The Improbable Rise of the East India Company: 1550-1650

David Howarth

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The East India Company was the most powerful commercial enterprise in British history. Yet its speculative, highly risky origins are now all but forgotten. A revolution in commerce during the Tudor period led to a bold search for new forms of investment and above all for overseas enterprises – the most profitable of which would be the Company.

David Howarth investigates the birth of the East India Company and explores why, having survived its first decades, it would last for another two hundred. Through a host of stories and fascinating details, Howarth examines the Company’s evolving way of doing business. While its efforts met with failure in Japan, they consolidated in India, thanks largely to Sir Thomas Roe. Howarth shows how Europe was central to the Company; as he offers the first ever comparison of the Company and its Dutch rival the Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie.

David Howarth is Emeritus Professor at Edinburgh University and a former curator at the National Trust. He is the author of Lord Arundel and His Circle, Images of Rule and The Invention of Spain.

ISBN: 9780300250725
Publication Date: October 26, 2021
400 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
16 color illus.