Arrival of European Powers in India| Portuguese, Dutch, British and France


Vasco da Game came to India in 1498. After this, many European, countries (merchants) came to India for the purpose of trade. These merchants arrived in India with the objective of trade and later they started establishing political rule. The merchants came to India in the beginning were from Portugal. Holland, England. France and Dutch. 


Arrival of European power in India

Portuguese were the first to enter India.

• Vasco da Game reached the port of Calicut in 1498, where he took the permission from a local Hindu ruler Zamorin to trade in India.

• Francisco code Almeida (1505-1509) came to India as a first Governor of Portugal colonies.

• He followed a policy called ‘Blue Water Falls’, i.e., strengthening the naval power to expel Arabs from Arabian sea and Indian ocean.

• Afonso de Albuquerque (1509-1915) expanded the Portugal Empire. Albuquerque is known as ‘the founder of real Portuguese power’ in India. Portugal authority over Asia’s trade ended when the more powerful competitors came.


In 1583, a Dutch trader named Jan Huyghen van Linschoten came India and served as the Portuguese Viceroy’s secretary in Goa between 1583 and 1588. He published a book, named, ‘Itinerario’, where for the first time, it was graphically displayed the detailed maps of voyages to the East Indies, particularly India. He provided data on currents, deeps, islands, sandbanks which was absolutely vital for navigation As a result, the passages to the East Indies to be opened to trading by the Dutch, French and English by breaking the monopoly of the Portuguese traders. In 1602, different Dutch companies were merged to form United East India Company.

Dutch East India Company established the first Dutch factory at Muslipatnam in 1605. Dutch traders were looking for textiles to exchange with the spices the traded in the East Indies. They -established Dutch Suratte (Surat) and Dutch Bengal in 1616 and `1627 respectively. In 1759, the British defeated the Dutch and  ended the Dutch company’s dominance in India. By 1825, after signing the ‘Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1824′ the Dutch had lost ther treading Posts in India.


  1. Arrival Europe powe

On 31st December, 1600. Queen Elizabeth I of England granted a royal charter to East India Company to trade with the Eastern countries. In 1609, the Company decided to open a factory at I. Surat. The English Ambassador Captain William Hawkins arrived at 1 Jahangir’s (Mughal Emperor) court to obtain a farman ( royal I order)to trade with India. East India Company set up its first factory ‘ at Surat in 1613 and second at Masulipatnam in 1616. In 1615, Sir Thomas Roe reached Mughal Emperor’s court and received a farman carrying free trade and exemption from inland toll. In 1651, Nawab of Bengal, Shuja-ud-din to offer permission company the proper to trade after paying duties. In 1691. royal Farman was issued by Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb which exempted the East India Company to pay custom duties in Bengal. In 1700, company built a fort called ‘Fort Williams’ in Calcutta In 1717, a delegation of the company met a Mughal Emperor Farrukhsiyar under the leadership of John Surman and received a royal decree for the facilities.


French East India Company was established in 1664, by Colbert under state patronge. French built their first factory in India at Surat in 1664, and it was built by Francois Caron. The second was built at MasuliPatnam (1669). French established her trading centre at Chandranagar (1690-92) in Bengal. Pondicherry was the colony of French In 1742, When Dupleix came to India as French Governor-General, there was change in their objective from commercial motive to imperial expansion and the knglo-French/Carnatic war started.

British-French Struggle

Beginning with trade, English and French companies became rival in Indian politics. The main region of struggle for English and French was Carnatic. That is why the struggle is known by wars of Carnatic in the history of India.

The following three wars were fought between the British and the French.

First Carnatic War

(1740-48) In 1740, the war of the Austrian Succession broke out in Europe. Britain was drawn into the war against France and its allies. In India, the trading Companies of both countries maintain cordial relationship. When on 21st September, 1946, the French captured the British outpost at Madras, the British besieged Pondicherry, but later lifted the siege. Madras was Oven back to the British. The treaty of Aix-La-Chapelle (1748) ended the war of Austrian Succession and also the First Anglo-French war in India.

 Second Carnatic War

(1749-54) French Governor Dupleix aligned with Muzaffar Jung (Hyderabad) and Chanda Sahib (Carnatic/Arcot) and the Nizam Nasir Jung supported by the British Commander Robert Clive fought, Madras was given back to the British, in exchange for the French fortress of Louisbourg in North America, which the British had captured Treaty of Pondicherry ended the second Carnatic War (Anglo-French War).

 Third Anglo-French War (1756-63)

The outbreak of the 7 years’ war in Europe in 1756 outcome in revived conflict between British and French forces in India.

The war was decided in the South, where the British defended Madras. Sir Eyre Coote defeated the French Commander Comte de Lally at the Battle of Wandiwash in 1700. After this battle the French capital of Pondicherry fell to the British in 1761. The Treaty of Paris (1763) ended the final Anglo-French war in India.

Battle of Plassey (1757 )

Battle of Plassey

Battle of Plassey was fought between British and Nawab of Bengal in 1757. During the time of 1757 Siraj-ud-daulah became the Nawab of Bengal. Siraj-ud-daulah ordered the British to stop building the fort and to make payment of dues. A troop of soldiers were sent under the leadership of British Governor Robert Clive to take control over the fort. In 1757, at Plassey the battle was fought between the soldiers of Siraj-ud-daulah and Robert Clive, in which the commander of Siraj-ud-daulah, Mir Zafar collided with Robert Clive, which resulted into the victory of Clive and company made Mir Zafar the Nawab of Bengal. The Battle of Plassey sowed the seed of colonialism by the British in India.

Battle of Buxar (1764)

• Due to the unfaithfulness of Mir Zafar, Company made Mir Qasim (son-in-law of Mir Zafar) the Nawab of Bengal. But when Mir Qasim tried to implement policy in national interest the British forced a war on Mir Qasim. Mir Qasim formed an alliance with Shuja-ud-daula, Nawab of Awadh and Mughal Emperor Shah Alam II.

• Finally, on 22nd October 1764, Mir Qasim, Shuja-ud-daula and Mughal Emperor Shah Alam II collectively organised an attack on British forces. This came to be known as ‘Battle of Buxar’. The battle fought at Buxar, alittle fortified city among the territory of Bihar, situated on the banks of the Ganges River . It had been a decisive victory for British East India Company. 

Treaty of Allahabad

After the victory, British made a treaty with the nominal emperor Shah Alam II, which is famous by the name of Treaty of Allahabad. Under this, company got the deewani of Bengal, Bihar and Odish and became the power-brokers throughout Awadh as well as Bihar. (Arrival eropean power in India)

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