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ERIC Number: EJ1024318
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 5
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0037-7724
The East India Company: Agent of Empire in the Early Modern Capitalist Era
Brunton, Bruce
Social Education, v77 n2 p78-81, 98 Mar-Apr 2013
The world economy and political map changed dramatically between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries. Unprecedented trade linked the continents together and set off a European scramble to discover new resources and markets. European ships and merchants reached across the world, and their governments followed after them, inaugurating the modern eras of imperialism and colonialism. In 1600, Queen Elizabeth I granted a royal charter to the "Governor and Company of Merchants of London trading with the East Indies," soon thereafter known as the East India Company (EIC), which gave the merchants a monopoly on all trade east of the Cape of Good Hope for 15 years. The East India Company was a monopoly trading company that linked the Eastern and Western worlds. In particular, in its pursuit of resources and goods in the Indian subcontinent, it preceded the British government as the ruler of large parts of India. Indeed, the import into England and re-export to Europe of spices and other goods (such as cotton and silk) from the East was a lucrative business in the seventeenth century. During the 18th century the EIC and British improved coordination of a global trading structure and next turned their attention to North American and other colonies as a market for finished manufactures and a source of key staple commodities. This company design included a strategy of allowing the EIC's agents (trading officers) to engage in their own private trades. The challenge was to give agents enough latitude to expand trade without undermining the company's interests, however, as the Company amassed wealth and power, it came under increased scrutiny. The extraordinary wealth that many East India Company officials acquired in India was conspicuous and led to accusations of corruption, extortion, and plunder. The main theme of subsequent relations between the British government and the East India Company was the government's attempt to downsize the company and to open the resources of India and the East Indian trade to other enterprises. The battle between the British government and the EIC over who governed in India and other nearby territories was underway. In the EIC's final years, it functioned as a state-owned enterprise whose only role was to continue managing the Indian tea trade on behalf of the British government, and on June 1, 1874, it ceased to exist.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: India; Netherlands