The Making of Empire, II: India, Madras, Bombay and Bengal 1765–1778


in The Making and Unmaking of Empires

Published in print September 2007 | ISBN: 9780199226665
Published online January 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191706813 | DOI:
The Making of Empire, II: India, Madras, Bombay and Bengal 1765–1778

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Early British rule in India was built on Indian foundations. In Bengal the British were able to build on the foundations of a well-established state and a flourishing economy. Above all, the new East India Company rulers could tap Bengal's wealth through a system of taxation collected from the countryside. The essential task of early British administration was to enforce taxation. This enabled the Company to maintain a large army in Bengal, both to protect their interests there and to safeguard their other major Indian settlements, Madras and Bombay, which had only limited resources of taxation and were drawn into largely unsuccessful conflicts with strong neighbouring Indian states. British aspirations to empire in India in the later eighteenth century depended on Bengal.

Keywords: Bengal; East India Company; tax; Indian army; successor state; Madras; Bombay

Chapter.  20811 words. 

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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