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INDIAMAN, a name applied early in the eighteenth century to the large sailing ships belonging to the East India Company (q.v.) which was chartered by Queen Elizabeth on Dec. 31, 1600, the last day of the sixteenth century. This charter conferred the sole right of trading with the East Indies, that is, with all coun tries lying beyond the Cape of Good Hope or the Straits of Ma gellan. The length of the voyages involved and the bulk and value of the cargoes called for excellent ships. To meet this need the East India Company in 1609 constructed a dockyard at Dept ford on the Thames, thus bringing about, as Monson writes, "the increase of great ships in England." By Earl Grey's act of the activities of the East India Company were greatly cur tailed; in 1858 the Company ceased to exist, and the history of the "Indiamen" came to a natural end.


Anson's Voyages, III., vii., 365.