How The British Conquered India

I can only speak for myself. If I want to learn more than I learned at university about the history and culture of India, I won’t be looking at a standup comedian.


It wasn’t the “british” it was a multi national corporate :when they were big enough to have their own armies and riches that threatened the Crown…they were dismantled and the Crown took over.

Funny how history repeats eh…

Really. I didn’t know that. Which one(s)? I’ve always thought it was the British East India Company with its own army, in the mid 18th century. It lasted until what the Brits still call “The Indian Mutiny” in 1857, after which the British crown took over. The Indians still call it the “First War Of Indian Independence.” Like colonising powers generally, it never occurred to the Brits that they had no right to be there as rulers.

Sounds like you know what you’re talking about. I hope I get to chat with you some more.

I’m a US expat and I’ve been locked down in Suva since late April.

We have a lot of India people here in Fiji and I’ve been studying the country for a while. The culture is ancient and I’ve been interested in pre-Christian religions, for understanding how the ancient social-control systems worked.

I recently finished the audiobook “Against The Grain,” by James C Scott. It’s been a help to me wrtt.

You got it in one. The BEIC was a huge organisation, its own Navy, Merchant Marine and Army, also one of the earliest examples of Corporate Welfare having had multiple bale outs from the Crown in the mid 18th Centrury until it was effectively voted out of existence by a Government that got tired of pouring money in for the enrichment of only a few of the Directors and their minions. Sound familiar?

In its heyday it controlled 3/5 of the world trade…too big to fail?

Had its arse kicked by the Sikhs…and a good job too.

This is a good start as any:East India Company - Wikipedia

Read that before posting. It’s vast topic, beginning with the beginning of the Indus valley civilisations, going back to the fourth millennia bce at least.

Read a little of modern Indian history leading to independence, at university. IE Gandhi and his satyagraha movement and Jinnah and the Muslim league, the real fanatics demanding partition. (NOT Gandhi) Barely scratched the surface. I did learn a valuable lesson; if you want to learn about a culture, do not simply rely on local knowledge.

I was married to a girl with Bengali Ancestry from Guyana. My son is Anglo Indian. Arranged some ancestral fact finding trips for the inlaws and outlaws to Bengal/Bangladesh when I was making a couple of movies out there.

Whole family was deported to Guyana on the S.American Coast (even though it is considered part of the West Indies) in the 1850’s after the Tipu Sahib Rebellion (Black Hole of Calcutta fame). Boatloads of the poor buggers just dumped and left to fend for themselves. Fortunately they did.

1 Like

Henry VII abandoned the roman catholic church, seized, and sold the church property to what became the rich class. Thus he invented modern capitalism. The rich class fed a lot of revenue back into the government so they could afford armies and ships to impose their will whenever they wished. Shrewd merchants backed by the most powerful military had their way, striking deals that allowed Britain to wallow in excess off the backs off slaves and impoverished peoples.

Same in Canada. Fur trade was the commodity, the Hudson’s Bay Company was incorporated in 1670, the company functioned as the de facto government in parts of North America for nearly 200 years

1 Like

They, the Hudson’s Bay company, are the ones that benefited from selling land to the budding “Government of Canada”.

Big business and big religion and then, big government (operated by both via community votes influenced by the local big businesses and religions).

Areas belonging to Rupert’s Land were mostly in present-day Canada and included the whole of Manitoba, most of Saskatchewan, southern Alberta, southern Nunavut, and northern parts of Ontario and Quebec. It also included present-day United States territory, including parts of the states of Minnesota and North Dakota and very small parts of Montana and South Dakota. The southern border west of Lake of the Woods to the Rocky Mountains was the drainage divide between the Mississippi and Red/Saskatchewan watersheds until the London Convention of 1818 substituted the 49th Parallel.

Edited to add: When I was a kid and learnt about this I had made up my mind to never buy from “the Bay” (Hudson Bay modern day retailer). I never did - my whole fucking life.

1 Like

Really. Didn’t know that. So Mirella Cuthbert’s ancestors had stolen their land from first nation people?

Of course Australia didn’t have such inconvenience. At first settlement the entire country was declared ‘Terra Nullius’ by the British Crown. Fair dinkum, British hypocrisy has often taken the biscuit. In those days if Abbos got uppity they were just shot, often after being hunted for sport. Last recorded incident of Aborigines being hunted and killed for sport was in the 1920’s

The concept of Terra Nullius was finally legally challenged and struck down . That was in 1992.

You’ve got your history slightly wrong it was Henry viii that started the church of England not Henry vii and the country and monarchy change back to Catholic under Queen Mary, then changed back under Queen Elizabeth I, most military investments and improvements were made under her.

You are correct, it was Henry VIII who parted from the catholic church. But it was Henry VII who began building warships, when he died he left five royal warships. But Henry VIII did establish the Royal Navy, and when he died he left over 40 warships.

Yes, Elizabeth did put a lot of money into building warships, but without her father kick-starting the Royal Navy, who knows what may have come about.

My point is that Henry VIII split from the Vatican, seized their property and sold that off, thus filling the royal coffers and allowing those new owners to prosper and grow. It was a profitable cycle for all in positions of power. The crown grew rich and was able to fund the military on a grand scale, and the merchants were able to use this military support in their expansion, sending great fortunes into Britain. IMO that was the major turning point in British history, where they suddenly became the supreme military power.