From its origin as a small London enterprise, the East India Company emerged in 1600 as a powerful commercial and political organization established by the English businessmen. Its early presence in India shaped the Gulf region and officially brought western people into Asia’s early modern landscape. During the period of 1700 to 1900, the world was expanding rapidly, and many western countries took on their journey of imperialism to obtain more control over world trade and expand their territories.
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Certain factors such as strong western military power and Asian migration force largely contributed to the expansion of European imperialism over early modern Asian empires. Throughout, the power of imperialism and profits of commerce have been woven together.
This was the period when the most western and eastern interactions started to take place, and it was called the age of imperialism as western force had taken control over Asia, especially India and China, by the end of 19th century. The British entered the Indian market in the 18th century with the East India Company to seek larger financial and mercantile benefits. Economic changes brought by the Industrial Revolution let the European capitalists came to realize the huge profits that could be made by overseas trade.
By then, the dominant power in India was the Mughal Empire, and it was required for the Englishmen to clarify their purpose for trading when they first arrived. The British trading company focused most of its attention on exchanging spices, cotton and many other commodities. Its competitors were the Portuguese, who secured the Indian west coast, and the French, who controlled the southeast area (Blackwell 34). However, the East Indian Company started to develop beyond a purely commercial enterprise.
With the decline of the Mughal Empire and the concurrent rise of regional powers, the British and East India Company took advantage of the political instability and established military supremacy over rival European trading companies and local rulers. In 1757, the seizure over control of the province of Bengal marked the start of imperialism. After that, the British and the Company had acquired considerable political power, developed a bureaucratic infrastructure, and passed a series of legal acts. Their aim was to officially and legally regulate taxation, new rules and bribery (Blackwell 35).
A foreign entity’s ability to take direct control over taxation of local Indian citizens indicated a shift of relationship roles. Previously, the interactions between the British and Indians were balanced off with no sense of superiority or inferiority. However, with the absolute transition to the Company’s new role as the ruler, the British attitude toward Indians degenerated. British businessmen used to ask for permissions to enter the Indian market, but because they wanted more”more commodities, more trading and political power”to keep more lands under British control.
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