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IAS Prelims : GS Modern History : British Expansion in India

This article will help candidates understand the expansion and consolidation of British rule in India. It is useful for IAS Prelims as well as State PCS Exams.

Feb 28, 2015 12:30 IST
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The British who came to India for trade eventually became the political master of India. From Battle of Plassey to annexation of Punjab in 1849, the entire Indian sub-continent had been brought under British control. Apart from outright wars they employed methods like Subsidiary Alliance and Doctrine of Lapse to expand and consolidate their empire in India

 Conquest of Bengal

  • The prosperity of Bengal province attracted many European Companies including English East India Company.
  • In 1717, English East India Company obtained Farman from the Mughal Emperor Farrukh Siyar. This Farman granted English East India Company freedom to export and import their goods in Bengal without paying taxes.
  • This Farman was a source of conflict between the Company and the Nawab of Bengal because it meant less revenue for the Bengal government.
  • This Farman along with other factors like levying heavy duty on Indian goods entering Calcutta and building fortifications by Britishers led to a bitter rivalry between the British and the Nawab of Bengal.
  • The English in order to overthrow the Nawab of Bengal (Siraj-ud-daula) join hands with several men of the Nawab’s court. Prominent among these were Mir Jafar (Mir Bakshi), Manik Chand (Officer-in –charge of Calcutta), Amirchand (a rich banker of Bengal) and Khadim Khan (one of the Commanders of the Nawab).

 Battle of Plassey(1757)

  • Finally the two sides fought in the battle field of Plassey on 1757. The major part of the army led by Mir Jafar and Rai Durlabh took no part in the fighting.
  • In this battle Siraj was captured and killed.Mir Jafar was awarded by for his support to the English and was made the Nawab of Bengal.
  • Mir Jafar was deposed in 1760 as he was not being able to fulfill the ever increasing demands of the English. In his place Mir Qasim, son-in-law of Mir Jafar, was made the Nawab of Bengal.

 Battle of Buxar(1764)

  • But even Mir Qasim did not prove to be a loyal subordinate of the English. A war broke out between the English and Mir Qasim. Eventually he fled to Awadh, and formed an alliance with Shuja-ud-daula, the Nawab of Awadh and Shah Alam, the Mughal emperor. They together fought with the English in 1764 at Buxar but were defeated.
  • The Treaty of Allahabad was signed on 16 August 1765, between the Mughal Emperor Shah Alam II and Robert, Lord Clive, of the East India Company, as a result of the Battle of Buxar of 22 October 1764. Based on this treaty the Company was granted the diwani, or the right to collect revenue, in Bengal and Bihar and Orissa.
  • With this victory the English East India Company became the political master of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa.

 Conquest of Mysore (Anglo–Mysore Wars)

  • After annexation of Bengal, the English never looked back. Now, they turned their eye on Mysore.
  • Mutual conflict between the regional powers of Mysore, Nizam and Marathas gave the English an opportunity to interfere and extend their political dominance. This motive of the English resulted into four wars between the English and the Mysore Kingdom known as Anglo-Mysore Wars.
  • In the First Anglo-Mysore war (1767-69), Mysore under Haider Ali gained some success against the Britishers.
  • The Second Anglo-Mysore war (1780-1784) proved indecisive and ended with the Treaty of Mangalore.
  • In the Third Anglo–Mysore War (1789–1792), Tipu Sultan, invaded the nearby state of Travancore, which was a British ally. The war ended with the defeat of Tipu Sultan and the signing of the Treaty of Seringapatam. According to the treaty, Tipu had to surrender half of his kingdom to the British East India Company and its allies.
  • In Fourth Anglo–Mysore War (1799), the British defeated Tipu Sultan. Tipu died while defending his capital. Nearly half of Mysore territory was divided between the British and the Nizam.

 Conquest of Maharashtra (Anglo-Maratha Wars)

  • Conquest of Maratha Empire was done through a series of wars between the English and the Maratha Empire.
  • In First Anglo Maratha War (1775–1782),   the British were defeated and the Treaty of Salbai was signed.
  • In the Second Anglo-Maratha War (1803-1806) and the Third Anglo-Maratha War (1817-1818), the British stood victorious.
  • The main reason behind the defeat of Maratha Chiefs was their mutual conflict. The British took advantage of this disunity and extended their dominance in western part of India.   

 Annexation of Awadh(1856)

  • The kingdom of Awadh was annexed by the British on account of ‘misgovernance’.
  • Nawab Wajid Ali Shah, the Nawab of Awadh was accused by the British of having misgoverned his state. His state was therefore annexed in 1856 by Lord Dalhousie.
  • Awadh was the only Indian state whose ruler Nawab Wajid Ali Shah was dispossessed on the ground of “misgovernnance”.

 Conquest of Sind (1843)

  • Since 18th century, Sind was being ruled by some Baluchi chiefs collectively known as “Amirs of Sind“.
  • General Charles Napier captured the Sind province in 1843 through the Battle of Miani.

 Conquest of Punjab

  • After the death of Ranjit Singh in 1839, there was a state of anarchy in Punjab.
  • Conquest of Punjab was completed in 1849.
  • British efforts to control Punjab resulted into two wars.
  • In the First Anglo-Sikh War (1845–1846), the British defeated Sikh troops and the Treaty of Lahore was signed.
  • To avenge the defeat in the First Anglo-Sikh war, Sikh troops started a number of revolts leading to the Second Anglo-Sikh War (1848-1849). The war ended with whole up Punjab under British control.

Imprtant Events during British Expansion in India.

Events

Year

Battle of Plassey

1757

Battle of Buxar

1764

The Treaty of Allahabad

1765

First Anglo-Mysore war

1767-69

Second Anglo-Mysore war

1780-1784

Third Anglo–Mysore War

1789–1792

Treaty of Seringapatam.

1792

Fourth Anglo–Mysore War

1799

First Anglo Maratha War

1775–1782

Treaty of Salbai

1782

Second Anglo-Maratha War

1803-1806

Third Anglo-Maratha War

1817-1818

Annexation of Awadh

1856

Conquest of Sind

1843

First Anglo-Sikh War

1845–1846

Second Anglo-Sikh War

1848-1849

 

 

Click here for IAS Prelims History Study Material

The British who came to India for trade eventually became the political master of India. From Battle of Plassey to annexation of Punjab in 1849, the entire Indian sub-continent had been brought under British control. Apart from outright wars they employed methods like Subsidiary Alliance and Doctrine of Lapse to expand and consolidate their empire in India

 

Conquest of Bengal

·         The prosperity of Bengal province attracted many European Companies including English East India Company.

·         In 1717, English East India Company obtained Farman from the Mughal Emperor Farrukh Siyar. This Farman granted English East India Company freedom to export and import their goods in Bengal without paying taxes.

·         This Farman was a source of conflict between the Company and the Nawab of Bengal because it meant less revenue for the Bengal government.

·         This Farman along with other factors like levying heavy duty on Indian goods entering Calcutta and building fortifications by Britishers led to a bitter rivalry between the British and the Nawab of Bengal.

·         The English in order to overthrow the Nawab of Bengal (Siraj-ud-daula) join hands with several men of the Nawab’s court. Prominent among these were Mir Jafar (Mir Bakshi), Manik Chand (Officer-in –charge of Calcutta), Amirchand (a rich banker of Bengal) and Khadim Khan (one of the Commanders of the Nawab).

 

Battle of Plassey(1757)

·         Finally the two sides fought in the battle field of Plassey on 1757. The major part of the army led by Mir Jafar and Rai Durlabh took no part in the fighting.

·         In this battle Siraj was captured and killed.Mir Jafar was awarded by for his support to the English and was made the Nawab of Bengal.

·         Mir Jafar was deposed in 1760 as he was not being able to fulfill the ever increasing demands of the English. In his place Mir Qasim, son-in-law of Mir Jafar, was made the Nawab of Bengal.

 

Battle of Buxar(1764)

·         But even Mir Qasim did not prove to be a loyal subordinate of the English. A war broke out between the English and Mir Qasim. Eventually he fled to Awadh, and formed an alliance with Shuja-ud-daula, the Nawab of Awadh and Shah Alam, the Mughal emperor. They together fought with the English in 1764 at Buxar but were defeated.

·         The Treaty of Allahabad was signed on 16 August 1765, between the Mughal Emperor Shah Alam II and Robert, Lord Clive, of the East India Company, as a result of the Battle of Buxar of 22 October 1764. Based on this treaty the Company was granted the diwani, or the right to collect revenue, in Bengal and Bihar and Orissa.

·         With this victory the English East India Company became the political master of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa.

 

Conquest of Mysore (Anglo–Mysore Wars)

·         After annexation of Bengal, the English never looked back. Now, they turned their eye on Mysore.

·         Mutual conflict between the regional powers of Mysore, Nizam and Marathas gave the English an opportunity to interfere and extend their political dominance. This motive of the English resulted into four wars between the English and the Mysore Kingdom known as Anglo-Mysore Wars.

·         In the First Anglo-Mysore war (1767-69), Mysore under Haider Ali gained some success against the Britishers.

·         The Second Anglo-Mysore war (1780-1784) proved indecisive and ended with the Treaty of Mangalore.

·         In the Third Anglo–Mysore War (1789–1792), Tipu Sultan, invaded the nearby state of Travancore, which was a British ally. The war ended with the defeat of Tipu Sultan and the signing of the Treaty of Seringapatam. According to the treaty, Tipu had to surrender half of his kingdom to the British East India Company and its allies.

·         In Fourth Anglo–Mysore War (1799), the British defeated Tipu Sultan. Tipu died while defending his capital. Nearly half of Mysore territory was divided between the British and the Nizam.

 

Conquest of Maharashtra (Anglo-Maratha Wars)

·         Conquest of Maratha Empire was done through a series of wars between the English and the Maratha Empire.

·         In First Anglo Maratha War (1775–1782),   the British were defeated and the Treaty of Salbai was signed.

·         In the Second Anglo-Maratha War (1803-1806) and the Third Anglo-Maratha War (1817-1818), the British stood victorious.

·         The main reason behind the defeat of Maratha Chiefs was their mutual conflict. The British took advantage of this disunity and extended their dominance in western part of India.   

 

Annexation of Awadh(1856)

·         The kingdom of Awadh was annexed by the British on account of ‘misgovernance’.

·         Nawab Wajid Ali Shah, the Nawab of Awadh was accused by the British of having misgoverned his state. His state was therefore annexed in 1856 by Lord Dalhousie.

·         Awadh was the only Indian state whose ruler Nawab Wajid Ali Shah was dispossessed on the ground of “misgovernnance”.

 

Conquest of Sind (1843)

·         Since 18th century, Sind was being ruled by some Baluchi chiefs collectively known as “Amirs of Sind“.

·         General Charles Napier captured the Sind province in 1843 through the Battle of Miani.

 

Conquest of Punjab

·         After the death of Ranjit Singh in 1839, there was a state of anarchy in Punjab.

·         Conquest of Punjab was completed in 1849.

·         British efforts to control Punjab resulted into two wars.

·         In the First Anglo-Sikh War (1845–1846), the British defeated Sikh troops and the Treaty of Lahore was signed.

·         To avenge the defeat in the First Anglo-Sikh war, Sikh troops started a number of revolts leading to the Second Anglo-Sikh War (1848-1849). The war ended with whole up Punjab under British control.

 

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