History KS3 / GCSE: How did the British gain control of India?

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 swathes of India.

This clip is from the series Empire.

Teacher Notes

Students could be asked to describe how the British gained control of India in the 18th and 19th Centuries and the methods used to maintain that control.

This clip could be used to question the presenter's conclusion that it was the greed of men like Robert Clive which won India for Britain.

Do you feel this is a fair assessment? Or even a complete assessment?

Curriculum Notes

This clip will be relevant for teaching History. This topic appears in KS3, KS4 and GCSE in England and Northern Ireland. Also KS3 in Wales and National 4 and National 5 in Scotland.

More from Empire

How did the British Empire affect migration?
Was the British Empire a force for good? (Part 1)
Was the British Empire a force for good? (Part 2)
What can cricket tell us about the British Empire?
What legacy has the British Empire left behind?
What was the role of money and trade in the British Empire?
Rulers and ruled in the British Empire
Why does the British Empire matter?
Why was India so valuable to the British Empire?