Stories of India's wealth from travellers and other sources tempted the European nations to discover the sea route to India for trade. The Portuguese were the pioneers in this effort. In 1498, Vasco de Gama discovered the sea route to India and reached Calicut(now Kozhikode).
His discovery made the Portuguese to be the first among the European nations to trade with India and found settlements along the coasts. Following them were the Dutch, the English, the Danes and the French. Eventually the English and the French were left in the field to contend for the Indian Trade. Not content with trade only their ambitions took a turn to achieve political power and the conditions that followed the decline of Mughal Empire offered them a golden opportunity to fish in the troubled waters.