The Portuguese - Beginning of European Commerce, History, UPSC UPSC Notes | EduRev

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UPSC : The Portuguese - Beginning of European Commerce, History, UPSC UPSC Notes | EduRev

The document The Portuguese - Beginning of European Commerce, History, UPSC UPSC Notes | EduRev is a part of the UPSC Course History for UPSC (Civil Services) Prelims.
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The Portuguese

  • From very early times, India carried on an extensive trade with Europe. It was rudely interrupted by the rise of the Saracens and afterwards by the Ottaman empire. 
  • To Portugal belongs the credit of finding new routes to India. 
  • In 1497 Vasco-da-Gama sailed from Lisbon, doubled the Cape of Good Hope, and sailing north-east enchored off Calicut in 1498 A.D. The Portuguese - Beginning of European Commerce, History, UPSC UPSC Notes | EduRev
    Vasco da Gamma
  • The Cape of Good Hope had been discovered ten years earlier (1487 A.D.) by Bartholomew Diaz. 
  • The Raja of Calicut, known as the Zamorin, welcomed Vasco-da-Gama and received him graciously. From Calicut he sailed for Cochin and established a factory there.
  • In order to consolidate the position of the Portuguese in India and to destroy Muslim trade by seizing Aden, Ormuz and Malacca, the king of Portugal (1505 A.D.) decided to appoint a governor in India for a three years term with a sufficient force to protect the Portuguese settlements there.
  • Francisco de Amedia was appointed to this post with special instructions to erect fortresses at Kilwa, Anjadiva, Kannanur and Cochin. 
  • He won several victories and made the Portuguese power supreme in the Indian Ocean. 
  • He was totally against the idea of establishing a Portuguese empire in the East. This policy is known as the “Blue Water Policy”.
  • Almedia was succeeded by Alfonso de Albuquerque (1509 A.D.). Albuquerque is regarded as the real founder of Portuguese power in India. The Portuguese - Beginning of European Commerce, History, UPSC UPSC Notes | EduRev
    Alfonso-de- Albuquerque
  • He wanted to make Goa the headquarter of the Portuguese in India. 
  • In November 1510 A.D. he captured Goa, a rich port which then belonged to the sultan of Bijapur. 
  • Bitter persecution of Muslims was one serious drawback of Albuquerque’s policy. 
  • During his rule Albuquerque did his best to strengthen the fortifications of Goa and enhance its commercial importance.
  • The next important Portuguese viceroyality in India was Nino da Cunha who reached India in November 1529 A.D. 
  • Early in the following year he shifted the headquarters of his government from Cochin to Goa. 
  • When Humayun came into conflict with Bahadur Shah of Gujarat, the latter enlisted Portuguese support by ceding to them the island of Bassein. 
  • During Cunha’s viceroyalty attempts were also made to extend Portuguese influence in Bengal by settling many Portuguese there with Hooghly as their headquarters. 
  • Gracia de Noronha succeeded Nino de Cunha as the Portuguese governor in India (1538 A.D.). 
  • Gradually the Portuguese established other important settlements in India: Daman, Salsette, Chaul near Bombay, St. Thome near Madras and Hooghly in Bengal. They also extended their authority over the greater part of Ceylon. 
  • The arrival in India of the famous Jesuit saint Francis Xavier in the company of the Portuguese governor Martin Alfonso de Sousa in 1542 A.D. was an event of great significance, since it marked the beginning of ‘ecclesiastical supremacy’ in Portuguese India.

The Dutch

  • Cornelis de Hustman was the first Dutchman who, after doubling the Cape of Good Hope, reached Sumatra and Bantam in 1596 A.D. 

Points To Be Remembered

  • For Dutch Pulicat was the main centre in India till 1690, after which Negapatnam replaced it.
  • Marathas captured Salsette and Bassein in 1739 from the Portuguese.
  • Cochin was the early capital of Portuguese in India. Later Goa replaced it.
  • French East India Company was formed by Colbert under state patronage in 1664.
  • Establishment of the first French factory at Surat Francois Caron in 1668.
  • Establishment of a factory at Masulipatam by Maracara in 1669.
  • French acquisition of Chandranagore in Bengal from the Mughal Governor in 1690.
  • Danish settlements at Tranquebar (in Tamilnadu) in 1620 and at Serampore (Bengal) in 1676.
  • The Mughal farman of 1717 granted by Farrukh Siyar confirmed the privileges of 1691 (By 1691 farmans, Aurangzeb exempted the company from payment of custom duties in Bengal in return for an annual payment) and extended them to Gujarat and Deccan.
  • Grant of a farman by Jahangir permitting the English to erect a factory at Surat in 1613.
  • This gave the Dutch much encouragement for further enterprise, and within a few years new companies for the Indian trade were formed. 
  • These were amalgamated by the State-General with the grant of a charter, dated 20th March, 1602 A.D., into the United East India Company of Netherland. 
  • The company was also empowered to carry on war, to conclude treaties, to take possession of territory and to erect fortresses. 
  • The Dutch captured Amboyna from the Portuguese in 1605 A.D., and displaced them from the Spice Islands in 1619 A.D. 
  • Commerce drew the Dutch to India also, where they established factories on the Coromondal Coast in Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Bengal and Bihar.
  • Their principal factories  were at Pulicat (1610 A.D.), Surat (1616 A.D.), Bimlipatam (1641 A.D.), Chinsura (1653 A.D.), Baranagore, Kasimbazar, Patna, Nagapatam and Cochin.
  • The Dutch gained monopoly of the spice trade in the East throughout the 17th century. They carried from India to the islands of the Far East various articles such as indigo manufactured in the Yamuna valley, textile and silk from Bengal, Gujarat and Coromondal, Saltpetre from Bihar and opium and rice from the Ganga valley. 
  • While the Dutch were drawn more and more to the Malay Archipelago, the English concentrated their attention on India. Defeat in the battle near Hooghly dealt a crushing blow to Dutch ambitions in India.

Points To Be Remembered

  • Till 1687 all the English factories on the West Coast were under the control of the President and Council of their factory at Surat.
  • In 1687 Bombay replaced Surat as the headquarters of the Company on the West Coast.
  • In 1688 the English under Sir John Child captured many Mughal ships off the West Coast and disrupted the traffic of Haj pilgrims.
  • Transformation of the East India Company into a joint-stock company by a charter of Cromwell in 1657.
  • A rival company was formed by a group of merchants under Sir William Courten in 1635 and it was granted licence to trade in the East by Charles I
  • Formation of a new rival company, known as the “English Company of Merchants Trading to the East Indies” (1698), which sent Sir William Norris as an ambassader to Aurangzeb.
  • The amalgamation of both the companies (by the award of the Earl of Goldolphin—1708) under the title of “The United Company of Merchants of England Trading to the East Indies”.
  • The Dutch established factories at Masulipatam (1605), Pulicat (1610), Surat (1616), Karikal (1645), Chinsura (1653), Kasim bazar, Baranagore, Patna, Balasore, Negapatam (all in 1658) and Cochin (1633).
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