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How did the British gain control of India?

India was the most important territory of the British Empire. In the 18th century, India was an advanced civilisation and the rulers regarded the British with disdain. By the 1750s, this had changed and the balance of power had shifted in favour of the British.

The British presence in India began through trade. Men like Robert Clive, of the British East India Company, combined military prowess with a ruthless ambition, and became fabulously wealthy. With wealth came power, and traders took control of huge swaths of India.

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