Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Arrival of Dutch and French in colonial India


Danish Fort,Tharangampadi,Tamil Nadu.credit:wikipedia
Dutch: Corneil De Hastman was the first Dutch to arrive in India via the cope of good Hope.The Dutch East India company was founded in 1602 . After the conquer of Malaysia in 1652 the Dutch increased their trade activities in India and gradually crushed the Portuguese.After the establishment of the Dutch East India Company, in 1609-10, the Dutch developed a factory at Pulicat near Madras. In 1616, the Dutch established themselves at Surat in Gujarat. Masulipatnam, Vizakapatnam, Cambay, Cochin, Pullicot, Kasim Bazaar, Bengal, etc were their trade centers. Some of the Dutch exports from India were indigo, raw silk, cotton textiles, saltpeter and opium.

The Dutch were more interested in mercantile trade than in expansion of land. They never intervened in Indian politics and consequently lost their significance after the arrival of the British. Dutch rule in Kerala was more focused on spice trade rather than the expansion of the territory. The Dutch first captured Cochin in the year 1661 and they finally expelled the Portuguese in 1663, thus  relieving the Cochin Jews and Syrian Christians from oppression.They also helped the latter  in their  episcopal  succession.

The Dutch never sought to control  the Malabar coast. Nor did they want to drive out the Arabs nor  reduce the Zamorin to a puppet like the Raja of Cochin.In 1659, the English defeated the Dutch settlement at Chinsura. Slowly, the English captured all the Dutch possessions in South India

Dutch mint17th&18thC.Policat,TN. Lord Venkateswara image.credit:wikipedia.org
Danish: The colonies of Denmark are referred to as Danish. The success  stories of Dutch and English traders in the seventeenth century spice trade were a source of inspiration and envy among Danish traders.

Denmark held colonial possessions in India for 225 years, including the town of Tranquebar,Tamil Nadu , Serampore, i West Bengal, and the Nicobar Islands, India's union territory of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The Danish were neither a military power nor  a mercantile giant and never posed serious threat to other colonial  powers in India



Danish ventures in India, and  elsewhere, were typically under-capitalized and never able to dominate or monopolize trade routes in the same way that the companies. Dutch adventurer Marcelis de Boshouwer in 1618 was the first to visit India to improve  Danish involvement in the Indian sub-continent.

The French: The French, having established a colony in Madagascar came to India with the main purpose of establishing their hegemony over the whole of India.France was the last of the major European maritime powers of the 17th century to enter the East India trade. Six decades after the foundation of the English and Dutch East India companies (in 1600 and 1602 respectively).François Caron on orders from the French company reached Surat in 1668 and established the first French factory in India.

Chandranagore:Govt.house(French India). credit:wikipedia
The  French India included Pondicherry (now Puducherry), Karikal and Yanaon on the Coromandel Coast, Mahe on the Malabar Coast and Chandernagore in West Bengal. Other than this, there were loges (lodges) in Machilipatnam, Kozhikode and Surat. Loges are subsidiary trading stations

After the French acquired Yanam, in the northeast of Pondicherry in 1723, Mahe on the Malabar Coast in 1725 and Karaikal, in the south of Pondicherry in 1739. From 1742 onwards, political motives took precedence over commercial gains and the factories were well fortified for the purpose of defense.

In 1668, the first French factory was built in Surat  under the command of Francois Caron. In the following year another French factory was set up at Masulipatnam. Chandernagore (now called Chandannagar) was established in 1673 with permission from Nawab Shaista Khan, the Mughal governor of Bengal. In 1674, the French captured Valikondapuram,near perambalur, Tamil Nadu  from the Sultan of Bijapur and thus established their hold over Pondicherry. By 1720, the French lost their factories at Surat, Masulipatam and Bantam to British.

With the arrival of daring  Joseph Francois Dupleix in India who  had an ambition of setting up a French Empire in India frequent conflects broke out with the British ambitions . Under the leadership of Marquis de Bussy - Castelnau, Dupleix's army successfully controlled the area between Hyderabad and Cape Comorin (Kanyakumari). But, Robert Clive, a daring and cunning British officer chased out the French and Dupleix was recalled to France.

The French and the English fought three wars in S. India called  Carnatic wars involving Mysore, Tipu Sultan and Nawab of Arcot and in 1760 the British finally finished the French in the battle at Wandawash and the British became the masters over the vast Indian sub continent.

Pondicherry (Puducherry) state still stands as a great heritage place and monument to the French rule in India. Even now the French language is being widely taught there.

In January 1755, George Pigot (1719-1777), Governor of Madras, signed an agreement with Godeheu, the French leader at Pondicherry.  Neither nation would in future interfere in the internal affairs of any Indian princes; Thus ended the Anglo-French Conflict with Indian lands, however, with compromises.

Europeans in Tamil Nadu: Around 1609, the Dutch established a settlement in Pulicat, while the Danes had their establishment in Tharangambadi also known as Tranquebar. In 1639, the British, under the East India Company, established a settlement further south of Pulicat, in present day Chennai.

In the late 18th century, the British fought and reduced the French dominions in India to Puducherry. Nizams of Hyderabad and the Nawabs of the Carnatic bestowed tax revenue collection rights on the East India Company for defeating the Kingdom of Mysore. After winning the Polygar (in Tamil-Polayathaar) wars, in Tirunelveli district against Puli Thevan, Veera Pandya Kattabomman,Marudu brothers, et al and unreasonably deposing them the East India Company consolidated most of southern India into the Madras Presidency with the dominions of Nizam of Hyderabad. Pudukkottai remained as a princely state.

Ever fighting Rajas, Nawabs and chieftains of various vast regions, neither cooperative nor united, gave the entire rich, lush Indian Sub Continent on a 'Golden Platter' to the wily British traders.