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Bloody Pirates !


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#1 SFX

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Posted 31 August 2013 - 10:44 AM

The POTC series, though brilliant, has left people assuming that the East India Company was mostly active in the Caribbean, fighting pirates and Spaniards. However I think it should be obvious from the name that their main sphere of influence was in India. In fact the companies "Raison D'Etre" was India, and taking control of it's vast wealth.

The EIC was a private enterprise given letters of Marque by the crown to basically pillage at will, they had their own standing army and were a law unto themselves. Arrogantly marching into India they thought all would be easy pickings and they had their eyes set on the "land of the five rivers" – The Punjab. But they had not reckoned on the Sikhs. By the time the EIC was casting it's greedy eye over the Punjab the Sikhs had formed an Empire the likes of which India had not seen for generations.

The last living Guru, (The book – Granth Sahib- is now the spiritual Guru) Guru Gobind Singh had forged the Sikh nation – The Khalsa AKA the Guru Panth- the embodiment of the Guru and the final temporal Guru of the Sikhs. So the book is the spiritual Guru and the Panth or Khalsa is the temporal Guru. Thus the Sikhs govern themselves.

To become a member of the Khalsa is to become a warrior saint.

Established in 1799 The Sikh empire under Maharaja Ranjit Singh was forged on the foundations of the Khalsa, at it's zenith extended from the Khyber Pass in the west to tibet in the east and from Bahawalpur in the south to Kashmir in the North.

On Ranjit Singh's death internal feuding and strife was fostered by the EIC and it was inevitable that the Khalsa would have to go to war with the British. Two Anglo-Sikh wars were fought and inevitably the EIC/British won, however it is widely accepted that they coerced and bribed various military parties to renegade on the Khalsa, particularly the Hindu Dogras

The Battle of Ferozeshah in 1845 marked many turning points, the British encountered the Punjab Army, opening with a gun-duel in which the Sikhs "had the better of the British artillery". As the British made advances, Europeans in their army were especially targeted, as the Sikhs believed if the army "became demoralised, the backbone of the enemy's position would be broken". The fighting continued throughout the night. The British position "grew graver as the night wore on", and "suffered terrible casualties with every single member of the Governor General's staff either killed or wounded". Nevertheless, the British army took and held Ferozeshah. British General Sir James Hope Grant recorded: "Truly the night was one of gloom and forbidding and perhaps never in the annals of warfare has a British Army on such a large scale been nearer to a defeat which would have involved annihilation"

The reasons for the withdrawal of the Sikhs from Ferozeshah are contentious. Some, especially Sikh fundamentalists, believe that it was treachery of the non-Sikh high command of their own army which led to them marching away from a British force in a precarious and battered state. Others believe that a tactical withdrawal was the best policy.

The Sikh empire was finally dissolved after a series of wars with the British at the end of the Second Anglo-Sikh War in 1849 into separate princely states and the British province of Punjab, which were granted statehood. Eventually, a Lieutenant Governorship was formed in Lahore as a direct representative of the British Crown.

The Ko-I-Noor - The Mountain Of Light A 793 Carat (uncut) diamond, once the largest known diamond in the world, was stolen from the Khalsa after the death of Ranjit Singh, by the British. They reused to execute his will and the diamond was given to Queen Victoria, it now resides in the Tower of London set into the Crown of Queen Alexandra- the wife of Edward VII having been decimated by 42 %.

It is said that the stone carries a curse which effects men who wear it. It is said that all men who have owned it have either lost their throne or had other misfortunes befell them, Queen Victoria was the first reigning monarch to have worn the gem since then the stone has generally been worn by the Queen Consort, never by a male ruler.

On Feb 21 2013, the visiting UK Prime Minister stated in India that the diamond will not be returned and that it was illogical to return it.

Bloody Pirates !!!
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#2 SFX

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Posted 31 August 2013 - 11:02 AM

Not Just Pirates- Bloody Drug Smugglers !!! In the 18th century, Britain had a huge trade deficit with Qing Dynasty China and so in 1773, the Company created a British monopoly on opium buying in Bengal. As the opium trade was illegal in China, Company ships could not carry opium to China. So the opium produced in Bengal was sold in Calcutta on condition that it be sent to China. Despite the Chinese ban on opium imports, reaffirmed in 1799 by the Jiaqing Emperor, the drug was smuggled into China from Bengal by traffickers and agency houses such as Jardine, Matheson & Co and Dent & Co. in amounts averaging 900 tons a year. The proceeds of the drug-smugglers landing their cargoes at Lintin Island were paid into the Company's factory at Canton and by 1825, most of the money needed to buy tea in China was raised by the illegal opium trade. The Company established a group of trading settlements centred on the Straits of Malacca called the Straits Settlements in 1826 to protect its trade route to China and to combat local piracy. The Settlements were also used as penal settlements for Indian civilian and military prisoners. In 1838, with the amount of smuggled opium entering China approaching 1,400 tons a year, the Chinese imposed a death penalty for opium smuggling and sent a Special Imperial Commissioner, Lin Zexu, to curb smuggling. This resulted in the First Opium War (18391842). After the war Hong Kong island was ceded to Britain under the Treaty of Nanking and the Chinese market opened to the opium traders of Britain and other nations. A Second Opium War fought by Britain and France against China lasted from 1856 until 1860 and led to the Treaty of Tientsin.

#3 SFX

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Posted 31 August 2013 - 11:07 AM

And of course they stared the American Revolution - In fact the CIA must hold the EIC in some esteem !!! Though the Company was becoming increasingly bold and ambitious in putting down resisting states, it was getting clearer that the Company was incapable of governing the vast expanse of the captured territories. The Bengal famine of 1770, in which one-third of the local population died, caused distress in Britain. Military and administrative costs mounted beyond control in British-administered regions in Bengal due to the ensuing drop in labour productivity. At the same time, there was commercial stagnation and trade depression throughout Europe. The directors of the company attempted to avert bankruptcy by appealing to Parliament for financial help. This led to the passing of the Tea Act in 1773, which gave the Company greater autonomy in running its trade in the American colonies, and allowed it an exemption from tea import duties which its colonial competitors were required to pay. When the American colonists, who included tea merchants, were told of the act, they tried to boycott it, claiming that although the price had gone down on the tea when enforcing the act, it also would help validate the Townshend Acts and set a precedent for the king to impose additional taxes in the future. The arrival of tax-exempt Company tea, undercutting the local merchants, triggered the Boston Tea Party in the Province of Massachusetts Bay, one of the major events leading up to the American Revolution.




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