Why were the British interested in expanding their power in India?

2 Answers
May 17, 2018

India was rich in spices, culture, land and an ideal climate. bolded text


India_ known as United subcontinent back then, was a region comprising of current day Hindustan, Bangladesh and Pakistan.

India had a perfect climate, especially the southern region (now Pakistan). The area experiences all four seasons to its full blast. It was an ideal region for agriculture.

Spices and foods
The time that the Portuguese entered India first, they were amazed to see such a rich food and spice collection, that were the base of exports and imports at that time.


United India had varying land regions. It was covered in deserts but at the same time, it had icebergs (Siachin etc.) and snowy peaks (Himalayas, K2 etc) It also had beaches and fertile plains. The Indus Plain is the world's most fertile plain. It is located in Pakistan (Subcontinent)

India was a mixture of Hinduism and Islam, having Muslim rulers who had ruled for hundreds of years. All of the rulers promoted culture to its fullest_ especially the Muslim Mughals.

Indian architecture showed one thing and that was art.

Naive people
The Indian people had always been too innocent and were used to people ruling over them. The Europeans saw this as an upportunity.

As mentioned above, the Indian rulers promoted art to its fullest. Due to that, anyone was welcome in India with open arms. The Europeans saw this as an opportunity of present friendship and future backstabbing.

May 18, 2018

English traders first arrived in India to acquire cotton, spices, and a base for further trade beyond India. The need to stabilize their trading partners over the next 250 years kept growing.


European trade with India was extremely lucrative, and the British first arrived in 1600 (the East India Company) to set up a Factory -- this then being a warehouse where goods for shipment to England would be stored to await a trading vessel. There was a strong demand for cotton, indigo, saltpetre, and salt. The Indian factory was also a staging point for trade in spices and for silk, tea, and ceramics from China.

India was not then very stable and the East India Company soon found itself raising troops to guard its facilities and to protect its trading partners inland from Bombay -- especially as the trade grew in wealth and importance.

India also turned into an arena for European rivalries, especially as the Mughal Empire weakened in the middle of the 18th Century. In the Carnatic Wars of the 1740s and '50s, the East Indian Company and their allies were in a struggle with their French counterparts -- and their local allies. The war ended in a British victory, but it also left their erstwhile allies looking to Britain for protection, and with the British in charge of Bengal and the former French Allies.

It is important to remember that these territories were not under British rule, but under the rule of a privately owned company. For 150 years, the East India Company had a few hundred guards, now it had thousands of native Indian troops (trained along European lines) and British troops soon started to arrive at the company's request.

The quest for stability took the company through four Marantha Wars in the late 18th Century. The condundrum was that each former kingdom, once disarmed, then looked to the East India Company and the British Forces attached to it, for security against threats beyond its new frontier. For instance, a stable Punjab in the 1820s and '30s was satisfactory to the British, but the unstable Punjab of the 1840s begged to be sorted out (especially as the more militant Sikhs were dreaming of invading Company territory). Thus, the British hold kept growing.

The Indian Mutiny invited the British government to take a more direct hand, and the East Indian Company Administration was replaced by British rule, 257 years after the first British traders arrived.