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20 činjenica o istočnoindijskoj tvrtki

20 činjenica o istočnoindijskoj tvrtki

East India Company (EIC) jedna je od najzloglasnijih korporacija u povijesti. Iz ureda u ulici Leadenhall Street u Londonu, tvrtka je osvojila potkontinent.

Evo 20 činjenica o istočnoindijskoj tvrtki.

1. EIC je osnovan 1600. godine

"Guverneru i tvrtki londonskih trgovaca koji trguju prema Istočnoj Indiji", kako su je tada zvali, kraljica Elizabeta I. odobrila je 31. prosinca 1600. kraljevsku povelju.

Povelja je Društvu dala monopol nad cjelokupnom trgovinom istočno od Rta dobre nade i, zloslutno, pravo na "vođenje rata" na teritorijima na kojima je djelovala.

2. Bilo je to jedno od prvih dioničkih društava u svijetu

Ideja da bi nasumični ulagači mogli kupiti dionice neke tvrtke bila je revolucionarna nova ideja u kasnom Tudorovom razdoblju. To bi promijenilo britansko gospodarstvo.

Prvo ovlašteno dioničko društvo na svijetu bilo je Muscovy Company koje je trgovalo između Londona i Moskve od 1553. godine, ali je EIC pratio iza njega i djelovao u daleko većim razmjerima.

Orlando Figes razgovara s Danom o društvenom i tehnološkom razvoju i njihovom odnosu prema kulturnim promjenama u 19. stoljeću.

Gledajte sad

3. Prvo putovanje tvrtke donijelo im je 300% dobiti ...

Prvo putovanje krenulo je samo dva mjeseca nakon što je East India Company dobila svoj charter, kada je crveni zmaj - prenamijenjeni gusarski brod s Kariba - isplovio je za Indoneziju u veljači 1601. godine.

Posada je trgovala sa sultanom u Achehu, upala u portugalski brod i vratila se s 900 tona začina, uključujući papar, cimet i klinčiće. Ovaj egzotični proizvod zaradio je bogatstvo dioničarima tvrtke.

4. ... ali izgubili su od nizozemske istočnoindijske tvrtke

Nizozemska istočnoindijska tvrtka ili VOC osnovana je samo dvije godine nakon EIC -a. Međutim, prikupio je daleko više novca od svog britanskog kolege i preuzeo kontrolu nad unosnim začinskim otocima Javom.

Tijekom 17th Stoljeća Nizozemci su osnovali trgovačka mjesta u Južnoj Africi, Perziji, Šri Lanki i Indiji. Do 1669. godine VOC je bio najbogatija privatna tvrtka koju je svijet ikada vidio.

Nizozemski brodovi vraćaju se iz Indonezije, natovareni bogatstvom.

Zbog nizozemske dominacije u trgovini začinima, EIC se okrenuo Indiji u potrazi za bogatstvom od tekstila.

5. EIC je osnovao Mumbai, Kolkata i Chennai

Dok su područja bila naseljena prije dolaska Britanaca, trgovci EIC -a osnovali su ove gradove u njihovom modernom utjelovljenju. Bila su to prva tri velika naselja Britanaca u Indiji.

Sve tri bile su korištene kao utvrđene tvornice za Britance - skladištenje, prerada i zaštita robe kojom su trgovali s mogulskim vladarima Indije.

6. EIC se žestoko natjecao s Francuzima u Indiji

Francuski Compagnie des Indes natjecao se s EIC -om za komercijalnu nadmoć u Indiji.

Obje su imale vlastitu privatnu vojsku, a dvije tvrtke vodile su niz ratova u Indiji u sklopu šireg anglo-francuskog sukoba tijekom 18.th Stoljeća, koji je obuhvatio cijeli svijet.

Dana 13. rujna 1759., na Abrahamovim ravnicama u blizini grada Quebeca, nadmašena britanska vojska vodila je bitku koja će promijeniti povijest svijeta: bitku za Quebec.

Gledajte sad

7. Britanski civili poginuli su u Crnoj rupi u Kalkuti

Nawab (potkralj) iz Bengala, Siraj-ud-Daulah, mogao je vidjeti da se istočnoindijska tvrtka razvija u kolonijalnu silu, koja se od komercijalnog podrijetla proširila u političku i vojnu silu u Indiji.

Rekao je EIC-u da ne učvršćuje Kolkatu, a kad su ignorirali njegovu prijetnju, Nawab je napravio potez po gradu, zauzevši njihovu utvrdu i tvornicu.

Britanski zarobljenici držani su u maloj tamnici poznatoj kao Crna rupa u Kalkuti. Uvjeti su bili toliko grozni u zatvoru da je 43 od 64 zatvorenika koji su tamo držani umrlo preko noći.

8. Robert Clive pobijedio je u bitci za Plassey

Robert Clive u to je vrijeme bio guverner Bengala i vodio je uspješnu ekspediciju pomoći koja je ponovno zauzela Kolkatu.

Sukob između Siraj-ud-Daula i EIC-a došao je do izražaja u mangrovima Plassey-a, gdje su se dvije vojske sastale 1757. godine. Vojsku Roberta Clivea od 3.000 vojnika pomrčala je snaga Nawaba od 50.000 vojnika i 10 ratnih slonova.

Međutim, Clive je podmitio vrhovnog zapovjednika vojske Siraj-ud-Daulaha, Mir Jafara, i obećao da će ga učiniti Nawabom od Bengala ako Britanci dobiju bitku.

Kad se Mir Jafar povukao u žaru bitke, disciplina mogulske vojske se srušila. Vojnici EIC -a su ih razbili.

Robert Clive upoznaje Mir Jafara nakon bitke kod Plasseyja.

9. EIC je administrirao Bengal

Allahabadski ugovor u kolovozu 1765. dodijelio je EIC -u pravo da vodi financije Bengala. Robert Clive imenovan je za novog guvernera Bengala, a EIC je preuzeo prikupljanje poreza u regiji.

Tvrtka bi sada mogla koristiti poreze stanovnika Bengala za financiranje njihove ekspanzije po ostatku Indije. Ovo je trenutak kada je EIC prešao iz komercijalne u kolonijalnu silu.

Robert Clive imenovan je guvernerom Bengala.

10. Bio je to čaj EIC koji je bačen u luku tijekom Bostonske čajanke

U svibnju 1773. grupa američkih patriota ukrcala se na britanske brodove i izbacila 90.000 funti čaja u bostonsku luku.

Trik je napravljen u znak protesta protiv poreza koje je britanska država nametnula američkim kolonijama. Patrioti su slavno vodili kampanju za

"Nema oporezivanja bez zastupanja."

Bostonska čajanka bila je ključna prekretnica na putu do Američkog rata za nezavisnost koji će izbiti samo dvije godine kasnije.

Susan Schulten predstavlja izbor karata iz fascinantne zbirke karata koje se nalaze u njezinoj knjizi 'Povijest Amerike na 100 karata'.

Gledajte sad

11. Privatne vojne snage EIC -a bile su dvostruko veće od britanske vojske

Do trenutka kad je Istočnoindijska tvrtka okupirala glavni grad Mughal Indije 1803. godine, kontrolirala je privatnu vojsku od oko 200.000 vojnika - dvostruko više nego što je britanska vojska mogla pozvati.

12. Ponestalo mu je ureda širokog samo pet prozora

Iako je EIC upravljao oko 60 milijuna ljudi u Indiji, djelovao je iz male zgrade u ulici Leadenhall Street koja se zove East India House, široka samo pet prozora.

Mjesto se sada nalazi ispod Lloydove zgrade u Londonu.

East India House - ured istočnoindijske tvrtke u ulici Leadenhall.

13. East India Company izgradila je veliki dio londonskog Docklanda

1803. Istočnoindijski dokovi izgrađeni su u Blackwallu u istočnom Londonu. U bilo kojem trenutku moglo se privezati do 250 brodova, što je povećalo londonski trgovački potencijal.

14. Godišnji izdaci EIC -a iznosili su četvrtinu ukupne potrošnje britanske vlade

EIC je godišnje trošio 8,5 milijuna funti u Britaniji, iako su njihovi prihodi iznosili izvanrednih 13 milijuna funti godišnje. Potonji je ekvivalent 225,3 milijuna funti u današnjem novcu.

15. EIC je zaplijenio Hong Kong iz Kine

Tvrtka je bogatila opijum u Indiji, otpremala ga u Kinu i tamo prodavala.

Dinastija Qing vodila je Prvi opijumski rat u pokušaju da zabrani trgovinu opijumom, ali kada su Britanci pobijedili u ratu, dobili su otok Hong Kong u mirovnom sporazumu koji je uslijedio.

Prizor iz druge bitke kod Chuenpija, tijekom Prvog opijumskog rata.

16. Podmitili su mnoge zastupnike u Saboru

Parlamentarna istraga 1693. otkrila je da je EIC trošio 1200 funti godišnje lobirajući ministre i zastupnike. Korupcija je otišla u oba smjera, budući da je gotovo četvrtina svih zastupnika imala dionice istočnoindijske tvrtke.

17. Društvo je bilo odgovorno za bengalsku glad

1770. Bengal je pretrpio katastrofalnu glad u kojoj je umrlo oko 1,2 milijuna ljudi; jedna petina stanovništva.

Iako glad na indijskom potkontinentu nije neuobičajena, politika EIC -a dovela je do patnje te nevjerojatne razmjere.

Društvo je zadržalo iste razine oporezivanja, au nekim slučajevima čak ih je povećalo za 10%. Nisu uspostavljeni sveobuhvatni programi za smanjenje gladi, poput onih koje su ranije provodili mogulski vladari. Riža se skladištila samo za vojnike satnije.

EIC je ipak bila korporacija čija je prva odgovornost bila povećati svoj profit. Učinili su to po iznimnoj ljudskoj cijeni za indijski narod.

18. 1857. vlastita vojska EIC -a podigla se na pobunu

Nakon što su sepoi u gradu zvanom Meerut pobunili protiv svojih britanskih časnika, cijela je zemlja izbila opsežna pobuna.

Pobuna sipoja u Meerutu - iz London Illustrated News, 1857.

U sukobu koji je uslijedio poginulo je 800.000 Indijaca i oko 6.000 Britanaca. Pobunu je žestoko ugušila tvrtka, što je bila jedna od najbrutalnijih epizoda kolonijalne povijesti.

19. Kruna je raspustila EIC i stvorila britanski Raj

Britanska vlada reagirala je u biti nacionalizacijom istočnoindijske tvrtke. Tvrtka je likvidirana, njezini su vojnici apsorbirani u britansku vojsku, a Kruna će od sada upravljati administrativnim strojevima Indije.

Od 1858. kraljica Viktorija će vladati indijskim potkontinentom.

20. 2005. EIC je kupio indijski biznismen

Ime istočnoindijske tvrtke živjelo je nakon 1858. godine, kao mala tvrtka za proizvodnju čaja - sjena carskog diva koji je bio prije.

U novije vrijeme Sanjiv Mehta pretvorio je tvrtku u luksuznu marku koja prodaje čaj, čokolade, pa čak i replike kovanica istočnoindijske tvrtke koje su koštale više od 600 funti.

U izrazitom kontrastu s prethodnikom, nova istočnoindijska tvrtka članica je Partnerstva za etički čaj.


TVRTKA ISTOČNA INDIJA

Istočnoindijska tvrtka započela je kao dioničko društvo koje je osnovano kraljevskom poveljom, uspostavilo je trgovački monopol s istočnom Azijom, jugoistočnom Azijom i Indijom te se postupno uključivalo u unutarnju i međunarodnu politiku. Imao je vitalnu ulogu u osiguravanju britanske hegemonije nad pomorskim plovidbom i bio je ključan u utemeljenju Britanskog carstva u Indiji. Uz naselja u indijskim obalnim gradovima Bombay, Surat, Calcutta i Madras, Društvo je izvozilo robu od pamuka i svile, indigo, šalitru i začine u zamjenu za poluge, da bi na kraju proširilo svoju trgovinu na Perzijski zaljev, dijelove jugoistočne Azije i istočnoj Aziji, uključujući Kinu, u devetnaestom stoljeću. Spajajući se 1708. godine sa svojim glavnim konkurentom u ekskluzivni monopol, Društvom je upravljalo dvadeset i četiri direktora koje je godišnje birao Sud vlasnika, a koji su također izvršili snažan utjecaj u britanskom parlamentu.

U Indiji je Društvo dobilo Mogalsku povelju o bescarinskoj trgovini (1717.) i uložilo velika sredstva u lokalnu proizvodnju, osobito tekstil, koja je djelovala iz Fort Williama, Calcutta i Fort Saint George, Madras, na istočnoj obali. Službenici poduzeća uključili su se u unosnu unutarnju i obalnu trgovinu radi vlastitih privatnih ulaganja, što je dovelo do trvenja s lokalnim vlastima. U Bengalu je privatna trgovina soli, betel oraha, duhana i šalitre utvrđivanje Kalkute i veze s autohtonim trgovcima loše raspoloženim prema Nawabu (Sirajud-Dawlah, oko 1729.-1757.) Rezultiralo sukobom, Roberta Clivea (1725. 1774.) pobjeda u bitci kod Plasseyja (1757.) i postavljanje "marionetskih" vladara. Jedan od njih, Mir Kasim, (r. 1760. - 1763.) protestirao je nad flagrantnom zloupotrebom trgovačkih privilegija od strane službenika Tvrtke, što je dovelo do odlučujuće bitke za Baksar (1764.) u kojoj su sudjelovali Kasim, Nawab iz Awadha i mogulski car Shah Alam II (r. 1759–1806) udružio je snage, da bi ga potom usmjerila nadređena Bengalska domorodačka vojska tvrtke. Mogalski car, u zamjenu za godišnji danak, učinio je Društvo sakupljačem (Diwan) prihoda Bengala, Bihara i Orisse, godišnjeg dobitka od približno 6 milijuna funti, što je riješilo njegove investicijske i valutne probleme. Međutim, prikupljanje prihoda pokazalo se teškim, a administrativni nemar zajedno sa sušom doveo je do propadanja usjeva i gladi 1770., u kojoj su milijuni stradali.

U južnoj Indiji Istočnoindijska tvrtka bila je uključena u dugotrajno vojno i diplomatsko natjecanje s Marathama, Nizamovom dominacijom Hyderabada, kraljevstvom Mysore kojim je vladao Hyder Ali (1722-1782) i Francuzima. Tvrtka je uspjela zaustaviti Francuze, koje je vodio François Dupleix (1697-1763), no sukob je eskalirao tijekom Sedmogodišnjeg rata (1756-1763) što je na kraju dovelo do kraja francuskog izazova u Wandiwash -u (1760) . Ubrzo nakon toga, i Arcot i Tanjore došli su pod neizravnu britansku vlast. Mysore je pružao oštar otpor sve do poraza Tippu Sultana (1749–1799) 1799. Marathe, podijeljene na različite vladajuće kuće, čije su snage iscrpljene sukobom s Afganistancima (1761), konačno su podlegle Britancima nakon 1803. Sikhi Pandžaba poniženi su 1840-ih, a druge kneževske države prihvatile su suverenitet Društva, koje se pojavilo kao najstrašnija fiskalno-vojna država na potkontinentu.

Poslovi poduzeća, osobito loše upravljanje u Bengalu, doveli su do parlamentarne istrage o indijskim poslovima. Regulatornim aktom (1773) i Pittovim indijskim zakonom (1784) osnovan je Odbor za kontrolu odgovoran Parlamentu, čime je okončan neprikladan utjecaj dioničara na indijsku politiku. Warren Hastings (1732–1818), prvi generalni guverner Indije (1772–1785), nastojao je restrukturirati fiskalne i vojne poslove Društva, ali ga je Parlament optužio za korupciju (predvodio Edmund Burke [1729–1797] ), opozvan (1788.) i znatno kasnije oslobođen. U britanskoj Indiji do početka devetnaestog stoljeća dogodile su se značajne promjene: sustav prihoda je restrukturiran s novim vlasničkim pravima na tržištima zemljišta, prilagođen je običaj i policija, a pokrenuta je opsežna kartografska anketa Indije, započela je nova državna služba obučena na Haileybury Collegeu. postavljena su stroga ograničenja za sve zborove između Britanaca i Indijaca. Postupno se promiče englesko obrazovanje i selektivno se uvode moderne tehnologije, uključujući željeznice, parobrodne brodove i telegraf.

Nakon gubitka američkih kolonija, Indija pod vlašću tvrtke nastala je kao kamen temeljac imperijalne Britanije, iako kao ovisnost, a ne kolonija doseljenika, činjenica koja je vjerojatno ograničavala izravan utjecaj indijskog imperijalnog pothvata na britansku politika. Pod tvrtkom Raj, indijski proizvođači su opali u devetnaestom stoljeću, čime su napravili mjesto za veliko, uvelike ovisno tržište britanske industrijske proizvodnje. Godine 1813. Tvrtka je izgubila svoj trgovački monopol, iako je ostala administrativni agent u Indiji do pobune Sepoya i narodnih pobuna 1857. godine: kratki debakl za britansku vlast u Indiji koji je postavio pozornicu za izravno krunsko pravilo.


DRUŠTVA ISTOČNE INDIJE

Nizozemske i engleske istočnoindijske tvrtke krenule su stopama portugalskih trgovaca u Aziji i učile iz svojih iskustava. Usvajajući model koji su Portugalci uspješno započeli, HOS je stvorio niz "tvornica", utvrđenih trgovačkih mjesta koja su branili garnizoni, od Jave do Japana i od Perzije do Sijama. Ti su postovi povezani redovitom razmjenom informacija i robe. EIC je osnovao vlastite tvornice na ograničenijem području.

EIC i VOC nisu bile prve tvrtke koje su uživale nacionalne monopole, ali su kao unajmljene tvrtke pokazale neke nove značajke. Ulaganje u trgovinu na daljinu više nije bilo ograničeno na inozemne trgovce, kao što je to bio slučaj s reguliranim tvrtkama poput Turske, ali su povelje dopuštale sudjelovanje i domaćim trgovcima. Štoviše, ovlaštene tvrtke razvile su se u dionička društva. To je značilo da su dionice slobodno otuđive, a trgovci više nisu prikupljali kapital za jedno putovanje, već su stvarali stalni kapital posvećen poduzeću. Tako su dugoročna razmatranja odredila marketinške politike. Ni radni kapital tvrtki nije bio ograničen na njihov kapital, budući da su oba pribjegla tržištu kapitala za financiranje svog poslovanja.

Dobra komercijalna politika podupire izvanredne performanse VOC -a. Smanjujući svoju ovisnost o tržištima koja nije kontrolirala, te postajući najveći kupac i prodavač, tvrtka je drastično smanjila rizik. Uspjeh nije došao preko noći, već su mu bila potrebna desetljeća. Tvrtka je imala koristi od opće trgovačke krize koja je potresla jugoistočnu Aziju sredinom sedamnaestog stoljeća, baš kao što su Nizozemci djelomično dugovali svoju trgovačku hegemoniju u Europi prevladavajućoj regionalnoj političkoj i gospodarskoj krizi. No, HOS nije bio univerzalno uspješan. Njegovi ogromni režijski troškovi pokazali su se štetnim u konkurenciji s indijskim trgovcima koji su poslovali po niskim cijenama i mogli prihvatiti nižu maržu dobiti.

Vojni rashodi bili su jedan od faktora koji su povećali opće troškove. HOS je od početka upotrijebio silu za postizanje svojih ciljeva u odnosu na domoroce Molukanaca, indijske trgovce i portugalske i engleske suparnike kako bi osigurao uporišta, preduhitrio naseljavanje u inozemstvu i stekao monopol nad začinima. Vrhunska vojna snaga omogućila je Nizozemcima da osvoje začinske otoke, zauzmu portugalske utvrde i istisnu EIC iz indonezijskog arhipelaga oko 1623. godine, godine u kojoj je nizozemski guverner dao mučiti i pogubiti deset engleskih državljana. Ovaj "masakr u Amboini" bio je popularno englesko propagandno oruđe protiv Nizozemaca u godinama koje dolaze. Druga neekonomska sredstva pomogla su HOS-u da postigne gotovo potpunu kontrolu proizvodnje i marketinga muškatnog oraščića, buzdovana i klinčića do kraja 1660-ih. Na primjer, proizvodnja klinčića bila je ograničena na otok Amboina, a stabla i viškovi zaliha su uništeni. Monopsonija začina, koja je VOC -u omogućila utvrđivanje cijena, tvrtki je ostavila ogromnu zaradu. Nasuprot tome, papar je ostao nedostižan jer se uzgajao na velikom području. Osim toga, lokalni knezovi nisu uvijek poštovali svoje dogovore.

Zbog nedostatka dovoljnih financijskih sredstava, EIC je veći dio sedamnaestog stoljeća radio u sjeni svog nizozemskog kolege. Njegovi su direktori, međutim, maksimalno iskoristili uklanjanje EIC -a sa začinskih otoka koncentrirajući operacije na Indiju, gdje je prisutnost HOS -a bila mala. Dok je HOS postigao neke od svojih prvotnih ciljeva, EIC se pokazao majstorski u ponovnom izmišljanju. U osamnaestom stoljeću otkrila je tržišnost indijske tkanine i kineskog čaja u Europi. U vojnim pitanjima, EIC je doživio sličnu metamorfozu. Osnovane ne kao ratni instrument poput svog nizozemskog rivala, njezine su flote bile relativno slabo opremljene, a napadne akcije protiv Azijata ili Europljana gotovo nemoguće. Međutim, nova povelja tvrtke iz 1661. predviđala je da može stupiti u rat ili mir s nekršćanskim prinčevima ili ljudima, te je vrlo postupno usvojena odlučnija linija, osobito na indijskom potkontinentu. Do 1760-ih godina može se reći da je EIC preuzeo ulogu nacionalne države u Indiji. Diskutabilno je je li se ovo proširenje temeljilo na master planu ili je tvrtka uvučena u lokalnu politiku moći. Teorija nevoljnog imperijalizma primijenjena je i na VOC, koji nije mogao postići svoje ciljeve na Javi, a da se nije uključio u složenu borbu domorodačke moći.

Gdje god su unajmljene tvrtke vodile unosnu trgovinu, sugrađani su pokušavali imati koristi kao posrednici. Mijenjajući robu iz jednog dijela Azije u drugi, EIC -ovi faktori i privatnici sami su sebi stvorili nišu. Premda je EIC u početku zabranjivao takvu trgovinu, smatrajući uključene strane suparnicima vlastite unutarazijske trgovine, troškovi koje je to dovelo do toga natjerali su tvrtku da se povuče iz trgovine, pa se i njezin odnos prema loperima promijenio. "Besplatni" trgovci mogli su se početi naseljavati u lučkim gradovima pod engleskom vlašću, nakon što je EIC izdao niz oprosta, počevši od 1667. Naknadni engleski komercijalni uspjeh u Aziji ne može se razumjeti bez uzimanja u obzir privatne "trgovine sa zemljom". HOS nije pokazao takvu popustljivost, unatoč izjavi sekretara svog najvećeg regionalnog tijela, komore u Amsterdamu, 1650-ih, da je unutarazijsku trgovinu bolje prepustiti privatnim trgovcima, čiji su režijski troškovi bili skromni u usporedbi s tvrtkom, s teško naoružani brodovi. Tek 1742. godine HOS nije dopustila kršenja svog monopola. S druge strane, zaposlenici tvrtke obogatili su se obavljajući privatnu trgovinu usporedo sa službenom trgovinom. U nizozemskim tvornicama rasprostranjene su prijevare i korupcija.

U unutarazijskoj trgovini Portugalci su pokazali put. Njihova trgovina zemljom bila je važnija od trgovine u Europu. Poput portugalskih i engleskih privatnih trgovaca, HOS se aktivirao u ovoj trgovini. Između 1640. i 1688. nizozemska je tvrtka nabavila znatne količine japanskog srebra i tajvanskog zlata za kupnju indijskog tekstila, koji je zatim zamijenjen za indonezijski papar i druge začine, iako su neki poslani u Europu. Većina papra i drugih začina također se prodavala u Europi, ali je određeni postotak uložen u Perziju, Indiju, Tajvan i Japan. Dobit ostvarena u trgovini unutar Azije plaćena je za azijske proizvode čija je prodaja u Europi dala više od dividende koju je VOC isplatio svojim dioničarima u ovom razdoblju. Uloga tvrtke u intra-azijskoj trgovini narušena je u posljednjoj četvrtini sedamnaestog stoljeća, kada su se indijski trgovci pojavili kao ozbiljni suparnici u trgovini s Javom, Sumatrom i Malajskim poluotokom. Osim toga, japanske su vlasti ograničile nizozemsku trgovinu, čime je zapravo okončana uloga HOS -a kao glavnog dobavljača plemenitih metala na raznim azijskim tržištima. Ipak, iako su Englezi postali glavna uključena država, VOC je lako ostao vodeća europska tvrtka koja sudjeluje u unutarazijskoj trgovini.

Kakav je bio odnos između privatnih trgovačkih tvrtki i matičnih vlada? Lokalni suci bili su blisko povezani sa poslovima HOS -a u Ujedinjenim provincijama. Oni su izabrali direktore regionalnih komora među glavnim investitorima. Generalne države sa svoje strane nisu samo delegirale suverene ovlasti HOS-u na početku tvrtke, već su je nakon toga financijski podržale u vrijeme potrebe. Ta se pomoć pokazala ključnom u prvim godinama VOC-a, omogućujući toj teškoći tvrtki dugoročna ulaganja u infrastrukturu te u vojne, pomorske i trgovačke poslove, što se na kraju isplatilo. S druge strane, britanska vlada je u nekoliko navrata samovoljno iskorištavala financijska sredstva EIC -a. Istodobno, postajao je sve zabrinutiji zbog načina na koji se EIC ponašao u Indiji. Sklapajući saveze i ugovore s domaćim knezovima te vodeći teritorijalno širenje, tvrtka je više nalikovala na suverenu državu nego na trgovačko društvo. Također se mislilo da će ratovanje smanjiti profit od azijske trgovine, koja je navodno bila glavna djelatnost tvrtke. Nizozemci su također raspravljali o prednostima teritorijalnog širenja, ali ovdje je središnji odbor HOS-a, a ne Opće države, izazvao mudrost zaposlenika tvrtke na terenu u Javi.

Obje su tvrtke pridonijele nacionalnom prosperitetu zapošljavajući tisuće ljudi, stimulirajući domaću brodogradnju i tekstilnu industriju te nudeći mjesta za ulaganja. Britanski financijski čelnici uključili su se u EIC, dok su ljudi iz tvrtki savjetovali britansku vladu o financijskim pitanjima. U Nizozemskoj se nije dogodilo takvo sustavno preklapanje, čak ni kada se HOS suočio s ozbiljnim financijskim problemima u drugoj polovici osamnaestog stoljeća. Četvrti anglo-nizozemski rat (1780. i#x2013 1784.) imao je osobito katastrofalne financijske posljedice. Zavjesa se napokon spustila za VOC nakon francuske invazije na Nizozemsku Republiku (1795). 1. ožujka 1796. Odbor istočnoindijske trgovine i posjeda zamijenio je direktore tvrtki. EIC se nije pojavio kao veliki korisnik smrti suparnika. Ne samo da su se francuska i danska istočnoindijska poduzeća pojavila kao konkurencija, već je i domaća strana postajala sve kritičnija prema moralnim i ekonomskim rezultatima tvrtke. 1813. britanska vlada oduzela je EIC -u sve njegove monopole, osim trgovine čajem s Kantonom, a 1833. prestala je sva trgovina poduzeća. Nakon velike pobune u Indiji (1857. – 1858), britanska država preuzela je poslove tvrtke.


Britanski utjecaj proširio se diljem Indije 1700 -ih

Početkom 1700 -ih Mogulsko se carstvo raspadalo, a različiti osvajači, uključujući Perzijce i Afganistance, ušli su u Indiju. No, najveća prijetnja britanskim interesima dolazila je od Francuza, koji su počeli zauzimati britanska trgovačka mjesta.

U bitci za Plassey, 1757., snage Istočnoindijske satnije, iako su bile znatno brojnije, porazile su indijske snage koje su podržali Francuzi. Britanci, predvođeni Robertom Cliveom, uspješno su provjerili francuske provale. Tvrtka je preuzela Bengal, važnu regiju sjeveroistočne Indije, što je uvelike povećalo vlasništvo tvrtke.

Krajem 1700 -ih, dužnosnici tvrtke postali su ozloglašeni po povratku u Englesku i pokazivanju ogromnog bogatstva koje su nakupili tijekom boravka u Indiji. Nazivali su ih "nabobs", što je engleski izgovor nawab, riječ za vođu Mogola.

Uznemirena izvješćima o ogromnoj korupciji u Indiji, britanska vlada počela je preuzimati određenu kontrolu nad poslovima kompanija. Vlada je počela imenovati najvišeg dužnosnika tvrtke, generalnog guvernera.

Prvi čovjek koji je obnašao dužnost generalnog guvernera, Warren Hastings, na kraju je smijenjen kada su članovi parlamenta postali ogorčeni zbog ekonomskih ekscesa naboba.


East India Company počinje stvarati probleme

U povelju istočnoindijske tvrtke zapisana je odredba koja joj je omogućavala kovanje vlastitog novca (na gornjoj slici), stjecanje teritorija, izgradnju utvrda i dvoraca, podizanje vojske i "ratovanje" ako je to u interesu Britanije i tvrtke . Naravno, smatralo se da je to u interesu Velike Britanije i tvrtke, pa nije ni da su se njezini časnici posebno sramežljivo koristili alate koje im je kruna dala.

Prema Povijest danas, u prvim danima Društva, Indijom su vladali Mughali, nevjerojatno bogata dinastija koja je bila otvorena za trgovinu, ali je imala sve te dosadne ideje o oporezivanju, trgovanju s trgovcima koji nisu dio tvrtke, a znate, i sami imate vlast zemlje. Tako je 1686. tvrtka dobila dopuštenje od Jamesa II da otplovi 19 brodova iz Londona u Indiju i pokaže Mogulima tko je šef. Završili su u četverogodišnjem ratu koji je završio sramotnim porazom. Flota je bila razbacana, časnici i vojnici su zarobljeni, a vojska mogulskih vojnika dovoljno velika "da je pojela sve vojnike Tvrtke za doručak" izlila se u tvrđavu Bombaya. No, onda su neobjašnjivo Mughali odlučili dopustiti Britancima da ostanu u Indiji jer su, znate, sada bili pokoreni i mogli bi jednog dana postati saveznici. Ha.


Istočnoindijska trgovina potiče potrošačku kulturu  

Prije East India Company, većina odjeće u Engleskoj bila je izrađena od vune i dizajnirana za trajnost, a ne za modu. No, to se počelo mijenjati jer su britanska tržišta bila preplavljena jeftinim, lijepo tkanim pamučnim tekstilom iz Indije, gdje je svaka regija zemlje proizvodila tkanine u različitim bojama i uzorcima. Kad je stigao novi obrazac, odjednom bi postao bijes na londonskim ulicama.

“Postoji ova mogućnost#& x2018u pravom stilu ’ koji prije nije postojao, ” kaže Erikson. 𠇊 Mnogi povjesničari misle da je ovo početak potrošačke kulture u Engleskoj. Nakon što su donijeli pamučnu robu, uveli su ovu novu nestabilnost u ono što je bilo popularno. ”


East India Company i njezino naslijeđe

East India Company postojala je više od 250 godina – od 1600-1858. Bila je to najveća korporacija u svjetskoj povijesti.

U velikoj mjeri zaboravljen u Velikoj Britaniji, bio je odgovoran za ratove opijuma s Kinom, pridonio je razornoj gladi u Indiji i bio je počinitelj okrutne prakse zapošljavanja u Bangladešu i drugim britanskim kolonijama.

Ne čudi stoga što je sjećanje na istočnoindijsku tvrtku jako živo u cijeloj Indiji i na dalekom istoku, gdje je riječ o eksploataciji i ugnjetavanju. Njegova priča sadrži važne pouke o opasnostima prevladavajuće moći velikih korporacija.

U ovom podcastu Nick Robins, autor knjige Korporacija koja je promijenila svijet: kako je istočnoindijska tvrtka oblikovala modernu multinacionalku razgovara s Jane Trowell iz Platforme, organizacije koja koristi umjetnost, aktivizam, obrazovanje i istraživanje za rad na društvenoj i ekološkoj pravdi. Oni su zajedno radili na projektima oko naslijeđa carstva za Britaniju u 21. stoljeću.

Upoznali su se u Nacionalnom pomorskom muzeju u Londonu, gdje se Trgovčeva galerija usredotočuje na povijest Istočnoindijske tvrtke. Jane je započela tako što je zamolila Nicka da opiše kako se prvi put zainteresirao za istočnoindijsku tvrtku.

Nick Robins: Zanimljivo je to putovanje. Radio sam u Indiji i Bangladešu, radio na pitanjima vezanim uz poštenu trgovinu i etičku trgovinu u tekstilnoj industriji i došao tamo naučiti o utjecaju istočnoindijske tvrtke, posebno na bengalsku tekstilnu industriju.

Kasnije sam došao raditi u City [London], radeći na društveno odgovornim ulaganjima. Otišao sam pronaći mjesto sjedišta istočnoindijske tvrtke u ulici Leadenhall. Tamo se sada nalazi Lloyd’s Building, glamurozna zgrada od čelika i stakla. Očekivao sam da ću vidjeti neki oblik ploče s natpisom 'Ovdje se nalazilo istočnoindijsko poduzeće, 1600.-1858.' Ali tu nije bilo ničega. Imamo toliko ploča po gradu, takav naglasak na baštini za vrlo male stvari. Zapravo, na mjestu je bila ploča s poštanskom markom. I samo mi se učinilo kao nešto čudno, da postoji najveća korporacija u svjetskoj povijesti, i da je nekako nestala. Pa sam počeo istraživati ​​nešto o tome, posebno gledajući kako je u to vrijeme viđen, a od toga je nastala i knjiga.

Jane Trowell: Za one koji ne znaju toliko o East India Company, zašto je to tako važna životna činjenica - tako iznimno važan dio naše poslovne povijesti?

NR: Osnovana je 1600. godine. Bila je to tvrtka s dioničarima, koja je imala povelju za svu trgovinu između Engleske i Azije. U to je vrijeme posebno Engleska bila siromašan rođak u usporedbi s Azijom. Tradicionalno, bogatstvo je letelo sa zapada na istok u globalnoj ekonomiji. Čak su se i u Rimskom Carstvu žalile poplave poluga za plaćanje paprike i tekstila s istoka. Britain was in a very, very poor place and the reason the East India Company was set up was to gain access for this very marginal maritime kingdom of England into the luxury markets of Asia, to get access to spices in particular. So it was very much the supplicant. Very, very small, struggling to get into these big markets, particularly the Moghul empire of India.

And then, gradually over the years, particularly over the eighteenth century through the use of its private armies, it started actually taking control of key parts of India, particularly Bengal. It became a power behind the throne and was not just trading but was engaged in real conquest, in battles. It started with dominating the markets in India, got involved in the opium trade, smuggling opium into China in the first half of the nineteenth century.

It became more and more of a ‘public-private partnership’. It was still a private operation, it still had shareholders, was still paying dividends to its shareholders but was increasingly doing the job of the British state who were standing behind it. Eventually it was wound up in 1858 after what was called the ‘Indian Mutiny’ or the ‘Great Rebellion against the East India Company’.

But one of the things that is interesting about the company is that it continued to pay out dividends for another twenty years or so. So, its actual corporate form extended much longer than its operational life. It paid its last dividend, drawing on the taxes in India, in April 1874.

So it had a very, very long existence from 1600 to 1874, and many incarnations along the route. But probably all the way through its primary purpose was to generate profits for its shareholders and executives.

In that picture it seems like – or could come across as – a great English or British success story. But in fact your book ‘The Corporation that Changed the World’ is a brutal dissection of the company, looking at it from an ethical standpoint, looking at it from a human rights standpoint, and looking at how its own private army was used in the absolute suppression of local democratic control.

NR: If you look back at the company’s record, there are some examples of some really outrageous negligence and oppression, particularly once it had gained a real foothold in India, dominating markets and driving prices down for its goods.

For example, when it controlled Bengal, there was a drought and the company did not intervene. In fact its executives intervened to buy the grain that remained on the market, so driving up the prices. Drought led to famine. It was probably one of the biggest corporate disasters in world history, anything up to seven million people died in that famine.

The Opium War we’ve touched on. The company was the monopoly administrator of opium production in India and smuggled that deliberately, against Chinese laws, into China. So, there’s some fairly extreme examples of corporate malpractice.

As I was writing the book I was conscious and wary of implying twenty-first century values – saying, ‘they do look outrageous to us, but maybe they were not seen as as bad at the time, because of different values and so on’. But what really impelled me to write the book was how contemporaries, particularly back here in England, saw the company’s behaviour and actually did react with outrage and in many ways in disgust to some of the company’s behaviour. So in the book, I try and draw on that, in terms of the poems and the plays and the caricatures that were generated by the culture at the time, in reaction to the company’s behaviour. So, while the company was certainly powerful and a part of the establishment, it was also the subject of cultural criticism at the time. This gave me the confidence to look into it. It was not just looking back at this historical object through twenty-first century eyes but actually drawing on the critique at the time – when some people were saying ‘In future times, people will look back in horror at the East India Company’.

JT: There is, in this country, wilful ignorance about the legacy of that particular company. Unlike some of the slave trade companies, which have been held up for scrutiny in much more rigorous manner. But of course in your travels in China and in India and Bangladesh, you came across a very different story. Because in effect, this is a corporation that ended up ruling a large chunk of the Indian sub-continent.

NR: In India, I think you talk to pretty much anyone about the East India Company’s role – coming to trade but eventually conquering – and it is part of standard education. So everybody will know about it. And when I was talking to textile workers in Bangladesh and mentioned the East India Company, people would say ‘Oh yes, yes. These are the people who chopped off our weavers’ thumbs.’ There was immediately a recognition of the company after they had taken over control of Bengal, and that they were so oppressive, that they chopped off the weavers’ thumbs. I could not find evidence of that in my research, but I found evidence of something probably even more horrific – the weavers chopped off their own thumbs, so they would not actually be forced to weave under the company’s orders.

So this is very close to the surface in India. This year, in 2012, India has passed new laws liberalising the retail sector to allow multinational companies to come in and take majority stakes in retail companies. And immediately, the gut reaction in Indian society is that people were opposing at is to say it is the return of the East India Company. So, it is the motif for talking about companies, the wrong companies.

And in China, in the opium museum in modern Guandong you have the East India Company portrayed there, very powerfully. They have these fantastic full-life tableaux of the company, these opium chests, its logo or chop-mark there, and it is seen that is was the institution which was the driving force behind the opium trade which resulted in the humiliation and the loss of power, the secession of Hong Kong, it is seen that that went on for essentially a hundred years until 1949. So again, when I talked to most people in China about the East India Company and immediately there would be some reaction. Whereas I think in Britain it will be somewhat fuzzy. And if at all, it will probably be linked to consumer articles, to some nice set of teas or whatever.

JT: If you go to the very touristy Twining’s shop on the Strand, which is the original Twining’s tea building, with a very, very small frontage, it is only about three meters across, it is not a wide building, with two, in inverted commas, ‘Chinamen’, reclining on the pediment as if in total happiness with the tea trade, with Britain. These representations, like thousands of others, dominate the landscape. Before we even get into the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and look at the marvellous painting, that you describe in the book, of Britannia receiving riches… what is the exact title of ‘Britannia receiving the riches of the East’

Britannia receiving the riches of the East

NR: Yes, what a picture. Britannia very much in a position of hierarchy and receiving essentially tribute from Indians and Chinese and so on.

JT: And certainly in the context of England and Britain the amnesia about the company is well observed.

Except…. when we were doing our walks and talks and things in Tower Hamlets in East London, where there is a predominantly Bangladeshi community. Because of course, when we talk about Britain we have to talk about who in Britain is conveniently forgetting. And we had some extremely interesting encounters with young people and older people in Tower Hamlets, whose political understanding of their current situation and the situation in Bangladesh was deeply informed by an understanding of what had happened in Bengal, the bread basket of the world at that time under the East India Company.

So again, it is a question, it is a very interesting question, of who we are talking to about this company. Because I remember one young man, I’m not sure I was with you on that occasion, who was thumping the table with grim delight that anybody was trying to talk about this in a political way that was relevant to now. He was an eighteen or nineteen year old, dealing with racism, dealing with unequal opportunity, dealing with family back in Sylhet. It is an interesting contrast between museological world, the white-dominated world of museums, the heritage world that wants to shut it down and the business world, which may want to shut it down – and on the other hand other communities, for whom it is a vital part of reclaiming their history.

NR: Yes, and I think it is one of the interesting things which has happened over the last five years. The history of the East India Company has not changed, it is in the past, it is there. But I think what has changed, certainly in Britain, is the ways in which different communities have encountered that legacy. So, there is a very interesting community organisation in East London, the Brick Lane Circle, which has been working to get young people of all communities and backgrounds and races to actually think about what this legacy of the East India Company means. And actually, in many ways, how you can through encountering it, through confronting it and challenging it, you can actually maybe develop a sense of a shared culture, that is not exclusive. Its not about people with a Bangladesh background having to be interested or share a certain view. But it is a way of saying that because of this company we have a lot of things in common which we have not quite explored. So that is a very interesting thing, a very live thing. A current project of the Brick Lane circle is about how Bengal dressed Britain through it textiles . o again, very good ways of bringing this history to life and showing how these historical connections formed the way we are today.

JT: It has been very interesting, hasn’t it, over the past twelve years or so that we have been working on this on and off together and sometimes separately, to see how different museums and galleries, let’s say in London, have changed or have struggled with how to interpret these histories of trade in Asia – and we could even talk about slavery, even if it is a different subject it is a related subject because those two things are very interwoven economically. Is there anything new – particular moments, particular exhibitions you have seen or have been involved with – where you have seen a shift in thinking?

NR: Yes, certainly in a cultural sense. There have been three exhibitions over the last decade which I think, do pinpoint three different moments for how British society is trying to come to terms with this.

The first was an exhibition in the British Library back in 2000 for the 400 th anniversary of the Company. It was a very romanticised view and in fact, had totally omitted any reference to the opium trade. So you had community protest from the Chinese community here in Britain, very strong, to introduce a proper explanation of the company’s role in the opium trade.

Secondly, the Encounters Exhibition in the Victoria and Albert Museum. I think that had the beginnings of a recognition of the balance of the story.

And now finally here, in the National Maritime Museum, the new permanent exhibition on the East India Company which, I think, is a very good attempt to explain in a popular way the full account of the East India Company – to explain that it was a company and certain parts of it appear properly, maybe for the first hundred years, to be trading and bringing benefit. That it was bringing the benefit of stimulating demand for goods in India, bringing in tax revenues in Britain and so forth. But there was another big part of the story, which was bringing oppression and domination. And I think that the gallery here has attempted ato bring that richness without being too didactic. Hopefully, it leaves the viewer to make up their own mind. But I think it lays out this was a very complex story and the company had strengths in parts of the earlier period, where it did not have this overweening power, but then began overturning existing cultures and really changing the course of economic history so that wealth would flow from East to West, changing that historical flow from West to East.

So I think those are interesting moments, and within only a decade. They show the assertiveness of once immigrant communities now playing their part in the shaping of the public memory of Britain as a whole, particularly the Bangladeshi and Chinese community. It means we have a much richer, more honest, representation of this peculiar institution.

JT: So, we have talked a bit about different communities’ memories.

Now let’s think about business. You know, one of the things about capitalism is it likes to forget (there is some very interesting writing about that in terms of capitalism). But you have deliberately subtitled your book ‘How the East India Company shapes the modern multinational’. Working in the City [of London], you understand the forces at work. How has this book gone down in business communities?

NR: One of the things again I did as I was going into the heart of the matter, was to look at the characters of that time and whose learnings and teachings we still draw on – people like Adam Smith, Edmund Burke, Karl Marx, very different people. Adam Smith was seen as the father of liberal economics, Edmund Burke as the father of political conservatism, Karl Marx leading the communist movement. All, in very different way,s encounter the company in a period from, let’s say, 1770 to 1858/1860. And all are critical, from quite different perspectives.

Adam Smith, was a supporter of free trade but very critical of corporations, particular their monopoly power – both because of the scale issue (he was interested in open markets, so he was obviously against that) but also he was particularly concerned about the shareholder listing point of that, and the tendency towards speculation and abuse. It is interesting going back through Adam Smith’s work and realising that when he wrote his third edition of the Bogatstvo naroda, he actually went back to his editor and said ‘Look, I want to add another section to the book about the behaviour of corporations because we have this egregious example of the East India Company.’

I suppose when you are talking to a modern business audience, drawing on the reality of Adam Smith and actually placing his views in his time, pointing out that this was one of the big things he was struggling with, then I think you get a more honest response.

Edmund Burk again, a conservative. His reaction to the East India Company, particularly the way it destabilised – threw into turmoil – Bengal society, was similar to his reaction to the French Revolution. He opposed the East India Company because it was revolutionary. It was this revolutionary power, going into India, overturning all the established relations and leading to oppression as a result.

So you have a conservative critique as well as a liberal-economic critique. And then there is Karl Marx. For his purposes the East India Company was an agent or a tool of the British ruling class, which had turned from being the trading class to what he called the ‘moneyocracy’.

So all very different perspectives but all ones that have resonance today. And it helps us to when we are looking at those figures and their ideas, to root them in their realities so they are not abstract.

JT: At the end of the second edition of the book, you itemise, like a manifesto, what could be done or what should be done in light of what we have learned from the East India Company. You give an analysis of what you call a ‘trilogy of design flaws’ – speculative temptations of executives and investors, the drive for monopoly control and absence of automatic calamity for corporate abuse.

You then make a series of recommendations and you talk about some progress one can see in the UK 2006 Companies Act. Can you talk a bit more about how you think those recommendations might play out?

NR: Yes, I think we are looking at the company and what it teaches us about the modern corporation. I looked at four factors.

Firstly, the company as an economic agent. How the financing of the corporation is a powerful factor in determining its behaviour. As we discussed with Adam Smith we need to be very careful about the dynamics of the stock market listing. It is not necessarily intrinsically a bad idea, but we do need to recognise that there are inherent problems about stock market listing and the tendency towards speculation.

Second is the issue of scale – again something brought up by Adam Smith. We have seen recently, in the discussion of too big to fail issues, the problem of the larger the organisation, when things go wrong, the more magnified the problems are.

The third, which we have not really discussed, is technology. How the company deployed its technology – in its case, the technology was particularly its military technology and shipping technology.

And a fourth is regulation. There was a collusion of state power and corporate power in the company’s case. So how can we avoid that, and how can regulation be used to ensure public accountability.

So the recommendations are really around mechanisms through which you can ensure that both shareholders and company management must have the public interest as part of their mandate. So it is not purely the seeking of private good.

You do then have the critical issue of company scale and company size, and a recognition that economic diversity is a value in itself – diversity of size, but also of form. When we look back at the history, Adam Smith was recognising that certain economic forms are useful for certain things. You can have the joint stock company, and there are also partnerships, co-operatives, state companies and so on. And they can all play different roles – so diversity of form and size is important.

And then finally, regulation. We have had a reform in the last few years of the Company Act. In a very British way, the focus of a company is to promote the interest of its members, its shareholders. But, in a reformist measure company directors were asked to consider to take into account the interests of employees and suppliers and communities and the wider environment. To consider but not act. And there, I suppose we have seen it is important that there is more of a recognition that companies need to have that positive requirement to act in the wider interest as well. Those would be three, I suppose, big recommendations around the business side in our times.

So there are many examples, I suppose, where the company was doing the first in so many of these failings of corporate form which for me again, thinking of the history of it, is that the issues that we are facing today are not accidents of circumstances I suppose. That they are things that are more structural and do have patterns through history, which I think means we can address them today with more confidence really.

So moving from the imperial gene to the ethical gene?

That’s right, that’s right. And some people call it the ‘civil corporation’. The company corporation can be a very useful institution, but we really need to think about its design so that it does serve the interest of society.

With thanks to Dianne Prosser at the National Maritime Museum for hosting this discussion.

The podcast was produced by Matthew Flatman and the transcript was prepared by Maarten van Schaik


How did the East India Company change the world?

What comes to mind when you hear the word "corporation?" Maybe a giant, faceless conglomerate? Ruthless captains of industry? Perhaps you think of corporate scandals like Enron and WorldCom. In fact, the unscrupulous plundering done by some modern-day corporations pales in comparison to the activities carried out by one of the world's first corporations: the British East India Company (EIC).

The concept of corporations was first established under ancient Roman law [source: University of Virginia]. But it wasn't until England emerged from the Middle Ages that it created what we recognize as the modern corporate structure. It all began on Dec. 31, 1600, when Queen Elizabeth I granted a charter to the British East India Corporation, naming the corporation "The Governor and Company of Merchants of London, trading with the East Indies." The corporation conducted business in the East Indies (land that we now consider India and the Middle East) at the behest of the queen.

The East India Company established a few major precedents for modern corporations. But it also shaped the world in countless other ways. With both the financial and military support of the Crown, the EIC served as an instrument of imperialism for England. The company had its own private army and raised soldiers in the areas it subjugated. Its expansionism spurred several wars that produced at least two sovereign nations. Among its many claims to fame (and notoriety), the EIC indirectly built Yale University, helped create two nations and was the world's largest drug-dealing operation in the 18th century.

The company was ruthless in its quest for profits. Parliament even called the EIC tyrannical. However, without the EIC, England may have never developed into the nation it is today.

Read on the next page how this giant global corporation was created.

The Creation of the East India Company

When the British East India Company (EIC) was formed in 1600, there were already other East India Companies operating on behalf of France, the Netherlands, Spain and Portugal. Thanks to the naval route that explorer Vasco Da Gama discovered, riches from the Orient were pouring into Europe. With other nations importing fortunes in goods and plunder, Queen Elizabeth decided England should get some, too. So she granted the charter for the East India Company.

Queen Elizabeth used more than just royal decree and coffers (treasury funds) to help merchants and explorers establish trade on behalf of England in the East. The charter she issued created the first official joint-stock corporation. A joint-stock corporation is composed of investors who are granted shares in a company. In return for their initial investments, shareholders are given dividends, or percentages, of the company's profits based on the number of shares the investor holds.

Shares and dividends were not new concepts in England. Twenty years prior to the EIC's charter, Queen Elizabeth was already a major stakeholder in Sir Francis Drake's ship, the Golden Hind. Although it's not certain how much she made from Drake's voyages to the New World, the captain himself made a 5,000 percent return on his initial investment [source: Hartmann].

So a joint-stock corporation like the one Queen Elizabeth formed in the East India Company wasn't much of a financial leap. But it was the first of its kind, and following the establishment of the EIC, its Dutch, French and other competitors followed suit. But granting charter to the EIC wasn't the only part of the prototype for modern corporations that Queen Elizabeth devised.

Under the auspices of her royal authority, Elizabeth also limited the liability of the EIC's investors -- including hers. This made the company the world's first limited liability corporation (abbreviated as LLC in the United States and Ltd. in the United Kingdom). Under an LLC, the investors in a corporation are granted protection from losing any more money than their initial investments in the venture. If the company goes under, the investors only lose the amount of money they put into the LLC. The company's outstanding debts aren't divvied up among its investors [source: IRS].

Queen Elizabeth covered any losses or debts owed by the East India Company with the royal coffers modern LLCs are subject to bankruptcy procedures, where creditors may be forced to take pennies on the dollar or nothing at all if a corporation goes under.

Although it took several decades for the East India Company to become truly profitable, once it did, the company rose to global domination -- both in business and in government. In a symbiotic way, as the company grew in power, so, too, did England. So it's no surprise that during its existence, the company was directly involved in major geopolitical changes: The EIC literally changed the course of history. Two nations, India and the United States, revolted against East India Company rule, which led to the establishment of their current political structures.

Read how the company inadvertently created the United States on the next page.


Dutch East India Company

What was the Dutch East India Company? What was this network that wove its way throughout history, had a hand in almost all 18th century wars, and passed seemingly unnoticed by all?

Podrijetlo

The Dutch East India Company was a charter trading company established in 1602. It is considered to be the first ever multinational company. It was a huge organization, with a foothold in almost every country, employing more than 200 ships and several thousand men. The Company was notorious for their power plays and harsh dealings.

In 1602 the Portuguese had the largest trade in the seas and, due to a political conflict, they cut off all trade with the Dutch. Soon after, the Portuguese began to have trouble supplying as much product as was needed, causing prices to skyrocket. During this time, Portugal became a good target for the Spanish government to attack. As the Portuguese fell into war, their trade fell, and the Dutch saw enormous opportunity to move in and take over their trade routes.

Dutch East India Company merchant ship
Slika javne domene

In the 1600’s, trading “companies” were nonexistent. Trading was an individual event at the time of each voyage. The goods brought home would be liquidated on the ship’s return.

These trips were risky to invest in because so many things could go wrong: piracy, shipwreck, disease, or any number of other things. When the Dutch took over, however, they founded an actual shipping company on a much larger scale than anything ever seen before. They purchased ships, signed contracts for long term captains and commodores, and searched for merchants to do their bidding.

The East Indies were more than happy to do business with them because it meant a good deal of money for their government. This Dutch East India Company was the beginning of something massive.

The British East India Company

Soon after, the British saw what the Dutch were doing and immediately recognized the profit to be made. Queen Elizabeth sent a letter to the Dutch government asking to get in on this deal. Another branch, the British East India Company, was created.

Monopoly

Two sides of a duit, a coin minted in 1735 by the VOC. Public domain image.

After joining with the British, the fledgling company decided that they didn’t want any competition and set out to destroy other trading groups. Since they had rapidly grown to be the largest trade on the sea, this was not hard to do.

They went to various governments with the proposition of handling their trade, and threatened them against doing business with anyone else, at the risk of the Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie (or VOC, Dutch for Dutch East India Company] no longer working with them.

It didn’t take much to get a complete monopoly over sea trade. At this point, the VOC completely controlled all supplies in and out of every continent.

Rogue Nation

This much power needed protection, so they began to create their own private army. Living most of their lives on the sea, they realized they did not have to adhere to the laws of any land.

They built their army in all different parts of the world, so they were highly trained in many different fighting styles. They had only the finest war ships built and had their military accompany all their trading voyages to fight off pirates and anything else that might slow them down.

Next they built their own government. They appointed members of the company as their own committee of advisors to make decisions for the company.

Taking Over The World

The shipyard of the Dutch East India Company in Amsterdam, circa 1750. Public domain image.

As time went on their lust for power and money grew. Under the guise of a simple trading company, their empire on the sea went virtually unnoticed as a threat, so no one ever tried to stop them. They got involved in more than one battle, helped shape governments, had a hand in building Cambridge University, and helped create more than one nation, including America, while supposedly working for the British.

How’s that for double dealing?

During their trading, they employed many private tradesmen as well. If any of them double-crossed them, or was even suspected of stealing, the Dutch East India Company was notorious for inflicting unspeakable tortures. They did not quit until they had everything back they had lost, then killed them.

If any country thought about stopping business with them, supplies to that country would cease. Likewise, if anyone tried to open a private trade, the VOC would either prevent everyone from doing business with them via blackmail and threats, or (they were only suspected of doing this) would act as pirates and vandalize their ships and destroy the goods.

As they travelled around the world getting richer and more powerful, they had private spies that were employed to collect damaging information about various countries’ leaders. The VOC would then simply sit on it if they needed leverage later.

They laced themselves throughout all the major wars of their time, masquerading as an innocent trading company, passing unnoticed by all as they spun their web of information, power, and money.

Odbiti

The VOC was in business from 1602 to some point in the early 1800s. In 1796, they began to collect debt and the Dutch government, who had been backing them before, could not pay it off. They finally went bankrupt in 1800, and the Dutch government collected all of the excess debt they left behind.

There has never been a trade empire like the Dutch East India Company since. Some countries, such as South Africa, are still struggling to rid themselves of the violent, cruel legacy they left behind.


East India Company

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