Ch11Sec4.pdf - 4 British Imperialism in India MAIN IDEA...

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The Age of Imperialism 357 MAIN IDEA WHY IT MATTERS NOW TERMS & NAMES EMPIRE BUILDING As the Mughal Empire declined, Britain seized Indian territory and soon controlled almost the whole subcontinent. India, the second most populated nation in the world, adopted some of its modern political institutions from the British. • sepoy “jewel in the crown” • Sepoy Mutiny • Raj 4 SETTING THE STAGE British economic interest in India began in the 1600s, when the British East India Company set up trading posts at Bombay, Madras, and Calcutta. At first, India’s ruling Mughal Dynasty kept European traders under control. By 1707, however, the Mughal Empire was collapsing. Dozens of small states, each headed by a ruler or maharajah, broke away from Mughal con- trol. In 1757, Robert Clive led East India Company troops in a decisive victory over Indian forces allied with the French at the Battle of Plassey. From that time until 1858, the East India Company was the leading power in India. British Expand Control over India The area controlled by the East India Company grew over time. Eventually, it governed directly or indirectly an area that included modern Bangladesh, most of southern India, and nearly all the territory along the Ganges River in the north. East India Company Dominates Officially, the British government regulated the East India Company’s efforts both in London and in India. Until the begin- ning of the 19th century, the company ruled India with little interference from the British government. The company even had its own army, led by British offi- cers and staffed by sepoys , or Indian soldiers. The governor of Bombay, Mountstuart Elphinstone, referred to the sepoy army as “a delicate and danger- ous machine, which a little mismanagement may easily turn against us.” Britain’s “Jewel in the Crown” At first, the British treasured India more for its potential than its actual profit. The Industrial Revolution had turned Britain into the world’s workshop, and India was a major supplier of raw materials for that workshop. Its 300 million people were also a large potential market for British- made goods. It is not surprising, then, that the British considered India the bright- est “jewel in the crown,” the most valuable of all of Britain’s colonies. The British set up restrictions that prevented the Indian economy from operating on its own. British policies called for India to produce raw mate- rials for British manufacturing and to buy British goods. In addition, Indian competition with British goods was prohibited. For example, India’s own handloom textile industry was almost put out of business by imported British textiles. Cheap cloth from England flooded the Indian market and undercut local producers.
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