Tag Archives: How the East India Company became the world’s most powerful business – National Geographic

How the East India Company became the world’s most powerful business – National Geographic

After overseeing the defeat of the Spanish Armada, Queen Elizabeth I issued a royal charter authorizing British merchants to trade in the East Indies on behalf of the crown.

PHOTOGRAPH BY LEEMAGE, CORBIS/GETTY

The trading firm took command of an entire subcontinent and left behind a legacy that still impacts modern life.

THINK GOOGLE OR Apple are powerful? Then you’ve never heard of the East India Company, a profit-making enterprise so mighty, it once ruled nearly all of the Indian subcontinent. Between 1600 and 1874, it built the most powerful corporation the world had ever known, complete with its own army, its own territory, and a near-total hold on trade of a product now seen as quintessentially British: Tea.

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