Vasant J. Sheth Memorial Lecture
England’s efforts to colonize North America and India were born from the same impulse and at the same time. As early as the 1580s, the great apostle of English colonization Richard Hakluyt, Sr., thought of them in tandem, while the East India Company and the Virginia Company (whose employees established the first permanent English settlement in North America) were founded only six years apart, in 1600 and 1606, respectively.
Considered in imperial perspective, then, India and the United States have been linked for more than four hundred years, though for almost the first two centuries only indirectly. Ships of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries could certainly sail between North America and the subcontinent, and the will was there. Direct trade between the two regions was prevented not by technology or indifference, but by policy.More