How did the British become rulers from traders?
The British had initially come to India in search of new markets for their goods and to conduct profitable trade in spices, cotton and silk. However, the Portuguese, French and Dutch were also in the fray. This resulted in intense trade rivalries which often took the form of military conflict. Because of their naval superiority, the British eventually prevailed in these conflicts. However, it brought the British into conflict with the local rulers of India such as the Marathas, Nizam, Tipu Sultan and Mughals. In order to counter this challenge to their trade interests, the British began to interfere more in the domestic and regional politics of India. Slowly, but surely, the British weakened the Indian kingdoms by playing them against each other and eventually took over them. Their military and scientific superiority too helped them in this process. Finally, through either annexation or vassalship, the British became the political rulers of India.
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