The Arrival of French East India Company

Among the Dutch, Danish, Portuguese and French, the French East India Company was the last to be formed. Jean-Baptiste Colbert founded the French East India Company in 1664. The initial attempts of the company to found a successful colony on Madagascar got failed. In 1667, under Francis Caron, the company established first factory at Surat and second factory was established at Masulipattanam a year later.

In 1674, the François Martin of French East India Company established a trading center at Pondicherry, which eventually became the chief French settlement in India. The Dutch captured Pondicherry in 1693 but returned it to France later. The French acquired Mahe in the 1720s, Yanam in 1731, and Karaikal in 1738. They also established a factory at Chandranagar in Bengal. A new factory in 1688 was established at Chinsura but want of support from France brought the Company’s affairs in India to low ebb and the French East India Company felt obliged to cede its right of monopoly to some enterprising merchants of Saint-Malo.

In February, 1701, Pondicherry was made the capital of the  French settlements in India, and François Martin was appointed  president of the superior council and director general of French  affairs in India. Martin died December 30, 1706 and this followed a series of the successors. Till 1720, the factories at Surat, Masulipattanam and Bantam had to be abandoned because of the adverse conditions back at home.

In 1741, Joseph François Dupleix began to cherish the ambition of a French Empire in India but could not sell the idea to his superiors. The series of skirmishes began in India when the conflict of the British and French started.  In 1744 Robert Clive arrived in India. This devil British Officer ruined the hopes of Dupleix to create a French Colonial India.

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