The East India Merchant Company is one of the world's largest, oldest and most ruthless trading companies.
The Company as it is often called, has survived war and revolution, prosperity and loss for almost 3 centuries. Despite occasional setbacks, it has always found a way to thrive, and continues to do so till this day.
It was founded in England by Queen Elizabeth I at the dawn of the 17th Century.
The Company's wealth and power grew enormously in the 1700's as it supplied the goods and materials to furnish Britain's wars with the French during the American Civil War and later Napoleon and the Prussians in Europe. Among other things The Company is the driving force behind the well-known Britannian love of tea.
Until recently The Company effectively ran India, securing it's control with both the sword and pen, during this time it developed it's own military forced to protect it's trade routes with encompass most of the world.
In the early 1820s the Britannian Prime Minister Lord Gosford suborned The Company's Indian Terrirories and Military forces into the Britiannian Empire. However The Board of Directors were hardly fazed as The Company was richly subsidised for this 'loss'. Furthermore Lord Gosford's plans were the same as The Board - conquering Burma to the East.
However the three Anglo-Burmese wars cost more in lives than anyone expected and heavily dented The Company's prestige back in London.
After these wars The Company strove to recoup their losses and protect their globe spanning trade networks. This change in attitude was not an over night affair but one that had been built up over time.
Their activites in opening new markets and persuading rivals from challenging them became more aggressive. The bigger The Company grew the more it felt it had to lose, and as a consequence spent more on protecting it's gains.
This in turn led to the need to expand as The Board sought to secure the trade empire without cutting into the profits or wealth. It was this relentless cycle that ultimately plunged the world into war.
World War historyEdit
By 1868 the centre of The Company's power was Singapore. Technically Britannian territory along with the rest of Malay, The Company was given the right to run Singapore on it's own terms as part of the deal with Lord Gosford in exchange for India.
The Company had long been unhappy with the growing influence of the Empire of the Blazing Sun. In mid '68 the Governor of Singapore Sir Reginald Horncastle kicked all Japanese traders out of the city on the dubious grounds that they were undercutting The Company tariffs.
Crucially, although given leave to do so by The Board of Directors, neither he nor The Board informed the Britannian authorities, leaving the Britannian Government in the dark.
Even worse, one of the merchants expelled from Singapore was the uncle of the Blazing Sun's most notable military leaders, Genral Oni.
Within a fortnight, the Blazing Sun's Sword Army Third Division, the Wani, under command of Oni himself, had mobilised to conduct "exercises" in the area. In response The Company placed the garrison of Singapore on alert, without informing either The Board of Directors or the Britannian Government.
The Company still tells everyone the Oni ordered a punitive strike on Singapore, and the Empire say Horncastle ordered the port guns fire, either as a warning shot that was too close or deliberatly firing upon ships.
However it started, the consequences were extreme. A battle erupted betwen the Wani and The Company. Within 48 hours, Singapore was destroyed with Horncastle included among the dead.
Upon the destruction of Singapore did the Britannian Government finally know what was happening, although The Company was heavily reprimanded the Britannian Navy began to mobilize as the conflict expanded to the rest of the Malay Penisula.
And so the World was plunged into War.
With Horncastle dead and Oni a fugitive, it is unlikley the truth of who shot first will be confirmed. Many even believe it was The Company's intention to start a war. But whatever The Company's motives their huge merchant fleet along with substantial Naval forces form a key component in the Grand Coalition's strategy in the East.
The Company controls a small amount of territory in the South Pacific in the name of Britannia along with major trading posts around the world and small parts of India and Burma.
The Company has it's own construction facilities in India and Burma, and with it's vast wealth and income mean it can afford to commission and mantain forces to stand up to most nations. It's naval and Areal strength are formidible.
The Company's ships, still often known as Indiamen are designed to be very versatile, they frequently served as cargo carriers in peacetime, albeit heavily armed.
The Company's warships and flying engines can mount a large array of weaponry and equipment, almost all of which can be swapped out on very short notice. The Company has access to considerable technological resources, which it has purchased, commisioned, been given or stolen from sunk rivals and enemies.
On the TabletopEdit
(how the faction plays and looks)
Behind the ScenesEdit
The East India Merchant company is the in-game equivalent of real-world Honourable East India Company, which functioned from 1612 - 1858, and which eventually rose to be the effective ruler of India, only to cede control of it to Britain after the Indian Mutiny (or sepoy rebellion) in 1857.
Additionally, EIMC ships are described as 'Indiamen', which is an actual type of ship- effectivley an armed merchantman, EIC ships were still able to fight off pirates and raiders, and even attacks from French Navy ships during the Napoleonic Wars.