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East India Company

About East India Company

The East India Company referred to by the names of East India Trading Company, English East India Company and British East India Company was initially formed as an English joint stock company. The company was formed to promote trade business with the East Indies but it traded mainly with China and Indian subcontinent. The East India Company was the oldest among all the other similar European trading companies and was granted an English Royal charter under the Governorís name and company of Merchants of London Trading into the East Indies by Elizabeth I on 31 December 1600.

East India Company Timeline

East India Company merged with another English company in the year 1708 after the later posed a threat to the monopoly of the former. The two companies merged to form the United Company of Merchants of England trading to the East Indies. The company was popularly referred to as Honourable East India Company and colloquially termed as John Company. Indians referred to the company as Company Bahadur (Hindustani bahadur, "brave"/"authority").

The East India Company mostly traded in silk, saltpetre, opium, dye, indigo tea, and cotton. However, the company did not restrict its dominance over trading business only and went ahead to rule India exercising military power and taking over administrative functions. It slowly moved ahead with other areas of dominance along with its commercial or business venture in India. The Company rule in India that successfully began in 1757 lasted until the year 1858. This end of the rule was followed by many events of history and mainly the Indian Rebellion of 1857. The British crown assumed direct administration of India under the Government of India Act 1858 in the new British Raj. The East India Company finally closed on 1 January 1874 following the East India Stock Dividend Redemption Act.

The East India Company was very much favored by the British Government and enjoyed a privileged position. Thanks, to its English relation the British government offered the special rights like, exemptions and trade monopolies. This high favoritism with the British Government did not go down well with other trading companies, as they smelled an unfair advantage was given to the East India Company. However, in spite of such resentment and oppositions the company ruled dominantly over India for around more than 200 years.

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