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European powers had started direct trade contacts with India

Updated on September 28, 2015

the East India Company and Crown during the British Rule in India

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Portuguese troops before operation Vijay

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Pictures of India under British Rule India Before Independence

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1848 the Company had become the paramount power in India

The Sayyed brothers invented the Marathas to Delhi to help them and recognized their right to rule over territories extending up to parts of Madhya Pradesh which they had conquered. Muhammad Shah succeeded in getting rid of the Sayyid brothers but neglected the affairs of state and spent his time in pursuit of pleasure and in promoting music and dance.

The provincial governors of Bengal, Oudh and the Deccan broke away from the Mughal empire during this period and established their independent kingdoms. Gradually the extent of Mughal rule became confined to Delhi and its neighbourhood.

The Marathas further expanded their empire to include Gujarat, orissa and parts of Uttar Pradesh and became the most powerful among all the Indian states. The Mughal emperor became oa puppet in the hands of the Marathas. Two foreign invasions, those of Nadir Shah (1740) and Ahmad Shah Abdali (1761), completely destroyed the awe and prestige of the Mughals in the eyes of the other Indian rulers and chieftains,. The states of the Marathas. Mysore and Hyderabad were repeatedly fighting each other, giving an opportunity to the European powers in India to interfere in Indian politics.

European powers had started direct trade contacts with India from the late fifteen century. The Portuguese were the first to establish a base in Goa early in the sixteenth century. They were followed by the English, Dutch and French East India Companies. Taking advantage of the political conflicts and instability in the country, these European companies raised their own armies to protect their trading stations. Further, they started interfering in local politics supporting different parties in their wars. The European powers also fought each other with the aim of dominating the Indian Ocean trade.

After a number of wars during the eighteenth century, the English East India Company succeeded in subduing all its European rivals. During the same period, the English East India Company defeated and subdued the Indian rulers of Tamilnadu (Carnatic), Hyderabad, Bengal, Oudh and the Maratha chieftains. The Mughal rulers were forced to break relations with Marathas and became dependent on the support of the company. In 1803 the Company captured Delhi and started ruling the country in the Name of the Mughal emperor. Emperor Shah Alam II was confined to the Red fort at Delhi and was given a pension to meet his expenses. Sindh, Balochistan and the Sikh state of Punjab were conquered and annexed during the first half of the nineteenth century.

Thus, by 1848 the Company had become the paramount power in India. It ruled directly over the greater part of this territory. All the petty kings and chiefs ruling over the rest of the country has been forced to sign treaties accepting a subordinate status.

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