Advent of European in India Upsc Notes, Portuguese Dutch English French

Advent of the European Powers in India

The Europeans came to India is mainly for trade and commercial contracts. India has had relations with the Europeans for thousands of years. The coming of Alexander is great evidence.

There is a great demand for Indian Silk, spices, muslin, and handlooms fabrics in European markets.

India exported pepper, cloves, chilies, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, cinnamon, coconut, cane sugar, indigo, etc to western countries.

Europe had three major trade routes to India they are as follows:

  1. Via Afganistan, Central Asia, and the Caspian Sea and terminating at the Black Sea Coast.
  2. Via Persia and Syria directing to the port of Alexandria on the Mediterranean coast of Europe.
  3. The Sea route via the Arabian Sea, the Persian Gulf, and the Red Sea.

In 1453 A.D the Ottoman Turks captured Constantinople and created problems for European merchants by blocking the land route which passes through Afghanistan.

Also, the other Trade routes to India were in trouble due to the Arab conquest in the 8th century A.D. As a result, Europeans were in need to find a new sea route to India.

The advent of the Europeans – Portuguese

The Portuguese were the first to discover a new sea route to India.

Prince Henry of Portugal began a school for training seamen regarding navigation methods scientifically. As a result of Prince’s interest in the field of Navigation, He is called the ” Henry, the Navigator “.

Advent of the Europeans in India Upsc
Coat of arms of Portuguese India By Thommy – Own work, based on Flags of the World – Flags of portuguese colonies, Coat of arms of Portuguese India (1951-1974).svg, Blason of Goa (ancient).svg and Índia portuguesa.PNG., Public Domain,

Bartholomeu Diaz

Bartholomeu Diaz
By Bartolomeu_Dias,_South_Africa_House.JPG: RedCoat (en:User:RedCoat10)derivative work: Biser Todorov (talk) – Bartolomeu_Dias,_South_Africa_House.JPG, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Bartholomeu Diaz was the first sailor from Portugues who set a voyage in 1487 AD. He reached up to the southernmost tip of Africa, as there was a storm when he reached, Bartholomeu Diaz named it Cape of Storms.

Then the Portuguese King renamed it, The Cape of Good Hope, with the hope of discovering a sea route.

Vasco da Gama

Vasco da Gama
Vasco da Gama By anonymous – Own work, CC BY 3.0,

Vasco da Gama, on 27 May 1498, crossed the Cape of Good Hope and reached Calicut in Kerala, India. He was given a good reception by Zamorin of Calicut, a Hindu Ruler.

In 1501, Vasco da Gama came to India for the second time and set up a factory at Cannanore. The Portuguese also established factories at Calicut, Cochin, and Cannanore which all reside on the West Coast of India.

Francisco De Almeida

Francisco De Almeida
Francisco De Almeida By Unknown author – Palácio do Correio Velho, Public Domain,

Francisco De Almeida(1505-1509) was the first viceroy of Portuguese in India. During his tenure, the Portuguese defeated the Arab Traders.

Francisco De Almeida’s aim is to increase the Portuguese naval power and to become the master of the Indian ocean. This policy of dominating the other country’s settlement by naval force was known as the “Blue Water Policy”.

Francisco Almeida was defeated and killed by Egyptians in 1509.

Alfonso De Albuquerque

Alfonso De Albuquerque
Alfonso De Albuquerque By Unknown author – Palácio do Correio Velho, Public Domain,

Alfonso De Albuquerque (1509-1515) was the second viceroy of Portuguese possessions in India. Alfonso De Albuquerque was a great conqueror. He captured Goa from Bijapur Sultan in 1510 and made Goa the capital.

Alfonso De Albuquerque also strengthened the relationship with the Emperor of Vijayanagar. He captured Malacca in the Far East in 1511 and build the port of Ormuz in the Persian Gulf in 1515.

Alfonso De Albuquerque can be called as Real founder of Portuguese power in India. He was also a good administrator, he treated the Hindus well. He opened a school for the education of the locals.

The Muslims became the enemy of the Portuguese because of their religious policy. Alfonso de Albuquerque encouraged the Portuguese to marry Indian Women.

He died in 1515 in Goa. After the death of Alfonso De Albuquerque, the Portuguese captured Diu, Daman, Bombay, Ceylon, Salsette, Bassein, and Hugli. Portuguese power declined after a century.

Reasons for the Decline of Portuguese in India

The main reason is the successors of Albuquerque were weak, and they are unable to strengthen the Portuguese in India. The Indian merchants are pirated by the Portuguese.

The natives were forced to convert to Christianity by the Portuguese and they also destroyed Hindu temples. Their religious policy developed the enmity of the Muslims.

The fall of the Vijayanagar Kingdom in the battle of Talikotta in 1565 AD was a great blow to the Portuguese, as the Portuguese maintained good relationships only with the Vijayanagar Kingdom in India.

In 1580, Portugal came under the rule of Spain in Europe and the arrival of English and Dutch in India weakened their position in India.

Dutch advent in India

The Dutch invasion of India started after the decline of the Portuguese. The Dutch East India Company was formed in 1602 by the Dutch people of Holland. They began trading with Eastern Countries.

They mostly traded with East Asia called “Spice Islands”. The Dutch have their factories at Chisura, Nagapattinam, Surat, and Masulipatnam. Near Madras, they founded Pulicat in 1610 and constructed a fort.

The Dutch established trading centers at Surat, Broach, Cambay, Ahmedabad, Patna, and Kazimbazaar. Meanwhile, the English also tried to trade in “Spice Islands”, but the Dutch did not love it.

The Dutch made an elaborate plan and killed many English merchants at Amboyna in 1623 AD. This is called as Amboyna massacre. The Amboyna massacre created enmity between the English and the Dutch. Then the English left the far east Asia Islands and concentrated on India.

The English were more powerful in India and they were far more powerful than the Dutch. The Dutch were no match for the English in India and the Dutch lost their territory to the English one by one.

The English captured Chinsura and Nagapattinam. Thus Dutch possessions came to an end.

The Advent of the Europeans – The British or The English

In 1588, the English defeated the Spanish Armada and become the most powerful naval power of Europe, and began to start colonies in the Eastern Countries. So the English East India Company was started by 100 merchants in London who received a Charter from Queen Elizabeth-I on December 31st, 1600 to start trading with the East.

In 1608, King James-I sent Captain William Hawkins to Mughal Emperor Jahangir to get permission to set a factory at Surat. Due to the influence of the Portuguese, Jahangir did not give permission to the English.

But Sir Thomas Roe successfully got permission from Jahangir and set up English trading centers at Agra, Broach, and Ahmedabad. In 1639, Francis Day bought land from Raja of Chandragiri and formed a new city called Madras.

In 1640 the English built Fort St. George to protect the commodities. Charles-II of England married Catherine, daughter of King of Portugal. The Bombay, a small village is given as dowry to Charles-II, King of England.

In 1668, Charles II gave Bombay to the English East India Company at a rent of 10 Pounds. In 1699, Aurangazeb granted permission to set a factory in Calcutta. Later the English build Fort William at Calcutta, after King William III.

The English established factories at Hariharpur, Balasore, Hugli, and Kazimbazaar. The English East India Company increased its influence and took control over India until 1858. Then the administration of India was taken over by the British crown.

The Advent of the Europeans – The Danish

The Denmark people were known as the Danish. In 1620, they established their trading centers in Tranquebar and Serampore in Bengal 1676. But the Danish never concentrated their trade with India and sold their trading centers to the British.

The Advent of the Europeans – The French

The French East India Company was established in 1664 by Colbert, a minister of Louis XIV who is King of France. The French set their factories in 1668 at Surat and in 1669 at Masulipatnam.

In 1674, they got land from the ruler of Tanjore, in the South of Madras, and established Pondicherry.

Pondicherry then became the headquarters of French in India. In 1690, they established Chandranagore settlement, got Mahe in 1725, and Karaikal in 1739.

Dupleix in 1742 came to India as a governor of French possessions and France expanded its territories in India under his tenure. There were constant battles between the French and English to establish their supremacy in India.

Their trade interest led to a number of wars called the Carnatic Wars. Finally, the English came out successfully and established their supremacy in India.

Some Point to Remember in the Advent of the Europeans

  1. Constantinople, a great trading center was captured by Ottoman Turks in 1453 AD.
  2. Francisco-De-Almedia – First Viceroy of Portuguese possessions in India.
  3. In 1600 AD, the English East India Company was started.
  4. Pondicherry became the french headquarter in India.
  5. Portuguese captured Goa from the Sultan of Bijapur.
  6. Captain William Hawkins met Mughal emperor Jahangir at Mughal court.
  7. Sir Thomas Roe arrived in India on 18 September 1615.
  8. Dupleix in 1742 came to India as a governor of French possessions.
  9. East indies are called as Spice Islands.
  10. Vasco da Gama was a Portuguese sailor.
  11. Mahe is a french settlement.


Samacheer Kalvi, 8th History Book- Government of Tamil Nadu

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* * All the Notes in this blog, are referred from Tamil Nadu State Board Books and Samacheer Kalvi Books. Kindly check with the original Tamil Nadu state board books and Ncert Books.
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