The British East India Company Military Seminary was a British military academy at Addiscombe, Surrey, near London. Its purpose was to train young officers to serve in the East India Company’s huge and always growing private army in India. The Company, originally a shipping and trading concern, grew to rule India and had power and influence around the globe. Their army, which grew to 300,000 Native Indian sepoy enlisted men, had 50,000 trained British Officers, many of which were trained at Addiscombe.
The Seminary opened on 21 January 1809, accepting cadets between the ages of 13½ and 16. The age was later raised to between 15 and 18. 150 cadets were accepted per year, for a two year program of study. The fees were £50 a term by 1835, for a curriculum of the “sciences of Mathematics, Fortification, Natural Philosophy, and Chemistry; the Hindustani, Latin, and French languages; in the art of Civil and Military Engineering, artillery science, and Lithographic Drawing and Surveying”
Final exams were twice-yearly, in front of enthusiastic crowds of royalty, politicians, dignitaries, and alumni. These rigorous tests included demonstrations of military exercises such as swordsmanship, pontoon-building, technical drawings and aptitude in artillery and troop movement on a a battlefield.
Following the Indian Rebellion of 1857, the East India Company was dissolved. Addiscombe then became known as the Royal Indian Military College, but continued to perform much the same function.
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