Four hundred years ago, The East India Company was established by English merchants under Royal Charter issued by Queen Elizabeth I. The influence of The East India Company has been great. It influenced Britain’s dining tables through the introduction of exotic ingredients and flavours, but more fundamentally, it changed the world’s customs, tastes and ways of thinking. It created new communities, trading places, cities and shaped countries and commercial routes.
Our heritage lies with the spirit of those pioneers before us. The East India Company’s employees did not set out to change the world. They were merchants who set sail to establish trade routes, to discover and bring back new goods, and in doing so broke down the barriers of the world.
They were pioneering; creating many of the means and rules of commerce we use today. The Company become the single most powerful economic entity the world has ever seen. At its height it was responsible for 50% of world trade and employed 25% of Britain’s population. It minted its own currency, brought tea to India and China, was a patron of the arts and introduced many spices, textiles, chintz, silks and porcelain among others to the West.
Without The Company our world would not be as it is today.