The French East India Company logo

Among the Dutch, Danish, Portuguese and French, the French East India Company was the last to be formed. The French established ‘The French East India Company’ in the year 1664 C.E. by Jean-Baptiste Colbert at Paris. They established factories in Surat Machhalipatnam and Puducherry (Pondicherry).

The head of the French company was Joseph Francois Dupleix, who had the desire to expand the European rule in India. Thus, the French and the British stood in competition against each other to become the strongest European company.

There were innumerable disputes and battles and finally the British emerged as the winners.; However, the French retained their control over the trading centers of Puducherry, Mahe and Chandranagar. Interesting background: 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 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.

French Governor Joseph Dupleix