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Essay on Anglo-Mysore war

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Apart from the struggle on the battlefield which of course required military skills and strategies, the outcome of these wars were also influenced by the political permutations and combinations during the period.

Moreover, the period witnessed new groups and allies who came together for short term gain without realizing the far reaching ill effects and impact on the overall political condition of India.

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The first two wars involved Haider Ali who was not just an efficient military commander but a man known for diplomatic and tactful skills.

It was the growing power of Haider Ali in the south that made British suspicious about the intentions of ruler of Mysore.

The primary objective of the English was to check the rising influence of Mysore in South India and consolidate its position in the region.

First Anglo-Mysore War (1767- 69) :

In 1766 the British, the Marathas, and the Nizam of Hyderabad entered into a triple alliance against Haider. The British attacked Mysore simultaneously from

Bombay and Madras in 1767 and thus started the First Anglo-Mysore War (1767-69). British acquired South-Eastern Mysore.

However, Haider soon bought off the Marathas. The Nizam abandoned the war in 1768, leaving the British to face Haider Ali alone.

The latter attacked Arcot and reached the outskirts of Madras. He dictated peace on the basis of the status quo. The English also agreed to help Haider Ali against any third party invasion in future.

Second Anglo-Mysore War (1780-84) :

The British did not honour their promise when the Marathas invaded territories under the control of Haider Ali, in 1771.

Offended by this, Haider Ali decided to strengthen his army with the help of French and European soldiers and joined in a confederacy with the Nizam and the Marathas against the British, who had further provoked him by capturing the French settlement of Mahe, which was within Hyder’s territories.

In 1780, he warred on the Carnatic, and destroyed a British detachment of 2,800 men, and seized Arcot.

The British then succeeded in detaching the Nizam and the Marathas from Haider and defeated him three times successively in 1781 at the battles of Porto Novo, Pollilur, and Sholinghur.

In 1782, Haider Ali inflicted a severe defeat on the English compelling them to flee Madras.

But he died shortly afterwards and the war was carried on by his son, Tipu Sultan. Since neither side was capable of overpowering the other, the war came to an end with the signing of the Treaty of Mangalore.

Under this treaty both sides restored all conquests and promised to release each other’s prisoners of war.

Third Anglo-Mysore War [1790-92] :

Third Anglo-Mysore War (1790-92) was an extension of the earlier inconclusive wars. Governor-General Lord Cornwallis dropped Tipu’s name from the list of the Company’s ‘friends’.

Meanwhile Tipu Sultan acquired Travancore in 1790, the English extended help to the Raja of Travancore and attacked Mysore. In this conflict, Coorg, Cochin and Malabar sided with the British.

The war came to an end by the treaty of Seringapattanam. Under the terms of the treaty, Tipu had to pay a war indemnity of over three crore rupees and send his two sons as hostages to the English. He also ceded half of his territories to the English.

Fourth Anglo-Mysore War [1799] :

Fourth Anglo-Mysore War (1799) was an outcome of tense relation of British and French in Europe. Apprehensive of the increasing political activities of Tipu Sultan and the designs of the French in India, the British asked Tipu Sultan to sign the subsidiary alliance.

His refusal led to war and the British supported by the Nizam of Hyderabad and the Marathas attacked Mysore from three sides.

Tipu died while defending his capital, Seringapattam. Nearly half of Tipu’s dominions were divided between the British and their ally, the Nizam.

The reduced Kingdom of Mysore was restored to the descendants of the original Wodeyer Dynasty and he was forced to sign the subsidiary alliance. Mysore was thus made a complete dependency of the Company.

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