Extra Questions- From Trade to Territory


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Short Answer Type

1. What is a Mercantile?

Mercantile is a business enterprise that makes profit primarily through trade, buying goods cheap and selling them at higher prices

2. When did the Portuguese explorer, discovered the sea route to India?

In 1498

3. What items of trade were in great demand in Europe?

Fine quality silk and cotton, pepper, cloves, cardamom and cinnamon.

4. When did the first English factory set and where?

On the banks of river Hugli in 1651.

5. Where did the Court of Proprietors of the East India Company had their meetings?

In the East IndiaHouse on Leadenhall Street in London.

Short Answer Type

1.What rights do the charter of 1600  provided to East India Company?

In 1600, the East India Company acquired a charter from the ruler of England, Queen Elizabeth I, granting it
the sole right to trade with the East. This meant that no other trading group in England could compete with the East India Company. With this charter, the Company could venture across the oceans, looking for new lands from which it could buy goods at a cheap price, and carry them back to Europe to sell at higher prices. The Company
did not have to fear competition from other English trading companies.

2. What happened during the Black Hole tragedy in Fort Williams?

When Alivardi Khan died in 1756, Sirajuddaulah became the nawab of Bengal. The Company was worried about
his power and keen on a puppet ruler who would willingly give trade concessions and other privileges. So it tried, though without success, to help one of Sirajuddaulah’s rivals become the nawab. An infuriated Sirajuddaulah asked the Company to stop meddling in the political affairs of his dominion, stop fortification, and pay the revenues. After negotiations failed, the Nawab marched with 30,000 soldiers to the English factory at Kassimbazar, captured the Company officials, locked the warehouse, disarmed all Englishmen, and
blockaded English ships, this led to the death of many English officials due to suffocation and fire which came to be known as the Black Hole tragedy.

3. How did the company decided to become nawab?

When the Nawab of Bengal Mir Jafar protested, the Company deposed him and installed Mir Qasim in his place. When Mir Qasim complained, he, in turn, was defeated in a battle fought at Buxar (1764), driven out of Bengal, and Mir Jafar was reinstalled. The Nawab had to pay Rs 500,000 every month but the Company wanted more money to finance its wars, and meet the demands of trade and its other expenses. It wanted more territories and more revenue. By the time Mir Jafar died in 1765 the mood of the Company had changed. Having failed to work with puppet nawabs, Clive declared: “We must indeed become nawabs ourselves.”, int his way company became the Nawab in 1765.

4.  Who were the company residents in India and what were their role?

After the Battle of Buxar (1764), the Company appointed Residents in Indian states. They were political or commercial agents and their job was to serve and further the interests of the Company. Through the Residents, the Company officials began interfering in the internal affairs of Indian states. They tried to decide who was to be the successor to the throne, and who was to be appointed in administrative posts, via these residents.

5. Why did the British considered Tipu as their enemy?

The Company resorted to direct military confrontation when it saw a threat to its political or economic interests. Mysore had grown in strength under the leadership of powerful rulers like Haidar Ali (ruled from 1761 to 1782) and his famous son Tipu Sultan (ruled from 1782 to 1799). Mysore controlled the profitable trade of the Malabar coast where the Company purchased pepper and cardamom. In 1785 Tipu Sultan stopped the export of sandalwood, pepper and cardamom through the ports of his kingdom, and disallowed local merchants from trading with the Company. He also established a close relationship with the French in India and modernised
his army with their help. This made  British furious, they saw Haidar and Tipu as ambitious, arrogant and dangerous.

Long Answer Type

1. How did the British subdued Maratha power?

In the late eighteenth century, the Company also sought to curb and eventually destroy Maratha power. With their defeat in the Third Battle of Panipat in 1761, the Marathas’ dream of ruling from Delhi was shattered. They were divided into many states under different chiefs (sardars) belonging to dynasties such as Sindhia, Holkar, Gaikwad and Bhonsle. These chiefs were held together in a confederacy under a Peshwa (Principal Minister) who became its effective military and administrative head based in Pune. Mahadji Sindhia and Nana Phadnis were two famous Maratha soldiers and statesmen of the late eighteenth century.
The Marathas were subdued in a series of wars. In the first war that ended in 1782 with the Treaty of Salbai, there was no clear victor. The Second Anglo- Maratha War (1803-05) was fought on different fronts, resulting in the British gaining Orissa and the territories north of the Yamuna river including Agra and Delhi. Finally, the Third Anglo-Maratha War of 1817-19 crushed Maratha power. The Peshwa was removed and sent away to Bithur near Kanpur with a pension. The Company now had complete control over the territories south of the Vindhyas.

2. How did the trade turned into battles between Mughals and the British?

Through the early eighteenth century, the conflict between the Company and the nawabs of Bengal intensified. After the death of Aurangzeb, the Bengal nawabs asserted their power and autonomy, as other regional powers were doing at that time.

Murshid Quli Khan was followed by Alivardi Khan and then Sirajuddaulah as the Nawab of Bengal. Each one of them was a strong ruler. They refused to grant the Company concessions, demanded largely tributes for the Company’s right to trade denied it any right to mint coins and stopped it from extending its
fortifications. Accusing the Company of deceit, they claimed that the Company was depriving the Bengal government of huge amounts of revenue and undermining the authority of the nawab. It was refusing to pay taxes, writing disrespectful letters, and trying to humiliate the nawab and his officials. The Company on its part declared that the unjust demands of the local officials were ruining the trade of the Company, and trade could flourish only if the duties were removed. It was also convinced that to expand trade it had to enlarge its settlements, buy up villages, and rebuild its forts.
The conflicts led to confrontations and finally culminated in the famous Battle of Plassey in 1757.

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