The West India Docks are a series of three docks on the Isle of Dogs in London. A wealthy West Indies merchant and shipowner called Robert Milligan was largely responsible for their construction. Milligan headed a group of powerful businessmen who promoted the creation of a wet dock circled by a high wall. The group planned and built West India Docks and formed the West India Dock Company.
The docks were opened in 1802 and for the following 21 years all vessels in the West India trade using the Port of London were compelled to use the West India Docks by a clause in the Act of Parliament that enabled their construction.
Following the successful creation of the West India Docks, an Act of Parliament in 1803 set up the East India Dock Company. The docks were located to the north-east of the West India Docks. The company quickly became profitable through its trade in commodities such as tea, spices, indigo, silk and Persian carpets.
In 1838 the East and West India companies merged to create the East & West India Dock Company.
In 1900, by Act of Parliament, the company was merged with the London & St. Katherine Docks Company to form the London & India Docks Joint Committee.