|Publication Date||May 31, 2019|
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The first English trading ships arrived on the shores of India in 1591. Less than a decade later, in 1600, Queen Elizabeth I granted a Royal Charter to the East India Company, giving it a monopoly on trade with India. King James I appointed Sir Thomas Roe as England's first envoy to the Court of the Moghul Emperor Jahangir, presenting himself for the first time on 10 January 1616. That same year, the first recorded Indian to visit England was baptised in a church in the City of London. This book celebrates over 400 years of shared history and heritage between the two nations. The British went to India initially as traders, gradually occupying the country and eventually becoming rulers. The characters and influences of those who governed for 347 years, first the East India Company and then the Raj, are carefully presented to show both the substantial benefits and the ruthless exploitation of their colonial rule. Despite its value to the British Empire, it was the colonial government's own actions which brought about its demise. Misguided acts of brutality such as the suppression of the mutiny in 1857, and the senseless massacre at Jallianwalla Bagh in 1919, led to an unstoppable nationalist movement for self-determination and independence, many of whose leaders were educated at elite schools created by the colonial government or at English public schools. Despite the bitterness of the struggle for freedom, Indian national leaders did not want to sever relationships with Britain when it finally gained independence in 1947, and despite huge differences in culture and religion, the bond between the two countries has continued for over 400 years from the reign of Queen Elizabeth I to the reign of Queen Elizabeth II. Without India, economically, and the sacrifice of Indian soldiers in both World Wars, Britain would not be where it is today. Without Britain, India would not be a unified country in law, language and education, or the global power it has become.
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