The main prospects which attracted Britain was certainly trade and for that the British East India Company was founded in 1600 with the permission to trade with India. The first British ship anchored near Surat in 1608. They were also granted permission by the Mughals to trade in 1612. The British established their headquarters in Bombay in 1674 and at Calcutta in 1690. Main trading items were cotton and silk textiles, spices, tea, indigo, precious stones and salt peter.
S.M Burk (famous historian) believed that one of the most important reasons for British arrival was the spreading of Christianity .Churches and Chapels were established all over India and Christian missionaries also began with their arrival.
The Portuguese and the Dutch were already in the field. But they turned their attention to East Indies and didn’t allow EIC to come over there. That also provoked company to come here in India. The French also came but they were eliminated after their defeat by the British in 3 battles.
Therefore it was trade and high profit that allowed the EIC to keep on coming India which was later also known as the Golden Sparrow on account of its natural resources and wealth. It was found that 10 % of the income of British government was obtained from taxes on trade with India.
Another reason which provoked Britain to come towards India was the Russian expansion in Central Asia. It worried the British so much that they also had to make moves to secure Afghanistan. Although the British first major adventure in Afghanistan in 1839 failed miserably, but in 1858, after the failure of the war of Independence 1857, the British assumed full and proper control of whole of India.
Exam Type Qs
Question No.1: Why did the East India Company become involved in the India Sub continent?  June 2001 Q.1 b
Question No.2: Explain why the East India Company became involved in the Indian sub-continent during the 17th century. June 2005 Q.1 b
Question No.3: Explain why the East India Company got involved in the S.C during the 17th Century?  June 2009, Q.1 b
Question No.4:What was the East India Company?  June 2010, Q.1.a
Question No.3: Why did EIC become involved in the Indian S.C during the 17th Century? November 2010 Q.1 b