British Colonization Of India Essay

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Historical Context and Background
British involvement on the Indian subcontinent began early in the 17th Century through the British East India Company and its business ventures and dealings. The early British Empire was composed of several self-governing colonies which had been settled in by British civilians, and colonial policy was one of “salutary neglect” (Brown 2010). It is not unfair to say that Britain’s relationship with India was one of political subordination, but economic exploitation formed the core of this relationship. The colonisation of India by the British Empire was clearly geared to benefit the mother country, even at the cost of the colony (Modern India 2010).
Colonial exploitation was carried out through three distinct phases over time. The first phase of mercantilism, which took place between 1757 and 1813, was one of direct plunder in which surplus Indian revenues were used to buy Indian finished goods to be exported back to Britain (Modern India 2010). In the second phase, from 1813 to 1858, India was converted into a source of raw material and a market for British goods. The third and final phase from 1858 onwards, was one of finance imperialism in which British capital began to control Indian banks, foreign trading firms and managing agencies in India. This phased exploitation was carried out through a range of economic policies, primarily in the industrial and agricultural sectors of the colonial economy of India (Modern History 2010).
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