In this section of the site you will
be able to browse for career information and personal details
of some of the people who served in the EIC Mercantile Marine
from 1600 to 1834.
From its first charter in 1600, the English East India Company (EIC) 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 people who commanded these ships were career men who often spent a lifetime in the service of the Company. Voyages to the east were lengthy and uncertain, but the rewards were good, as captain and officers were allowed, in addition to their wages, to ship goods on their own account as "private trade".
The English East India Company established a monopoly of trade to the east, which was strictly enforced, and no other ships could trade there. In 1834 this monopoly was broken, and the Mercantile Service was disbanded, although the EIC continued to administer its territories in Asia for many more years.
At present the information on individual seafarers is being entered in the database and is not yet online and searchable from this section.
However, if you search the ships section, you will find that the names of the captains and shipowners are shown for individual ships.
Please come back soon. You might want to bookmark the What's
New page to see what progress is being made.
I am concentrating my effort at present on getting
as much information I can into the database.
Thank you for your patience, and for visiting this