During the 19th century, the East India Company brought thousands of Indian lascars, scholars and workers (who were largely Bengali and/or Muslim) to Britain largely to work on ships and in ports.
Some of whom settled down and took local British wives, partly due to a lack of Indian women in Britain and also abandonment due to restrictions on South Asian crew members being employed on British ships such as the Navigation Acts.
The largest group of British Indians are those of Punjabi origin, accounting for an estimated 45 percent of the British Indian population (based on data for England and Wales), with smaller groups including Gujarati and Malayali communities.
No one knows the earliest settlement of Indians in Great Britain for certain.
The Navigation Act of 1660 restricted the employment of non-English sailors to a quarter of the crew on returning East India Company ships.