The Advent of Europeans | Tamil and English Free E-books for TN exams

TNPSC has released its annual planner 2022. Notifications of various group exams can be expected as per schedule. History carries a significant weightage in most of the TN exams. Questions on The Advent of Europeans are generally asked in TNPSC exams. We have come up with a study blog on the topic of Advent of Europeans for TNPSC to help you in your preparation.

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  • From the half of the fifteenth century, important developments such as Renaissance and reform movements, inventions in various fields had changed the shape of Europe.
  • Europe made great progress in the fields of science, exploration and gunnery. Soon, their armies and navies became the best in the world.
  • It also affected the prevailing trade systems of the Europeans and the world.
  • The commercial trade between India and Europe was very ancient. India used to trade with ancient Greeks via mostly the land routes.
  • Trade between Europe and India was carried on several routes.
  • The Asian part of this European-India trade was carried on by Arab merchants while the Mediterranean and European part was the monopoly of the Italians.
  • However, In 1453, Ottoman Turks captured Constantinople city which was located at the land trade routes. After the conquest, these trade routes came under Turkish control.
  • It led to the decline in the direct contact between the Europeans and India and consequently decline in the trade.
  • So, the West European states and merchants began to search for new and safer sea routes to India and the Islands of Indonesia.
  • In short, attempts to discover the new trade routes aimed at factors such as Great advances in shipbuilding, science of navigation, Renaissance, Royal support etc. promoted the attempts of finding new trade.
  • European powers entered India as traders initially but by the passage of time indulged in the politics of India and finally established their colonies.
  • The commercial rivalry among the European powers led to political rivalry in India. Ultimately, the British emerged victorious.

European Powers in India

  1. Portuguese in India


  • Idea of finding a new ocean route via Africa to India is normally attributed to Prince Henry Navigator of Portugal.
  • He had the commercial and religion objectives for it. He wanted to end the Muslim domination on the existing trade routes as well as explore India and Africa.
  • He thought that exploration of Africa and India could make them possible to attack the Muslim domination from two sides.
  • He also received sanction from Pope Nicholas V, the ‘Chief Religious Authority’ at that time along with support from many European powers.
  • From 1418, Henry the Navigator sent two to three ships every year for the exploration of the West Coast of Africa. By the 1450s, They explored the ‘Cape of good hope’ region.
  • Under the Treaty of Tordesillas (1494) concluded between Portugal and Spain, Spain could claim and occupy all non-Christian countries to the east of Atlantic while Portugal the west.
  • In 1494, Columbus of Spain set out to reach India and discovered America instead.
  • In 1498, Vasco da Gama of Portugal discovered a new sea route from Europe to India.
  • He was warmly received by Zamorin, the ruler of Calicut and was permitted to trade in spices. However, the Arab traders settled there were not happy about it.
  • He returned to Portugal the next year. He sold the merchandise in the European market at a huge profit. This tempted many merchants to come to India and trade directly.
  • On arrival of another Portuguese Pedro Cabral, they established trading stations at Calicut, Cannanore and Cochin. Portuguese demanded Zamorin to expel all Arab traders.
  • It led to conflict between the local Arabs and Portuguese which resulted in huge losses.

Notable Governors

I. Francisco De Almeida

  • He was the first governor of the Portuguese in India appointed to protect the Portuguese interests.
  • He was tasked to consolidate Portuguese trade as well as to destroy Arab trade. Portuguese wanted to dominate the Indian Ocean Trade.
  • He devised the policy, also known as the Blue Water Policy, to serve this purpose.

II. Alphonso de Albuquerque

  • In 1509, Albuquerque was made the governor of the Portuguese territories in India.
  • He was the real founder of the Portuguese power in India. He captured Goa from the ruler of Bijapur.
  • Albuquerque captured Malacca and Ceylon. He also built a fort at Calicut. These initiatives were aimed at gaining the strategic control of the Indian Ocean.
  • He encouraged his countrymen to marry Indian women.
  • He abolished sati during his period.
  • Albuquerque died in 1515 leaving the Portuguese as the strongest naval power in India.

III.  Nino da Cunha

  • He shifted the headquarters of the Portuguese government in India from Cochin to Goa.
  • He also attempted to increase Portuguese influence in Bengal by settling many Portuguese nationals there. Hooghly was made their headquarters.
  • He received the islands of Bassein, Salsette from the Bahadur Shah of Gujarat after he helped the latter in war in Mughal Emperor Humayun in 1534.

Religious Policies of Portuguese

  • Portuguese were initially quite tolerant towards the Hindus. However, later they persecuted the Hindus.
  • They had zeal to promote Christianity and had the wish to persecute all Muslims.
  • Portuguese priests visited the court of Akbar to discuss religious ideas upon the invitation from Akbar.
  • The Jesuit missionaries (A roman catholic community which focused on education) visited India. Some of them include, Roberto de Nobili – He was well versed in Tamil and Sanskrit. He is considered the ‘Father of Tamil prose’.
  • Henriques – He introduced printing in Tamil and is called the ‘Father of printing press’

Decline of Portuguese

  • The Portuguese acts of piracy resulted in conflict with the imperial Mughal government. It adversely affected the Portuguese ambitions in India.
  • They also lost their commercial influence. Local advantages offered to them were also reduced due to changing political scenarios.
  • The religious policies of the Portuguese were not appreciated by Indians.
  • The discovery of Brazil diverted colonising activities of Portugal to the West. The Oceanic Trade route to India discovered by them was also no longer secret.
  • The rise of British and Dutch and their commercial ambitions reduced Portuguese supremacy.
  • Portuguese power declined in India by the end of the sixteenth century. They lost all their possessions in India except Goa, Diu and Daman in the next century.
  • Portuguese were the first Europeans to come to India. They were also the last to leave this land.


  • Portuguese showed military innovation in their use of body armour, matchlock men, and guns landed from the ships.
  • They were masters of improved techniques at sea. E.g. construction of multi-decked ships etc.
  • They promoted the art of the silversmith and goldsmith at Goa and surrounding regions.
  • They also brought the press to India.
  • The marriages between Portuguese and Indians created a new Eurasian racial group. These people were later taken to other Portuguese colonies in Africa and Asia.

II.  Dutch in India Background

  • Dutch East India Company was established in 1602. Their main interest was trade with Indonesian Islands than with India.
  • This company was also empowered to carry on war, to conclude treaties, to take possession of territory and to erect fortresses, whenever necessary.
  • The merchants of this company came to India and established their settlements at Masulipatam, Pulicat, Surat, Karaikal, Nagapattinam, Chinsurah and Kasim bazar.
  • They founded their first factory in Masulipatam in Andhra region in 1605.
  • By the seventeenth century, they won over the Portuguese and emerged the most dominant power in European trade with the East.
  • Pulicat was their main centre in India and later it was replaced by Nagapattinam.

Dutch in Tamil Nadu

  • The Dutch established colonial forts and had possessions in Nagapattinam, Punnakayal, Porto Novo, Cuddalore (Tiruppathiripuliyur) and Devanampattinam.
  • They were also involved in slave trade. They brought slaves from Bengal, Tengapattinam and Karaikal to Pulicat.
  • The Dutch had brokers in Madras for catching and shipping slaves. The food shortage due to famines, droughts and wars led to a flourishing slave trade.

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