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Modern History / Arrival of Europeans

Arrival of British in India

The arrival of British in India started when the British East India Company was formed on 31st December, 1600. Queen Elizabeth I of Britain passed a Charter (law made by Parliament) in which the company was given permission for doing trade in India and 15 years monopoly rights. In 1609, King James I passed another Charter in which the monopoly was extended to an indefinite period. The company enjoyed monopoly until 1813. In 1858, the company was got abolished.

British Settlements in India

  • In the initial stage, the following sites were the British settlements in India

    • Surat in Gujarat was the first British settlement in India (1608).

    • Machilipatnam in Andhra Pradesh (1611).

    • The headquarters of the settlements were being located at Madras, Bombay and Calcutta. All the three governors in the headquarters were independent of each other.
  • British Settlement in Madras

    The English East India Company settlement in Madras started in 1639 when Francis Day acquired the territory of Madras from an officer named Damerla Venkatadri Naidu of the king Venkatapati Raya III (Aravidu Dynasty).

    On this site, Chennapatnam (named after Chennappa, father of Naidu) was built. It was Francis Day, who built St. George Fort in Chennai (Madras).

  • British Settlement in Bombay

    In 1668, an officer named Gerald Aungier, who later became governor of Bombay, acquired the site of Bombay from British king Charles II. Portuguese princess Catherine Braganza was married to Charles II. Charles II got seven islands of Bombay as dowry from the Portuguese.

  • British Settlement in Calcutta

    In 1691, an officer named Job Charnock purchased 3 villages named Gobindapur, Kalikata and Sutanuti from the Mughal governor. These three villages of Kolkata were merged to form a bigger town.

    The British built a fort called Fort William in Calcutta, the seat of governor of Bengal. Though the arrival of British in Calcutta was late, it became the capital of the British in India in the later stages.