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Establishment of British Paramountcy

Study Material > History

 Conflict with Native rulers

  • In the 1720s, Saadutullah Khan (who was the Governor of Carnatic and nominally under the control of the Nizam of Hyderabad) laid the foundation of the autonomous State of Carnatic with its capital at Arcot.
  • He was succeeded by Dost Ali (Killed by the Maratha Army-1740) and Safdar Ali (Murdered by a relative).
  • In 1743, the Nizam of Hyderabad intervened and appointed Anwar-ud-din as the Nawab of Carnatic, who was murdered by Chanda Sahib in 1749, with the help of French.
  • Carnatic was to play an important role in the Anglo-French rivalry in India.

Carnatic war

  • The Carnatic Wars were fought between the English and the French on the Indian soil for supremacy. These wars were fought to decide the rivalry between the English and the French and were directly connected with their rivalry in Europe

First Carnatic war(AD 1746-1748)

  • The War of the Austrian Succession broke out in Europe in 1740. In this war, Britain and France joined opposite camps. As a result the English and the French Companies also became engulfed in the war. Thus the First Carnatic War was started.
  • The hostility in India was initiated by E.I.C when English navy under Barnett captured French ships.
  • Duplex ( French Governor of Pondicherry since (AD 1741) captured Fort St George (Madras) in AD 1746. However, his efforts to capture Fort St David ( a small English factory near Pondicherry) did not succeed.
  • The war came to an end with the termination of hostilities in Europe. The treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle (AD 1748) brought Austrian war of succession to an end.
  • According to this treaty, the English got back Madras and the French got the Louisburg region in North America.

Second Carnatic war(AD 1749-1754)

  • It was closely linked with the dispute of succession in the Nizam of Hyderabad & over the Nawabship of Carnatic.
  • The French supported Chanda Sahib to become the Nawab and the English wanted to install Muhammad Ali as the Nawab. In the war that followed, the French were defeated, and Chanda Sahib was beheaded.
  • The war ended with the Treaty of Pondicherry, signed in 1754 and Muhammad Ali was recognized as the Nawab of Carnatic.
  • The French disaster in the second Carnatic war sealed the fate of Dupleix. Dissatisfied with the political ambitions of Dupleix and the huge expenditure it involved, the Directors of the French Company, decided to recall him. Godeheu replaced Dupleix as the Governor General of the French Possession in India (AD1754).
  • As a result of the war, the English company replaced the French as the overlords of the Carnatic. However, the French still retained their power and influence in Hyderabad. The Nizam of Hyderabad allowed them to collect revenue from the Nizam’s territories for maintaining their Army.
  • In the name of protecting the Nizam, the French controlled him with the help of their Army. It is interesting to note that the French Army was maintained by the revenue which the French were allowed to collect by the Nizam.
  • This method of exercising control, by making the Indian rulers pay to maintain the foreign Army which would be used to control the ruler, was followed soon after by the English.

Third Carnatic war

  • The Seven Year’s War broke out in Europe in 1756 A.D. In this War England and France joined opposite camps. Its repercussion was immediately felt in India. The two Companies renewed their hostility. Thus began the Third Carnatic War.
  • It spread beyond southern India and into Bengal where British forces captured the French settlement of Chandernagore in 1757.
  • After the series of conflicts, the English Army under General Eyre Coote decisively defeated the French forces in the Battle of Wandiwash in 1760.
  • After Wandiwash, the French capital of Pondicherry fell to the British in 1761. The war concluded with the signing of the 1763 Treaty of Paris, which returned Chandernagore and Pondicherry to France, and allowed the French to have trading posts in India but forbade French traders from administering them(these could be held only as mere trading centers without any fortifications and armies).
  • After third Carnatic War, the French dream of building an empire in India was shattered. It cleared the way for the establishment of the British Empire in India unhampered by any European rival.

Causes of French failure

  1. A principal factor for French failure was the superiority of the British naval power. This enabled the English to bring soldiers from Europe and to send supplies from Bengal. But the French were unable to replenish their resources from outside.
  2. The English East India Company was a private company and it showed greater enterprise in business. But the French Company was dependent on the government and lacked the spirit of bold, individual and corporate effort. Neither the French government nor the shareholders who were assured of a fixed dividend took any active interest in the fortunes of the Company.
  3. The British had three important bases in India – Calcutta, Madras and Bombay. If any of these bases were imperiled by the French, the English could still get resources from other centers and could continue war from the other bases. On the other hand, the French had only one strong base at Pondicherry. If Pondicherry was endangered, it could not get any effective support from their other bases in India.
  4. The British Company was lucky to have many capable men like Clive, Lawrence, and Eyre Coote etc. in its service. On the other hand, besides Dupleix, the French Company had no really able man to serve it.
  5. The victory at Plassey gave the English Company large resources of a rich area.

Rise of British Power in Bengal (Conquest of Bengal)

  • Bengal was the first kingdom to be occupied by the British in India. At that time, the kingdom of Bengal included the Bengal, Bihar and Orissa. It was the most fertile and the richest of India’s provinces. The province was also well-known for its textiles, silk and saltpeter. The East India Company carried on a profitable trade with this province. The enormous resources of Bengal came in handy for financing the British expansion.

Background of Conquest

  • In Bengal the first English factory was established at Hugli.
  • In the year 1651. The permission for the establishment of the factory was given by Sultan Shuja, second son of Emperor Shahjahan and then Subahdar of Bengal.
  • In the same year, much pleased with the services of Mr Boughton in curing a royal lady, the Subahdar granted the company the privileges of free trade throughout Bengal, Bihar and Orissa for a normal lump sum payment of Rupees 3000/-.
  • In AD 1698, the English obtained from Subahdar Azim-us-Shan the Zamindari of the villages of Sutanati, Kalikata and Govindpur(the present site of Calcutta), on payment of rupees 1200/- to the previous proprietors.
  • Thereafter Emperor Farrukshiyar, By the Farman of 1717, confirmed the trade privileges granted by the earlier subahdars of Bengal, besides according to the permission to the Company to rent additional territory around Calcutta.
  • This treaty affected the economy of Bengal. The native traders did not tolerate it. The situation was further aggravated by the misuse of Dastak.
  • They used to sell Dastaks (free persons which declared that the goods belonged to the British exempted from the tax) to Indian merchants.
  • When the Nawab tried to check this malpractice and attempted to punish the guilty Indian merchants, the English provided protection to them. This was the cause of dissent between the Nawab and English.

 Battle of Plassey

  • Plassey, more correctly ‘Palasi’ (from the Palas trees that abound in the area), is the name of a Paragana, 20 miles from Murshidabad, on the banks of river Bhagirati.
  • On June 23, 1757 it was the scene of a battle fought between the British forces under Robert Clive and those of Nawab Siraj-ud-Daula.
  • After the death of Ali Vardi Khan, his grandson called Siraj-ud- Daulla became the Nawab of Bengal. He was a young man of nearly 24. He was not only self-willed and self-indulgent. He desired to use his power as a ruler as effectively as were used by predecessor.
  • The succession of Siraj was not undisputed. His aunt, Ghasti Begum desired to place her adopted child on the throne. His cousin, the Subahdar of Punnea, Shaukat Jang also aspired for the throne, Mirzafar the Commander-in-Chief of the army was yet another aspirant who desired for the throne.

Causes which led to Battle of Plassey

  • The English started fortifying Calcutta without obtaining permission from the Nawab. This amounted to ignoring his sovereign power.
  • Misinterpretation of the Mughal Farman of AD 1717, by the British and their misuse of the Dastaks or free passes by granting it to persons who were in no way entitled to them, for which the king has suffered great loss in the customs revenue.
  • They had given protection to the disloyal and corrupt subjects and employees of the Nawab.
  • Personality of Siraj-ud-Daula; being young and energetic, though inexperienced and hasty, the new Nawab wanted to impose the same restrictions as was done by his predecessors on the British, who now felt strong enough to oppose his authority after their success in south India.


  • Besides, the English offended Siraj-ud-Daula by indirectly lending support to the claims of Ghasiti Begum and providing asylum to political offenders from Bengal. Finding his authority being challenged in his own dominions, Siraj-ud-Daula marched to Calcutta and occupied Fort William in June 1756. Most of the English soldiers fled.
  • Siraj-ud-daula after conquering Calcutta marched back to Murshidabad. Siraj’s success, however, was short-lived. Robert Clive arrived with a strong military force and reconquered Calcutta at the beginning of 1757. He compelled the Nawab to concede all the demands of the English including the right to fortify Calcutta.
  • The English, however, were not satisfied. They wanted to install a puppet Nawab on the throne of Bengal. Clive entered into a conspiracy with Mir Jafar, the com­mander of the Nawab’s army, and others to over­throw Siraj-ud-daula. Mir Jafar would be made the Nawab of Bengal in re­turn of a huge sum of money as a reward to the Company.
  • The British now pre­sented the Nawab with an impossible set of de­mands. Both sides realised that war was inevitable. The two armies met at the field of Plassey, just over 20 miles south of Murshidabad, on 23rd June 1757.
  • The Nawab’s army contained 50,000 infantry, 28,000 Cavalry and Clive’s army consisted only 3,000 men including English Soldiers. From the beginning of the battle, both Mirzafar and Rai Durlabh stood silently with their vast forces without coming forward to fight.
  • Only two generals Mohan Lal and Mir Madan were fighting desperately on behalf of the Nawab. Mir Madan fell dead on the field and thus the Nawab lost courage.
  • For hours the course of the war remained undecided and uncertain. Mirzafar advised the Nawab to send order to Mohan Lal to stop war and return back. Under compelling circumstances the Nawab did it but Mohan Lal continued fighting. On receiving repeated order from the Nawab for the close of the war Mohan Lal at length returned to Siraj.
  • When the fighting soldiers saw their leader withdrawing from the battle field they lost heart and fled in all directions. Within no time the course of the battle turned for the worst. Amid terrible attack from Clive’s side and with his army in panic Siraj-ud-daula fled from the battle field for life but was killed by Miran the son of Mirzafar.
  • The fateful battle of Plassey was a battle only in name. The major part of the Nawab’s army under Mir Jafar took no part in the fighting.
  • With that ended the battle of Plassey with that too was decided the fate of Bengal and of India.
  • This Battle of Plassey opened a new chapter in the annals of India and the British Raj in Indian history began.


  • The Battle of Plassey made the English the virtual masters of Bengal. It placed the vast wealth of Bengal in the hands of the British. These resources helped them to win battles in the Carnatic. Mir Jafar was a puppet in the hands of the English. The victory in the battle of Plassey transformed a mere trading company into a political power. It paved the way for the establishment of British rule in India.
  • Mir Jafar was a weak and inefficient ruler. He had gifted a jagir to Clive and rich presents to others in the Company in return for the Nawabship. The treasury had become empty and Mir Jafar was unable to meet the ever-increasing demands of the Company and its officials. So Mir Jafar was deposed and his son-in-law Mir Qasim was put on the throne. Mir Qasim handed over the zamindaris of Burdwan, Midnapore and Chittagong as a reward to the Company.

Battle of Buxar

  • Mir Jaffar soon realized that it was impossible to meet the demands of the Company and its officials who, on their part, began to criticize the Nawab for his inability to fulfill their expectations.
  • Consequently, they forced him to abdicate in favour of his son-in-law, Mir Qasim, who rewarded the company by granting it the zamindari of the districts of Burdwan, Midnapore and Chittagong and giving presents amounting to rupees 29 lakhs to the high English officials.
  • Mir Qasim was the last Nawab of Bengal who endeavoured to reassert royal authority. He felt that since he had paid the company and its servants adequately for putting him on the throne, they should now give him a free hand to govern Bengal.
  • To consolidate his power he introduced several reforms and organised a disciplined and well-equipped army trained by Europeans. To improve his finances he attempted to check the misuse of dastak (or permit) by the Company’s servants who carried on duty-free private trade.
  • This abuse ruined honest Indian traders through unfair competition and deprived the Nawab of large revenue. Mir Qasim took the drastic step of abolishing all duties on internal trade, thus putting English and Indian merchants on the same footing. This made the English furious. They could not accept this big loss and decided to overthrow him.
  • In 1763, war broke out between Mir Qasim and the English. The Nawab who was defeated escaped to Awadh. Mir Jafar was reinstated on the throne. Mir Qasim formed an alliance with the Nawab of Awadh and Shah Alam II, the Mughal Emperor. The combined army was decisively defeated at the Battle of Buxar in 1764. Mir Qasim fled.
  • The Battle of Buxar is one of the most decisive battles of Indian history. It finally established the British as masters of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa and gave them control over Awadh and the Mughal Emperor. The reinstallation of Mir Jafar as the Nawab sealed the fate of independent Nawabship in Bengal.

Dual government in Bengal

  • In 1765 a dual government was established in Bengal, Bihar and Orissa. By virtue of the Diwani(Diwani rights), the East India Company directly collected revenue from these areas. At the same time the Company enjoyed military power and criminal jurisdiction over these areas.

What was the Diwani Rights?

  • Diwani Rights were the rights granted to British East India Company to collect revenues and decide the civil cases.
  • However, the administration of the kingdom was left in the hands of the Nawab. This arrangement was called ‘dual government’. Thus, the Nawab was burdened with the responsibility of administering the country without the resources for running it efficiently.
  • The Company which had control over the resources had no responsibility of administering the country. Obviously the Company was unwilling to spend the revenue it collected on the administration and welfare of the people.
  • This system of dual government resulted in utter misery for the people. The revenue officials extorted money from poor peasants who were forced to starve. The year 1770 witnessed the most severe famine of the century. About one- third of the population perished. At the time of Clive’s departure to England, the British were no longer mere traders in Bengal. They were legally the rulers of the province.

The conquest of Mysore

  • TheKingdom of Mysore was a kingdom in southern India, traditionally believed to have been founded in 1399 in the vicinity of the modern city of Mysore.
  • The kingdom, which was ruled by the Wodeyar family, initially served as a vassal state of the Vijayanagara Empire. With the decline of the Vijayanagara Empire (c. 1565), the kingdom became independent and Wodeyar Dynasty founded its rule.
  • The process of the usurpation of the royal authority of the Wodeyar ruler Chikka Krishna Raja I started when two brothers, Devaraja and Nanjaraja controlled real power in the state and became the defacto rulers.
  • In the subsequent period, the state got involved in the ongoing quadrangular conflict for supremacy in the Deccan among the Marathas, Nizam, the English and the French east India Company.
  • The repeated invasions of the Marathas and Nizam into the Mysorean territories and the heavy financial demands made by the invaders rendered the state financially bankrupt and politically unstable.
  • Devaraja and Nanjaraja failed to control the situation and this paved the way for the rise of Haider Ali, a man of superior military talent, sound diplomatic skill and unquestioned qualities of leadership, as the defacto ruler of Mysore by AD 1761.
  • Haider’s policy of expansion in the Southern states alarmed the British. They initiated efforts to counter balance Haider Ali which gave birth to Anglo- Mysore conflict.

Reasons behind Anglo-Mysore Conflict

  • During the second half of the 18th century, the rise of Mysore under Haider Ali and Tipu Sultan and their alliance with the French was seen as a source of danger to the British power in India.
  • The control of Haider Ali and Tipu Sultan over the rich trade of the Malabar Coast was considered by the English as a threat to their trade in pepper and cardamom.
  • Mysore was also considered a threat to the British control over Madras.

The First Anglo-Mysore War (1766-1769)

  • The English were Conscious of Haider Ali's increasing power in the south. Therefore, they joined hands and led to the formation of Tripartite alliance with the Nizam of Hyderabad and the Marathas, who were also jealous of Haider's growing strength.
  • Haider Ali using his diplomatic skills bought off the Marathas and won over the Nizam and thus broke the alliance.
  • He played a diplomatic game, bought the Marathas, allured the Nizam with territorial gains and together with the latter launched an attack on British.
  • In the War, Haider registered brilliant victories over the British and finally appeared at the gates of Madras.
  • The war was brought to an end by signing of theTreaty of Madras in 1769.
  • Under this treaty, both sides restored each other's conquest and promised mutual help in case of attack by a third party(Defensive Alliance). When Hyder Ali was attacked by the Marathas in 1771, the English, according to the promise they had made, did not come to former's help. This led Hyder Ali to distrust and dislike them.

Second Anglo Mysore war

  • The cause of second Anglo-Mysore war was the mutual distrust and refusal of English to fulfill the terms of the defensive treaty with Haider when he was attacked by the Marathas in 1771.
  • Further, Haider found French more helpful in meeting his military demands than the English and therefore established a close alliance with them.
  • The outbreak of the American War of independence and French alliance with the American colonists made Warren Hastings extremely suspicious of Haider Ali’s relation with the French.
  • Under these conditions the English attempt to capture Mahe (a French port on the Malabar Coast), which Haider considered to be under its protection, was a direct challenge to Hyder Ali.
  • Thus Haider formed a joint front with the Nizam and the Marathas and on July 1780, attacked Carnatic and captured Arcot, defeating and English Army under Colonel Baillie.
  • Meanwhile, the English detached the Marathas and the Nizam from the side of Haider and on November 1781, in the battle at Porto Novo, Haider was defeated by Sir Eyre Coote.
  • In the following year Haider inflicted a humiliating defeat on the English army under Colonel Braithwaite. But while the war was in progress Haider died due to cancer on December 7, 1782.
  • Tipu continued the war for another year but absolute success eluded both the sides. Tired of war the two sides concluded peace Treaty of Mangalore. By this Treaty it was decided that English would return Srirangapatnam to Tipu and Tipu would handover Fort of Badnur to English.

Treaty of Mangalore

  • According to the Treaty: 
    1. The two parties were not to assist each other's enemies directly or indirectly nor make war on each other's allies.
    2. The trade privileges granted to the company by Haider Ali in 1770 were to be restored although no additional benefits would accrue.
    3. Both sides agreed to a mutual restoration of possessions (barring the forts of Amboorgur and Satgur) and Tipu undertook not to make any claims on the Carnatic in future.
    4. Tipu agreed to release all prisoners of war.
    5. Tipu was to restore the factory and privileges possessed by the Company at Calicut until 1779.

The Third Anglo-Mysore War (1789-1792)

  • War between Tipu Sultan and British began in 1789 and ended in Tipu's defeat in 1792. Even though Tipu fought with exemplary bravery, Lord Cornwallis the Governor General had succeeded through shrewd diplomacy in isolating him by winning over the Marathas, the Nizam and the rulers of Travancore and Coorg.
  • This war again revealed that the Indian powers were short-sighted enough to aid the foreigner against another Indian power for the sake of temporary advantages.
  • The Third Mysore War came to an end by the Treaty of Srirangapatnam in March 1792.
  • This treaty resulted in the surrender of nearly half of Mysore territory to the British. The British acquired Baramahal, Dindigul and Malabar while the Marathas got territory on the Tungabhadra side and the Nizam acquired territories from the Krishna to beyond the Pennar. Tipu also had to pay a war indemnity of over three crores of rupees.

Treaty of Mangalore Seringapatam

  • It was signed by Tipu on the one hand and the English and their allies (Nizam and the Peshwa) on the other. The Treaty stipulated that:
    1. The earlier treaties between the English and the rulers of Mysore stood confirmed.
    2. Tipu was to cede half of his territories which is to be shared among the three allies.
    3. Tipu was to make immediate payment of Rs 1.6 crore out of the total indemnity agreed upon (Rs 3.6 crore) while the remainder (2 crore) was to be given in three installments.
    4. Tipu was also to order the release of all prisoners of war.
    5. Pending fulfillment of these terms two of his sons were to be detained as British hostages.
    6. In terms of territory, the Nizam obtained the lion's share while the Marathas also extended their boundary to the Tungabhadra and the Krishna.
    7. The English secured large chunks on the Malabar Coast from the north of Cannaore to the south of the Ponanni River with Coorg as its defensive hinterland. In addition, they obtained the Baramahal district as well as Dindigul.

The Fourth Anglo-Mysore War (1799)

  • Tipu Sultan wanted to avenge his humiliating defeat and the terms imposed on him in the Third Anglo Mysore war.
  • Humiliated by the Treaty of Seringapatam Tipu began to add to the fortification of his capital. He also aimed at making Mysore a strong state.
  • He took efforts to seek the help of France, Arabia, Kabul and Turkey. He corresponded with the Revolutionary French Government in July 1798. At Srirangapattinam, a Jacobian Club was started and the flag of the French Republic was hoisted. The tree of Liberty was also planted. Later, when Napoleon came to power, Tipu received a friendly letter from Napoleon (who was in Egypt at that time).
  • Realizing the hostile intentions of Tipu, Lord Wellesley, the new Governor_General of India, was determined to remove this threat once for all.
  • Lord Wellesley after making Subsidiary Alliance with the Nizam asked Tipu Sultan to accept the same but he refused.
  • Mysore was attacked from two sides. The main army under General Harris supported by Nizam's subsidiary force under Arthur Wellesley attacked Mysore from the east while another army advanced from Bombay.
  • Tipu was at first defeated by the Bombay army and was later on defeated by the General Harris at Mallavalli. Tipu died fighting bravely.

Mysore After the War

  • With the fall of Tipu Sultan, the kingdom of Mysore fell at the feet of Wellesley. He restored Hindu rule at the central part of the kingdom. A five year old boy, Krishnaraja III, a descendant of the dethroned Hindu Raja, was enthroned at Mysore, which became the capital almost after two hundred years. Purnaiya, the previous minister, became Diwan. The remaining parts of the kingdom were divided between the British and the Nizam. The whole of Kanara, Wynad, Coimbatore, Dharmapuri and Srirangapattinam were retained by the British whereas the Nizam was given the areas around Gooty and a part of Chittoor and Chitaldurg districts. A British Resident was stationed at Mysore. Tipu’s family was sent to the fort of Vellore.

First Anglo Maratha War (1775-82)

  • The First Anglo-Maratha War (1775–1782) was the first of three Anglo-Maratha wars fought between the British East India Company and Maratha Empire in India. The war began with the Treaty of Surat and ended with the Treaty of Salbai.
  • The internal problems of the Marathas and the growing ambition of the English brought the beginning of the Anglo-Maratha struggle. The primary cause of the first Maratha war was the interference of the English government at Bombay in the internal affairs of the Marathas.
  • Peshwa Madhav Rao died in 1772 and was succeeded by his younger brother Narain Rao.His uncle Raghoba wanted to become the Peshwa and got him murdered. The Maratha chiefs took up the cause of Madhav Rao Narain the son of Narain Rao.
  • Ragobha approached British for help and signed the treaty of Surat hoping to gain the coveted Gaddi with the help of English subsidiary troops. By this treaty he also promised to cede Salsette and Bassein and refrain from entering into alliance with the enemies of the company.
  • In the war that followed nobody gained any success and two parties realized the futility of the struggle by concluding the Treaty of Salbai (1782).
  • By the Treaty of Salbai, status quo was maintained which gave the British 20 years of peace with the Marathas. The treaty also enabled the British to exert pressure on Mysore with the help of the Marathas in recovering their territories from Haider Ali.

Second Anglo- Maratha War (1803-1806)

  • The second phase of the struggle between the British and the Marathas was intimately connected with the circumstances created by the growing French power for the company in India.
  • Wellesley who came to India as Governor General in 1798, believed that the only possible way to safeguard India against the French danger was to establish a strong military control on the Indian princess.
  • In this context, he pursued his aggressive policy of interference in the internal affairs of the Marathas with the desire to impose subsidiary alliance on them.
  • The main cause of the second Maratha war due to the defeat of the Peshwa Baji Rao II by the Holkars, one of the prominent Maratha clans, as a result of which he accepted British protection by signing the Treaty of Bassein in December 1802.
  • The other Maratha rulers such as the Gwalior's Scindia rulers and the Bhonsle rulers of Nagpur and Berar did not accept this and they wanted to fight against the British. As a result, the second Anglo-Maratha war broke out in Central India in 1803.
  • In the war the well prepared and organised Army of the English under Arthur Wellesley defeated the combined armies of Scindia and Bhonsle and forced them to conclude separate subsidiary treaties with the British.
  • Bhonsle signed a Treaty of Deogaon and Scindia signed Treaty of Surji-Anjangaon.
  • In AD 1804, Yashwant rao Holkar made an attempt to form a coalition of Indian rulers to fight against the British.
  • His attempt however proved to be unsuccessful and after being defeated he was forced to concluded with sir George Barlow the Treaty of Rajpurghat.
  • Thus the war finally resulted in the establishment of British influence on the Maratha empire.

Third Anglo-Maratha War (1817-1818)

  • Maratha made a desperate last attempt to regain their independence and prestige in 1817.This led in organizing a united front of the Maratha Chiefs and was taken over by the Peshwa who was uneasy under the rigid control exercised by the British Resident.
  • However once again the Marathas failed to evolve any plan of action. The Peshwa attacked the British Residency at Poona in 1817, Appa Saheb of Nagpur attacked the Residency at Nagpur and Madhav Rao Holkar made preparations for war.
  • The Maratha confederacy was altogether destroyed. So many territories were taken from its various members that they were rendered powerless to do anything against the British. Thus the work was accomplished by Lord Hastings in 1818.Now the British Government became the supreme and paramount authority in India

 Anglo-Sikh war

  • After the defeat of Bengal, Mysore and Marathas the only major Indian power that still retained its Independence was Punjab under Ranjit Singh.
  • Ranjit Singh was soon able to extend his power to the vast territories including Peshawar, Multan, Kashmir, Kangra and other Hill States.
  • He had built a strong Army and secured services of Europeans for organising and equipping it on modern lines.
  • After the death of Ranjit Singh the situation change. The death of Ranjit Singh was followed by the political instability in Punjab. The Sikh elements in the army known as Khalsa became Supreme and begin to interfere in the affairs of the state.
  • There we are group rivalries and Khalsa took the role of kingmakers. This provided to the British a chance to interfere in the affairs of Punjab and established their control over the reason spending the British Empire in India to the natural frontiers towards the Northwest
  • During the reign of Dalip Singh the English invaded Punjab(the first Anglo Sikh war 1845-46), occupied Lahore and dictated a peace Treaty known as the Treaty of Lahore on March 9, 1846, which included the following:
    1. The Sikh to renounce all their claims to the territories lying to the south of the river Satluj
    2. A war indemnity of rupees 1.5 crore was imposed on Lahore Darbar.
    3. The Sikh Army was limited to 20000 infantry and 12000 cavalries.
    4. A British resident was posted at Lahore.
    5. Since the Lahore Darbar was unable to pay the war indemnity, it agreed to transfer to the company the hill countries situated between the river Beas and Indus including the province of Kashmir.
    6. Gulab Singh who was instrumental in this negotiations was given Kashmir by the Company.

The second Anglo Sikh War(AD 1848-1849)

  • The Sikhs felt humiliated with the settlement of Punjab after the first Sikh War. The Sikhs did not like the interference of the English resident in the internal affairs of Punjab. The British on their part were anxious to occupy Punjab.
  • Dalhousie, the new Governor General, was a strong imperialist. He was simple looking for a pretext for the annexation of Punjab, which was provided by the rebellion of Mulraj, Governor of Multan, against the company.
  • The English forces attacked Punjab and in the battle that followed the Sikhs were badly defeated.
  • Punjab was annexed to the British Dominion in March AD 1849. Raja Dalip Singh the minor son of Ranjit Singh, and his mother, Rani Jindan, who acted as his Regent, were sent away to London on fixed annual pensions.

Subsidiary Alliance

  • Subsidiary Alliance system was used by Lord Wellesley who was governor general from AD 1798-1805, to build an Empire in India. under the system:
    1. The allying Indian state’s ruler was compelled to accept the permanent stationing of a British force within his territory and to pay a subsidy for its maintenance.
    2. Also, the Indian ruler had to agree to the posting of a British resident in his Court.
    3. The Indian ruler could not imply any European in his service without the prior approval of the British.
    4. Nor could he negotiate with any other Indian ruler without consulting the Governor-General.
  • In return for all this, the British agreed to defend the ruler from his enemies and adopt a policy of non interference in the internal matters of the allied.
  • Subsidiary alliances brought immense gains for the East India Company by extending the areas under British control and bringing relative peace in subsidies and territory. During the seven-year rule of Welleseley alone over hundred small and big states of India signed the Subsidiary Treaty.
  • The first two come under this system was the Nizam of Hyderabad (AD1798).
  • Next to follow was Mysore(AD 1799). Wellesley compelled the Nawab of Awadh to accept it (AD 1801). He was required to keep a large British force and the Company got Gorakhpur, Rohilkhand and the southern part of Doab.
  • Peshwa Bajirao II also accepted it (AD1802). Many of the Other Maratha states such as the Bhonsle and the Scindia (both in AD 1803), accepted the alliance.
  • The Holkars were the last Maratha confederation to accept the Subsidiary Alliance in AD 1818.

Doctrine of Lapse

  • The “Doctrine of Lapse” was Dalhousie’s scheme under which if the ruler of a state protected by the British government in India should die without a male issue, his adopted son would not succeed him; the state would pass all lapse to the British power and the adopted son would inherit only the personal property of the ruler.
  • As chance would have it, during Lord Dalhousie's term many rulers of states died without a male issue and 7 states were annexed.
  • The most important of this were Satara (AD 1848), Jhansi and Nagpur (AD 1854). The Other small states included Jaitpur(Bundelkhand), Sambhalpur(Orrisa), and Bhagat (M.P).
  • Lord Dalhousie annexed Avadh in AD 1856, after deposing Nawab Wajid Ali Shah on the ground of misgovernance.
  • Dalhousie also ended the titles of the Nawab of Carnatic and the Raja of Travancore.

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