I am starting to make notes for Modern History of India, this classification begins with the fall of Mughal Empire, that is after 1707, death of Aurangzeb. However, I’d like to begin with Expansion of British rule as first post.
A friend and a reader of my blog asked me how remembered the precise dates of all the wars easily. I could do so by forming a basic structure. I tried to make a pattern of how British conquered India and then adding the dates into the structure became easy. I thought sharing it on blog could help everyone here.
What is the difficulty? There are so many wars, Anglo Carnatic Wars, Anglo Mysore wars, Anglo Maratha Wars, Anglo this, Anglo that, and all of them haphazardly organized.
So how do we organize them in a pattern?
Here’s the simple thumb rule.
- Eliminate external threats/ enemies.
- Choose a place for yourself.
- Eliminate Enemies’ friends.
- Start moving in one direction and eliminate other threats
- Close all those loopholes where you’re vulnerable.
Step 1: External threats for British were French, Portuguese could never go long, Dutch were more interested in Java and Sumatra. Hence, French should be the first to go. There by Carnatic Wars start first.
Carnatic War I (1746-1748): Heroics and strategies of Dupleix, war remained inconclusive
Carnatic War II (1749-1756): Enter Robert Clive, again war remained inconclusive, but it was almost sure that English would dominate the scene.
Carnatic War III ( 1758-1763) French Lost: Treaty of Paris, all French territories given to British.
Step 3: Eliminate Enemies’ Friends:
Mysore state rulers Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan were friends with French, so they had to eliminated before anyone else.
Anglo Mysore War I (1767-1769): British Lost: Treaty of Madras
Anglo Mysore War II (1780-1784): Inconclusive war: Treaty of Mangalore. Hyder died in between, Tipu continued war
Anglo Mysore War III (1790-1792): Tipu defeated: Half of the territory gone. Treaty of Srirangapatnam
Anglo Mysore War IV ( 1799): Tipu died, Subsidiary Alliance imposed. Puppet installed.
Step 4: Other threats in a direction.
The immediate territory above the Mysore was Marathas. They had to be annexed.
- First Anglo-Maratha War (1775–1782) :
- Second Anglo-Maratha War (1803–1805)
- Third Anglo-Maratha War, also known as the Pindari War (1817–1818)
Hyderbad and Travancore came free with Anglo Mysore wars. So there was no need for another major war.
Step 5: Close Loopholes
All the major kingdoms were under British, but there were loopholes. British had problems with Russia in Europe and Russians were expanding quickly in Central Asia, they feared they could enter India and the only way was through North West.
To be safe from Russians, British had to secure the areas in North west, but Punjab had a king called Maharaja Ranjit Singh, he had the best army, English feared they if they could conquer him. So wanted to secure places further ahead of Punjab. They reached Afghanistan.
First Anglo-Afghan War (1838-1842) Company couldn’t secure it
But Sindh was annexed easily in 1843. Company were entangled
Meanwhile in Punjab, Maharaja Ranjit Singh died in 1839 and that gave impetus for British to attack Punjab, they waited till there was disorder in state of Punjab. When they got the chance British annexed Punjab.
There were two Anglo–Sikh wars:
The Sikh Empire dissolved after defeat in 1849.
Now that all the big kingdoms were under British directly or indirectly, they didn’t need a full-fledged war to acquire the small and insignificant ones. Doctrine of Lapse, introduced by Lord Dalhousie was applied and the smaller ones were taken into British rule between 1848-1856.
Hope this helps. Do share your comments.