EUROPEAN PENETRATION IN INDIA PART-1

THE PORTUGUESE IN INDIA

Factors behind Advent of Portuguese:

  • In 1453, Constantinople fell to the Ottoman Turks. Merchandise from India went to the European markets through Arab Muslim intermediaries. The Red Sea trade route was a state monopoly from which Islamic rulers earned tremendous revenues. The land routes to India were also controlled by the Arabs.
    • In the circumstances, the Europeans were keen to find a direct sea route to India.
  • Fifteenth-century Europe was gripped by the spirit of the Renaissance with its call for exploration.
  • At the same time, Europe made great advances in the art of ship-building and navigation. Hence, there was an eagerness all over Europe for adventurous sea voyages to reach the unknown corners of the East.
  • The economic development of many regions of Europe was also progressing rapidly with expansion of land under cultivation, the introduction of an improved plough, scientific crop management such as crop rotation, and increased supply of meat (which called for spices for cooking as well as preservation).
    • Prosperity also grew and with it the demand for oriental luxury goods also increased.
  • Venice and Genoa which had earlier prospered through trade in oriental goods were too small to take on the mighty Ottoman Turks or to take up major exploration on their own. The north Europeans were ready to aid Portugal and Spain with money and men, even as the Genoese were ready to provide ships and technical knowledge.
  • It is also to be noted that Portugal had assumed the leadership in Christendom’s resistance to Islam even as it had taken on itself the spirit of exploration.
  • Also the idea of finding an ocean route to India had become an obsession for Prince Henry of Portugal, who was nicknamed the ‘Navigator’; also, he was keen to find a way to circumvent the Muslim domination of the eastern Mediterranean and all the routes that connected India to Europe.

Arrival of Vasco Da Gama:

  • The arrival of three ships under Vasco Da Gama, led by a Gujarati pilot named Abdul Majid, at Calicut in May 1498 profoundly affected the course of Indian history.
  • The Hindu ruler of Calicut, the Zamorin (Samuthiri), however, had no apprehensions as to the European’s intentions. As the prosperity of his kingdom was due to Calicut’s position as an entrepot, he accorded a friendly reception to Vasco Da Gama.
  • Vasco da Gama stayed in India for three months. When he returned to Portugal, he carried back with him a rich cargo and sold the merchandise in the European market at a huge profit.
  • The importance of direct access to the pepper trade was made clear by the fact that elsewhere the Europeans, who had to buy through Muslim middlemen, would have had to spend ten times as much for the same amount of pepper.
    • Not surprisingly, other profit-seeking merchants of European nations were tempted to come to India and trade directly.
  • For centuries, the trading system in the Indian Ocean had had numerous participants—Indians, Arabs, Africans from the east coast, Chinese, Javanese, among others—but these participants had acted according to some tacit rules of conduct and none had sought overwhelming dominance though all were in it for profit.
    • The Portuguese changed that: they wanted to monopolise the hugely profitable eastern trade by excluding competitors, especially the Arabs.
  • Vasco da Gama once again came to India in 1501.
    • The Zamorin declined to exclude the Arab merchants in favour of the Portuguese when Vasco Da Gama combined commercial greed with ferocious hostility and wreaked vengeance on Arab shipping wherever he could. His rupture with the Zamorin thus became total and complete.
    • Vasco da Gama set up a trading factory at Cannanore. Gradually, Calicut, Cannanore and Cochin became the important trade centres of the Portuguese.
  • Gradually, under the pretext of protecting the factories and their trading activities, the Portuguese got permission to fortify these centres.

Portuguese Governors in India:

  • Francisco De Almeida:
    • In 1505, the King of Portugal appointed a governor in India for a three-year term and equipped the incumbent with sufficient force to protect the Portuguese interests.
    • Almeida’s vision was to make the Portuguese the master of the Indian Ocean. His policy was known as the Blue Water Policy (cartaze system).
      • He said: ” As long as you may be powerful at sea you will hold India as yours; and if you do not possess this power, little will avail you a fortress on shore. “
  • Alfonso de Albuquerque:
    • Albuquerque, who succeeded Almeida as the Portuguese governor in India, was the real founder of the Portuguese power in the East, a task he completed before his death.
    • The Portuguese, under Albuquerque bolstered their stranglehold by introducing a permit system for other ships and exercising control over the major ship-building centres in the region.
      • The nonavailability of timber in the Gulf and Red Sea regions for ship-building also helped the Portuguese in their objectives.
    • Albuquerque acquired Goa from the Sultan of Bijapur in 1510 with ease; the principal port of the Sultan of Bijapur became “the first bit of Indian territory to be under the Europeans since the time of Alexander the Great”.
    • An interesting feature of his rule was the abolition of sati.
    • In order to secure a permanent Portuguese population in India he encouraged his men to take Indian wives.
  • Nino da Cunha:
    • He shifted the headquarters of the Portuguese government in India from Cochin to Goa.
    • Bahadur Shah of Gujarat, during his conflict with the Mughal emperor Humayun, secured help from the Portuguese by ceding to them in 1534 the island of Bassein with its dependencies and revenues. He also promised them a base in Diu.
      • However, Bahadur Shah’s relations with the Portuguese became sour when Humayun withdrew from Gujarat in 1536.
      • The Portuguese started negotiations, in the course of which Bahadur Shah of Gujarat was invited to a Portuguese ship and killed in 1537.
    • Da Cunha also attempted to increase Portuguese influence in Bengal by settling many Portuguese nationals there with Hooghly as their headquarters.

Favourable Conditions for Portuguese

  • In India, excepting Gujarat, ruled by the powerful Mahmud Begarha (1458-1511), the northern part was much divided among many small powers. In the Deccan, the Bahmani Kingdom was breaking up into smaller kingdoms.
  • None of the powers had a navy worth its name, nor did they think of developing their naval strength.
  • In the Far East, the imperial decree of the Chinese emperor limited the navigational reach of the Chinese ships.
  • As regards the Arab merchants and ship-owners who until then dominated the Indian Ocean trade, they had nothing to match the organisation and unity of the Portuguese.
  • Moreover, the Portuguese had cannons placed on their ships.

Religious Policy of the Portuguese

  • Portuguese brought with them the zeal to promote Christianity and the wish to persecute all Muslims.
  • Intolerant towards the Muslims, the Portuguese were initially quite tolerant towards the Hindus. However, over time, after the introduction of the Inquisition in Goa, there was a change and Hindus were also persecuted.
  • But, in spite of this intolerant behaviour, the Jesuits made a good impression at the court of Akbar, mainly due to the Mughal emperor’s interest in questions of theology.
    • In September 1579, Akbar forwarded a letter to the authorities at Goa requesting them to send two learned priests.
    • The Church authorities in Goa eagerly accepted the invitation, seeing in it a chance to convert the emperor to Christianity, and with him his court and the people.
    • Jesuit fathers, Rodolfo Aquaviva and Antonio Monserrate reached Fatehpur Sikri in 1580. They went back in 1583, belying the hopes the Portuguese entertained of Akbar’s conversion to the Christian faith.
  • Jesuit priests continued to be in contact with mughal emperor even during Jahangir.

Portuguese Lose Favour with the Mughals

  • In 1608, Captain William Hawkins with his ship Hector reached Surat. He brought with him a letter from James I, King of England, to the Mughal court of Jahangir requesting permission to do business in India.
    • the Portuguese authorities did their best to prevent Hawkins from reaching the Mughal court, but did not succeed.
    • Jahangir accepted the gifts Hawkins brought for him and gave Hawkins a very favourable reception in 1609. As Hawkins knew the Turki language well, he conversed with the emperor in that language without the aid of an interpreter.
    • Pleased with Hawkins, Jahangir appointed him as a mansabdar of 400.
  • The grant of trading facilities to the English offended the Portuguese. However, after negotiations, a truce was established between the Portuguese and the Mughal emperor.
  • The Portuguese stopped the English ships from entering the port of Surat. A baffled Hawkins left the Mughal court in 1611, unable to counter the Portuguese intrigues or check the vacillating Mughal policies.
  • However, in November 1612, the English ship Dragon under Captain Best successfully fought (The naval Battle of Swally) a Portuguese fleet.
    • Jahangir, who had no navy worth its name, learnt of the English success and was greatly impressed.
  • The Portuguese acts of piracy also resulted in conflict with the imperial Mughal government.
  • In 1613, the Portuguese offended Jehangir by capturing Mughal ships, imprisoning many Muslims, and plundering the cargoes. An enraged Jahangir ordered Muqarrab Khan, who was the then in charge of Surat, to obtain compensation.
  • However, it was during the reign of Shah Jahan, that the advantages which the Portuguese enjoyed in the Mughal court were lost forever.
  • Capture of Hooghly:
    • In 1579, the Portuguese had settled down on a river bank which was a short distance from Satgaon in Bengal to carry on their trading activities. Over the years, they strengthened their position by constructing big buildings which led to the migration of the trade from Satgaon to the new port known as Hooghly.
    • They monopolised the manufacture of salt, built a custom house of their own and started enforcing strictly the levy of duty on tobacco, which had become an important article of trade since its introduction at the beginning of the 17th century.
    • The Portuguese not only made money as traders but also started a cruel slave trade by purchasing or seizing Hindu and Muslim children, whom they brought up as Christians.
      • In the course of their nefarious activities, they seized two slave girls of Mumtaz Mahal.
    • On June 24, 1632, the siege of Hooghly began, ending in its capture three months later. Shah Jahan ordered the Bengal governor Qasim Khan to take action against the Portuguese. A siege of Hooghly finally led to the Portuguese fleeing.
    • The Mughals suffered a loss of 1,000 men, but also took 400 prisoners to Agra. The prisoners were offered the option to convert to Islam or become slaves. The persecution of Christians continued for some time after which it died down gradually.

Decline of the Portuguese:

  • By the 18th century, the Portuguese in India lost their commercial influence, though some of them still carried on trade in their individual capacity and many took to piracy and robbery.
    • In fact, Hooghly was used by some Portuguese as a base for piracy in the Bay of Bengal.
  • The decline of the Portuguese was brought about by several factors.
    • The local advantages gained by the Portuguese in India were reduced with the emergence of powerful dynasties in Egypt, Persia and North India and the rise of the turbulent Marathas as their immediate neighbours. (The Marathas captured Salsette and Bassein in 1739 from the Portuguese.)
    • The religious policies of the Portuguese, such as the activities of the Jesuits, gave rise to political fears. Their antagonism for the Muslims apart, the Portuguese policy of conversion to Christianity made Hindus also resentful.
    • Their dishonest trade practices also evoked a strong reaction. The Portuguese earned notoriety as sea pirates.
    • Their arrogance and violence brought them the animosity of the rulers of small states and the imperial Mughals as well.
    • The discovery of Brazil diverted colonising activities of Portugal to the West.
    • The union of the two kingdoms of Spain and Portugal in 1580-81, dragging the smaller kingdom into Spain’s wars with England and Holland, badly affected Portuguese monopoly of trade in India.
    • The earlier monopoly of knowledge of the sea route to India held by the Portuguese could not remain a secret forever; soon enough the Dutch and the English, who were learning the skills of ocean navigation, also learnt of it.
      • As new trading communities from Europe arrived in India, there began a fierce rivalry among them. In this struggle, the Portuguese had to give way to the more powerful and enterprising competitors.
      • The Dutch and the English had greater resources and more compulsions to expand overseas, and they overcame the Portuguese resistance.
    • Goa which remained with the Portuguese had lost its importance as a port after the fall of the Vijayanagara empire and soon it did not matter in whose possession it was.

Significance of the Portuguese

  • Most historians have observed that the coming of the Portuguese not only initiated what might be called the  European era, it marked the emergence of naval power.
    • The Cholas, among others, had been a naval power, but it was now for the first time a foreign power had come to India by way of the sea.
    • Note: the Portuguese were first among Europeans to come(in1498) and last to leave(in 1961).
  • In the Malabar of the sixteenth century, the Portuguese showed military innovation in their use of body armour, matchlock men, and guns landed from the ships.
    • The Portuguese may have contributed by example to the Mughal use of field guns, and the ‘artillery of the stirrup’.
  • The Portuguese were masters of improved techniques at sea. Their multi-decked ships were heavily constructed, this permitted them to carry a heavier armament.
  • The missionaries and the Church were also teachers and patrons in India of the arts of the painter, carver, and sculptor. As in music, they were the interpreters, not just of Portuguese, but of European art to India.
  • They are also known for building new roads and irrigation works, introducing new crops like tobacco and cashew nut, or better plantation varieties of coconut besides planting large groves of coconut.

THE DUTCH IN INDIA

  • Commercial enterprise led the Dutch to undertake voyages to the East.
  • In 1602, the States General of the Netherlands amalgamated many trading companies into the East India Company of the Netherlands. This company was also empowered to carry on war, to conclude treaties, to take possession of territory and to erect fortresses.
  • After their arrival in India, the Dutch founded their first factory in Masulipatnam (in Andhra) in 1605. They went on to establish trading centres at different parts of India and thus became a threat to the Portuguese.
    • They captured Nagapatam near Madras (Chennai) from the Portuguese and made it their main stronghold in South India.
  • They carried indigo manufactured in the Yamuna valley and Central India, textiles and silk from Bengal, Gujarat and the Coromandel, saltpetre from Bihar and opium and rice from the Ganga valley.
  • Anglo-Dutch Rivalry:
    • The English were also at this time rising to prominence in the Eastern trade, and this posed a serious challenge to the commercial interests of the Dutch. Commercial rivalry soon turned into bloody warfare.
    • The climax of the enmity between the Dutch and the English in the East was reached at Amboyna (a place in present-day Indonesia, which the Dutch had captured from the Portuguese in 1605) where they massacred ten Englishmen and nine Japanese in 1623.
    • This incident further intensified the rivalry between the two European companies. After prolonged warfare, both the parties came to a compromise in 1667 by which the British agreed to withdraw all their claims on Indonesia, and the Dutch retired from India to concentrate on their more profitable trade in Indonesia.
  • Decline of the Dutch in India
    • The Dutch got drawn into the trade of the Malay Archipelago.
    • The Battle of Bedara (November 1759) was fought between the British Army and the Dutch Army. In this battle, the latter force was decisively defeated by the British forces.
    • The Dutch were not much interested in empire building in India; their concerns were trade. In any case, their main commercial interest lay in the Spice Islands of Indonesia from where they earned a huge profit through business.

THE ENGLISH IN INDIA:

  • Charter of Queen Elizabeth I
    • Francis Drake’s voyage around the world in 1580 and the English victory over the Spanish Armada in 1588 generated a new sense of enterprise in the British, encouraging sailors to venture out to the East. As the knowledge grew of the high profits earned by the Portuguese in Eastern trade, English traders too wanted a share. So in 1599, a group of English merchants calling themselves the ‘Merchant Adventurers’ formed a company.
    • On December 31, 1600, Queen Elizabeth I issued a charter with rights of exclusive trading to the company named the ‘Governor and Company of Merchants of London trading into the East Indies’. Initially, a monopoly of fifteen years was granted, which in May 1609 was extended indefinitely by a fresh charter.
    • As the Dutch were already concentrating more on the East Indies, the English turned to India in search of textiles and other commodities of trade.
  • Progress of the English Company:
    • Foothold in West and South:
      • Captain Hawkins arrived in the court of Jahangir in April 1609 itself. But the mission to establish a factory at Surat didn’t succeed due to opposition from the Portuguese, and Hawkins left Agra in November 1611.
        • In 1611, the English had started trading at Masulipatnam on the south-eastern coast of India and later established a factory there in 1616.
      • It was in 1612 that Captain Thomas Best defeated the Portuguese in the sea off Surat; an impressed Jahangir granted permission to the English in early 1613 to establish a factory at Surat.
      • In 1615, Sir Thomas Roe came as an accredited ambassador of James I to the court of Jahangir, staying on there till February 1619.
        • Though he was unsuccessful in concluding a commercial treaty with the Mughal emperor, he was able to secure a number of privileges, including permission to set up factories at Agra, Ahmedabad and Broach.
      • The English company did not have a smooth progress. It had to contend with the Portuguese and the Dutch in the beginning. But the changing situation helped them and turned things in their favour.
        • Bombay had been gifted to King Charles II by the King of Portugal as dowry when Charles married the Portuguese princess Catherine in 1662.
        • Bombay was given over to the East India Company on an annual payment of ten pounds only in 1668. Later Bombay was made the headquarters by shifting the seat of the Western Presidency from Surat to Bombay in 1687.
        • So there was tacit peace between the English and the Portuguese now. There was also an Anglo-Dutch compromise by which the Dutch agreed not to interfere with the English Company’s trade in India. Thus the English were rid of two arch-rivals in India.
      • The English Company’s position was improved by the ‘Golden Farman’ issued to them by the Sultan of Golconda in 1632.
        • On a payment of 500 pagodas a year, they earned the privilege of trading freely in the ports of Golconda.
      • A member of the Masulipatnam council, the British merchant Francis Day, in 1639 received from the ruler of Chandragiri permission to build a fortified factory at Madras which later became the Fort St. George and replaced Masulipatnam as the headquarters of the English settlements in south India.
    • Foothold in Bengal:
      • Bengal was then a large and rich province in India, advanced in trade and commerce. Commercial and political control over Bengal naturally appeared an attractive proposition to the profit-seeking English merchants. Bengal was also an important province of the Mughal empire.
      • Shah Shuja, the subahdar of Bengal in 1651, allowed the English to trade in Bengal in return for an annual payment of Rs 3,000, in lieu of all duties.
      • Factories in Bengal were started at Hooghly (1651) and other places like Kasimbazar, Patna and Rajmahal.
      • Nevertheless, despite the privileges of the farmans, the Company’s business was now and then obstructed by customs officers in the local checkposts who asked for payment of tolls. In pursuance of its changed policy, the Company wanted to have a fortified settlement at Hooghly so that force could be used if necessary.
      • William Hedges, the first agent and governor of the Company in Bengal, appealed to Shayista Khan, the Mughal governor of Bengal in August 1682, for redressal of the grievance. As nothing came out of the appeal, hostilities broke out between the English and the Mughals.
      • Four years later, Hooghly was sacked by the imperial Mughals in October 1686. The English retaliated by capturing the imperial forts at Thana (modern  Garden Reach), raiding Hijli in east Midnapur and storming the Mughal fortifications at Balasore.
        • However, the English were forced to leave Hooghly and were sent to an unhealthy location at the mouth of the River Ganga.
      • After the Mughal raid on Hooghly, Job Charnock, a company agent, started negotiations with the Mughals so as to return to a place called Sutanuti. Charnock signed a treaty with the Mughals in February 1690, and returned to Sutanuti in August 1690.
      • Thus, an English factory was established on February 10, 1691, the day an imperial farman was issued permitting the English to “continue contentedly their trade in Bengal” on payment of Rs 3000 a year in lieu of all dues.
      • A zamindar in Bardhaman district, Sobha Singh, rebelled, subsequently giving the English the pretext they were looking for, to fortify their settlement at Sutanuti in 1696. In 1698, the English succeeded in getting the permission to buy the zamindari of the three villages of Sutanuti, Gobindapur and Kalikata (Kalighat) from their owners on payment of Rs 1,200.
        • The fortified settlement was named Fort William in the year 1700 when it also became the seat of the eastern presidency (Calcutta) with Sir Charles Eyre as its first president.
    • Farrukhsiyar’s Farmans
      • In 1717, an English mission led by John Surman to the court of the Mughal emperor Farrukhsiyar secured three famous farmans, giving the Company many valuable privileges in Bengal, Gujarat and Hyderabad. The farmans thus obtained were regarded the Magna Carta of the Company. Their important terms were:
        • In Bengal, the Company’s imports and exports were exempted from additional customs duties excepting the annual payment of 3,000 rupees as settled earlier.
        • The Company was permitted to issue dastaks (passes) for the transportation of such goods.
        • The Company was permitted to rent more lands around Calcutta.
        • In Hyderabad, the Company retained its existing privilege of freedom from duties in trade and had to pay the prevailing rent only for Madras.
        • In Surat, for an annual payment of 10,000 rupees, the East India Company was exempted from the levy of all duties.
        • It was decreed that the coins of the Company minted at Bombay were to have currency throughout the Mughal empire.
    • Apparently, the English East India Company managed to earn a number of trading concessions in Bengal from the Mughal authority by means of flattery and diplomacy.
    • But the English had to vanquish the French before they could be rid of competitors and establish their complete sway over India.

THE FRENCH IN INDIA

  • The French were the last Europeans to come to India with the purpose of trade.
    • During the reign of Louis XIV, the king’s famous minister Colbert laid the foundation of the Compagnie des Indes Orientales (French East India Company) in 1664, in which the king also took a deep interest.
  • The Company was granted a 50-year monopoly on French trade in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. The French king also granted the company a concession in perpetuity for the island of Madagascar, as well as any other territories it could conquer.
  • The Company spent a lot of its money and resources in trying to revive the colonies of Madagascar but without any success. Then in 1667, Francois Caron headed an expedition to India, setting up a factory in Surat.
  • Mercara, a Persian who accompanied Caron, founded another French factory in Masulipatnam in 1669 after obtaining a patent from the Sultan of Golconda.
  • In 1673, the French obtained permission from Shaista Khan, the Mughal Subahdar of Bengal, to establish a township at Chandernagore near Calcutta.
  • Pondicherry—Nerve Centre of French Power in India:
    • In 1673, Sher Khan Lodi, the governor of Valikondapuram (under the Bijapur Sultan), granted the French, a site for a settlement. Pondicherry was founded in 1674.
    • The French company established its factories in other parts of India also, particularly in the coastal regions. Mahe, Karaikal, Balasore and Qasim Bazar were a few important trading centres of the French East India Company.
    • After taking charge of Pondicherry in 1674, Francois Martin developed it as a place of importance. It was indeed, the stronghold of the French in India.
  • Early Setbacks to the French East India Company:
    • The French position in India was badly affected with the outbreak of war between the Dutch and the French.
    • Bolstered by their alliance with the English since the Revolution of 1688, the Dutch captured Pondicherry in 1693. Although the Treaty of Ryswick concluded in September 1697 restored Pondicherry to the French.
      • Once again, under Francois Martin’s able guidance Pondicherry flourished and turned out to be the most important settlement of the French in India.
    • Again there  was a bad turn in the fortunes of the French company in India when the War of Spanish Succession broke out in Europe.
      • Consequent to this, they had to abandon their factories at Surat, Masulipatnam and Bantam in the early 18th century.
    • The French in India had another setback when Francois Martin died on December 31, 1706.
  • Reorganisation of the French Company
    • In 1720, the French company was reorganised as the ‘Perpetual Company of the Indies’ which revived its strength.
    • Further, the French India was backed by the French possession of Mauritius and Reunion in the southern Indian Ocean.

The Anglo-French Struggle for Supremacy: the Carnatic Wars

  • Background of Rivalry:
    • Though the British and the French came to India for trading purposes, they were ultimately drawn into the politics of India. Both had visions of establishing political power over the region.
    • The Anglo-French rivalry in India reflected the traditional rivalry of England and France throughout their histories; it began with the outbreak of the Austrian War of Succession and ended with the conclusion of the Seven Years War.
    • Specifically in India, the rivalry, in the form of three Carnatic wars, decided once for all that the English and not the French were to become masters of India.
  • In 1740, the political situation in south India was uncertain and confused.
    • Nizam Asaf Jah of Hyderabad was old and fully engaged in battling the Marathas in the western Deccan while his subordinates were speculating upon the consequences of his death.
    • To the south of his kingdom lay the Coromandel coast without any strong ruler to maintain a balance of power.
    • The decline of Hyderabad was the signal for the end of Muslim expansionism and the English adventurers got their plans ready.
  • First Carnatic War (1746-48):
    • Background:
      • Carnatic was the name given by the Europeans to the Coromandel coast and its hinterland.
      • The First Carnatic War was an extension of the Anglo-French War in Europe which was caused by the Austrian War of Succession.
    • Immediate Cause:
      • Although France, conscious of its relatively weaker position in India, did not favour an extension of hostilities to India, the English navy under Barnet seized some French ships to provoke France.
      • France retaliated by seizing Madras in 1746 with the help of the fleet from Mauritius, the Isle of France, under Admiral La Bourdonnais, the French governor of Mauritius.
      • Thus began the first Carnatic War.
    • Result:
      • The First Carnatic War ended in 1748 when theTreaty of Aix-La Chapelle was signed bringing the Austrian War of Succession to a conclusion.
      • Under the terms of this treaty, Madras was handed back to the English, and the French, in turn, got their territories in North America.
    • Significance:
      • The First Carnatic War is remembered for the Battle of St. Thome (in Madras) fought between the French forces and the forces of Anwar-ud-din, the Nawab of Carnatic, to whom the English appealed for help.
      • A small French army under Captain Paradise defeated the strong Indian army under Mahfuz Khan at St. Thome on the banks of the River Adyar.
      • This was an eye-opener for the Europeans in India: it revealed that even a small disciplined army could easily defeat a much larger Indian army.
      • Further, this war adequately brought out the importance of naval force in the Anglo-French conflict in the Deccan.
  • Second Carnatic War (1749-54):
    • Background:
      • The background for the Second Carnatic War was provided by rivalry in India.
      • Dupleix, the French governor who had successfully led the French forces in the First Carnatic War, sought to increase his power and French political influence in southern India by interfering in local dynastic disputes to defeat the English.
    • Immediate Cause:
      • The opportunity was provided by the death of Nizam-ul-Mulk, the founder of the independent kingdom of Hyderabad, in 1748, and the release of Chanda Sahib, the son-in-law of Dost Ali, the Nawab of Carnatic, by the Marathas in the same year.
        • The accession of Nasir Jang, the son of the Nizam, to the throne of Hyderabad was opposed by Muzaffar Jang, the grandson of the Nawab, who laid claim to the throne saying that the Mughal Emperor had appointed him as the governor of the Carnatic.
        • In the Carnatic, the appointment of Anwar-ud-din Khan as the Nawab was resented by Chanda Sahib.
      • The French supported the claims of Muzaffar Jang and Chanda Sahib in the Deccan and Carnatic, respectively, while the English sided with Nasir Jang and Anwar-ud-din.
      • The combined armies of Muzaffar Jang, Chanda Sahib and the French defeated and killed Anwarud-din at the Battle of Ambur (near Vellore) in 1749. Thus, the war began.
      • Robert Clive, then an agent of the English company, played an important role in this war.
    • Result:
      • The French authorities, annoyed at the heavy financial losses that Dupleix’s policy involved, decided to recall him in 1754.
      • Godeheu succeeded Dupleix as the French Governor-General in India. Godeheu adopted a policy of negotiations with the English and concluded a treaty with them.
      • The English and the French agreed not to interfere in the quarrels of native princes.
      • Also, each party was left in possession of the territories actually occupied by them at the time of the treaty.
      • According to historians, the fear of serious repercussions in America prompted the French to suspend hostilities in India.
    • Implications:
      • It became evident that the countenance of Indian authority was no longer necessary for European success; rather Indian authority itself was becoming dependent on European support.
  • Third Carnatic War (1758-63):
    • Background:
      • In Europe, when Austria wanted to recover Silesia in 1756, the Seven Years War (1756-63) started. Britain and France were once again on opposite sides.
    • The French position by now had been significantly weakened by financial difficulties, as even the soldiers remained unpaid for months.  The apathy of the French government was shaken at the outbreak of European hostilities and a strong force was dispatched under Count de Lally.
    • In 1758, the French army under Count de Lally captured the English forts of St. David and Vizianagaram. Now, the English became offensive and inflicted heavy losses on the French fleet under Admiral D’Ache at Masulipatnam.
      • The French lost their positions in India one after another: first fell Chandernagore in Bengal; then when Bussy was recalled to help Lally in the Carnaric, the Northern Sarkars were exposed to an attack from Bengal. The fall of the Sarkars together with that of two other old settlements of Masulipatam and Yanam ended French influence in the Deccan.
    • Battle of Wandiwash:
      • The decisive battle of the Third Carnatic War was won by the English on January 22, 1760 at Wandiwash (or Vandavasi) in Tamil Nadu.
      • General Eyre Coote of the English totally routed the French army under Count Thomas Arthur de Lally and took Bussy as prisoner. Pondicherry was gallantly defended by Lally for eight months before he surrendered on January 16, 1761. With the loss of Jinji and Mahe, the French power in India was reduced to its lowest.
      • Lally, after being taken as prisoner of war at London, returned to France where he was imprisoned and executed in 1766.
    • Result and Significance:
      • The Third Carnatic War proved decisive. Although the Treaty of Peace of Paris (1763) restored to the French their factories in India, the French political influence disappeared after the war. Thereafter, the French, like their Portuguese and Dutch counterparts in India, confined themselves to their small enclaves and to commerce.
        • The French East India Company  was finally wound up in 1769 and thus was eliminated English main European rival in India.
      • The English became the supreme European power in the Indian subcontinent, since the Dutch had already been defeated in the Battle of Bidara in 1759.
      • The Battle of Plassey, in 1757, is usually regarded by historians as the decisive event that brought about ultimate British rule over India. However, one cannot quite ignore the view that the true turning point for control of the subcontinent was the victory of British forces over the French forces at Wandiwash in 1760. The victory at Wandiwash left the English East India Company with no European rival in India. Thus they were ready to take over the rule of the entire country.
      • Significantly, in the Battle of Wandiwash, natives served in both the armies as sepoys. It makes one think: irrespective of which side won, there was an inevitability about the fall of India to European invaders. There was a lack of sensitivity to geopolitics of the day as well as a lack of foresight on the part of native rulers.
      • English was now also the de facto master of Carnatic, although the Treaty of Paris had assured the nawab his entire possessions.
        • Nawab’s nominal sovereignty was espected till 1801; then, after the death of the incumbent nawab, his territories were annexed and his heir was pensioned off.
      • Hyderabad too virtually became dependent on the English and the nizam in 1766 gave them the Northern Sarkars in return for military support against his overmighty neighbours.
      • The Anglo-French rivalry by bringing in Crown troops to India in significant numbers considerably enhanced the military power of the English East India Company vis-a-vis the other Indian states.
      • The balance of power in India had now begun to tilt decisively in English favour.
  • Causes for the English Success and the French Failure:
    • The English company was a private enterprise—this created a sense of enthusiasm and self-confidence among the people.
      • With less governmental control over it, this company could take instant decisions when needed without waiting for the approval of the government.
      • The French company, on the other hand, was a State concern. It was controlled and regulated by the French government and was hemmed in by government policies and delays in decision-making.
    • The English navy was superior to the French navy; it helped to cut off the vital sea link between the French possessions in India and France.
    • The English held three important places, namely, Calcutta, Bombay and Madras whereas the French had only Pondicherry.
    • The French subordinated their commercial interest to territorial ambition, which made the French company short of funds.
      • In spite of their imperialistic motives, the British never neglected their commercial interests. So they always had the funds and the consequent sound financial condition to help them significantly in the wars against their rivals.
    • A major factor in the success of the English in India was the superiority of the commanders in the British camp.
      • In comparison to the long list of leaders on the English side —Sir Eyre Coote, Major Stringer Lawrence, Robert Clive and many others—there was only Dupleix on the French side.
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