(1526-1858) It all started with a small global trading company, the East India company, that grew and grew and eventually conquered much of South Asia. India became the "jewel in the crown" of the biggest empire in history. When smaller European ships first landed on the shores of South Asia in the earlier 1600's looking for spices they faced merchants periphery of the Mughal Empire, a kingdom that has more power and much more bigger than any other country in Europe in that time era. they ruled over massive and distinct land of deserts, large rivers, thick forests, plateaus, grasslands, and mountains. Many of this separated a lot of groups. There were religious Sikhs in the Punjab to the West, Muslims in Bengal to the East, Hindu Maratha tribes in the Deccan Plateau, Tamil speakers in the Deccan Plateau, Tamil speakers in the South, and Hindu princes in Hyderabad. To stop this distinct and massive land successfully the Mughal emperors often shared power with regional leaders.The land and people were too distinct and massive. Before the Europeans arrived, no enemies had ever invaded India from the sea. Europeans came slowly at first looking for trade than invading them. They desired valuable spices from what they called the East Indies.