By Kallie Szczepanski The very idea of British India seems inexplicable.Consider the fact that Indian written history stretches back almost 4,000 years, to the civilization centers of the Indus Valley Culture at Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro.In addition, by 1850 CE, India had a population of some 200 million or more.
The keys seem to have been superior weaponry, a strong profit motive, and Eurocentric confidence.
From the moment the Portuguese rounded the Cape of Good Hope on Africa's southern tip in 1488, opening sea lanes to the Far East, the European powers strove to acquire Asian trading posts of their own.
For centuries, the Viennese had controlled the European branch of the Silk Road, reaping enormous profits on silk, spices, fine china and precious metals.
The Viennese monopoly ended with the establishment of the sea-route.
At first, the European powers in Asia were solely interested in trade, but over time, the acquisition of territory grew in importance.