1453

The city of Constantinople is captured by the Ottoman-Turkish empire.

1492

Columbus sails from Spain to reach India; he discovers America instead.

1498

Vasco da Gama of Portugal discovers a new and all-sea route from Europe to India: he sails round Africa via the Cape of Good Hope and reaches Calicut. He returns with a cargo that sells for 60 times the cost of his voyage.

1510

The Portuguese capture Goa under the viceroyalty of Alfonso d’Albuquerque.

1565

The great Vijayanagar Kingdom is overthrown, and its place is taken by a number of petty and weak states.

1599

The English East India Company is formed to trade with the East, under the auspices of a group of merchants known as the Merchant Adventurers.

1600

The English East India Company is given a royal Charter by Queen Elizabeth, and the exclusive privilege of trading east of the Cape of Good Hope for a period of 15 years.

1600-1757

The English East India Company’s role in India is that of a trading corporation which brings goods or precious metals into India and exchanges them for Indian goods like textiles and spices, which it sells abroad.

1602

The Dutch East India Company is formed. The Dutch States General gives it a charter empowering it to make war, conclude treaties, acquire territories and build fortresses.

1606-1645

The Guruship of the Sikhs is in the hands of Guru Hargobind Singh, who starts the transformation of the Sikhs into a militant, fighting community.

1608

The English East India Company decides to open a factory at Surat on the west coast of India.

1608

The English East India Company sends Captain Hawkins to Jahangir’s court to obtain royal favours.

The English East India Company is given permission to open factories at several places on the west coast, by a royal farman.

1611

The English East India Company opens their first factory in the south at Masulipatam.

1615

The English East India Company ambassador Sir Thomas Roe reaches the Mughal court, and gets a royal farman to trade and establish factories in all parts of the Mughal empire.

1623

The Dutch East India Company defeats English attempts to establish themselves at the Indonesian Islands.

1623

The English East India Company has established factories at Surat, Broach, Ahmedabad, Agra and Masulipatam.

1633

The English East India Company opens its first factories in Eastern India in Orissa.

1639

The local Raja of Madras grants the lease of Madras to the English East India Company, authorising them to fortify the place, to administer it, and to coin money on the condition of payment to him of half of the customs revenue of the port.

1650 onwards

The slave trade picks up – the slave ships carry manufactured goods from Europe to Africa, exchange them on the coast of Africa for Negroes, take these slaves across the Atlantic and sell them in the West Indies and in North and South America in exchange for the colonial produce of plantations or mines, and finally bring back and sell this produce in Europe.

1651

The English East India Company is given permission to trade at Hugli in Bengal. It soon opens factories at Patna, Balasore, Dhaka and other places in Bengal and Bihar.

1654-1667

War between the English East India Company and the Dutch East India Company in India, over a dispute regarding the division of the spice trade of the Indonesian islands.

1658

The Dutch East India Company conquers Sri Lanka from the Portuguese.

1662

The island of Bombay is given to the British King Charles II by the Portuguese, as dowry for marrying a Portuguese princess.

1664

The French East India Company is founded.

1666-1708

The Guruship of the Sikhs is in the hands of Guru Gobind Singh, under whose leadership the Sikhs become a political and military force.

1667

The Anglo-Portuguese war ends; the English give up all claims to Indonesia, while the Dutch agree to leave alone the English settlements in India.

1668

The island of Bombay is acquired by the English East India Company from the Portuguese and is immediately fortified.

1669 & 1688

Jat peasants around Mathura revolt against the Mughals under the leadership of their Jat zamindars.

These revolts are crushed by the Mughals.

1681

Birth of Raja Sawai Jai Singh of Amber.

1683

The Court of Directors of the English East India Company write to the Madras authorities, “... we would have you to strengthen and fortify our Fort and Town (Madras) by degrees, that it may be terrible against the assault of any Indian Prince and the Dutch power of India. ... But we must needs desire you so to continue your business (but with all gentleness) that the inhabitants may pay the full charge of all repairs and fortifications...”

1686

The English East India Company sacks Hugli and declares war on the Mughal emperor. Hostilities between the English East India Company and the Mughal Empire break out.

The British forces are crushed, and their factories in Surat, Masulipatam and Vishakhapatam are seized.

1687

The Directors of the English East India Company advise the governor of Madras to: “...establish such a policy of civil and military power and create and secure such a large revenue to maintain both ass may be the foundation of a large, well-grounded, secure English dominion in India for al time to come.”

1689

The Maratha King Shahu is taken prisoner by Aurangzeb.

1689

The Directors of the English East India Company declare: “The increase of our revenue is the subject of our care, as much as our trade: 'tis that must maintain our force, when twenty accidents may interrupt our trade; 'tis that must made us a nation in India...”

1693

The Royal Charter of the English East India Company is withdrawn.

1698

The English East India Company acquires the zamindari of the three villages Sutanati, Kalikata and Govindpur where it builds Fort William around its factories.

1699-1707

The Sikhs under Guru Gobind Singh wage constant war against the armies of Aurangzeb and the