Study Material and Notes of Ch 2 From Trade to Territory Class 8th History

End of Mughal Empire

• Aurangzeb was the last of the powerful Mughal rulers.

• In 1707, after his death, many Mughal governors (subadars) and big zamindars established regional kingdoms.

East India Company Comes East

• Vasco da Gama, a Portuguese explorer, who had discovered this sea route to India in 1498.

• The Portuguese were the first Europeans who came to India. 

• They established their presence in the western coast of India, and had their base in Goa.

• In 1600, the East India Company acquired a charter from the ruler of England.

• By early seventeenth century, the Dutch and the French also arrived on the scene.

• All the companies were interested in buying the same things such as cotton and silk, pepper, cloves, cardamom and cinnamon which created competition and ultimately reduced the profits that could be earned.

• To secure markets, therefore, led to fierce battles between the trading companies.

East India Company begins trade in Bengal

• The first English factory was set up on the banks of the river Hugli in 1651.

• As trade expanded, the Company persuaded merchants and traders to come and settle near the factory. 

• By 1696 it began building a fort around the settlement. 

• Two years later, the Company gained zamindari rights over three villages.
→ One of the villages was Kalikata
(later came to be known as Kolkata).

How trade led to battles

• After the death of Aurangzeb, the Bengal nawabs asserted their power and autonomy.

The Battle of Plassey

• In 1756, Sirajuddaulah became the nawab of Bengal after the death of Alivardi Khan.

• The Company was keen on a puppet ruler so it help one of Sirajuddaulah’s rivals become the nawab without success. 

• Angry Sirajuddaulah asked the Company to stop interfering in the political affairs of his dominion, stop fortification, and pay the revenues.

• After negotiations failed, the Nawab marched with 30,000 soldiers to the English factory at Kassimbazar, captured the Company officials, locked the warehouse, disarmed all Englishmen, and
blockaded English ships. 
→ He then marched to Calcutta to establish his control over the Company’s fort.

• As the news of the fall of Calcutta reached, Company officials in Madras sent forces under the command of Robert Clive.

• In 1757, the Robert Clive-led Company’s army marched against Sirajuddaula at Plassey.

• The Nawab was defeated, as the forces led by Mir Jafar, one of Sirajuddaulah’s commanders, never fought the battle. 

• After the defeat at Plassey, Sirajuddaulah was assassinated and Mir Jafar made the nawab.

• Mir Jafar died in 1765 the mood of the Company had changed. 

• Finally, in 1765 the Mughal emperor appointed the Company as the Diwan of the provinces of Bengal.

• The outflow of gold from Britain entirely stopped after the assumption of Diwani as now revenues from India could finance Company expenses.

Company officials become “nabobs”

• After the Battle of Plassey the actual nawabs of Bengal were forced to give land and vast sums of money as personal gifts to Company officials.

• Many company officials like Clive made vast wealth however, not all Company officials succeeded in making money. 

• Those who managed to return Britain with wealth led flashy lives and flaunted their riches. They were called “nabobs” – an anglicised version of the Indian word nawab.

Company Rule Expands

• After the Battle of Buxar (1764), the Company appointed Residents in Indian states.

• Through the Residents, the Company officials began interfering in the internal affairs of Indian states. 

• Sometimes the Company forced the states into a “subsidiary alliance”. 
→ According to the terms of this alliance, Indian rulers were not allowed to have their independent armed forces.
→ They were to be protected by the Company though they had to pay huge amounts for this
→ If Indian rulers failed to make these payments, a part of their territory was to be taken away by the Company.

Tipu Sultan – The “Tiger of Mysore”

• Mysore had grown in strength under the leadership of powerful rulers like Haidar Ali (ruled from 1761 to 1782) and his famous son Tipu Sultan (ruled from 1782
to 1799). 

• In 1785 Tipu Sultan stopped the export of sandalwood, pepper and cardamom through the ports of his kingdom, and disallowed local merchants from trading with the Company.

• He established close relationship with the French in India, and modernised his army with their help.

• Four wars were fought with Mysore (1767-69, 1780-84, 1790-92 and 1799). 
→ In the last – the Battle of Seringapatam – did the Company ultimately win a victory. 

• Tipu Sultan was killed defending his capital Seringapatam, Mysore 

• The former ruling dynasty of the Wodeyars placed and a subsidiary alliance was imposed on the state.

War with the Marathas

• After the defeat in the Third Battle of Panipat in 1761, they were divided into many states under different chiefs ( sardars ) belonging to dynasties such as Sindhia, Holkar, Gaikwad and Bhonsle. 
→ These chiefs were held together in a confederacy under a Peshwa (Principal Minister).

• Anglo-Marathas war were fought between these and the company.
→ The first war that ended in 1782 with the Treaty of Salbai, there was no clear victor. 
→ The Second Anglo- Maratha War (1803-05) resulting in the British gaining Orissa and the
territories north of the Yamuna river including Agra and Delhi. 
→ The Third Anglo-Maratha War of 1817-19 crushed Maratha power, the Peshwa was removed and Company now had complete control over the territories south of the Vindhyas.

The claim to paramountcy

• Under Lord Hastings (Governor- General from 1813 to 1823) a new policy of “paramountcy” was initiated which claimed its power was greater than that of Indian states. 
→ In order to protect its interests it was justified in annexing or threatening to annex any Indian kingdom.

• In the late 1830s the East India Company became worried about Russia as Russia might expand
across Asia and enter India from the north-west.

• They fought a prolonged war with Afghanistan between 1838 and 1842 and established indirect Company rule there. 

• Sind was taken over in 1843. 

• After the death of Maharaja Ranjit Singh in 1839, two prolonged wars were fought with the Sikh
kingdom and in 1849, Punjab was annexed.

The Doctrine of Lapse

• Lord Dalhousie, the Governor-General from 1848 to 1856 devised a policy that came to be known
as the Doctrine of Lapse.
→ It declared that if an Indian ruler died without a male heir his kingdom would “lapse”, that is, become part of Company territory. 

• Many kingdoms were annexed under this rule:
→ Satara in 1848
→ Sambalpur in 1850
→ Udaipur in 1852
→ Nagpur in 1853
→ Jhansi in 1854
→ Awadh in 1856

Setting up a New Administration

• Warren Hastings (Governor-General from 1773 to 1785) played a significant role in the expansion of Company power.

• British territories were broadly divided into administrative units called Presidencies. There were three Presidencies: 
→ Bengal
→ Madras
→ Bombay. 

• Each was ruled by a  Governor and the supreme head of the administration was the Governor-General.

• From 1772 a new system of justice was established. 

• Each district was to have two courts 
→ a criminal court (faujdari adalat) 
→ a civil court (diwani adalat)

• In Civil courts, Maulvis and Hindu pandits interpreted Indian laws for the European district collectors.

• The criminal courts were still under a qazi and a mufti but under the supervision of the collectors.

• The collector main job was to collect revenue and taxes and maintain law and order in his district with the help of judges, police officers and darogas.

The Company army

• From the 1820s, the cavalry requirements of the Company’s army declined because the British empire was fighting in Burma, Afghanistan and Egypt where soldiers were armed with muskets and matchlocks.

• In the early nineteenth century, the British began to develop a uniform military culture.

• The soldiers were given European-style training and were subjected to drill and discipline.


• The East India Company was transformed from a trading company to a territorial colonial power.

• By 1857 the Company came to exercise direct rule over about 63 percent of the territory and 78 percent of the population of the Indian subcontinent.

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