British Empire
The rise of the British empire - India
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Letter about the pepper trade written in 1710 by the East India Company to the British monarch
(Catalogue ref: SP 34/30/68)
  • This extract comes from a petition sent by the British East India Company to Queen Anne in 1710.
  • Before the British East India Company began trading in the East, the Dutch East India Company already had a strong foothold there. There was very serious competition between Britain and Holland for trade in the late 1600s, although Britain came to dominate the trade by the late 1700s.
  • This source shows that British merchants were looking for support from the monarch in their competition with the Dutch. This might have been in the form of political pressure from Queen Anne on Holland. It could have been support in money or troops for the British East India Company merchants.
  • It is important to remember that spices like pepper were very rare in Britain until the later 1800s. This meant that the trade in spices was extremely valuable.
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