In 1615, Britain signed a treaty with the Mughals to permit the East India Company to establish ‘factories’ or trading posts in cities such as Mumbai (Bombay) and Kolkata (Calcutta). Over the next 240 years this trading relationship became a political relationship as the 'Company' gained control over Bengal and other territories as a result of successive wars. The rebellion of 1857 prompted a further change, as India came under direct rule from the British Government and this situation lasted until 1947 as – after a prolonged nationalist struggle – India and Pakistan were granted independence. This complex and fascinating history is brought to life through the large and diverse South Asian holdings of the National Library of Scotland. The 18th and 19th centuries are especially well represented in manuscript sources which look at: Social history Urban history Trade Wars Agriculture Travel and antiquities Indian and Imperial politics There are records of doctors and diplomats, civil servants and army officials, tea planters and natural historians, travellers and traders.
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