National Army Museum

East India Company

Violence and expansion were integral to the armed bureaucracy that played a crucial role in the early days of Empire.

In the 18th century, the Muslim warlord Tipu Sultan terrorised Hindu southern India and clashed repeatedly with the British. Today, his legacy is contested, but he was far from the nationalist that some have claimed, writes Zareer Masani.

How one company opened an entire sub-continent to economic and political development, with huge ramifications for India, Britain, and the world.

Although “renowned for their interest in profits and dividends,” the Directors of the East India Company encouraged their servants to explore the field of natural history; Mildred Archer describes how British naturalists, when recording their researches, often employed a staff of gifted Indian artists.

Margaret Martyn documents the troubles of a seventeenth century British trader, after twenty years in India.

William Seymour describes the first hundred years in the rise to power of the East India Company.

Anthony Farrington previews a new exhibition on Asia, Britain and the role of the East India Company.

Huw V. Bowen asks whether the East India Company was one of the ‘most powerful engines’ of state and empire in British history.

'Trade follows the flag' is a truism of imperial expansion but in the 1680s it was the other way round, as East India Company entrepreneurs made an ambitious and abortive attempt to challenge the might of the Moghul empire.