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
What you will find in the search results
This database at present consists only of EIC mercantile
marine vessels, that is, the vessels which were in the East India
Company's merchant service, which operated from 1600 to 1834.
What is not included
The East India Company had other sea services, and these are
NOT covered here. For instance, if you are looking for
ships of these services you will not find them here:
- Bombay Marine/Indian Navy (1613-1863)
- Royal Indian Marine/Navy (1877-1947)
- Pilot Service (harbours, ports and rivers)
- Country Service (local merchant shipping in Asia)
- Interlopers (ships which 'trespassed' on the EIC trade)
- Licensed ships (ships which had permission to trade)
I hope to cover these later. Note also that the term 'East Indiaman'
was used fairly loosely and could refer not only to ships of the
English East India Company (EIC) but also to the trading companies
of other nations, such as the Dutch, Danish or French companies,
and also, more generally to any ship trading to the east.