The colonial era in India began in 1502, when the Portuguese established the first European trading center at Kollam. In 1510 the Portuguese sailor, Vasco da Gama, established an important trading presence in Goa. Rivalry between European powers saw the entry of the Dutch, British, and French among others from the beginning of the 17th century. The fractured, debilitated kingdoms of the Indian subcontinent were gradually taken over by the Europeans or indirectly controlled by puppet rulers. By the 19th century, the British had assumed direct and indirect control over most of India.
In 1498 the Portuguese set foot in India, landing near the city of Calicut in the present-day state of Kerala in South India. The pursuit of trade and competition between European powers saw the entry of the British and French, among others, into India. Several fractured Indian kingdoms were eventually taken over by Europeans, who indirectly assumed control by subjugating rulers.
In 1757, Mir Jafar, the commander in chief of the army of the Nawab of Bengal, secretly connived with the British, asking logistic support to overthrow the Nawab in return for trade grants. The British forces, whose sole duty until then was guarding their British East India Company property, were numerically inferior to the Bengali armed forces. At the Battle of Plassey on 23 June 1757, fought between the British under the command of Robert Clive and the Nawab, Mir Jafar's forces betrayed the Nawab and helped defeat him. Jafar was installed on the throne as a British subservient ruler. The battle transformed British perspective as they realized their strength and potential to conquer smaller Indian kingdoms, and marked the beginning of the imperial or colonial era.
The British had direct or indirect control over all of present-day India by the early 19th century. In 1857, a local rebellion by an army of sepoys snowballed into the Rebellion of 1857. This resistance, although short-lived, was triggered by widespread resentment against certain discriminatory policies of the British. As a result of this, the British East India Company was abolished and India formally became a crown colony. The slow but momentous reform movement, perhaps influenced in India by contact with European ideas and institutions, developed gradually into the Indian Independence Movement. During the years of World War I, the hitherto bourgeois "home-rule" movement was transformed into a popular mass movement by Mahatma Gandhi, a pacifist. Gandhi was aided by revolutionaries such as Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Chandrashekar Azad and Subhash Chandra Bose, who were feared by the British in the later stages. The independence movement attained its objective with the independence of Pakistan and India on 14 August and 15 August 1947 respectively.
The Portuguese were the first Europeans to arrive in India in 1498. The closing of traditional trade routes in western Asia by the Ottomans and rivalry with the Italian states, set Portugal in search of an alternate sea route to India. The first successful voyage to India was by Vasco da Gama in 1498, when he arrived in Calicut, now in Kerala. The Portuguese established a chain of outposts along India's west coast and on the island of Ceylon in the early 16th century. They built the St.Angelo Fort at Kannur to guard their possessions in North Malabar. Goa was their prized possession and, the seat of Portugal's viceroy who governed Portugal's empire in Asia. Portugal's northern province included settlements at Daman, Diu, Chaul, Baçaim, Salsette, and Mumbai. Bombay (Mumbai) was given to the British crown in 1661 as part of the dowry of Catherine of Braganza. The rest of the northern province, with the exception of Daman and Diu, was lost to the Marathas in the early 18th century. Dadra and Nagar Haveli was acquired by the Portuguese in 1779. Dadra and Nagar Haveli was occupied by the Republic of India in 1954, and Goa, Daman, and Diu were annexed to India in 1961
The Dutch East India Company established trading posts on different parts along the Indian coast. For some while, they controlled the Malabar southwest coast (Cranganore/Cranganor/Kodungallor, Cochin de Cima/Pallipuram, Cochin, Cochin de Baixo/Santa Cruz, Quilon (Coylan), Cannanore, Kundapura, Kayankulam, Ponnani) and the Coromandel southeastern coast (Golkonda, Bimilipatnam, Jaggernaikpoeram/Kakinada, Palikol, Pulicat, Porto Novo/Parangippettai, Negapatnam) and Surat (1616-1795). They conquered Ceylon, nowadays Sri Lanka (1658 - 1796), from the Portuguese. The Dutch also established trading stations in Travancore and coastal Tamil Nadu as well as at Rajshahi in present-day Bangladesh, Pipely, Hugli-Chinsura, and Murshidabad in present-day West Bengal, Balasore (Baleshwar or Bellasoor) in Orissa, and Ava, Arakan, and Syriam in present-day Myanmar (Burma). Ceylon was lost at the Congress of Vienna in the aftermath of the Napoleonic Wars, where the Dutch having fallen subject to France, saw their colonies raided by Britain. The Dutch later became less involved in India, as they had the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia) as their prized possession.
Other colonial nations such as Belgium, Italy and Germany did not set foot in India. The Spanish did not have territorial rights to India due to the Line of Demarcation drawn by Pope Alexander VI in 1493 with the Bull Inter caetera, ceding the eastern hemisphere to Portugal. The Japanese briefly occupied the Andaman and Nicobar Islands during World War II.