Useful notes on 5 wars than helped the British to conquer India


Complete information on the Rise of British Power in India.

First Carnatic War (AD 1744-1748)

In AD 1740, the American War of Succession between Austria and Prussia broke out in Europe. In this conflict, England and France were supporting opposite sides. This war had its effect in India too and led to the first open conflict between the two powers. The English threatened the French headquarters at Pondicherry. The French, led by Dupleix, retaliated by occupying Madras in AD 1746. The British appealed to Anwar-ud-Din, the Nawaab of Carnatic, under whose territory Madras was situated, for help. The Nawab agreed to intervene and sent an army against the French. The large Indian army was defeated by a much smaller but better trained and equipped French army. Finally, in AD 1748, the war in Europe ended and as part of the peace settlement, Madras was restored to the British.

Second Carnatic War (AD 1748-1754)

The second war between the two rivals was fought over the issue of succession to the thrones of Hyderabad and Carnatic. The two powers were supporting rival candidates, in Hyderabad, the French were supporting Muzaffar Jung while the British supported Nasir Jung. Similarly, in Carnatic, the French supported Chanda Sahib while the British forwarded the claims of Muhammad Ali. In the war that followed, the French forces were defeated by the British armies. A peace treaty was signed and Dupleix was recalled to France.

Third Carnatic War (AD 1756-1763)

Peace between the British and the French was however, temporary. Another was broke out in AD 1756. In this war, the French forces led by Count de Lally were decisively defeated. A peace treaty was signed in AD 1763. The French factories in India were restored to them but they could no longer be fortified. They could serve only as centers of trade. The French ceased to be a strong political force in India and the road was open for the British to become masters of India.

Battle of Plassey (AD 1757)

The armies of Siraj-ud-Daulah and the British met at Plassey (Palasi) on 23 June 1757. The British forces were led by Robert Clive. Mir Jafar, the Commander-in-Chief of the Nawab and a large section of the Nawab’s army took no part in the battle. Jagat Seth, the richest banker of Bengal, also refused to help the Nawab. Siraj-ud-Daulah was defeated, captured and killed. Mir Jafar was made the Nawab of Bengal.

The Battle of Plassey is an important landmark in the history of India. It marked the beginning of the establishment of British rule in India. The British got a foothold from where they were to eventually conquer the whole of India.

Mir Jafar became the new Nawab of Bengal. But, he was a puppet in the hands of British. They made more and more demands from the new Nawab. When he could pay no more, he was replaced by Mir Qasim. For making him the Nawab, Mir Qasim rerewarded the British by granting them the zamindari of the districts of Burdwan, MIdnapore and Chitagong.

Mir Qasim tried to free himself from British control. He dismissed the officials of his court who favored the British. He began to strengthen his army. He hired European mercenaries to train his army in new warfare techniques. He also took the drastic step of abolishing all duties on internal trade so that both Indian and British merchants could trade on equal terms.

Battle of Buxar (AD 1764)

Angered by these events, the British went on the offensive. Mir Qasim was defeated in a series of battles. He fled to Awadh and formed an alliance with Shuja-ud-Daulah, the Nawab of Awadh and Shah Alam II, of Mughal emperor. The armies of these three rulers met the British forces at Buxar on 22 October 1764. The Indian army was defeated. A treaty was signed at Allahbad by which the British were given the ‘Diwani’ (the right to collect revenue) of Bengal, Bihar and Odisha. Shuja-ud-Daulah was forced to hand over the districts of Allahbad and Kora to the British. In addition, he had to pay a war compensation of fifty lakh rupees.


The Battle of Buxar was a decisive battle in Indian history. The weaknesses of the Indian army were exposed. The Nawab of Awadh and the Mughal emperor became dependent on the English East India Company. Effective financial control over the rich eastern provinces gave the British enormous resources for their next round of expansion.

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