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The 'Incumberances' – British Women in India, 1615-1856 - Oxford Scholarship Online
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The 'Incumberances': British Women in India, 1615-1856

Joan Mickelson Gaughan


In 1615, the Directors of the East India Company saw only two roles that women might play in India—either they would encumber what the Company was about or they could be spiritual emotional supports for the men to whom they were attached. Ultimately, they would play both roles but also carve out their own as well. Beginning in the 1650s, hoping to counteract the influence of Catholic, primarily Portuguese, women, the Directors lifted its earlier ban and sent out the first ‘fishing fleets’ hoping that the presence of English women would improve morals and provide Protestant progeny in their fac ... More

Keywords: East India Company, Portuguese women, Directors, ‘fishing fleets’, Protestant progeny, factories, economic ventures, taverns, millinery shops, boarding schools, empire, missionary work, Mutiny

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2013 Print ISBN-13: 9780198092148
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198092148.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Joan Mickelson Gaughan, author
Joan Mickelson Gaughan is an independent scholar based in Manchester