From trader to kings: How British Invaded India

 From trader to kings: How British Invaded India

India has always been known as the land of flourishment and prosperity. India has been in the trading business ever since the 10th century with the Arabs because of the Mughal Empire. Eventually the European countries, after having discovered the richness of the country started trading businesses too in the 1600’s. India maintained a healthy and rich trading relationship with the East India Trade Company. Trade with the Britishers and the other European countries gave India a high stature in the global economy. Hence, India had always been in the radar for not only the Britishers but also other European countries like France and Portuguese. Many of their trades and industries after the Industrial Revolution depended on the raw materials acquired from India. Therefore, getting a hold on the Indian Economy would ease the production and manufacturing of their finished goods.

In the 16th century, India had 25% share in the global trade market and England was a poor country with 90% population under poverty. The discovery of sea routes by Vasco da Gama paved their way to trade with rich countries like India. The Britishers had lost their control over North America which moreover triggered them to consider invading other countries that also, plainly included India.

It wasn’t simple to invade and gain control over India, for it was one of the most progressive countries beholding history in civilization such as the Mohenjodaro and Indus Valley civilization. Apart from its richness in history and civilization, India produced all kinds of crops such as cotton, spices, indigo and much more. The Indian mines had also set itself up as a major attraction for traders.

Spices sold during British Raj in India: Photo Courtesy-Mythical India

India experienced all four seasons to its full blast and consisted of land appropriate for cultivation of crops. India back then comprised of present-day Hindustan, Pakistan and Bangladesh. The vastness of land and regions varied in its nature. The regions in India diversified and differed from a desert, ice bergs and snowy peaks, beaches and greenery. Apart from its geographical favourability, India was the richest when it came to culture and art. Art was one major aspect that caught the attention and interest of the Britishers. Each region reflected its monarchical culture and art in its architecture and fashion. Religion in India was a mixture of Hindus and Islam.

From all facets India was a rich and civilized country that made the country rich not only in culture but also in the trading business. British looked at India as a market for its products. The country’s strategic location being between England and China would ease and proliferate the silk trade between them. The high population of the country would be of use in labour work for their industries and mines. Another factor that attracted and eased the East India Company were the number of ports in the country.

All in all, there were practically no drawbacks when it came from the business expansion point of view for the Britishers. The failure and the decline of the Mughal Empire gave them the golden opportunity to invade and rule throughout the country.

Since India was unlike many other regions in the world with only aborigines and tribal culture, it was a difficult region to conquer. Trade and setting up industries were their strategy to enter into the economy of the country, which was successfully and effortlessly done. When it came to political invasion, the Britishers provided the ruling kings of the different regions of the country with armies and ammunitions to fight wars and battles. The Indian kings also provided the Britishers with army troops for them to fight the First World War. The Britishers gave expert trainings to the armies in fighting wars and battles. This was the start point in the political involvement of the Britishers. When the battles were won by the empire with British army, they conveniently gained control over the different empires one at a time. They eventually side tracked the monarchy tradition of India, as the different rules and rulers intruded in their trading business and growth. The Kings, lured by gold that was exchanged by the Britishers for the raw materials, failed to comprehend the possible consequences. India being a country that has always been ruled upon by one power and kingship, it easily fell into the prey of the British Raj.

The Britishers used the calibre of India to its highest potential in order to pull profit towards themselves. They took the raw materials from the farmers at an extremely cheap price, carried them back to Europe and sold them at a high price. For the industries that they set up in India, production was at a high rate too, due to the availability of manpower and first-hand raw materials.

India was considered to be a ‘jewel in the crown’ for the Britishers. The production of cotton, silk, spices, sugarcane, metals and indigo had a high demand in the European market. India has always had its arms open for people to come in because of its modern art and culture. A few weaknesses of the monarchical tradition in the different regions and the Indian mutiny paved a simple way for the Britishers to lay a strategic plan in conquering the country and ruling for more than 200 years from 1858 to 1947.

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