This question in the Science Fiction and fantasy stack exchange asks about the British East India Company operating in the West Indies. According to Wikipedia, there were a number of East India Companies.

  1. Austrian.
  2. British. Came to rule India.
  3. Danish.
  4. Dutch. Came to rule Indonesia.
  5. French. Fought the British for influence and control in India.
  6. Portuguese. Lost most of their colonies to the Dutch and British.
  7. Swedish.

According to Wikipedia, there were also a number of West India Companies.

  1. Danish. Ruled Danish Caribbean Islands.
  2. Dutch. Ruled New Netherlands, & some Caribbean islands, etc.
  3. French. Ruled all French colonies in the Atlantic Ocean 1664-1674.
  4. Swedish.

It would be natural to suppose that there could have been a British West India Company that monopolized all trade with British colonies in the Caribbean.

But there didn't seem to be any British West India Company. Did the British East India Company operate in the Caribbean?

If anyone answers, they can also answer and/or link to this question?

  • These 42 pages seem to try answer the question, but I don't have time to read it all
    – DaveShaw
    Jun 11, 2017 at 20:54
  • 1
    How is this question different from this previous one?
    – T.E.D.
    Jun 11, 2017 at 22:48
  • This is a dupe of the other question, asked in February of this year. @T.E.D. can these not be merged? I tried to VtC but the software won't let me due to no answer on the other question. Jun 12, 2017 at 18:36

1 Answer 1


There is some evidence that the Honorable East India Company (HEIC) rarely if ever directly traded in the western hemisphere.

Fortunately it so happens that the flag of the HEIC was similar to the design of the Grand Union flag used by the American colonists for about a year and half from 1776 to 1777 when the first United States flag was adopted. Since the US flag is based on the Grand Union flag, the resemblance between the HEIC flag and the Grand Union flag indicates a possible HEIC flag influence on the US flag.

This discussion here indicates that the HEIC was not permitted to trade directly with any place except Asia and Great Britain.

The company's charter permitted them to traded only between the East, and English ports. Although the Act of Parliament of 1773 allowed the EIC to export tea to America, it had first to be landed in England. The tea that was dumped overboard in Boston, had been part of a much larger consignment shipped from China to England, where it was sold to dealers and merchants, and then freighted to Boston as part of a general cargo, in ships that did not belong to, and were not chartered by the EIC.

Secondly, as mentioned in the first paragraph, the EICe was not flown by ships north of St Helena.



Apparently the company charter was renewed every 20 years (1793, 1813. 1833) which gave many opportunities to adjust the terms of the charter.

  • 4
    I don't see how this answers the question. You say that "There is some evidence..." but you don't present any. The middle part of the 'answer' (and the links) is an irrelevant discussion of the similarity of the HEIC and US flags. You then assert that the HEIC could only trade with Asia but offer no actual evidence (presumably this is missing a link to the "discussion" you mention). Jun 11, 2017 at 22:06

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