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Advent of the Europeans Vasco da Gama landed at Calicut, sailing via the Cape of Good Hope in 1498. This marked the start of the European age in Indian history. The flourishing trade in spices of Malabar - in contemporary Kerala - had enticed the Portuguese and inspired the look for a sea route to the Indies. The Portuguese had already established their colony at Goa from the first decade of the 16th Century but their territorial and commercial hold in India remained fairly limited. Within another century, India was seen by a significant number of European travellers - Italians, Englishmen, Frenchmen and Dutchmen. They have been attracted to India for different factors. Some were traders, others adventurers, and several fired from the missionary zeal to discover converts to Christianity. Among them was Francois Bernier, the French physician who appreciated the confidence of princes and nobles and was at a uniquely privileged position to observe the functioning of the Mughal court. His account is a precious source of information for historians. These travelogues sparked European curiosity about India, and motivated in course of time, the colonial intervention. England, France, the Netherlands and Denmark, spanned East India Companies. Chartered as trading companies by their respective authorities, their primary commercial attraction was in Indian cloths, both silk and cotton, indigo and sometimes, other sundry merchandise. Through the late 16th and the 17th Centuries, all these companies competed with each other fiercely. By the last quarter of the 18th Century the English had vanquished all other people and established themselves as the dominant power in India. The military campaigns of Robert Clive and the administrative enterprise of Warren Hastings (1772 - 1785) contributed significantly to this achievement. British Colonialism The British researched India for a time of about two decades and brought about radical changes in the social, political and the economic life of the country. Many Indians who arrived in their own contact could not comprehend the strategic threat posed by the East India Company. The British by the start followed a policy of divide and rule. Diplomacy and deceit were utilized to obtain control of revenue collection in the state of Bengal. This gave the burglars effective charge of administration. Even the Marathas, the Sikhs and.