War for the Future

India

King Cotton and the Queen

Welcome to the RVA Global Tour. eat great food, see great art, take selfies with history, and earn prizes at the museum. 

  1. Snap a photo with two or more posters. 

  2. visit the american civil war museum to get your prize.

Scroll down for Jamsetjee Jejeebhoy’s story, find others at the tour home page, and take off around the world… from Richmond! [Note: This is a prototype test of the Global Tour. Please let us know what you think! email to cgraham@acwm.org]

The  Illustrated London News  pictured the transportation of cotton in India in 1861.

The Illustrated London News pictured the transportation of cotton in India in 1861.

 

[Note: This is a prototype test of the Global Tour. Please let us know what you think! email to cgraham@acwm.org]

To coerce Great Britain into diplomatic alliance with the Confederate States, southerners withheld their cotton crop from European cotton mills. Confederate Attorney General Thomas Bragg, in 1862, noted hopeful signs that the embargo would produce results. “There is much distress in the Manchester districts in Great Britain.” The slave states, after all, had been the world’s dominant cotton supplier, and they hoped to stay that way. Cotton drove global capitalism, supplied from the American south and used in cotton mills from England and France to New England. Even Richmond had a few cotton mills, like the Manchester Cotton Mill on the south end of the Hull Street bridge. 

British cotton mill.

British cotton mill.

Great Britain, however, wished to end their dependence on southern cotton and forge closer links with its expanding imperial possessions in Egypt and India.

Great Britain, annoyed by the quarreling cousins, turns to India for cotton. Indians may not have been solicitous of British business as this London cartoon suggests.

Great Britain, annoyed by the quarreling cousins, turns to India for cotton. Indians may not have been solicitous of British business as this London cartoon suggests.

But where southern cotton growers had used slavery and land cleared of Native Americans to rise to the peak of industrial supply of cotton, the British had found that extracting similar quantities from the well-established and less pliant societies in India rather difficult. The British East India Company under Lord Dalhousie struggled in the 1850s to reshape Indian laws, labor, and social relationships but the attempts, instead, produced war.

Indian princely states rose in a massive and bloody rebellion that preoccupied the world’s attention in 1857. The British quelled the uprising in 1858, and under the direct control of the Crown, continued to develop the Great Indian Peninsular Railway and the harbor at Mumbai to be the chief export port for Indian cotton. While Britain crushed the Indian Rebellion, some Indians, like Jamsetjee Jejeebhoy, a Mumbai businessman, greatly profited.

When King Cotton called from America in 1862, the Queen was already looking away to India.

 

Your Turn: From King to Queen

 
 

Manchester Cotton and Woolen Manufacturing Company is no longer standing but you can look over the River while standing at its former site from the Floodwall Walk.

 
 

See the Indian culture and arts the way the Queen might have in 1862.