The East India Company started as a commercial enterprise trading indigo, cotton and opium between India and Britain. It grew into a giant corporation, war machine and proto-state. It was a magnet for adventurers, entrepreneurs and mercenaries, like Clive of India and Warren Hastings. It laid the foundations for the British Empire in India. We will spend this day exploring some of the reasons that the company was so successful, how it achieved dominance in India and how Company officials related to Indian society. It will be an introduction to the most important episodes and most colourful characters of this definitive century in Indian history.