During the late 16th and the 17th Centuries, the European trading companies in India competed with each other ferociously. By the last quarter of the 18th Century the English had outdone all others and established themselves as the dominant power in India. The British administered India for a period of about two centuries and brought about revolutionary changes in the social, political and the economic life of the country.
Once the British set their foot solidly on Indian soil, they began the commercial exploitation of the natural resources of India. By the middle of the 19th Century arrogant exploitation of the people had tried the patience of the Indians to the limit. The British imperialism reached its zenith between the middle of the nineteenth century and the First World War. The exploitative policies of the British in India saw the birth of nationalist agitation against it. With increasing intrusion of aliens in their lives, a group of middle class Indians formed the Indian National Congress (1885).
The anti British struggle became truly a mass movement with the arrival of Mahatma Gandhi (1869 - 1948). It was followed by numerous movements against the British rule. With the passage of time and stubbornness of the Indians the British had come to realize that the day was not far off when they will have to quit India. Successive campaigns had the effect of driving the British out of India in 1947, but with independence came the independence of the country into Pakistan.
Under colonialism, Indian peasantry was impoverished and suffered from variety of problems like high rents, arbitrary evictions, illegal tax levies and unpaid labour renumerations in zamindari regions. Eventually, the peasants started to resist this exploitation and took desperate measures at several places.
The British East India Company, which is also referred to as “John Company”, was formed as a Joint- Stock Company that was established as The Company of Merchants of London Trading into the East Indies, in 1600. That was the time when other trading companies, that were established by the Portuguese, Dutch, French, and Danish were active in the region.
Anglo Sikh Wars
Guru Gobind Singh was the tenth as well as the last Guru of Sikhs who had transformed the religious sect of Sikhism into a military brotherhood.
After the invasion of Ahmed Shah Abdali and Nadir Shah, the Sikhs consolidated their military strength in midst of confusion and disorder after invasion. This led to emergence of Sikh power aided by strong military.
Anglo Mysore Wars
Haider Ali started his career as a soldier in the Mysore state, where he later became the Faujdar of Dindigul. With the help of the French he was able to establish a modern arsenal in Dindigul. And in 1761, Haider Ali overthrew the Nanjaraja, the prime minister of Wodeyar kingdom under King Krishnaraja I. He kept recognizing the king as lawful ruler.
Anglo Maratha Wars
Balaji Baji Rao was the third Peshwa who died after the defeat of Marathas in Third Battle of Panipat in 1761. He was succeeded by Madhav rao, his son. While Raghunath Rao, brother of Balaji Baji Rao was in lookout to become Peshwa himself. After death of Madhav Rao in 1772, British caused the first war with Marathas.
The Indian Rebellion of 1857 was a major, but ultimately unsuccessful, uprising in India in 1857–58 against the rule of the British East India Company, which functioned as a sovereign power on behalf of the British Crown. The rebellion began on 10 May 1857 in the form of a mutiny of sepoys of the Company's army in the garrison town of Meerut, 40 miles northeast of Delhi (now Old Delhi).
Important National Activities
The initial Indian Rebellion of 1857 was sparked when soldiers serving in the British East India Company's British Army and Indian kingdoms rebelled against the British. After the revolt was crushed, the British partitioned the region into British India and the Princely States. They tried to develop a class of educated elites, whose political organizing sought Indian political rights and representation