The Birth of Empire: The East India Company
2 x 60 hosted by Dan Snow
In BBC TWO’s history hit of 2014, Dan Snow charts the rise and fall of the East India company, traveling through India in the footsteps of the men who laid the foundations of the world’s modern trading systems.
Dan brings this extraordinary story alive through individual human stories, which until now have lain hidden in the archives of the British library.
Four hundred years ago, a motley band of British merchants landed on the coast of India and founded a trading post to export goods to London. Over the next 200 years, their tiny business grew into a commercial titan, setting the pattern for global corporations accidentally creating the British Empire, and revolutionizing how Briton’s lived.
But, inexorable rise ended in disaster. Dogged by allegations of greed, corruption and corporate excess, by the 1770s the Company’s reputation was in tatters. The world’s most powerful company had run out of cash. The government stepped in, bailing it out with millions of pounds of public money.
In 1858 British India passed into Queen Victoria’s hands… and the British Indian Empire was born.
BBC Worldwide Distribution | Presenterless version available