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Contrary to popular belief, the capture of India was not accomplished by the British Army, but by the private armies of the East India Company, whose primary objective was the protection of their trading empire. Under the leadership of the legendary Robert Clive (founder of the East India Company) and Stringer Lawrence, this small force of mercenaries and adventurers grew in size and strength to eventually become an army larger than that of any European sovereign state. Highly disciplined and professional, it fought almost continuously for a century until the Great Mutiny of 1857 led to its disbandment and its troops passed into Crown service. One of the many British Army officers who fought with this force was Arthur Wellesley, the future Duke of Wellington. This is the fascinating history of the East India Company army, examining the many conflicts in which they fought, and their equipment and training, with its regiments of horse, foot and guns, which rivalled those of most European powers. The exotic uniforms combining traditional Indian and British dress are illustrated in detail and make for a wonderfully colorful account of a private band of adventurers that successfully captured the jewel of the British Empire.
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