What began as an exercise of hubris, Great Britain's presence in India was strong and far-reaching. Via the East India Company, formally established in 1660, Indian trade patterns grew as the eighteenth century progressed. Through India, the British Empire expanded to become an all-permeating social, political and economic dominance. By the final decades of the eighteenth century, India's meaning to the British Empire was hardly a symbolic one. Great Britain had countless trade outposts within the subcontinent, and its economic stability was closely linked to the nations' trades within and because of its imperialism of India. India held great meaning for Britain in that it allowed the crown to expand, profit and stretch its political muscle. The two nations had a converse relationship.
[...] India produced millions of dollars worth of profit, shared by the British merchants and traders who were invested in its production. There was a visible shift in Britain's position within and with reference to India in the second half of the eighteenth century. Following 1750, Britain, as spurred on by its merchants and government, saw that India could be an avenue for increased political dominance. Thus, the continent, which first served its very profitable purpose as a trading outpost, began to be developed as a colonized entity, as a result of British imperial ambition. [...]
[...] By the close of the eighteenth century, Indian's meaning to Great Britain had gradually changed from the form in which it was founded. Throughout the 1780s and 1790s, more acutely after General Hastings rule, which ended in 1785, there was a greater need to bring ‘culture' to the people of India. Although not the initial goal of the British East India Company, those within and outside the country believed India could benefit from cultural reform, the country and its industries “needed to be ‘improved' by firm, benevolent foreign rule.” To implement these changes a number of social reforms were first created. [...]
[...] The crown was able to tap into the Indian population and use them as a workforce and as military force. Beginning in 1772, by Governor- General William Hastings, residents from India were used to comprise infantry battalions. While this portion of the army was only used in military campaigns within India, it provided the British with an added troop base, meaning they would not have to exert mainland troops or risk loosing too many men to military campaigns of secondary importance. [...]
[...] Great Britain had become the one, supreme ruler over the Indian subcontinent as the eighteenth century came to a close. By this period, many local rulers had relinquished their own control, in favor of British rule. The British Empire, believing India to be an extremely valuable region over which they should maintain strong control, promised Indian rulers that they would ensure their independence so long as they pledged to remain loyal to the British crown. Britain believed it important to establish this type of dependant relationship because if they regions remained politically loyal to Great Britain then they would also remain financially loyal. [...]
[...] The close of the eighteenth century brought with it a shift in the relationship from India to Great Britain. The cooperation accepted and perpetuated throughout the previous century was tested as Britain sought to take a more serious role in the colonization of India, her people and politicization of her provinces. India's relation to Britain was slowly changing by the turn of the eighteenth century, as well. This was a consequence of Britain's changed view of its role in India and a changed desire of what Indian colonization could mean for the British Empire. [...]
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