Bengal and Bihar. In 1690 a factory was established at Sutanuti by Job
Charnock and the zamindari of the three villages of Sutanuti, Kalikata and
Govindpur was acquired by the British (1698). These villages later grew into
the city of Calcutta. The factory at Sutanuti was fortified in 1696 (the British
used the rebellion of Shobha Singh, a zamindar of Burdwan as an excuse to
do this) and this new fortified settlement was named ‘Fort William’ in 1700.
A council with a president for Fort William was created (Sir Charles Eyre
was the first president) and all settlements in Bengal, Bihar and Orissa were
placed under it (1700).
Anglo-Mughal Relations
The relations between the Mughals and the English were marked by the
desire to dominate each other. Initially, Hugli was sacked and war was
declared on the Mughal emperor, Aurangzeb, in 1686 by the English. The
Mughals retaliated by the capture of all English settlements in Bengal (1687).
The British began hostile activities under Sir John Child on the west coast,
seizing Mughal ships and harassing haj pilgrims. The Mughals retaliated by
capturing English factories all over the empire (1688–1689). The British
finally surrendered but were pardoned by the emperor (1690) and were
granted a farman.
The farman of 1691 granted by Aurangzeb exempted the Company from
payment of customs duties in Bengal in return for an annual payment and a
second one granted by Farukh Siyar in 1717 confirmed the privileges of 1691
and extended them to Gujarat and the Deccan.
Problems of the Company at Home
The Company had to face several problems at home. A rival company by a
group of merchants under Sir William Courten was formed in 1635 and was
granted a licence to trade in the East by Charles I. There was rivalry between
the two companies for a while which was ended with their amalgamation in
1649. The East India Company was transformed into a joint-stock company
by a charter of Cromwell in 1657.
In 1694 the British Parliament passed a resolution giving equal rights to all
Englishmen to trade in the East.