(Last Updated on : 04/06/2012)
A number of European communities had set their foot in India starting from the 15th century. However it was the British, which ruled India for the longest time spanning a period of more than two hundred years.
The Portuguese were the first to arrive in India in 1498. It was Vasco da Gama who arrived in Calicut and discovered India. After that the Portuguese established a chain of outposts along the western coast of India. Goa, was the seat of Portuguese administration. In the beginning of the 15th century, The East India Company on the orders of Queen Elizabeth I, began trading with India.
Following the footsteps of the British, the French also arrived in India. By the mid 18th century, the French had captured most of southern India. Their territories included Pondicherry, Karaikal, Yanam, Mahe and Chandernagore. However during this period, a number of Anglo French wars took place where the French suffered huge defeats losing their possessions by the end of the 18th century.
The Dutch also established trading posts in India and controlled the Malabar east coast. They had a brief stay in India like the French and the Portuguese. They conquered Ceylon from Portuguese. The Dutch also established trading stations in various parts of the country. The important ones are, Travancore, Pipely, Hooghly's Chinsurah, Murshidabad in West Bengal, and Balasore in Orissa.
Denmark or the Danish were the last Europeans to set their foot in India. They established their trading posts in Tranquebar, Tamil Nadu, Serampore in West Bengal and at the Nicobar Islands. The Danish were not a very weak and competent power and by 1845 lost their last outpost to the Britishers.