Modern India-Expansion of British Power

Modern India-Expansion of British Power

The term ''Expansion of British Power'' in India defines East India Company's occupancy, in 1773. East India Company which was a foreign trading company attained territorial control over Indian Regions.

In light of modern history, the ”Expansion of British Power”, highlights the expansion of the British Empire through acquiring several territories of India as their colonies. The British first came to the Indian lands as overseas merchants for trading purposes. However, their shrewd politics and diplomatic approach assisted them in entering the legal system of India. The British’s power, hunger, and inner longing for colonial expansion led the British to expand in different regions of India. Around the year 1613, Emperor Jahangir sent a Farman allowing the British to develop a factory at Surat. In 1615, a commercial treaty was established between the Mughals and the British. This was the initial step of the British to enter the Indian region and around 16221, the East India Company developed by the British started to take part in producing laws, rules, and regulations that were quite new to the civilians of India. This marks the first step of the British towards ”Expansion of British Power”.

The Initial Stage of British expansion in India

The preliminary phase concerning ”Expansion of British Power” in India reflects that around 1600 CE, after the formation of the British trading company, it was offered the exclusive rights for engaging in trade with South-East Asia and India. The government of British and legal formations believed in absolute monarchy and thus after entering India and being involved in the legal and governing system of India, they started their expansion. ‘Expansion of British Power” in India was possible for the British due to the fact that India at that phase of time was not united and scattered in various regions. These disbanded states were independent on their own, which helped the British to sign trading and military alliances and beneficiary treaties with these scattered states. Later, the urge to develop their empire and make these Indian regions a part of their empire was satisfied through their effective diplomacy concerning infiltrating these regions and gradually taking possession of the ruling system in those states. This was the start of the British Raj in India and soon around the year 1858, the Indian subcontinent was instituted with a new British governing system. Later, the rule of India was transferred to Queen Victoria and around 1876, she was hugely proclaimed as the Empress of the Indian Subcontinent. 

The phase of British Expansion in India

In consideration of ”Expansion of British Power” in India, it has been found that there are three potential means that have accelerated the British expansion in the subcontinent of India. Although the huge wealth and trade connection was a motivating factor for the British to expand successively in several parts of India, however, expertise in geopolitics, moral dimension, and critical strategies for colonisation has helped the British to expand easily in India. The ”Expansion of British Power” has three significant phases, which are known as “Mercantilism (1757-1813), “Laissez Faire” (1813-1860), and “Finance Imperialism” (1860-1947). This reveals the periodical enhancement of the British expansion over the Indian Territory. As the founder of the British Raj in India Robert Clive is highly famous, who in the East India Company, began his work life as a clerk and soon rose through various ranks for commanding the armed forces of the British at the battle of Plassey. In the ”Expansion of British Power,” the East India Company played a central role, as a company through expert trade decisions and diplomatic approaches accumulated territorial control over Bihar, Bengal, Bombay, Madras, and Orissa. In fact, the involvement of British in different wars in the various regions of India and continuous success in these wars due to mutual conflicts of various states has ignited the British Raj to expand further. In addition, there are various aspects, of which the British took advantage. For example, the Divide and Rule policy, also the disunity of the important regions of India helped them to enhance their dominance in the distinct parts of India. In fact, the expansion procedures and policies have also taken an acute part in the ”Expansion of British Power”. The conditions related to the socio-politics in India were interpreted as favourable concerning the policy of expansion by the British. Moreover, the aggression in India was easy as well as profitable. Therefore, in order to acquire the political aims of the British, Lord Wellesley depended upon three critical methods. These three critical methods are known as “The system of subsidiary Alliance”, “Outright War”, and “the assumption of the territories of previously subordinated rulers”. India was conquered by the British and ”Expansion of British Power” was ensured through subjugating local Rajas and Nawabs. These empirical tactics have helped the British and the British government to expand the British power in India.


In view of the ”Expansion of British Power”, in India, it has been noted that the British were quite successive as traders and their trading tactics has helped them in menacing their wealth and acquirement of the various trading networks, after discovering the prosperity, geographical benefits and wealth of India, British were attracted. The diplomatic policies and procedures of East India Company, have helped them in being successful in convincing the Indian rulers to accommodate them, and soon the British through their empirical expertise took control over the judicial and legal system of India.