Subversive Historian – 12/31/08

British East India Company Chartered

Four-hundred and eight years ago on this day in people’s history, the British East India Company was chartered by Queen Elizabeth I. On December 31st, 1600, under the title of “The Governor and Company of Merchants of London Trading into the East Indies,” the group of newly incorporated merchants was royally granted monopoly rights. With such privileges, the East India Company quickly established trading posts in India and firmly entrenched itself there until the 19th century. In 1689, sovereignty rights were conferrer upon the company. This important turning point allowed for its establishments of “presidencies” in India, effectively giving the British East India ruling administrative powers. Throughout the eighteenth century, the company plundered Bengal increasing its profits until burdensome military expenditures made British East India petition for government intervention to stave off collapse. In the 19th century, the company lost its monopoly and the Sepoy Rebellion of 1857 helped seal its fate in 1874.

Through its existence of the British East India Company was instrumental in helping establish the institutionalization of global economic capitalism. Well, thanks a lot.

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