The English East India Company was a British joint-stock company formed for pursuing trade with the East Indies > However, it ended up trading mainly with the Indian subcontinent when the Company was granted a Royal Charter in 1600 by Queen Elizabeth.
The East India Company traded mainly in cotton, silk, indigo dye, salt, saltpetre, tea and opium making it the oldest among several similarly formed European East India Companies like Dutch East India Company or French East India Company. Shares of the company were owned by wealthy merchants and aristocrats. The Company eventually came to rule large areas of India with its own private army, exercising military power and assuming administrative functions.
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