The East India Company

In 1600, a company that rose to account for half of the worlds trade established. It was made to challenge the Dutch-Portuguese spice trade, and Queen Elizabeth granted rights to bring in goods from India. James Mill and his son John Stuart Mill worked for the company and eventually became head of the office at East India House in Leadenhall Street, London, were the international headquarters were established. The company established trading post in Bombay, Madras, and Calcutta with the approval of India. It was trading in cottons, indigo, silk, saltpeter, and tea. The East India Company had a monopoly of this trade, but in 1694 the House of Commons passed an act that enabled all British firms to trade with India. Fifteen percent of Britain’s imports came from India due to the large profits the company was making, as well as it’s dominance.

By the late eighteenth century, the British government began to reign it in, but became concerned of it’s power near the end of the century. Charles Fox therefore attempted to persuade the Parliament to pass a bill that would replace the company’s directors with board of commissioners in 1783. They had second thoughts about the idea when George III announced to the House of Lords that anyone who voted for the bill would be considered an enemy. The following year the Parliament accepted the bill due to William Pitt, the prime minister, convincing George III. This gave rise to a new board of trade which sent financial, political, and military power of the East India Company to the British government. But the company found it difficult to make a profit from it’s activities, and stopped trading on 1834. Instead they acted as a managing agency for the government. The company came to an absolute end in 1873, and Lloyds took over India House.

During the period of the East India Company’s greatest vigor, it became of the ruler of territories incredibly larger than the United Kingdom, as well as it’s establishment with trade in the Middle East and Asia. It basically created colonies, like Singapore. Singapore had very few Malay inhabitants when, in 1819, Sir Stamford Raffles bought it for the Company from their ruler, the Sultan of Johor, and eventually Singapore became one of the worlds greatest grand shipment ports.

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