Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Expansion of British India

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).
Catherine of Braganza was a portuguese infanta and the queen consort of Charles II of England, Scotland and Ireland. She married the King in 1662, in the beginning of her tenure as queen consort . She was not popular with the English people, due to her catholic religion and inability to speak the English language. Part of her dowry were the port cities of Tangier (Morocco) and Bombay.    
The Company created trading posts in Surat ( where a factory was built in 1612), Madras (1639), Bombay (1668), and Calcutta (1690). By 1647,the companyy had 23 factories, each under the command of a factor or master merchant and governor if so chosen, and had 90 employees in India. The major factories became the walled forts of Fort William in Bengal, 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 in 1717 completely waved customs duties for the trade.
The company's mainstay business were  then in cotton, silk, indigo dye, saltpetre and tea.In 1657, Oliver Cromwell renewed the charter of 1609, and King Charles II provisioned it with the rights to autonomous territorial acquisitions, to mint money, to command fortress and troops and form alliances, to make war and peace, and to excercise both civil and criminal jurisdiction over the acquired land, In 1711, the company established a trading post in Canton (Guangzhou), China, to trade siver for trade.