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The Company was keen to find a direct source of Indian textiles.

The Portuguese already had fortified strongholds in India but the English needed imperial permission to set up their own trading posts.

In 1608 William Hawkins, commander of the Hector, was sent to ask the Mughal Emperor. He impressed Jahangir with his grasp of Turkish and ability to drink wine but failed to get agreement for an English factory. It took the arrival of a ‘proper’ amabassador, Sir Thomas Roe, sent by King James I in 1615, before the Company was able to set up a base in India.

  emperor Jahangir   city of surat

The Emperor Jahangir as a youth by a Mughal artist c 1620-30
Add. Or.3854
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The City of Surat, from a Dutch engraving reproduced in John Ogilby’s Asia, London 1673
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city of lahore  

City of Lahore – section from a panoramic scroll of the city by an Indian artist, mid 19th century.
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Why IndiaCulture & CuriosityFactors & FortsPrivate Trade Textiles Politics