I have emphasized in my prior articles the profound consequences of the Ottoman Turks' conquest of Constantinople (now Istanbul) in 1453. It cut off the land trade of silk, porcelain and spices from China and India to Europe via Venice which had become a thriving trade center. Some of the Renaissance artwork of present day Italy was financed by the rich dukes and doges from that money. Pepper was essential to preserve meat and make bad meat palatable and edible in an era without refrigeration. Prince Henry, the navigator (of Portugal) had laid the foundations for long sea travels in distant territories. More than a century earlier, a Chinese fleet under a (castrated) admiral had successfully sailed the Pacific and Indian oceans, as the Chinese had designed the first magnetic compass. A xenophobic and ignorant Chinese Emperor scrapped the fleet due to budget constraints and extravagant other expenditure. The parallels to the current retarded boy emperor of America are eerily parallel.
Portuguese ships used wind and sails and generally took a path parallel to the West African coast, rounded the Cape of Good Hope and navigated parallel to the East African coastline to reach the eastern ports of South India. It was a journey of months, fraught with hazards and in need for much victualing. It was essential to have ports of call on the way to obtain fresh meat and water. Scurvy was the scourge of sailors unable to eat fresh fruit. Later the British discovered that eating limes prevented scurvy and this is why the nickname for British sailors is 'Limeys' even today. The above needs are one factor that led the Portuguese to colonize Angola on the West African coast and Mozambique on the East African coast. Portuguese sailors after a six month voyage to India needed some time for rest and recreation before undertaking a return six month journey and thus Goa, Bombay, Daman and Diu were conquered and colonized. There were Portuguese enclaves in Mombasa and Ceylon. The Dutch in similar fashion colonized South Africa and Molucca (ultimately all Indonesia).
The idiot rulers of India, (Islamic conquerors (by land) in western India and Hindu rulers of South India involved in internecine warfare and rivalry) were ignorant of maritime strategies and too busy living in extravagant splendor to nip this invasion in the bud. The American Indians of Massachusetts probably had similar regrets for not driving off the Pilgrims of the Mayflower. Later the Mughal Empire paid tribute to Portuguese pirates in the Indian Ocean to buy safety for Indian sea passengers going for Haj. The foolish practice of government subsidies for Haj still prevails under the so called secular Congress and Hindutva BJP (both are crooked and corrupt hypocrites) today.
The next reason for colonization was the Industrial Revolution. Netherlands was the greatest trading nation and had extensive tonnage of shipping. Britain broke all patent laws, bribed Dutch artisans to learn technology and paid bounty to make them move to Britain. Now it is the same kind of thief, America talk about TRIP (patents for intellectual property) and abolition of tariffs. 'Sau sau choohe khaa ke billi haj ko chali'. Those interested should read Ha-Joon Chang's books, 'Kicking away the ladder' and 'Bad Samaritans'.
The taming of steam power in Britain greatly increased productivity. Surplus goods left over after saturation of the domestic market had to be sold abroad. The age of mercantilism had begun. Britain sailed for the Indies for trade but there was no market for Britain's coarse wool and linen there. So the East India Company went into the business of tax collection, renting armies, overthrowing governments and ultimately governing. Hungry and ignorant Indians enlisted in the army of the East India Company to fight against their own people. Then the Company started renting this army to the highest bidder for engineering regime overthrow. This gave such rich pickings that the Company now went looking for potential coup plotters to rent the Indian soldiers. After a while the doddering, corrupt, weak and extravagant Mughal Emperor desperately in need of money, cut out the thieving middlemen and gave the East India Company, the Diwani of Bengal. There was no dearth of greedy traitors in India.
A rich Indian merchant known as Jagat Seth financed the Company. He was the first venture capitalist and got his just desserts when the Company subsequently sentenced him to death. We Indians are uniquely stupid and greedy, and probably the only nationals to enlist in a foreign army to help them conquer and oppress our own nation. So much for morality, religion and patriotism. The current UPA government is dying to be America's Asian 'chaprasi, chamchaa and jamadaar' (servant, sycophant and deputy enforcer) by signing a humiliating civilian nuclear deal. Nothing has changed in a thousand years. Bombay was given in dowry by the Portuguese to King Charles, the second, of Britain and they built forts in Madras and Calcutta and the French in Pondicherry. Industrializing America send Commodore Perry's fleet to forcibly open Japan to trade.
Thus India was de-industrialized and colonized to become a supplier of raw cotton and a dumping ground for inferior but cheaper British textiles. It was converted to be an opium producer to serve the drug trafficking needs of the Western drug cartel to make China a nation of addicts, to balance British imports of tea, silk and porcelain (also called China). Some time later Britain and the West converted their sailing ships to steamships using coal. There was a need for coaling stations to replenish the coal supply (before the Suez and Panama Canals were Built) and Britain took over Aden, Gibraltar, Falkland Islands etc., the French colonized West Africa, Djibouti; Germans East and Southwest Africa. Later on the steamships were converted to run on oil and that is why Britain took control of Iran, Iraq, Burma etc., and even today America attacked Iraq, interferes in Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Georgia, Sudan, Gulf States, Afghanistan, West Africa and wants an independent Kosovo to build a oil and gas pipelines.
Some of the above has been documented in detail in the trilogy (three books) of Chalmers Johnson and articles by Julian DiSantellis at
www.atimes.com. The former has explained the over 700 military bases of America, some called lily-pads and the latter explains coaling stations, airbases and refueling planes (Boeing vs. Northrop & EADS). Western powers after WW1 have used aerial bombardment to suppress independence movements (France bombing Damascus in Syria, Britain bombing Iraq when both were under a League of Nations mandate, British bombing the Mau Mau in Kenya in the fifties and Malaysian freedom fighters after that, Israel bombing Palestinians and Lebanese presently and America bombing Vietnam, Cambodia & Laos in the sixties and seventies and Iraqis today). This is why Britain fought the Falklands war, retained Diego Garcia, now leased to America, China is opting for a string of pearls on Myanmar's and Bangladesh's coast and Gwadar in Pakistan and India wants a base in Tajikistan, listening posts in Mauritius and Mozambique and overlooks the faulty political policies of Maldives and Sri Lanka. Big long range fighters, re-fueling jets and aircraft carriers help to project power further and better.