Unformatted text preview: e with the
beginning of the Seven Years’ War, when France allied
with Indian princes against English forces. In 1856,
Robert Clive, an agent of the English East India
Company, with only a small army (1000 English and
2000 sepoys) used alliances with enemies of the ruler
of Bengal to overthrow him and seize power. Clive
reported that he was victorious because of superior
European weapons and military training, but it was
really due to the disunity of his enemies and his skill
The province of Bengal was hugely wealthy, and
the East India Company began to exploit it in two
ways: by levying high taxes, and enforcing a British
monopoly on trade that allowed it to set high prices
for British goods and low prices for Indian goods. As a
result, Britain’s trade deficit was replaced with a trade
surplus, and the Indian economy suffered.
In addition, taxes on Bengal paid for a massive
increase in the size of the East India Company’s army,
which reached 115,000 in 1782. The East India
Company then used this army to conquer the rest of
India. By 1818 the conquest was complete.
British rule was in two forms. About half of India
was directly ruled as a possession of the East India
Company. British law applied and was administered
by agents of the East India Company. The remaining
half was technically under the sovereign rule of Indian
princes, but in exchange for subsidies and
“protection”, they gave the British freedom to run the
economy and administration. Essentials of Modern World History. Wk 4: South and Central Asia, 1453-1914, © D. G. Rowley, 2004. Rev. 2011. 3 cotton cloth).
weapons and military organization, because of the
Indian handicraft industry was destroyed by
lack of unified leadership among the rebels, the native
cheap manufactured goods from India—especially
princes’ fear of anarchy, and the inability of Hindus
cloth, but other goods as well. This increased pressure
and Muslims to cooperate with one another.
on the land. The proportion of the population th...
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- Spring '14