European Advent in India


European Advent in India

European Ruler Arrival Date First Factory Leaving date
Portuguese May 1498 Calicut in 1500 Dec 1961
Dutch 1605 Masulipatnam in 1605 1825
British April 1609 Surat in 1613 Aug 1947
French 1668 Surat in 1668 Nov 1954
Danish 1616 Tranquebar in 1620 1845

Portuguese establishment in India

Portuguese was the first one to arrive in India and the last one to go. Vasco Da Gama was the first European traveller to arrive in India in 1498 through the Cape of Good Hope. It took him around 11 months to reach India. He arrived at Calicut. He stayed in India for 3 months.                                

Portuguese rulers & settlements

Vasco Da Gama again came to India in 1501. At that time Calicut, Cananore and Cochin became the important trading centers of the Portuguese. Next, Portuguese ruler who came to India was Francisco De Almedia in 1505. He wanted to make Portuguese as the master of Indian Ocean. He initiated the Blue Water Policy.

After him, Alfonso De Albuquerque ,the real founder of Portuguese ruler came to India.He acquired Goa from Sultan of Bijapur in 1510.From Red Sea to Malacca Strait all parts of the Indain Ocean were under his control. He introduced crops like tobacco and cashew nut into the India. 

Important settlements of Portuguese Rulers in India: Mangalore, Cannanore

( Present day Kannur) , cochin , Calicut (Present day Kozhikode) & Goa. 

Decline of Portuguese

  • Religious activities of Portuguese rulers to promote Christianity: 3 Christian missions were called by Akbar to talk on religious matters.
  • In the 17th century English and Dutch Empires, backed by their Government started their trading centers in India.This started the period of European rivalry in India. 
  • Portuguese rulers were corrupt and ruthless in their nature. They were notorious as Sea Pirates. 
Important Rulers  Achievements Year of arrival in India
Vasco Da Gama Arrived at Calicut 1498 & 1501
Francisco De Almeida Known for Blue Water Policy 1505
Alfonso de Albuquerque Captured Goa in 1510 1509

Dutch establishment in India

Dutch East India Company was established in 1602. Dutch came into in India in 1605 and established their first factory at Masulipatnam in 1605.   

Later establishments were settled at Surat, Karaikal, Nagapatam, Kasimbazar & Cochin.

Dutch Territories: Dutch was more interested in Indonesian islands of Java, Sumatra, and Sri Lanks. They threw out Portuguese from Islands of Indonesia in 1623 and in 1658 they conquered Sri Lanka also.

Important Settlements: Portuguese established their trading centers at Surat, Broach,Cambay,Cochin, Nagapattinam,masulipatnam,Chinsurah, patna and Agra.  

Anglo-Dutch Rivalry : Both English and Dutch started their colonial campaign at the same time. Dutch was more interested in trade rather than empire building.  

In the Battle of Hooghly in 1759 between English and Dutch ,Dutch was convincibly defeated by the British forces.  

British establishment in India

Timeline of British establishment in India

In 1600 British East India company got established.

In 1609, British Captain Sir William Hawkins arrived in the court of Jahangir to avail some concessions from Jahangir ,but was refused by the emperor due to objections from Portuguese. 

In 1613, First British factory was established in India at Surat.

In 1615, captain Thomas Roe reached the court of Jahangir as the ambassador of English Ruler ‘James I’. Impressed by the gesture of Thomas Roe Jahangir gave him permission to establish factory at any part of the Mughal empire.

In 1639, Francis Day received permission from the ruler of Chandragiri to built a factory at Madras( Fort St. George).

In 1662, King of Portugal gifted Bombay to King Charles II as a dowry for marrying Portugese Princess Catherine.  

In 1698, English succeeded in getting zamindari rights of 3 villages of Sutanati, Gobindpuri and Kalikata. Fort William was established in the year 1700 in Calcutta. 

In 1715, Farukhsiyar’s farman was obtained by John Surman. It exempted Company from additional taxes and also permitted to issue Dastaks(Passes) for the transportation of goods.

British Settlements

First factory of British East India Company was established at Surat in 1613. Later factories were established at Agra Ahmedabad and Broach.  

English Rivalry with other rulers: During their stay in India English fought numerous wars with contemporaries rulers.

Rulers Wars Year Important Treaty
Dutch Battle of Hooghly  1759
French Anglo French War I 1740-48 Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle(1748)
Anglo French War II 1749-54 Treaty of Pondicherry (1754)
Anglo French War III 1758-63 Treaty of Paris(1763)
Mysore Anglo Mysore War I 1767-69 Treaty of Madras
Anglo Mysore War II  1780-84 Treaty of Mangalore
Anglo Mysore War III 1790-92 Treaty of Seringapatam
Anglo Mysore IV 1798-99 Siege of Seringapatam(1799)
     Marathas Anglo Maratha War I 1775-82 Begin with Treaty of Purandar (1665) & Treaty of Surat(1775) and Ended with the Treaty of Salbai
Anglo Maratha War II  1803-05 Treaty of Bassein(1802)
Anglo Maratha War III 1817-1818 Pindari war


Battle of Plassey 1757
Battle of Buxar 1764 Treaty of Allahabad (Aug 16,1765)
       Sikhs Anglo Sikh War I 1845-46 Treaty of Lahore(9th march 1846)
Anglo Sikh War I 1848-49

French establishment in India

French East India Company was established in the year 1664.

In 1667, Francois Caron setup first factory in Surat.  After Britishers French as the only colonial empire which ruled and controlled substantial territories in India.

In 1673, a township at Chandernagore was established near Calcutta. Main center of french empire in India was at Pondicherry. Pondicherry was founded in 1674

French Settlements

Colony Year
Pondicherry 1674
Yanam 1723
Mahe 1725
Karaikal 1739


Anglo – French Rivalry

Till 1741 the activities of french colony was similar as that of normal trading company but things got changed after the arrival of Joseph Francis Dupleix as the Governor-general of Pondicherry. With his arrival it started the period of Anglo-French rivalry in India.

First Carnatic war (1740-48) : It was the extension of Austrain War of succession(1740-48) in India. 

It ended with the Treaty of Aix-La-Chapelle , under which Madras was handed back over to Englsih and North American territories was returned to French.

Second Carnatic War( 1749-54): Background of Second carnatic War was the rivalry between the successors of Carnatic and Hyderabad dynasty. 

French supported Muzaffar Jang while British sided with Nasir Jang in Hyderabad. While in the Carnatic French supported Chanda Sahib while Anwar-ud-din was supported by English.

It ended with the Treaty of Pondicherry according to which English and French was asked not to get involved in the internal matters of Indian political affairs.  

French Governor dupleix was called back and was replaced by Charles Robert.   

Third Carnatic War(1758-63): Its background was provided by Seven Years War(1756-63). French army under Count de Lally captured English forts of St. David of Madras.

It ended with the Battle of Wandiwash on January 22,1760. General Eyre Coote of English defeated French governor De Lally. Through the ‘ Treaty of Paris’ the political power of french establishment was diminished and only nominal rule was left.

Danish Establishment in India

Danish East India Company was established in 1616 and was dissolved in 1650.

Second Danish East India Company was established in 1650 and was dissolved in 1729. It was again founded as the Asiatic company in 1730.

Colonies of Danish EIC

They established their First factory at Tranquebar near Tanjore in 1620.Their other factory is at the Serampore in West Bengal.

Establishment and Decline of Danish Empire

At one point of time Danish EIC imported more tea than any of their European colonies.

Rule of Danish EIC ended with the Napoleonic Wars (1803-15). Their last territory at Serampore was given to British in 1845 AD. 

Previous year question objective questions

Question 1: The first British traveller during Mughal period was : (HCS 2014)


  1.  Ralph Fitch 
  2.  William Fitch 
  3.  William Hawkins 
  4.   Thomas Roe 

Answer: Option ( C )

Question 2: Of the following treaties in connected with the first Anglo Maratha war, the earliest one was : 


  1. Convention of Wadegaon 
  2. Treaty of Surat 
  3. Treaty of Purandar 
  4. Treaty of Salbai 

Answer: Option ( C )

Question 3: Goa was captured by Portuguese in : 


  1. 1510 
  2. 1560 
  3. 1610 
  4.  1660 

Answer: ( B )

Question 4: The French East India Company was formed in : 


  1. 1614 
  2. 1664 
  3. 1564
  4.  1700 

Answer: ( B )

Question 5: The island of Bombay was given to King Charles II of England as dowry by : 


  1. Portugal 
  2. Spain 
  3. France 
  4. Holland

Answer: ( A )

Question 6: The first Carnatic War was the echo of a war fought in Europe, namely: 


  1. Seven Years War
  2. Thirty Years War
  3. War of Austrian Succession 
  4. Twenty Year War

Answer: ( C )

Question 7: The first English Factory in India was established in 1608 at:


  1. Madras 
  2. Surat 
  3. Masulipatam
  4. Calcutta 

Answer: ( B )

Question 8: Fort St. David was built by the British at : 


  1. Calcutta 
  2. Madras 
  3. Bombay
  4.  Cuddalore 

Answer: ( B )


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