East India Company
The East India Company, also called the English East India Company, was established by royal charter on 31 December 1600 for trade with East and Southeast Asia and India. It originally started as a monopolistic trading body but soon became involved in politics, acting as an agent of British imperialism from the early eighteenth century to the mid-nineteenth century.1
At the beginning of its operations, the company used slave labour by transporting enslaved people to its facilities in Southeast Asia and India; many of the slave labourers used by the East India Company were from East Africa and Madagascar. These large-scale transportations continued and reached a height in the 1750s and ending in the 1770s.2 After a mid-eighteenth century focus on the “Spice Trade,” the company turned its focus to tea in the early-nineteenth century. The finance of the tea trade was done through illegal opium exports to China which inevitably led to the First Opium War (1839-42), the Chinese defeat in this war led to further expansion in British trade.3
Eventually the East India Company's commercial monopoly was broken and it only remained as a managing agency for the British government in India. It later lost this role after the “Indian Mutiny” of 1857 and ceased to exist, fully, as a legal entity by 1873.4
Mentions of this organization in the documents