Dhaka/ Influence of British Rule in the Modernization of Dhaka – Trade

British influence in Dhaka started in 1668, when the English formally established their factories there.  When William Hedges was appointed as the first head of the British East India Company on 25 October 1681, he established large amount of business routes with the geographical benefit of the Buriganga River.  Since then, trade markets are being developed not only internationally by the East India Company, but also domestically.



Figure 1: Dhaka Under British Rule (1859)

From the above figure, it can be seen that a few bazaars had been set up along the river.  Based on the locations of these bazaars, it is believed that the Buriganga River played an important role in the transportation of goods, and being used by the East India Company as international trade route.


However, though the East India Company treated Dhaka as an important city, its importance are not able to compare with Calcutta, which was the capital of British India.  It suffered physical shrinkage since 1800-1867 with the population of 20,000 to less than 60,000 as people tended to leave Dhaka due to disastrous flood, famines and fires.  After the Indian Rebellion of 1857, British East India Company’s ruling ended and the British Government took control in 1858, and the Dacca (Dhaka) Municipality was established on 1 August, 1864.  Railways are built to enhance communication and supply of raw materials from the mainland to the coast of Dhaka.  International trade established by the British East India Company came to an end, the high turnover rate of goods by the end of the 18th century became a legend.

1 Comment on “Dhaka/ Influence of British Rule in the Modernization of Dhaka – Trade

  1. How has the over 50 years of early EIC rule effected the city’s relationship to water today? What steps did the British rulers take to bring population and trade levels higher in the face of natural disasters?

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