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English Factories in India: a calendar of documents in the India Office, British Museum and Public Record Office (1618-1684)

English Factories in India is a summation of the archival sources of the East India Company’s (EIC) 48 factories in India from 1618-1684. The documents were held, at the time of publishing, in the archives of the India Office (now in the British Library), the British Museum and the Public Records Office (now the National Archives). Each volume contains an extensive and detailed introduction, providing an outline of the period covered, followed by the documents themselves. A summary of the letters is provided but extensive sections are quoted where the documents are of sufficient importance. In the first series (1618-1669) the documents are arranged chronologically for the whole of India; in the second series (1670-1684) the documents are divided into regions. 

The volumes provide information not just on the products and manufactures of India, the weights, measures and coins in use, but also on the wider economic and political context of the 17th century. Volume 3, for example, highlights the hindrance caused to British trade by continued hostilities with the Portuguese in eastern waters and sheds light on important events in the history of the Mogul Empire such as the long rebellion of Prince Khurram (Shāh Jahān). 

The volumes offer researchers a good overview of the contents of the records and act as a useful aid to further archival research. (First series: 13 volumes, published 1906-1927; second series: 4 volumes, published 1936-1955). See also – Court Minutes of the East India company 1635-1679.