Published on August 31, 2020

Advent Of The Europeans in India

Portuguese traders were the first to discover the sea route to India in 1948. They were followed by the Dutch in 1595 then by the English and France. Economic competition among the European countries let to the founding of various commercial companies, for example, English East India Company in 1602.

Portuguese (1502- 1961)

Portuguese were the first to come and last to leave. Cartaz System: Captain of all India ships were obliged to buy passes from the Viceroy of Goa. In the absence of the pass, their ships could be ceased by the Portuguese. Portuguese introduced the cultivation of tobacco, potato, corn, ladies finger, sapota, papaya, orange, cashew and so on. In 1556 the first printing press was introduced in India by Portuguese at Goa.

1. Vasco da Gama

  • Portuguese sailor Vasco da Gama first discovered the sea route to Indian continent via Cape of Good Hope in South Africa on May 1498.
  • During this time the Calicut was ruled by Hindu ruler Zamorin.
  • In 1502, he established a factory at Cochin.
  • In 1502 he visited India for the second time and he destroyed Calicut.
Fig.1 -Vasco da Gama

2. Pedro Álvares Cabral

  • Second Portuguese to Visit India was Pedro Álvares Cabral.
  • He came in 1500 BCE.
  • He is also known as “Father of Brazil“.
Fig.2 -Pedro Álvares Cabral

3. Francisco de Almeida

  • The first Governor of Portuguese in India was Francisco de Almeida.
  • He established first Portuguese fort in Anjediva Island, India.
  • On 1508, Battle of Chaul was fought between Portuguese and Combined navy of Egypt, Turkey and Gujarat and Portuguese were defeated.
  • On 1509, Portuguese defeated the combined navy of Calicut, Gujarat and Egypt in the Battle of Diu. For this battle, the Indian Ocean was turned into Portuguese sea for the next century.
Fig.3 -Francisco de Almeida

4. Afonso de Albuquerque

  • Almeida was followed by Afonso de Albuquerque.
  • He was the Greatest Portuguese Governor in India.
  • He captured Goa from Bijapur with the help of Krishna Deva Raya, the ruler of Vijaynagara.
  • He abolished the practice of Sati in the Portuguese settlement.
  • He also encouraged his countrymen to marry Indian women and propagate Christianity.
Fig.4 - Afonso de Albuquerque

5. Nuno da Cunha

  • He transferred the Portuguese capital in India from Cochin to Goa in 1530.
  • He established the Portuguese factory in Bengal at Hugli.
  • He secured permission to use two ports in Bengal named Satgaon and Chittagong.
  • Qassim Khan, military commander of Sahajahan destroyed Portuguese power in Hugli (1631-32).
  • In 1661 Portuguese handover Bombay to Charles II as a dowry to marry princess Catherine of Braganza.
  • In 1658 Portuguese lost Sri Lanka to Dutch.
Fig.5 - Nuno da Cunha

English (1608- 1947)

The activities of English East India Company in chronological order.
Year Event
1600 The English East India Company was formed in London during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. Other names of the company were John Company and Merchant of Adventurous.
1607 Captain Hawkins paid a visit to the Jahangir’s court but failed to secure treating rights.
1608 The British first came to India in Surat port.
1611 The company established its first factory South India at Masulipattan.
1612 In the Battle of Swally, English East India Company defeated the Portuguese Navy.
1612-13 The company established its first factory in India at Surat.
1615 British ambassador Sir Thomas Roe paid a visit to the Jahangir’s court and secure treating rights to Surat.
1632 British obtained the Golden Farman from the ruler of Golkunda and granting the company duty-free trade in the kingdom of Golconda.
1633 The company established its first factory in the eastern part of India at Hariharpur and Balasore, Odhisha.
1639 The English obtained Madras from the ruler of Chandragiri and established a fort and established a fort named St. George.
1651 The company established its first factory in Bengal at Hoogli.
1668 They got Bombay from Charles II and established their settlement. Gerald Aungier is known as Father of Bombay.
1686-90 Child war was fought between the company and Mughal emperor Aurangazeb.
1690 Job Churnack landed in Sutanati and established the city Kolkata.
1700 the factory at Sutanati was fortified and named Fort William.
1717 John Surman obtained a Farman from Farrukhsiyar which gave large concessions to the Company. This Farman is called the Magna Carta of the company’s trade.

Danish(1620- 1869)

  • The Danish East India Company was established in 1616 under King Christian IV.
  • They established settlements at Serampur (Bengal) and Tranqueber (Tamil Nadu).
  • They sold their settlements to the English 1845.
  • Thir business activities confined almost exclusively in China.

French (1741 – 1954)

  • The French were the last European people come to India for trading.
  • The French East India Company was formed in 1664, at the instance of a minister Colbert, in the reign of Louis XIV, which was authorized to carry on commerce and colonise the East Indies.
  • They established their first factory at Surat in 1668 and Masulipatnam in 1669. In 1673, the Mughal Subedar Shaistya Khan of Bengalallowed the French to set up a township and factory at Chandannnagar.
  • Puducherry the most important French trading centre as well as the Headquarters of French in India.

Related Articles

Later Mughal Age (1707-1858)

The Indus Valley Civilisation (2300-1750 BC)

A Complete Account of Vedic Age (1500-600 BC)

Additional Information About the Vedic Age

Social Media Links:



Home | About | Exams | Blog | Privacy | Disclaimer | Terms and Conditions | Contact