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Rise and Fall of the British East India Company

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This article written by Huw V Bowen, talks about the rise and fall of the British East India Company, which served as basis of means for British Commercialization and Imperialism in Asia. What started of as a trading unit it later turned into a sovereign organization and functioned for almost 200 years. The goods it sold and distributed from Asia were always in high demand and this contributed to it's upbringing as a powerful Organization. The Company stood as a towering presence in matters of trade, wealth, resources, longevity and influences. None of it's contemporaries even came close to that level of success the Company achieved. The Company immensely helped spur the growth of the British Empire. There were also many criticisms levied against it during it's time by various quarters. This perhaps could be one of the reasons for it's downfall but the main reasons for it's downfall were because of it's inability to generate what was promised financially to the State treasury and also because of the revolt of the Indian Mutiny.

The East India Company was a trading organization, which served as a basis of means for British Commercialization and Imperialism in Asia. The Company stood as a colossal figure in terms of strength, the wealth and resources it had accumulated and also for the cultural, political and economic influence it had exerted over many of it's contemporaries. The Company helped establish a far-flung empire by governing and exploiting it from London. The East India Company was granted it's first charter during the year of 1600 by the Queen, Elizabeth I. The Company spent the first century seeking to access the Asian markets and goods. Due to pressure from it's Dutch rivals, the Company had to shift it's focus towards South Asia. In due time, having established it's presidencies, there was a need to defend and fortify them, which resulted in the formation of a small private army. Thus the Company's role was not just defined by it's commercial activity but also for it's military presence. By the mid-eighteenth century the Company soon began to transform from that of a trading unit to being a sovereign. This was made possible by it's assertion of power over rival European Companies and Indian rulers. Which ultimately led them to a position of expanding it's own territorial and commercial empire.

The East India Company had a huge impact on Britain. The Company was highly regarded in London. The goods that they had transported from Asia were always in high demand in Britain's rapidly growing consumer markets. The Company did not only function in London but also beyond it as well. It's influences were widely felt in many parts of England most notably in the South. The Company set up many educational establishments for the sole purpose of preparing the people, who were sent to service overseas. The Company also maintained many military camps as well to those who were deployed overseas. The main factor how the Company flourished was because the goods it sold and distributed were always in high demand. Therefore the people who bought it's goods, played a huge role in it's upbringing. Many investments and bonds were made and bought in the Company respectively because it was very profitable and secure. In no time, the economy of the whole state of Britain became directly depended on the Company's fortunes. Therefore India was considered a very important asset and thus couldn't be lost.

By the time of the Bengal conquest, the East India Company had evolved into a powerful commercial and imperial organization. After the conquest, the Company had altered it's policy of exchanging exported British goods and bullion for Asian commodities to that of collecting revenues in north-east India as well as in it's territories. The right to collect taxes in the north-east was granted by the Mughal Emperor, Shah Alam II. This helped the Company to assert it's supremacy in terms of military and governance (de-facto sovereign) in the region. Thereafter, trade was done to transfer collected wealth



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