History KS3: From Merchants to Rulers

After the crash of the East India Trading Company, the British government took over the Company, expanded its territories and built an empire.

The Company was in the middle of a cash-flow crisis made worse by a global banking crisis.

The Government couldn’t allow the Company to fail, so they loaned it £1.4 million.

In return, the Company’s management was overhauled – they could no longer be trusted to run India’s affairs.

William Pitt established a dual system of control by the British Government and the East India Company in 1784.

The government now selected their own men for the top job in India – the Governor-General of Calcutta.

The stage was set for the creation of an empire and there was huge expansion under Wellesley as more and more Indian territories were annexed by the British or fell under their rule.

British India, and in turn, Britain, flourished.

Teacher Notes

Pupils could be asked to examine the role of Lord Richard Wellesley in transforming the East India Company’s position in India and laying the foundations for the British empire in India.

This short film provides an overview of the reasons he was sent to India. as well as an overview of his character and his actions in expanding the East India Company’s influence.

Curriculum Notes

This short film will be relevant for teaching KS3 history in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and Third / Fourth level in Scotland.

More from The Birth of Empire - The East India Company

History KS3: Conflict and Mutiny
History KS3: Customs and Culture
History KS3: From Greed to Famine
History KS3: The Rise of a Trading Colossus
History KS3: The Seven Years War