By the beginning of the nineteenth century the East India Company occupied a position of central importance in Britain's trade and empire, and it was considered to have contributed much to the burgeoning strength of the nation at home as well as overseas. ...the Company's resources were fuelling the growth of Britain's armed forces, public finances, and money markets
In 1750, The British East India Company assumes control of Bengal and Bihar, opium-growing districts of India. British shipping dominates the opium trade out of Calcutta to China.
Through an extensive misuse of its newly acquired political power, the Company subjected suppliers and artisans to complete domination, imposing upon them unilaterally determined terms and conditions which significantly cut into theit margin of profit.
In 1813 an act was passed ending the East India Company's monopoly in India, and in 1833 an act was passed that left the company without administrative or commercial functions. By 1858 the company had transferred its possessions to the British government.
Clive became governor of Bengal in 1765 and is generally considered the founder of Britain's Indian Empire. Warren Hastings succeeded Clive and was made the first governor-general.
The award of contracts to supply export commodities to the Company was based upon a tender competition conducted each spring. Although this was ostensibly an open competition, much clearly depended upon
individuals or ﬁrms gaining the favour of the directors, and only those who were well connected ever had a realistic chance of having their bids accepted.
The Company saw the rise of its fortunes, and its transformation from a trading venture to a ruling enterprise, when one of its military officials, Robert Clive, defeated the forces of the Nawab of Bengal, Siraj-ud-daulah , at the Battle of Plassey in 1757. A few years later the Company acquired the right to collect revenues on behalf of the Mughal Emperor
[East India Company] bought textiles in India for silver and gold, exchanged them for spices grown in the Malay Islands, and sold the spices in Europe and Asia. Soon Indian textiles were exported directly to Europe, where they became highly fashionable.
This asserted the sovereignty of the British Crown over the Indian territories held by The Company. It renewed the Charter of The Company for a further twenty years but ended its Indian trade monopoly except for trade in tea.
By 1690, the Company had trading centres (known as 'factories') all along the West and East coasts of India. The main centres were at Madras, Calcutta and Bombay. The Company started to protect its trade with its own armies and navies.
The Honourable East India Company was founded at the end of the 16th century. Its royal charter, granted by Queen Elizabeth I in 1600, gave it exclusive rights to trade to India and the Far East and its first trading post in India was set up at the city of Surat in 1607.
India offered foreign traders the skills of its artisans in weaving cloth and winding raw silk, agricultural products for export, such as sugar, the indigo dye or opium, and the services of substantial merchants and rich bankers.
In the last quarter of the sixteenth centrury, the Portuguese Crown faced a growing range of problems in its Euro-Asian pepper trade. These ... gave the merchants from the northern Netherlands a strong incentive to challenge the Portuguese monopoly of the Cape route and to participate directly in the Euro-Asian spice trade. The fear of Dutch dominations in the spice market ... served as the catalyst that led a group of London merchants to apply to the Crown for a monopoly charter for the East India trade.
The East India Company foreshadowed the modern world in all sorts of striking ways. It was one of the first companies to offer limited liability to its shareholders. It laid the foundations of the British empire. It spawned Company Man.