1902 Encyclopedia > Geography > East India Company. English in Other Eastern Countries (eg Persia).

(Part 27)

East India Company. English in Other Eastern Countries (eg Persia).

The English enterprises were persevering, continuous, and successful. James Lancaster made a voyage to the Indian Ocean from 1591 to 1594; and in 1599 the merchants and adventurers of London revolved to form a company, with the object of establishing a trade with the East Indies. On the 31st of December 1599 Queen Elizabeth granted the charter of incorporation to the east India Company, and Sir James Lancaster, one of the directors, was appointed general of their first fleet. He was accompanied by John Davis, the great Arctic navigator, as pilot-major. This voyage was eminently successful. The ships touched at Achin in Sumatra and at Java, returning with full ladings of pepper in 1603. The second voyage was commanded by Sir Henry Middleton; but it was in the third voyage, under Keelinge and Hawkins, that the mainland of India was first reached in 1607. captain Hawkins landed at Surat and traveled overland to Agra, passing some time at the court of the Great Mogul. In the voyage of Sir Edward Michelborne, JohnDavis of Arctic fame lost his life in a flight with a Japanese junk on December 27, 1605. The eight voyage, led by Captain Saris, extended the operations of the company to Japan; and in 1613 the Japanese Government granted privileges to the Company; but the English retired in 1623, giving up their factory. The chide result of this early intercourse between England and Japan was the interesting series of letters written by William Adams form 1611 to 1617. Adams, however, though an Englishman, went to Japan in a Dutch ship. From the tenth voyage of the East India Company, commanded by Captain Best, who left England in 1612, dates the establishment of permanent English factories on the coast of India. It was Captain best who secured a regular firman for trade from the Great Mogul. From that time a fleet was dispatched every year, and the Company’s operations greatly increased geographical knowledge of India and the Eastern Archipelago.

The visits of Englishmen to Eastern countries, at this time were not confined to the voyages of the Company, Journeys were also made by land, and, among others, Thomas Coryat, of Odcombe in Somesetshire, walked from France to India, and died in the Company’s factory at Surat. In 1561 Mr Anthony Jenkinson arrived in Persia with a letter from Queen Elizabeth to the shah. He traveled through Russia to Bokhara, and returned by the Caspian and Volga. In 1579 Christopher Burroughs built a ship at Nijni Novgorod and traded across the Caspian to Baku; and in 1598 Sir Anthony and Robert Shirley arrived in Persia, and Robert was afterwards sent by the shah to Europe as his ambassador. He was followed by a Spanish mission under Garcia de Silva, who wrote an interesting account of his travels; and to Sir Dormer Cotton’s mission, in 1628, we are indebted for Sir Thomas Roe’s mission to India resulted not only in a large collection of valuable reports and letters of his own, but also in the detailed account of his chaplain Mr Terry. But the most learned and intelligent traveler in the East, during the 17th century, was the German Koepfer, who accompanied on embassy to Persia in 1684, and was afterwards a surgeon in the service of the Dutch East India Company. He was in the Persian Gulf, India, and Java, and resided for more than two years in Japan, from 1690 to 1692, His History of Japan was published in England in 1727, Koempfer himself having died in 1716. From these various sources a considerable increase was made in the knowledge of India, Persia, and the further East.

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