NCERT Class 8 History Chapter 2 - From Trade to Territory Notes

Chapter 2 - From Trade to Territory Notes

1. The last powerful Mughal ruler was Aurangzeb and after his death in 1707, many Mughal governors (subadars) and big zamindars began asserting their authority and establishing regional kingdoms. By the second half of the eighteenth century, a new power emerged on the political horizon, the British.

2. Coming of other European powers
• Portuguese in 1498
• Dutch in 1595
• British in 1608
• Danish in 1616
• French in 1664

3. East India Company Comes East
• The East India Company, in 1600, acquired a charter from the ruler of England, Queen Elizabeth I, granting the Company sole right to trade with the East.
• According to the charter, the Company could venture across the oceans, looking for new lands to buy goods at a cheaper price, and carry them back to Europe to sell at higher prices. The Portuguese established their presence on the western coast of India and had their base in Goa. Vasco da Gama had discovered sea route to India in 1498.
• By the early seventeenth century, the Dutch were exploring the possibilities of trade in the Indian Ocean and very soon the French arrived on the scene.
• All the companies are interested in buying the same things. The fine qualities of cotton, silk, pepper, cloves, cardamom and cinnamon were in great demand. The urge to secure markets led to fierce battles between the trading companies.
• Trade was carried on with arms and trading posts were protected through fortification.

4. East India Company begins trade in Bengal
• In 1651, the first English factory was set up. It was the base from which the Company’s traders, known as “factors”, operated. In the warehouse of the factory, goods for export were stored.
• The Company by 1696 built a fort around the settlement. Two years later it bribed the Company in giving the Company right over 3 villages. One of them was Kalikata.

5. How trade led to battles
• The conflict between the Company and the nawabs of Bengal intensified. The Bengal nawabs refused to grant the Company concessions, demanded large tributes for the Company’s right to trade, denied it any right to mint coins, and stopped it from extending its fortifications.
• They also claimed that the Company was depriving the Bengal government of huge amounts of revenue and undermining the authority of the nawab. The conflicts led to confrontations and finally culminated in the Battle of Plassey.

6. The Battle of Plassey
• In 1756, Alivardi Khan died and Sirajuddaulah became the nawab of Bengal. The Company tried to help one of Sirajuddaulah’s rivals to become the nawab.
• Sirajuddaulah asked the Company to stop meddling in his political affairs, stop fortification, and pay the revenues.
• In 1757, Robert Clive led the Company’s army against Sirajuddaulah at Plassey. The main reason for the defeat was the forces led by Mir Jafar never fought the battle.
• The Battle of Plassey became famous because it was the first major victory the Company won in India.
• The prime objective of the Company was the expansion of trade if it can be done without conquest, through the help of local rulers, then territories need not be taken over directly.
• Soon, the Company discovered that this was rather difficult. In 1765, the Mughal emperor appointed the Company as the Diwan of the provinces of Bengal.
• It allowed the Company to use the vast revenue resources of Bengal. From the early eighteenth century, the Company’s trade with India had expanded. But it had to buy most of the goods in India with gold and silver.
• This was because at that time Britain didn't have any goods to sell in India. The outflow of gold from Britain stopped after the Battle of Plassey, and entirely stopped after the assumption of Diwani.
• The revenues from India could finance Company expenses. These revenues could be used to purchase cotton and silk textile in India, maintain Company troops, and meet the cost of building the Company fort and offices at Calcutta.

7. Company officials become “nabobs”
• After the Battle of Plassey, the Company officials forced the actual nawabs of Bengal to give land and vast sums of money as personal gifts.
• When Robert Clive left India, his Indian fortune was worth £401,102. In 1764, he was appointed as the Governor of Bengal and was asked to remove corruption in Company administration.
• Many Company officials died an early age in India due to disease and war. Some of the officials came from humble backgrounds and their desire was to earn enough in India, return to Britain and lead a comfortable life.
• Those who managed to return with wealth were called “nabobs” - an anglicised version of the Indian word nawab.

8. Company Rule Expands
• After the Battle of Buxar, 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. The Company also tried to decide who was to be the successor of the throne, and who was to be appointed in administrative posts.
• The term Subsidiary alliance meant that Indian rulers were not allowed to have their independent armed forces. They were to be protected by the Company, but had to pay for the “subsidiary forces” that the Company was supposed to maintain for the purpose of this protection.
• If the Indian rulers failed to make the payment, then part of their territory was taken away as a penalty.
• Example: When Richard Wellesley was the governor-general, the Nawab of Awadh was forced to give over half of his territory to the Company in 1801 as he failed to pay for subsidiary alliance.

9. Tipu Sultan - The “Tiger of Mysore”
• Mysore, 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) had grown in strength.
• It controlled the profitable trade of the Malabar coast where the Company purchased pepper and cardamom. Tipu Sultan, in 1785, he stopped the export of sandalwood, pepper and cardamom.
• The Company fought four wars with Mysore (1767-69, 1780-84, 1790-92 and 1799). Finally, in the last - the Battle of Seringapatam - the Company won the battle.

10. War with the Marathas
• The Third Battle of Panipat in 1761, the Marathas were defeated and their dream of ruling from Delhi was shattered.
• They were divided into many states under different chiefs (sardars) belonging to dynasties - Sindhia, Holkar, Gaikwad and Bhonsle. These chiefs were held together under a Peshwa (Principal Minister) who became its effective military and administrative head based in Pune.
• Marathas were indulged in a series of wars. The first war 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.

11. The claim to Paramountcy
• Paramountcy was new policy was initiated under Lord Hastings (Governor-General from 1813 to 1823).
• The Company claimed that its power was greater than that of Indian states. Example: when the British tried to annex the small state of Kitoor, Rani Channamma took to arms and led an anti-British resistance movement. She was arrested in 1824 and died in prison in 1829.
• In the late 1830s, the East India Company became worried about Russia. It imagined that Russia might expand across Asia and enter India from the north-west.
• So, the Company fought a prolonged war with Afghanistan between 1838 and 1842 and established indirect Company rule there. Punjab was annexed in 1849, after two prolonged wars.

12. The Doctrine of Lapse
• Under Lord Dalhousie, Governor-General from 1848 to 1856. The Doctrine of Lapse is a policy devised by him which declared that if an Indian ruler died without a male heir his kingdom would “lapse”, that is, become part of Company territory. In 1856, the Company took over Awadh.
• Enraged by the humiliating way in which the Nawab was deposed, the people of Awadh joined the great revolt that broke out in 1857.

13. Setting up a New Administration
• Warren Hastings (Governor-General from 1773 to 1785) played a significant role in the expansion of Company power. During his time, the Company had acquired power in Bengal, Bombay and Madras.
• British territories were broadly divided into administrative units called Presidencies. There were three Presidencies: Bengal, Madras and Bombay. Each was ruled by a Governor.
• From 1772 a new system of justice was established. According to the new system, each district needed to have two courts - a criminal court (faujdari adalat) and a civil court (diwani adalat).
• The Brahman pandits have different interpretations of local laws based on different schools of the dharmashastra. To bring uniformity, in 1775 eleven pandits were asked to compile a digest of Hindu laws.
• By 1778 a code of Muslim laws was also compiled for the benefit of European judges. Under the Regulating Act of 1773, a new Supreme Court was established, while a court of appeal - the Sadar Nizamat Adalat - was also set up at Calcutta. The Collector was the principal figure in an Indian district.
• His job was to collect revenue and taxes and maintain law and order in his district with the help of judges, police officers and darogas.

14. The Company army
• In India, colonial rule brought some new ideas of administration and reform. The Mughal army composed of cavalry (sawars: trained soldiers on horseback) and infantry, that is, paidal (foot) soldiers.
• The army of the Mughal was dominated by cavalry. In the eighteenth century, changes occurred when Mughal successor states like Awadh and Benaras started recruiting peasants into their armies and training them as professional soldiers.
• The East India Company adopted the same method which came to be known as the sepoy army (from the Indian word sipahi, meaning soldier).
• In the early nineteenth century, the British began to develop a uniform military culture. Soldiers were subjected to European-style training, drill and discipline that regulated their life far more than before.

15. The East India Company was transformed from a trading company to a territorial colonial power. In the early nineteenth century, new steam technology arrived.

16. By 1857 the Company came to exercise direct rule over about 63% of the territory and 78% of the population of the Indian subcontinent.

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