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The period marking the arrival of Europeans in India is a pivotal chapter in Indian history, shaping the socio-political and economic landscape of the subcontinent. This notes aims to provide a comprehensive overview for UPSC Civil Service preparation students, focusing on the key areas of the European advent in India.

Factors Responsible for European Advent in India

The European advent in India was driven by multiple factors:

  • Advancements in Navigation: European progress in shipbuilding and navigation technologies.

  • Economic Motives: The desire for lucrative Indian commodities like spices, silk, and precious stones.

  • Renaissance: The spirit of exploration and discovery that followed the Renaissance period.

  • Wealth of India: India’s reputation as a land of immense wealth.

Chronology of European Conquest of Asia

  • The Portuguese (1498): Marked by Vasco da Gama’s arrival in Calicut, initiating a sea trade route.

  • The English (1600): Establishment of the East India Company, focusing on trade and later colonisation.

  • The Dutch (1602): The Dutch East India Company became a major force in the spice trade and colonisation in Asia.

  • The French (1664): The French East India Company was established to compete with other European powers.

Portuguese Era

  • The Portuguese era was characterised by the establishment of a trade monopoly over the Indian Ocean. They were the first to establish a European colony in India, in Goa.

  • Treaty of Tordesillas (1494)- between Portugal and Spain divided non - Christian world by an imaginary line in the Atlantic east for Portugal and