From its first charter in 1600, the English East India Company operated one of the most extensive shipping operations in support of its trading enterprises during the colonial period. The merchant or mercantile fleet was responsible for carrying cargoes outward to the east, returning richly laden with exotic goods which found a ready, and profitable market in Europe.
The East India Company established a monopoly of trade to the east, which was strictly enforced, and no other ships could trade where it had established its own bases. The market opened up a little in 1813, and other ships were licensed to trade under certain conditions.
In 1834 the monopoly came to an end, and the mercantile service was disbanded, although the Company continued to administer its territories in Asia for many years..
This site aims to provide some basic information on the ships and
voyages of the East India Company's mercantile service.
- ships (construction details, owners, service history, ultimate
- voyages (dates of voyages, crew, ports of call, wrecks, captured,
The site is kept up intermittently as a personal interest, and makes no claim to being comprehensive, but may be useful as a starting point.