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William Bolts

Biography

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William Bolts (1739–1808) was a Dutch-born eighteenth-century merchant active in India. He began his career as an employee of the British East India Company, and subsequently became an independent merchant. He is best known today for his 1772 book, Considerations on India Affairs, which detailed the exploitation and despoliation of Bengal by the East India Company which began shortly after the Battle of Plassey in 1757. The observations and experiences he recorded offer a unique resource for scholars inquiring into the nature of early British rule in Bengal. Throughout his life, Bolts continued to propose and execute various trading ventures on his own behalf and in conjunction with various commercial and governmental partners. The ventures of individual traders like Bolts did much to spur governments and large corporations into the expansion of their own interests and empires.
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