Later they acquired Bombay as dowry in marriage of King Charles II with Portuguese princess. With the mighty sea power English could completely conquer Indian trade and drive away other contenders like Portuguese and Dutch.
In 1664, French trading company also started to trade in India. Hey were established at Pondicherry. Pondicherry is the same place which was the trading station of ancient Romans during first century AD. It was then called as Arikamedu. This French trading company was the close competition for English trading company in Indian trade. These two trading companies also started to influence the politics of the new kingdoms which formed after the decline of Mughal Empire.
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