Day 2 – Q 1. How did the colonial occupation of different parts of the country by non-British European powers affect the local economy, culture and politics? Examine.

  • IASbaba
  • June 11, 2020
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GS 1, Indian History & Post-Independence, TLP-UPSC Mains Answer Writing
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1. How did the colonial occupation of different parts of the country by non-British European powers affect the local economy, culture and politics? Examine. 

 गैरब्रिटिश यूरोपीय शक्तियों द्वारा देश के विभिन्न हिस्सों पर औपनिवेशिक कब्जे ने स्थानीय अर्थव्यवस्था, संस्कृति और राजनीति को कैसे प्रभावित किया? जांच करें।

Demand of the question:

It expects students to write about the impact of colonial occupation of non-British European powers on economy, culture and politics.


Most historians have observed that the coming of the Portuguese not only initiated what might be called the European era, it marked the emergence of naval power. Other European powers like Dutch, British, and French followed Portuguese mostly with trading ambitions and expectation of minimal native intervention in economic endeavours.


Impact of Portuguese occupation:

  • Portuguese occupied areas of Goa, Diu and Daman, Dadra Nagar Haveli and Mumbai port which was later transferred to British.  
  • The Portuguese ships carried cannon, and this was the first step in gaining monopoly over trade—with the threat or actual use of force. The Portuguese declared their intention to abide by no rules except their own, and they were intent on getting a decisive advantage over the Indians and over the Indian Ocean trading system.
  • The Portuguese showed military innovation in their use of body armour, matchlock men, and guns landed from the ships. The Portuguese may have contributed by example to the Mughal use of field guns, and the ‘artillery of the stirrup’.
  • The art of the silversmith and goldsmith flourished at Goa, and the place became a centre of elaborate filigree work, fretted foliage work and metal work embedding jewels. However, though the interior of churches built under the Portuguese have plenty of woodwork and sculpture and sometimes painted ceilings, they are generally simple in their architectural plan.
  • India, the memory of religious persecution and cruelty detracts from the other contributions made by the Portuguese in the cultural field. However, it cannot be forgotten that the missionaries and the Church were also teachers and patrons in India of the arts of the painter, carver, and sculptor.
  • As in music, they were the interpreters, not just of Portuguese, but of European art to India. 

Impact of Dutch occupation: 

  • Dutch were in India to cater growing spices demand in world. During the days when the Dutch were commercially active in India, they operated several mints, at Cochin, Masulipattam, Nagapatam.
  • The difference between the Dutch and the other European powers was that the Dutch were not directly a colonial administrative power. They were always interested in trade. It was only in Cochin that they came closest to what the other European powers did.
  • Dutch were compelled to leave India by 1795 as increased activity threatened British interests. 

Impact of Danish occupation:

  • The Danes are better known for their missionary activities than for commerce. Previously priests had not attempted to convert, and Indians denied entry to European churches.
  • The British government, highly suspicious of missionary’s activity, discouraged missionary work in their Indian territories. However, since Serampore was under Danish rule, the missionaries and the Press were able to operate freely. 

Impact of French occupation:

  • The French were the last of the European powers to enter the eastern trade. In 1668 the first French factory was established in Surat. The French obtained Pondicherry in 1673 then built Chandranagore subsequently. There was rivalry between the French and the British and the Dutch for major share in the eastern trade.
  • The French hopes of establishing their political powers came to an end in 18th century. However, French continued to help Tipu in modernisation of his army.
  • French revolution ideas of liberty, equality and fraternity quite influenced Tipu’s mind. Idea of state controlled trading company also influenced Tipu. He tried to establish foreign trade relations outside India.
  • French influence on art can be seen around the areas of Pondicherry. 


Over a period of time, European companies exhibited interest in obtaining more and more concessions from the Indian rulers as each was very desirous of gaining a monopoly of eastern trade against the other powers. This desire for monopoly made them enter into conflicts with one another both on land and sea. By 1750, the fortune smiled at the British and the British emerged victorious and developed designs to establish their political supremacy in India

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