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The Advent of Europeans and Governor Generals

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  • Vasco da Gama was the first European to have reached India at Calicut on May 17, 1498. It was ruled by a king named Zamorin. In 1502, he established a factory at Cochin.
  • The first Governor of Portuguese in India was Francisco Almeida.
  • He was followed bu Alfanso d’ Albuquerque in 1509. He gave them new heights. He captured Goa in 1510 from the Bijapur ruler. He also abolished Sati.


  • Dutch East India Company, another European company, was formed in 1602.
  • They set-up their first factory at Masulipatnam in 1605.
  • Their other factories were at Pulicat, Chinsura, Patna, Balasore, Nagapattanam, Cochin, Surat, Karikal, Kasimbazar.


  • The English East India Company was formed in 1599, and was given the royal charter by Queen Elizabeth I in 1600 to trade in the east.

  • An imperial Farman allowed the company to set up a permanent factory at Surat in 1613. Sir Thomas Roe played an important role in this.
  • The Danish East India Company was formed in 1616.
  • They established settlements at Serampur (Bengal) and Trarquebar (Tamil Nadu).
  • The Danes sold their settlements to the English in 1845.
  • The French East India Company was set in 1664, at the instance of a minister, Colbert, in the reign of Louis XIV.
  • They established their first factory at Surat in 1668 and at Masulipatnam in 1669.
  • The Battle of Plassey was fought between the Britishers and the Nawab of Bengal, Siraj-ud-Daulah. The Nawab was defeated.
  • Lord Robert Clive is considered the founder of British Power in India.
  • Battle of Wandiwash (1760) decided the fate of India, as a colony. In this battle, the British defeated the French.
  • The 4 battles – Battle of Plassey (1757), Battle of Wandiwash (1760), III Battle of Panipat (1761) and Battle of Buxar (1764) – cemented the British control over India.


WARREN HASTINGS  (1772 – 1785 )
  • Brought the Dual Govt. Of Bengal to an end by the regulating Act.1773.
  • Deprived Zamindars of their judicial powers and civil and criminal courts were established.
  • Maintenance of records was made compulsory.
  • Great patron of oriental learning, founded the Asiatic Society of Bengal with William Jones in 1784. He wrote the introduction to the first English translation of ‘The Gita’ by Charles Wilkins.
  • Impeachment proceedings started against him when he returned on the charges of taking bribe. After a trial of 7 years, he was finally acquitted
LORD CORNWALLIS  (1786 – 1793)
  • Did the permanent settlement of Bengal (also called Zamindary system)
  • First person to codify laws. The code separated the revenue administration from the administration of justice.
  • Police reforms: Each district was divided into 400 sq. miles and placed under a police superintendent.
  • The civil service was brought into existence.
SIR JOHN SHORE (1793 – 1798)
LORD WELLESLEY  (1798 – 1805 )
  • Adopted the policy of Subsidiary Alliance- a system to keep the Indian rulers under control and to make the British the paramount power.

The states that accepted this policy were the Nizam of Hyderabad, the ruler of Mysore, the Raja of Tanjore, the Nawab of Awadh, the Peshwa, the Bhonsle Raja of Berar, the Scindia, the Rajputs of Jodhpur, Jaipur, etc.

 GEORGE BARLOW ( 1805 – 1807)
 LORD MINTO   I (1807 – 1813)
  • Concluded the treaty of Amritsar with Maharaja Ranjit Singh (1809).
  • Carter Act of 1813 was passed.
 LORD HASTINGS (1813 – 1823)
LORD AMHERST(1823 – 1828


  • Carried out the social reforms like Prohibition of Sati (1829) and elimination of thugs (1830).
  • Made English the medium of higher education in the county (After the recommendations of Macaulay).
  • Suppressed female infanticide and child sacrifice.
  • Charter Act of 1833 was passed; made him the first Governor of India. Before him, the designation was Governor-General of Bengal.
  • Abolished all restrictions on vernacular press (called liberator of the press).
LORD AUCKLAND (1836 – 1842 )
  • The most important event of his reign was the First Afghan War, which provoked to be a disaster for the English.
LORD   ELLENBOROUGH(1842 – 1844)
LORD   HARDINGE   I  (1844 – 1848 )
LORD   DALHOUISE   (1848 – 1856)
  • Opened the first Indian Railway in 1853 (from Bombay to Thane).
  • Laid out the telegraph lines in 1853 (First was from Calcutta to Agra).
  • Introduced the Doctrine of Lapse and captured Satara (1848), Jaipur and Sambalpur (1849), Udaipur (1852), Jhansi (1853) and Nagpur (1854).
  • Established the postal system on the modern lines through the length and breadth of the country, which made communication easier.
  • Started the Public Works Department. Many bridges were constructed and the work on grand Trunk road was started. The harbours of Karachi, Bombay and Calcutta were also developed.
  • Made Shimla the summer capital.
  • Started Engineering College at Roorkee.
  • Encouraged Science, Forestry, commerce mineralogy and industry.
  • In 1854, ‘Wood’s Dispatch’ was passed, which provided for the properly articulated system of education from the primary school to the university.
  • Due to Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar’s efforts, remarriage of widows was legalized by Widow Remarriage Act, 1856).
First published on January 18, 2021. 


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