The Advent of Europeans in India The Portuguese

The Advent of Europeans in India The Portuguese
The Arrival of Europeans

Arrival of Europeans

Since ancient times, India was called the golden bird. For this reason, foreigners were always attracted towards this country, whether they were merchants, invaders or curious tourists. Since ancient times, there were trade relations between India and Europe.

There were many trade routes from Europe. One route ran along the Oxus River in Asia to the Caspian Sea and Kalasagar, the other by sea to the Persian Gulf, then to Iraq and Turkey, and then by sea to Venice and Geneva. The third route traveled via Lalsagar to Alexandria in Egypt, by landmark and then by sea to Venice and Geneva, from where the goods were transported to other countries of Europe. The last two routes were more popular. This trade was mostly done by traders in Arabia and Italy. Despite the many difficulties en route, this trade was very profitable.

This trade was hampered by the expansion of the Ottoman Empire and the possession of the Turks over Kustuntunia in 1453 AD. Turks were looted by these merchant-ships, and thus the trade of European traders came to a standstill.

Only Arab-merchants started sending this goods to European markets, then due to the interruption of merchants, it became rare for Europeans to get the goods of the East. Spices and clothes from the East were the center of attraction for Europe.

Therefore, Europeans decided to search for new waterways. In 1487, Bartholomeo Diaz discovered the cape ofgoodhope. Columbus set out in search of a new waterway to India, but in 1492 AD he discovered America. In 1498, Vasco-de-Gama discovered a new waterway to India.

While circling the Africa coast and passing through Uttamaasha, he reached Calicut on the Malabar coast with the help of an Indian businessman Abdul Manid Nayak Gujarati, where the ruler Jamorin welcomed him.


King Jamorin of Calicut was instructed by the Portuguese to live and trade in his kingdom. Thus, direct trade relations were established in Portugal and India. The Portuguese helped the Zamorin against the enemies of the Zamorin, especially the king of Cochin, thus strengthening their position by taking advantage of the kings’ mutual enemies.

In 1500 AD, ships were sent under the leadership of Pedro Ullbeyers Cabral. Arab traders tried to block the Portuguese. Pedro felt that trade could be taken advantage of by mutual disputes between the regional kings of Kerala and by power to make their base in the region concerned. Later this belief became the basis of Portuguese policy.

Vasco da Gama returned with two ship beds in 1502 AD. Albuquerque came to India in 1503 AD and opened an office in Cochin. The Portuguese’s initial goal in India was to establish a monopoly on the spice trade, but after Cabral’s campaign they decided to monopolize all trade between the Eastern world and Europe.

Hence, in 1505 AD a new policy was adopted under which a governor was appointed for 3 years. Almeida was the first Portuguese governor to promote Portugal trade. He got some fort built like Azaniva, Kiva, Begusin and Cochin. It clashed with the army of Mishra, Takas and Begada. During this struggle his son was killed. In 1509 all three powers were defeated.

Time Period

With this, the Portuguese gained control over Ormuz. He lived in India from 1505 AD to 1509 AD. His successor (1509 AD to 1515 AD) greatly increased Portuguese-power and influence in Albuquerque’s time. The Portuguese became very powerful on the sea and they caused great damage to Arabian ships. Albuquerque seized Goa from Bijapur in 1510 and occupied what was formerly the main center of Portuguese power.

In India, the Portuguese gained control over Goa, Daman, Dew, Salt Basin, Chola, Bombay, Hooghly, and the Portuguese over the sea from Homuj in the Persian Gulf to Indonesia. Later, all the territories except Goa, Daman, Dew were removed from the Portuguese authority.

The Portuguese practiced tobacco cultivation in India. In 1556 AD, the Portuguese established the first printing press.

Arrival of dutch

The Portuguese had a monopoly on trade in the East for almost a century. This monopoly was challenged by the Dutch. In 1602 AD, the Dutch established the Dutch East India Company to trade with the East. The Dutch made the eastern archipelago their trading center.

This archipelago was very famous for spices. The Dutch made a big profit by selling pepper and spices in Europe. Residents of the eastern islands wanted Indian cloth in exchange for their spices. Therefore, the demand of Indian clothes from the people of the archipelago brought the Dutch to India. In 1605 the Dutch seized Aboyna from the Portuguese.

In 1605, a permanent Dutch factory was established at Masulipatna on the Coromandel Coast. Second Dutch factory established in Petepoli. Another factory was established at Pulicat where they used to mint their gold pagoda coins. Special woven fabrics were exported by the Dutch to Bantam and Batabia from the ports of Koromdal.


Neel was traded from Masuli Pattam. The Dutch exported so much from the Coromandel port that trade from Coromandel came to be called left-handed for Malacca and its surrounding islands.

In 1618, the Dutch established a factory (trading warehouse) in Surat and the Mughal-Emperor Jahangir granted them a mandate to trade.

Soon the Dutch established their own factories in other parts of the country such as Bharoch, Cambay, Ahmedabad, Cochin, Nagapattam, Machilipatam, Chinusra, Patna and Agra. Nagapattam later became a major center of Dutch trade on the Coromandel Coast.

The first Dutch factory in Bengal was set up at Pipli, but except that, another factory was established at Balasore. The Dutch owe credit for making Indian textiles a major export item from India. In 1559 he had a battle with the British at Bedara in which he was defeated. In 1795, the British finally drove the Dutch out of India.



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