The Rise and Fall of French East India Company

When we discuss about colonial rule in India, we generally talk about British East India Company. Very few of us might be aware about the history of French East India Company. The French trading company was set up in 1664 to compete with English and Dutch East India Companies. It was set up by the finance minister of King Louis XIV named Jean-Baptiste Colbert. The benefits of purchasing gold, pepper, cinnamon, and cotton from foreign merchants were advertised. Very few joined the company and the King himself became the biggest investor. The French East India Company was in constant conflict with Dutch East India Company but they grew in power between 1670 and 1675. After incurring heavy losses, a revived French east India company obtained the colonies of Mauritius in 1721 and Mahe in Malabar (India) in 1724.  In 1740, company managed to reach a trade value that was half of that of the British East India Company.

French East India Company

Under the new leader Joseph-François Dupleix, the company managed to get hold of Madras but could not take the neighbouring British fort of St. David. He took help of local Indian powers to fight against the British. The British supported rival Indian groups on the other side. A war broke out between the two companies in 1751. Dupleix was finally recalled to France in 1754. France lost to British in a seven year war between 1756 and 1763. Capital of French India, Pondicherry was captured by British in 1761. The company made profit by trading with West Indies and their monopoly over French Trade with India ended in 1769. It weakened its hold further and disappeared completely till the French Revolution in 1789.

There are many other interesting facts about French East India Company in India that most of us are unaware of. Dive deep into the chapters of history to explore these exciting aspects of French East India Company.


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