BRITISH INDIA IN THE LATER MEDIEVAL AGE (Modern India,Prelims 2016 ,Mains,State PSCs,SSC )


v English East India Company
v Battle of Plassey (1757)
v Treaty of Allahabad
v Carnatic Wars/Anglo French Rivalry
v First Carnatic war (1740-46)
v Second Carnatic War (1754-1756)
v Third Carnatic war (1756-1763)
v Factors responsible for the French Defeat      
v Company`s Policy in the Second half of the 18th Century
v Anglo- Mysore Wars
v Anglo-Maratha Wars
v Third Anglo-Maratha War and the End of Peshwaship

English East India Company

The English East India Company was   founded as a joint stock company of the London merchants through a loyal charter in 1600. The company was given the monopoly of all trade from England to East and was also permitted to carry bullion out of England to finance its trade.

Ø However the company did not have the mandate to carry on with conquests and colonization.
Ø The company started its formal trade after setting its competition with the Portuguese in 1613.
Ø The Mughal emperor Jahangir through a Farman gave the company the permission to establish their factories or warehouses and the first factory was set up in Surat in the same year.

In 1617 Jahangir received Sir Thomas Roe as a resident English envoy in his court. From here the company gradually extended its trading activities and by the end of the 17th century, Bombay, Calcutta and Madras emerged as major trading Centers.

Ø Political expansion started from the middle of the 18th century and within a hundred years almost all of India was under its control.
Expansion in the mid-18th century
Ø By the beginning of the 18th century, Bengal emerged as a major trading center and nearly 60% of the English imports from Asia came from Bengal.

The company had started its journey towards establishing itself as a preeminent power in India

Ø In 1690 Aurangzeb’s Farman had granted them right to duty free trade in Bengal in return for an annual payment of Rs 3000.
Ø The foundation of Calcutta, wad laid in 1690 and it was followed by the town’s fortifications in 1696.
Ø In 1698 the company got the Zamindars rights of three villages of Kolikata ,Sutanati and Gobindhpur.
Ø After the death of Aurangzeb, in 1717 emperor Farukhsiyar granted the company the rights to carry on with the dutyfree trade to rent thirty eight villages around Calcutta and to use the royal mint.

But Farruksiyar’s Farman became a source of conflict between the company and the autonomous ruler of Bengal, MurshidQuli Khan (former governor of Bengal under the mughal emperor).
Ø Qulikhan contested that the duty freeprovisions did not cover the ‘Private’ trade by the company official.
Ø The company officials misused the ‘dastaks’  (a permit exempting European traders mostly of the British east India company from paying customs or transit duties on Private trade) and the Nawab denied permission to the company to buy the thirty- eight villages and refused to offer the minting privileges.
In 1739, Alivardi Khan (1739-56) replaced Murshid Quli as the Nawab. In1740, the Austrian war of Succession broke out in Europe and the natural culmination was an open confrontation between two rival powers (the English and the French) in Bengal.But the new Nawab kept the both parties under control.
Ø But the French victory in South India under the French Governor Dupleix made British nervous and they began renovating the fortifications in Calcutta without the Nawab’s permission and defied the Nawab openly by offering protection to fugitives from his court.
Ø The situation worsened when Alivardi Khan was replaced by Siraj-ud-Daula as the Nawab of Bengal in 1756.
Ø Siraj threatened the lucrative English private trade by stopping all misuse of Dastaks.

The English further enraged the Nawab by giving asylum Krishna Vallabh who is charged with fraud by the young Nawab. Fortification of Calcutta by the English made the matters worse.

Ø These moves by the English directly challenged the authority of the Nawab and were critical to the issue of his sovereignty.
Ø The Company failed to listen to the warnings and Siraj took over the British factory at Kasimbazar.
Ø Governor Drake did not go in for reconciliation with Siraj as he was confident of beating the young Nawab.
Ø This was followed by Siraj’s attack on Calcutta and its capture.

Battle of Plassey (1757)

 Robert Clive arrived with a strong force from Madras. Apprehensive of an Afghan attack under Ahmed Shah Abdali, Siraj preferred a negotiated settlement with the English.But Clive was not in for it and decided to take on the young Nawab.

Ø Moreover certain disgruntled elements in the young Nawab’s court like the merchants, bankers, financiers and powerful Zamindars like the Jagath Seth brothers felt threatened by the Nawab’s assertion of independence and were eager to see the back of him.
Ø These was also a natural convergence of interests between the Indian mercantile community and the European leaders as many of the Indian merchants were operating in collaboration with the English Company and private leaders acting as a conduit for supplying them with textiles from interiors in exchange for advance or Dadan(Dadani system)
Any attempts towards coup were not possible without the support of Siraj’s commander in chief Mir Jafar.

Ø The proposition of becoming the Nawab was too lucrative for Mir Jafar and he decided to support Clive.
Ø The battle of Plassey was fought in June 1757 in which Siraj was defeated by Clive.
Ø This was possible only because the major contigent of the Nawabs army under Jafar”s command remained inactive.
Ø The Battle of Plassey marked the beginning of political supremacy of the East India Company in India.
Ø MirJafar succeeded Siraj and his reign marked the rampant abuse of dastaks for the English agent’s private trade moreover the company received huge amounts as contribution from the Nawab.
Ø After some time Mir Jafar found it difficult to meet the financial demands of the company and was replaced by his son in law Mir Kasim.
Ø But the conflict arouse again on the question of misuse of dastaks and the new Nawab abolished internal duties all together so that the Indian merchants could also enjoy the same privileges.
Ø The English reacted by replacing the Nawab with Mir Jafar again.
Mir Kasim fled from Bengal and formed a grand alliance with the Mughal emperor Shah Alam II and the Nawab of Awadh, Shuja-ud-daula.
The Battle of Buxar was fought in 1764 and the Indian Army was routed. The Treaty of Allahabad was signed in 1765.

Treaty of Allahabad

a)   Shah Alam, the Mughal emperor granted the “Diwani”(rights to collect revenue) of Bengal ,Bihar and Orissa i.e. absolute control over the resources of the Bengal Sabah.
b)   The British Resident was posted at the Murshidhabad court who gradually became the real administrator of Bengal .With this started the system of indirect rule as a policy of the company’s imperial governance.
c)    Shuja-ud-Daulah had to pay Rs 5million and nawab and the company would defend each other’s territory.
d)   A British Resident was to be posted in the Awadh court.
With Eastern India fairly secure under the company, the stage was now set for the British expansion in the South and the opportunity was provided by the Anglo-French rivalry.
    Carnatic Wars/Anglo French Rivalry

The French were the last European country to arrive in India, but they were the first to embark on an empire building process. Their main centre was Pondicherry which was founded in 1674.
Ø The second import centre was Chandranagore in Bengal.
Ø The French power was raised to prominence under the governorship of Dupleix.
Ø Dupliex became the governor of Chandranagore in 1731 and got the charge of Pondicherry in 1742.
Ø He after accumulating a good fortune for himself through private trade, he embarked on a journey of political expansion.
Ø Dupliex also started the policy of intervening in the disputes of the Indian rulers and thereby acquiring political control over their territories.
Ø This was a technique which was later mastered by the British.

The outbreak of the Austrian war of succession provided the immediate context for the political conflict between the two powers.
First Carnatic war (1740-46)

The French position was strengthened by the arrival of a fleet from Mauritius under the command of Admiral La Bourdaunairs.
The French under Bourdaunairs attacked the English at Madras and captured it. The surrender of Madras led to the first Carnatic War.
Ø The English asked for help from Nawab of Carnatic Anwaruddin who sent an army against the French only to be defeated in the battle of St.Thome or Adayar.
Ø Although victorious, the French were weakened by the differences between Dupliex and La Bourdaunairs who surrendered Madras to the English.
Ø Dupleix led a second attack on madras but was unsuccessful .But before this could drag on any further, the hostilities in Europe came to an end by the Treaty of Aix-La-Chappelle and this brought an end to the Anglo-French Rivalry in India as well.
Ø As per the treaty the British possession were returned to them.

Second Carnatic War (1754-1756)

The succession wars in Carnatic and Hyderabad provided Dupleix an opportunity to intervene and secure important territorial gains.
The French supported Chanda Sahib against the claims of Mohammed Ali the son of Nawab Anwaruddhin on Carnatic.
Ø In Hyderabad, the French supported the claim of Muzaffar Jung against the claims of Nazir Jung who was supported by the British.
Ø Both the French candidates emerged victorious and MuzzaffarJung,the new Nizam of Hyderabad granted substantial territorial concessions to the French in the form of Jagirs in Northern Sarkars ,Masulipattanam and some villages around Pondicherry.
Ø He also appointed a French resident in his court.
Ø Alarmed, the British sent a strong force under Robert Clive and the second Carnatic war began in 1752.
Ø The English under Clive emerged victories and he placed Mohammedali on the Carnatic throne replacing Chanda Sahib who was later on killed.
Ø Dupleix was recalled in 1754 and was replaced by Godeheu who signed a treaty left almost all the French possessions in fact and the French power was far from over.
Third Carnatic war (1756-1763)

The outbreak of the seven years war in Europe between the English and French provided the context for the third and decisive round of Anglo French conflict in South India.

Ø In the conflict that ensued in spite of having a strong French force under Comte de Lally, the French lost their position one by one.
Ø Although the French lost their position one by one.
Ø Although the French forces were reinforced by a contingent under Bussy and all the important areas including Chandranagrore, Northern  Sarkars, Masulipatnam and Yanam fell to the English.
Ø Thus ended the French influence in Deccan.
Ø The most decisive battle of the Third Carnatic War was the battle of Wandiwash in 1760 in which the French lost to the English contigent commanded by Eyre Coote.
Ø This was followed by the fall of Pondicherry in 1761.
Factors responsible for the French Defeat   
a)Rashness and arrogance of Lally who alienated nearly all the other French officers at Pondicherry.
b) Acute shortage of money which hindered military operations.
c) Recall of Bussy from Carnatic
d)Superiority of the English navy, ready supply of money and their self confidence.
Ø By the Peace Treaty of Paris is 1763 France got back all the factories and settlements that it possessed in India prior to 1749, with the provisos that it could not fortify Chandranagore anymore.
Ø But the balance of power in the Deccan and in India as a whole had shifted in favour of the British once and for all. Both the Deccan states of Carnatic and Hyderabad were now dependent on the British.
Ø Later Carnatic was absorbed into the British empire and the ruler was pensioned off.
Company`s Policy in the Second half of the 18th Century

It was in the second half of the 18th century (mainly towards the later the later part) that the English started slowly but steadily expanding its empire. This was because they were looking out for new recourse rich areas for interaction of fresh revenues.

Ø The English got an easy opportunity as each Indian state near trying to establish supremacy over others and they often entered into diplomat with the company to turn the balance of power is their favor.
Ø However the company was not just responding to opportunities but was also showing great deal of initiative in creating those opportunities to intervene and conquer as insecure frontiers and unstable states were often construed as threats to free flow of trade.
Ø A for a short period after the Pitts India Act of 1784, the Company embarked upon a policy of consolidation and there was a parliamentary prohibition on imperial expansion.
Ø But the caution approach was discarded with the arrival of Lord Wellesley as the governor general in 1798.
Ø He used the Napoleonic invasion of Egypt as a reason to soften Londan`s resistance to expansion although Napoleon was not a clear and present danger for India at that time.
Ø Wellesley through his policy of “subsidiary Alliance” assuaged London`s concerns as he advocated that the new policy would only establish control over the internal affairs of an Indian State without incurring any direct imperial liability.
Ø Wellesley was recalled in 1805 when his wars of conquest landed the company in a serious financial crisis.   
Anglo- Mysore Wars

The State of Mysore had stretched from Krishna in the north to Malabar Coast in the west. It inevitably brought it into conflict and the Marathas.
Ø The two powers were often in collusion with the English, who suspected Mysore`s friendship with the French Mysore’s control over the rich trade of the Malabar Coast was seen as a threat to English trade in pepper and cardamom.
Ø In 1785 Tipu declared an embargo on exports. Sandalwood and Cardamoms through the ports within his kingdom.
Ø Thus the Company merchants advocated a policy of direct political intervention to project their commercial interests moreover Tipu sultan was trying to build in Mysore a strong centralized design and a politics. Thus the mercantilist state of Mysore represented the same kind of hegemonic ambition as those of the company, which brought it is direct conflict with the state of Mysore.

In the first Anglo- Mysore was the Nizam and the Marathas sided with the English against Mysore. But Haidar Ali managed to defy defeat.

Ø In the second Anglo Mysore war the Nizam and the Marathas sided with Haider Ali.
Ø But in the battle of “Proto Novo” Haider Ali was defeated and the war ended with the Treaty of Mangalore between the English and Tipu sultan who has succeeded Haider Ali.

The Third Anglo- Maratha war started when Tipu attacked the Raja of Travancore, an ally of the British.
Ø Lord Cornwallis declared war on Tipu and war started in 1790 and came to an end with a defeat for Mysore and a humiliating treaty imposed on Tipu is the “Treaty of Sreerangapatanam.
Ø As per the treaty company annexed Dindigul, Baramahal and Malabar from Tipu.
Ø He was also asked to pay a near indemnity of Rs.3.5 crores.
Lord Wellesley declared war on the pretext that Tipu had secret negotiation with the French. This was the beginning of the Fourth and final Anglo-Mysore War.
The war ended with Srirangapatanam falling in 1799 to the company and Tipu died defending it.
Ø Mysore war once again placed under the Wodeyar`s and war brought under the Subsidiary Alliance System of lord Wellesley.
Ø Under this system the effective independence of the kingdom came to an end.
Ø Under the system Mysore was not to enter into any relationship with other European powers, a contingent of company’s army would be stationed in Mysore and the provisions for its maintenance would come from his treasury and parts of Mysore were given to Nizam who had already accepted the Subsidiary Alliance.
Anglo-Maratha Wars

The company’s cotton trade with China through Premier Western ports of Gujarat and Bombay and their control by the Maratha Confederacy (ports control) was the starting point.
Ø A succession dispute wherein, Raghunath Rao had his nephew the ‘Peshwa’ Narayan Rao killed gave the British the pretext to intervene
Ø Raghunath Rao now had to face the joint might of the Maratha confederacy i.e. the Sindhyas, The Holkars and Gaikwars.
Ø Raghunath Rao looked towards the British at Bombay for help.
Ø In 1175 Raghunath Rao’s forces were defeated and the combined British army of Madras and Bombay arrived to his rescue.

An in conclusive treaty of Purandas was signed in 1776 by which the British were offered a number of concessions to withdraw support for Raghunathan Rao.

Ø But the treaty was not ratified by the Bengal authorities and the war resumed.
Ø But the Maratha forces had regrouped under Nana Fadnavis and inflicted a crushing defeat on the British at “Wadgaon.
Ø But the British maintained Gujarat.
This was followed by Nana Fadnavis forming a grand alliance with the Nizam and Hyder Ali against the British in 1781.This kick started the first Anglo –Maratha War which ended with the inconclusive “Treaty of Salbai” in 1782.
Ø The following years saw the rise of Nana Fadvanis as the real power behind the Peshwa who was a mere puppet.
Ø Frustrated with the powerlessness the Peshwa committed suicide. The new Peshwa Baji Rao II wanted to get rid of Fadnavis and this happened with the latter’s death in 1800.
Ø As the Holkars started plundering the Peshwas territories the Peshwa looked at the English for help
Ø These events coincided with the dominance of Lord Wellesley who had already forced the Subsidiary alliance on Nizam and Mysore.
Ø After the Holkars army defeated the Peshwa and plundered Poona in 1802, the Peshwas fled to the British in Bassein for help and was obliged to sign the Subsidiary Alliance and hand over Surat to the Company.
Ø In return the English placed the Peshwa back on the throne and offered him protection.
Ø These events kick started the Second Anglo- Maratha War.
Ø The Maratha Sardars declared war on the English and challenged Baji Rao’s claim to Peshwaship.
Ø The war ended in an inconclusive manner although the English gained a lot including the control of Orissa.
Ø Moreover the Maratha under the Peshwa were not to enter into any kind of an alliance with any other European powers and the British’s were to be the arbiters in any dispute between the Maratha houses.

 But these wars meant a huge burden on the Company’s expenses and the Court of Directors dissatisfied with Wellesley’s forward policy replaced him with Lord Cornwallis again in 1805.
Third Anglo-Maratha War and the End of Peshwaship

All the Viceroys after Lord Wellesley followed a policy of non intervention and this allowed the Maratha Sardars like the Holkars and Sindhyas to regroup and regain their lost power.
Ø They were assisted in this task by the Pindaris(irregular soldiers).But with the arrival of Lord Hastings as Governor General in 1813, a new policy of “paramountcy ‘was initiated
Ø This policy declared the British to be the paramount power in India and any power that threatened the English interests were to be annexed or threatened to be annexed.

The Peshwa Baji Rao II around this time made a desperate last attempt to regain his independence from the English by rallying the Maratha Chiefs .

Ø This led to the third Anglo Maratha Wars in which all the Maratha Sardars were thoroughly crushed and the British took complete control of the Peshwa’s domains and the Peshwaship itself was abolished with Nanasaheb, the adopted son of Peshwa fleeing the scene.
Ø Thus the English East India Company had now completely mastered all the territories south of Vindhyas. 

Source: xaam

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