British Empire Without India

Jul 2012
2,868
Dhaka
#1
Without the wealth (and market) from Indian subcontinent, would the Industrial Revolution be as successful?

Would the Royal Navy and British Army be as big and powerful? First point, whether such big navy/army would be needed at all without the need to upkeep the S. Asian colonies. Second, whether they could afford it all.

Would there be British colony/presence in east of India, like HK, Singapore (Singapore was part of Bengal Presidency at one point)? Or, would British forays into China be possible without their base in India?
 
Jul 2012
2,868
Dhaka
#3
I don't know, but are you sure India was a net contributor to the UK Crown?
Can't cite the source offhand, but according to an economic historian, IIRC wealth (in all forms) transferred from Indian subcontinent to Britain, over nearly 200 years, adjusted to present dollar value amounted to 45 trillion dollars.
 
Aug 2009
5,156
Londinium
#4
Can't cite the source offhand, but according to an economic historian, IIRC wealth (in all forms) transferred from Indian subcontinent to Britain, over nearly 200 years, adjusted to present dollar value amounted to 45 trillion dollars.
I've looked through this article and the numbers stated are no-where that large. Economy of India under the British Raj - Wikipedia

Does the amount stated perhaps include those Princely state income as being part of Britain?
 

kandal

Ad Honorem
Aug 2015
2,532
USA
#5
Other European countries also had big colonial empires, not just Britain. For example Spain, Portugal, and France.

Crediting British Industrial revolution to India has roots in the fantasy histories cooked up by the post colonial subjects of blaming everything bad happened to the colonies to the British, while crediting everything good happened to the British to the colonies. It happened because of the Industriousness of the British, and it started before real colonization got going. Industrial revolution was at the roots of making Britain rich, and a world power, along with the expanding colonies.
 
Likes: Sindane
Jan 2009
8,416
In the Past
#6
The cost of maintaining India would be a major offsetting value. India likely wasn't the massive market for the British that it may have promised. Unlike the African colonies, it was developed enough to provide much of it's own needs with some degree of autonomy. But too decentralized and distant to tax effectively. In reality, it probably was a pretty penny to the coin purse, but not the predicate to industrialization or overwhelming wealth.
 
Jul 2012
2,868
Dhaka
#7
I've looked through this article and the numbers stated are no-where that large. Economy of India under the British Raj - Wikipedia

Does the amount stated perhaps include those Princely state income as being part of Britain?
That article covers the period post-1857, when India came under British crown. The following covers EIC rule - Economy of India under Company rule - Wikipedia . Excerpt from that:

A number of historians point to the colonization of India as a major factor in both India's deindustrialization and Britain's Industrial Revolution.[1][2][3] The capital amassed from Bengal following its 1757 conquest helped to invest in British industries such as textile manufacture during the Industrial Revolution as well as increase British wealth, while contributing to deindustrialization in Bengal.[1][2][3] British colonization forced open the large Indian market to British goods, which could be sold in India without any tariffs or duties, compared to local Indian producers who were heavily taxed, while in Britain protectionist policies such as bans and high tariffs were implemented to restrict Indian textiles from being sold there, whereas raw cotton was imported from India without tariffs to British factories which manufactured textiles from Indian cotton and sold them back to the Indian market. British economic policies gave them a monopoly over India's large market and cotton resources.[4][5][6] India served as both a significant supplier of raw goods to British manufacturers and a large captive market for British manufactured goods.[7]

Indian textiles had maintained a competitive advantage over British textiles up until the 19th century, when Britain eventually overtook India as the world's largest cotton textile manufacturer.[5] In 1811, Bengal was still a major exporter of cotton cloth to the Americas and the Indian Ocean. However, Bengali exports declined over the course of the early 19th century, as British imports to Bengal increased, from 25% in 1811 to 93% in 1840.[8] India, which was previously the world's largest economy under the Mughal Empire in 1700, had by 1820 fallen to become the second largest economy, behind Qing China.[9]
 
Likes: Zanis
Jan 2009
8,416
In the Past
#9
My question is how much of that went right back in?

Typically "free wealth" as from slaves and producing colonies is not conducive to industrialization.
Also, is that the British government or business'? And how credible is a singe economist?
 

Bart Dale

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
7,095
#10
Without the wealth (and market) from Indian subcontinent, would the Industrial Revolution be as successful?

Would the Royal Navy and British Army be as big and powerful? First point, whether such big navy/army would be needed at all without the need to upkeep the S. Asian colonies. Second, whether they could afford it all.

Would there be British colony/presence in east of India, like HK, Singapore (Singapore was part of Bengal Presidency at one point)? Or, would British forays into China be possible without their base in India?
Even before Britain conquered India, it still had the biggest navy of Europe, and only the Dutch navy of the 17th century rivaled it. Britain still had a number of overseas colonies (Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, etc.) it had to maintain.

Second, Britain wealth resulted as much from trade, and from it being the leader in the industrial revolution, the leader in the development of steam power, and other technologies, as much from its colonies like India. Steam engines were already being commercially used before Britain began to acquire India as a colony, and coal mining, a key element of the industrial revolution, was already an established industry. The development of steam engines and the factories of the industrial revolution were largely driven by internal factors which India played a peripheral role.
 

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