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East India Company

The Honourable East India Company (HEIC), East India Trading Company (EITC), the English or (after 1707) the British East India Company, was a joint-stock company founded in 1600. It was formed to trade in the Indian Ocean region, initially with the East Indies (the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia), and later with Qing China. The company colonised much of the Indian subcontinent, parts of Southeast Asia and Hong Kong after the First Opium War, and maintained trading posts and colonies in the Persian Gulf Residencies. At its peak during the mid-1700s and early 1800s the company accounted for half of the world's trade, particularly in basic commodities including cotton, silk, indigo dye, sugar, salt, spices, saltpetre, tea, and opium. The company eventually came to govern large areas of India, exercising military power and assuming administrative functions. Company rule in India lasted until 1858 when, following the Indian Rebellion of 1857, the British Crown assumed direct control of India in the form of the new British Raj. The company was dissolved in 1874. We have a selection of maps by John Walker (q.v.) who was Geographer to the HEIC.