This Private Company had its Own Army, Navy, and Empire for Over a Century

Charles I temporarily allowed another British consortium organized by Catholics to compete with the EIC. Wikimedia

4. The company acquired additional property in India despite competition

The East India Company (EIC) continued to face stiff competition from their Dutch counterpart, (VOC) but they set their differences aside when ships from both attacked Portuguese shipping along the coast of China, enabling the EIC to establish factories in China. It also expanded in India, by 1647 23 factories were in operation on the subcontinent, with its major facilities at Bombay (Bombay Castle), Bengal (Fort William) and Madras (Fort George). With the reduction of Portuguese and Spanish trade, the competition between the EIC and VOC grew intense (the Mughal Emperor favored the EIC) and was a major cause of the Anglo-Dutch Wars.

By the early 1600s the VOC was the wealthiest commercial entity in the world, paying its investors annual dividends as high as 40%, and employing 50,000 people across the globe. It had its own fleet of 200 ships. The EIC was far smaller, but intensely competitive, given that the profits from a single voyage to the Spice Islands could easily exceed 400%. Further competition arose when Charles I, a Catholic, granted a license to the Courteen Association of mostly Catholic investors to compete with the EIC in 1635, at any location not already occupied by the EIC.