Important Notes on the Advent of Europeans in India

6 minute read
Advent of Europeans in India

Years before British rule began in India, there was trade between India and European countries. The country was maintaining trade relations via popular land routes such as Syria and Egypt. Somewhere in the late 15th century, a popular Portuguese explorer Vasco de Gama explored a new sea route that led to India. Upon this glorious discovery, trading companies around the world travelled to India to establish their power centres, consequently resulting in the advent of Europeans in India. The first few traders were the Portuguese followed by the British, the Dutch, the Danes, and the French. 

The Advent of Europeans in India Timeline

Here is an overview of the advent of Europeans in India timeline:

Year Event 
1498Arrival of the Portuguese in Calicut, Kerala
1602Arrival of the Dutch in Masulipatam, Andhra Pradesh
1608Arrival of the Britishers in Surat, Gujrat
1616Arrival of Danes in Tranquebar, Tamil Nadu
1664Arrival of the French in Pondicherry

Also Read – Arrival of the East India Company and Its Expansion

The Advent of The Portuguese 

Let us first explore the details of the advent of the Portuguese that marked the beginning of European colonialism in India. 

Period Event 
1507 and 1508Rulers of Egypt and Ottoman Turkey extended their aid and support to Hindu rulers via a combined naval attack on the Portuguese. The latter were eventually defeated. 
1509 The Portuguese naval army defeated the Muslim forces at Diu.   
1510The second Portuguese Governor, Afonso De Albuquerque conquered Goa. 
1530The headquarters was shifted to Goa from Cochin. The Portuguese had greater control over the west coast as compared to the east coast and the Bay of Bengal. 
1580  1640Portugal and Spain were merged which led to the decline of the Portuguese rule in India. While they prioritised religion, others such as the Dutch and the East India Company focused more on trade. 
After 1947India gained independence from British rule which forced the Portuguese to leave Goa on 19th December 1961 after a rule of almost 450 years. 

Also Read – The Charter Act of 1833: Provisions, Features

The Advent of The Dutch

  • Cornelis de Houtman was the first Dutch to arrive in India. 
  • In 1602, the Dutch East India Company was formed which later came to be known as Verenigde Oostindische Compagnie-VOC.
  • They overthrew the rule of the Portuguese and established their control over spice cultivation in India. 
  • The first Dutch factory was established in 1605 at Masulipattam followed by Plikat, Surat, and Kasim Bazar. 
  • Interestingly, the Dutch traders are accredited with establishing India as a centre of textile export.
  • The State-General of the Netherlands merged a plethora of trading companies to form the East India Company of the Netherlands.
  • It was armed with the power to conduct wars, establish fortresses, negotiate treaties, and acquire new territories to expand. 
  • Moreover, the Dutch also established their trading centre at Pulicat in 1610. 
  • They were eventually defeated by the British in the Battle of Bedara, led by Robert Clive

Also Read – Charter Act 1813: History and Provisions

The Advent of The English

  • In 1599, the Merchant Adventures, a group of English merchants, formed a company to pursue Eastern trade.
  • Queen Elizabeth I issued a charter on December 31, 1600. It granted exclusive trading rights to the newly formed Governor and Company of Merchants of London. 
  • Although it initially had a monopoly of fifteen years, it was later extended for an unspecified period of time. 

Seize of the West and the South

  • In 1609, Captain Hawkins made his way to the court of Jahangir in order to establish a factory at Surat. 
  • The English began its trade at Masulipatnam in 1611 followed by the establishment of a factory in 1616. 
  • In 1612, Captain Thomas Best successfully defeated the Portuguese in the Battle of Surat. This led to Jahangir finally granting the much-awaited permission to set up an English factory in Surat in 1613.  
  • Bombay was gifted to King Charles II in 1662 and later given to the East India Company in 1668. It subsequently became their headquarters in 1687. 
  • The English also managed to obtain trading privileges from the Sultan of Golconda. 
European Settlements in India

Foothold in Bengal 

  • Shah Shuja, the subedar of Bengal, permitted the English to trade in Bengal in exchange for annual payments. 
  • William Hedges who was the first governor of the Company in Bengal appealed to the Mughal governor of that time, Shaista Khan, for a well-established fortified settlement. 
  • In 1686, the Hooghly region came into the control of the Britishers from the Mughals. After many negotiations, Job Charnock finally signed a treaty with the Mughals in 1690. This allowed the English to establish a factory at Sutanuti. 

The Advent of the French

  • Although the French forces had been planning to establish prosperous and thriving East Asian commerce since the 16th century, they were relatively late to others. 
  • During the reign of Louis XIV, Minister Colbert established the Compagnie des Indes Orientales (French East India Company) in 1664. 
  • It received somewhere around a 50-year monopoly on French trade in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. 
  • The French East India Company was later reorganized as the Perpetual Company of the Indies in 1720. 
  • The French Company also faced numerous differences and difficulties with the Dutch. For instance, there was the outbreak of the War of Spanish Succession which forced the French forces to abandon their factories in Bantam, Surat, and Masulipatnam.
  • The first ever French factory in India was established by at Surat in 1667.
  • The French continued to decline from 1706 to 1720 which led to the reconstitution of the French East India Company in 1720. 
  • However, the arrival of governors Lenoir and Dumas between 1720 to 1742 revived the French control in India.

Also Read – Pitt’s India Act 1784: Features, Drawbacks, etc

The Advent of the Danes

  • Danes or Danish refers to the people from Denmark. 
  • The Danish East India Company, also popularly known as the Danish Asiatic Company was established in 1616 and 18=620.
  • They established a factory located on the easter coast of India at Tranquebar near Tanjore.
  • Their primary establishment was located at Serampore near Calcutta.
  • However, later on, a few Danish factories were sold to the British government in 1845.

The Success of English Against other European Invades

Despite numerous invasions by other European countries, the English ultimately established their control over India. Numerous factors contributed to this massive success. For instance, the Royal Navy of Britain was the largest and most technologically advanced in the world. Before India, it had managed to achieve notable victories such as the defeat of the Spanish Armada.

Other factors such as England being at the forefront of the Industrial Revolution also contributed to the success.

Swadeshi MovementYoung Bengal Movement
Kheda SatyagrahaBattle of Panipat
Wahabi MovementBardoli Satyagraha


What were the effects of the advent of Europeans?

The arrival of Europeans in India brought numerous significant changes in the country’s economic, political, social, and cultural landscape. It led to the exploration and exploitation of resources, establishment of colonial rule, deindustrialization, construction of modern infrastructure, and so on.

Who were the first Europeans who came to India?

The first Europeans who came to India were the Portuguese, starting with Vasco da Gama followed by the British, the Dutch, the Danes, and the French. 

What were the 3 results of European colonization?

The three major results of European colonization include the exploitation of indigenous people, the spread of European culture, and cultural loss and assimilation. 

That’s all about the Advent of Europeans in India! If you want to know more about topics like this, then visit our general knowledge page! Alternatively, you can also read our blog on general knowledge for competitive exams!

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *