East Gallaga Company
The East Gallaga Company (commonly called ‘the Company’ or ‘John Company’) was formed in 1598 by a group of enterprising Shadoranite merchants who had found the easiest route from the Shield to Gallaga. In 1599, it was granted a royal charter for monopoly status on all imports to the Kingdom of Shadoran from the subcontinent.
The first hundred years of the Company’s history were quite unassuming. It competed against the Weshieldian West Gallies Company and founded trading posts at Fort New Shield, Fort Ash, and Fort St Walburg. However, the early eighteenth century saw a complete reassessment of the Company’s place on the subcontinent.
By 1700, the central Gallagan court had grown quite decadent. Seeing this, external enemies attacked and internal rivals to the throne revolted. Within the space of a decade, the Empire had completely fallen apart and left a virtual power vacuum over large parts of the subcontinent. The Company, along with forces from Calarca and Ercolana, was drawn into the cutthroat struggle of Gallagan politics. Very quickly, the Western weapons and drill tactics of the Company’s mercenaries proved superior to the native forces and most of the local powers were drawn into the Company’s political orbit. They were forced by treaties to provide a certain amount of men for the Company’s military, leading to the first incarnation of the sepoy Gallagan Army.
However, back in the court at Dûn Ádien, the King’s ministers were becoming jealous of the increasing power wielded by the so-called “nabobs,” who were largely outside of the primary social structure in Iansisle. High King Ian III, an ailing old man on his deathbed, was persuaded by his ministers to issue the Gallaga Act of 1750, which brought the Company’s lands and armies under the direct control of the throne. From 1750 until 1773 (when the liberal James I reformed the Company) royal power led the development of Iansislean Gallaga. During those twenty-three years, the territorial size of the Gallagan holdings and their population both were increased dramatically with an eye towards checking Calarcan ambitions.
After 1773, the Company had been reformed, although most of the bourgeois elements of its early history had been replaced by aristocrats influenced by their relatives in the Combined Parliament. It continued to expand its holdings but by about 1800 had reached its natural borders. Over the next hundred and fifty years, the Company sat on its charter, sold opium, spices, silk, tobacco, cotton, and other goods by the boatload to Iansisle and other countries, and rivaled the other great Gallagan powers. However, the German-Chiangese War and increased Gallagan nationalism started its demise; the Gull Flag Revolution sealed its fate.
The Company participated in the Corporate Yoke with Royal Mining and Manufacturing, sending several thousand sepoys to Ianapalis. After corporate power had been defeated by the Gull Flag Revolution, the Act of 1750 was reinstituted and the Company dissolved, presumably for the last time.