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Colonial India

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Anglo–Spanish War (1585–1604).

"Great and Most Merry Navy" or Armada Invencible, "Invincible Navy")[6] was the Spanish fleet that sailed against England under the command of the Duke of Medina Sidonia in 1588, one year after the execution of Mary Queen of Scots, with the intention of overthrowing England's Elizabeth I.

Philip II of Spain had been co-monarch of England until the death of his wife Mary I in 1558. A devout Roman Catholic, he considered the Protestant Elizabeth a heretic and illegitimate ruler of England. He had supported plots to have her overthrown in favor of her Catholic cousin Mary, Queen of Scots, but Elizabeth had Mary imprisoned, and she was finally executed in 1587. In addition, Elizabeth, who sought to advance the cause of Protestantism where possible, supported the Dutch Revolt against Spain. In retaliation, Philip planned an expedition to invade and conquer England, thereby suppressing support for the United Provinces— that part of the Low Countries not under Spanish domination — and cutting off attacks by the English[7] against Spanish possessions in the New World and against the Atlantic treasure fleets. The king was supported by Pope Sixtus V, who treated the invasion as a crusade, with the promise of a further subsidy should the Armada make land.[8]

The Armada's appointed commander was the highly experienced Álvaro de Bazán, but he died in February 1588, and Medina Sidonia took his place. The fleet set out with 22 warships of the Spanish Royal Navy and 108 converted merchant vessels, with the intention of sailing through the English Channel to anchor off the coast of Flanders, where the Duke of Parma's army of tercios would stand ready for an invasion of the south-east of England.

The Armada achieved its first goal and anchored outside Gravelines, at the coastal border area between France and the Spanish Netherlands. While awaiting communications from Parma's army, it was driven from its anchorage by an English fire ship attack, and in the ensuing battle at Gravelines the Spanish were forced to abandon their rendezvous with Parma's army.

The Armada managed to regroup and withdraw north, with the English fleet harrying it for some distance up the east coast of England. A return voyage to Spain was plotted, and the fleet sailed into the Atlantic, past Ireland. But severe storms disrupted the fleet's course, and more than 24 vessels were wrecked on the north and western coasts of Ireland, with the survivors having to seek refuge in Scotland. Of the fleet's initial complement, about 50 vessels failed to make it back to Spain. The expedition was the largest engagement of the undeclared Anglo–Spanish War (1585–1604).

The defeat of the Spanish Armada led to the Drake–Norris Expedition of 1589, also known as the English Armada[7] against Spanish possessions in the New World and against the Atlantic treasure fleets.

The East India Company


The East India Company (also the East India Trading Company, English East India Company,  and then the British East India Company) was an early English joint-stock company- that was formed initially for pursuing trade with the East Indies – (lands to the east of Africa), but that ended up trading mainly with the Indian subcontinent and China. The oldest among several similarly formed European East India Companies, the Company was granted an English Royal Charter, under the name Governor and Company of Merchants of London Trading into the East Indies, by Elizabeth I on 31 December 1600. After a rival English company challenged its monopoly in the late 17th century, the two companies were merged in 1708 to form the United Company of Merchants of England Trading to the East Indies, commonly styled the Honourable East India Company, and abbreviated, HEIC; the Company was colloquially referred to as John Company, and in India as Company Bahadur (Hindustani bahādur, "brave").



The East India Company traded mainly in cotton, silk, indigo dye, saltpetre, tea, and opium. However, it also came to rule large swathes of India, exercising military power and assuming administrative functions, to the exclusion, gradually, of its commercial pursuits.

Company rule in India, which effectively began in 1757 after the Battle of Plassey, lasted until 1858, when, following the events of the Indian Rebellion of 1857, and under the Government of India Act 1858, the British Crown assumed direct administration of India in the new British Raj. The Company itself was finally dissolved on 1 January 1874, as a result of the East India Stock Dividend Redemption Act.


The Company long held a privileged position in relation to the English, and later the British, government. As a result, it was frequently granted special rights and privileges, including trade monopolies and exemptions. These caused resentment among its competitors, who saw unfair advantage in the Company's position. Despite this resentment, the Company remained a powerful force for over 200 years.


Portuguese India    1510–1961

Dutch India       1605–1825

Danish India     1696–1869

French India     1759–1954

East India Company     1612–1757

Company rule in India   1757–1857

British Raj 1858–1947

British rule in Burma     1826–1948

British India      1612–1947

Princely states 1765–1947


Partition of India     1947

Soon after the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588, a group of merchants of London presented a petition to Queen Elizabeth I for permission to sail to the Indian Ocean.[9] The permission was granted and in 1591 (The Portuguese set foot in 1510) three ships sailed from England, around the Cape of Good Hope, to the Arabian Sea; one of them, the Edward Bonaventure then sailed around Cape Comorin and on to the Malay Peninsula, and subsequently returned to England in 1594.[9] In 1596, three more ships sailed out east, however, these were all lost at sea.[9] Two years later, on September 24, 1599, another group of merchants of London, having raised £30,133 in capital, met to form a corporation. Although their first attempt was unsuccessful, they nonetheless set about seeking the Queen's unofficial approval, purchased ships for their venture, increased their capital to £68,373, and convened again a year later.[9] This time they succeeded, and on December 31, 1600, the last day of the sixteenth century, the Queen granted a Royal Charter to "George, Earl of Cumberland, and 215 Knights, Aldermen, and Burgesses" under the name, Governor and Company of Merchants of London trading with the East Indies.[10] The charter awarded the newly formed company, for a period of fifteen years, a monopoly of trade with all countries to the east of the Cape of Good Hope and to the west of the Straits of Magellan.[10] Sir James Lancaster commanded the first East India Company voyage in 1601.[11]


Initially, the Company struggled in the spice trade due to the competition from the already well established Dutch. However the Company did open a factory (as the trading posts were known) in Bantam on the first voyage and imports of pepper from Java were an important part of the Company's trade for twenty years. The factory in Bantam was finally closed in 1683. During this time ships belonging to the company arrived in India, docking at Surat, which was established as a trade transit point in 1608. In the next two years, it managed to build its first factory in the town of Machilipatnam on the Coromandel Coast of the Bay of Bengal. The high profits reported by the Company after landing in India (presumably owing to a reduction in overhead costs affected by the transit points), initially prompted King James I to grant subsidiary licenses to other trading companies in England. But, in 1609, he renewed the charter given to the Company for an indefinite period, including a clause which specified that the charter would cease to be in force if the trade turned unprofitable for three consecutive years.


The Company was led by one Governor and 24 directors who made up the Court of Directors. They were appointed by, and reported to, the Court of Proprietors. The Court of Directors had ten committees reporting to it.

English traders frequently engaged in hostilities with their Dutch and Portuguese counterparts in the Indian Ocean. The Company achieved a major victory over the Portuguese in the Battle of Swally in 1612. Perhaps realizing the cost of waging trade wars in remote seas, the Company decided to explore the feasibility for gaining a territorial foothold – a precursor to Land Bases of Western Nations - in mainland India, with official sanction of both countries, and requested the Crown to launch a diplomatic mission. In 1615, Sir Thomas Roe was instructed by James I to visit the Mughal Emperor Nuruddin Salim Jahangir (r. 1605 - 1627) to arrange for a commercial treaty which would give the Company exclusive rights to reside and build factories in Surat and other areas. In return, the Company offered to provide the Emperor with goods and rarities from the European market. This mission was highly successful as Jahangir sent a letter to James through Sir Thomas Roe:

    "Upon which assurance of your royal love I have given my general command to all the kingdoms and ports of my dominions to receive all the merchants of the English nation as the subjects of my friend; that in what place soever they choose to live, they may have free liberty without any restraint; and at what port soever they shall arrive, that neither Portugal nor any other shall dare to molest their quiet; and in what city soever they shall have residence, I have commanded all my governors and captains to give them freedom answerable to their own desires; to sell, buy, and to transport into their country at their pleasure.

    For confirmation of our love and friendship, I desire your Majesty to command your merchants to bring in their ships of all sorts of rarities and rich goods fit for my palace; and that you be pleased to send me your royal letters by every opportunity, that I may rejoice in your health and prosperous affairs; that our friendship may be interchanged and eternal."[12]

The Company, benefiting from the imperial patronage, soon expanded its commercial trading operations, eclipsing the Portuguese Estado da India, which had established bases in Goa, Chittagong and Bombay (which was later ceded to England as part of the dowry of Catherine de Braganza). The Company created trading posts in Surat (where a factory was built in 1612), Madras (1639), Bombay (1668) and Calcutta (1690). By 1647, the Company had 23 factories, each under the command of a factor or master merchant and governor if so chosen, and 90 employees in India. The major factories became the walled forts of Fort William in Bengal, Fort St George in Madras and the Bombay Castle.

In 1634, the Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan,  extended his hospitality to the English traders to the region of Bengal (and in 1717 completely waived customs duties for the trade). The company's mainstay businesses were by now in cotton, silk, indigo dye, saltpetre and tea.

All the while, it was making inroads into the Dutch monopoly of the spice trade in the Malaccan straits, which the Dutch had acquired by ousting the Portuguese in 1640-41. In 1711, the Company established a trading post in Canton (Guangzhou), China, to trade tea for silver.

In 1657, Oliver Cromwell renewed the charter of 1609, and brought about minor changes in the holding of the Company. The status of the Company was further enhanced by the restoration of monarchy in England. By a series of five acts around 1670, King Charles II provisioned it with the rights to autonomous territorial acquisitions, to mint money, to command fortresses and troops and form alliances, to make war and peace, and to exercise both civil and criminal jurisdiction over the acquired areas.

Trade monopoly

The Battle of Plassey

(Bengali: পলাশীর যুদ্ধ, Pôlashir Juddho), 23 June, 1757, was a decisive British East India Company victory over the Nawab of Bengal and his French allies, establishing Company rule in India which expanded over much of South Asia for the next 190 years. The battle took place at Palashi, West Bengal, on the riverbanks of the Bhagirathi River, about 150 km north of Calcutta, near Murshidabad, then the capital of the Nawab of Bengal. The opponents were Siraj Ud Daulah, the last independent Nawab of Bengal, and the British East India Company.

Siraj ud Daulah

The ostensible reason for the Battle of Plassey was Siraj-ud-Daulah's capture of Fort William, Calcutta (which he renamed Alinagar) during June 1756, but the battle is today seen as part of the geopolitical ambition of the East India Company and the larger dynamics of colonial conquest.

This conflict was precipitated by a number of disputes:[2]:

     * the illegal use of Mughal Imperial export trade permits (dastaks) granted to the British in 1717 for engaging in internal trade within India. The British cited this permit as their excuse for not paying taxes to the Bengal Nawab.

    * British interference in the Nawab's court, and particularly their support for one of his aunts, Ghaseti Begum. The son of Ghaseti's treasurer had sought refuge in Fort William, and Siraj demanded his return.

    * additional fortifications with mounted guns had been placed on Fort William without the consent of the Nawab; and

    * the British East India Company's policy of favouring Hindu Marwari merchants such as the Jagat Seth.

An event occurred during the capture of Fort William that came to be known as the Black Hole of Calcutta. The narrative by John Zephaniah Holwell, plus the testimony of another survivor, Cooke, to a select committee of the House of Commons, coupled with subsequent verification by Robert Orme, attested to the placing of 146 British prisoners into a room measuring 18 by 15 feet; only 23 survived the night. The story was amplified in colonial literature, but the facts are widely disputed.[3] In any event, the Black Hole incident, which is often cited as a reason for the Battle at Plassey, was not widely known until James Mill's History of India (1817), after which it became the grist of schoolboy texts on India.

As the forces for the battle were building up, the British settlement at Fort William sought assistance from Presidency of Fort St. George at Madras, which sent Colonel Robert Clive and. They re-captured Calcutta on 2 January, 1757, but the Nawab marched again on Calcutta on 5 February, 1757, and was surprised by a dawn attack by the British [4]. This resulted in the Treaty of Alinagar on 7 February 1757 [5]. Admiral Charles Watson


Growing French influence

At the connivance of the enterprising French Governor-General Joseph François Dupleix, French influence at the court of the Nawab was growing. French trade in Bengal was increasing in volume. The French also lent the Nawab some soldiers to operate heavy artillery pieces.[citation needed]

Ahmad Shah Abdali

Siraj-Ud-Daulah faced conflicts on three fronts simultaneously. In addition to the threat posed by the British East India Company, he was confronted on his western border by the advancing army of the Afghan Ahmad Shah Abdali, who had captured and looted Delhi in 1756—as well as the possibility of raids by the Marathas (who had raided/looted Bengal many times during the reign of his grandfather, and continued to raid Northern and Eastern India of which Bengal was part). So, Siraj sent the majority of his troops west to fight under the command of his close friend and ally, the Diwan of Patna, Ram Narain.[citation needed]


Court intrigue


In the midst of all of this, intrigues were occurring at Siraj Ud Daulah's court at Murshidabad. Siraj was not a particularly well-loved ruler. Young (he succeeded his grandfather in April 1756 at the age of 23) and impetuous, he was prone to make enemies quickly. The most dangerous of these were his wealthy and influential aunt, Ghaseti Begum (Meherun-Nisa) who had wanted another nephew to succeed to the throne; Shaw (who had suffered as a result of the siege of Calcutta); and Mir Jafar (who was deposed as army chief and eventually brought into the British fold).[citation needed]


Company policy


The Company had long since decided that a change of regime would be conducive to its interests in Bengal. In 1752, Robert Orme, in a letter to Clive, noted that the company would have to remove Siraj's grandfather, Alivardi Khan, in order to prosper.[6]


After the premature death of Alivardi Khan in April 1756, his nominated successor was Siraj-ud-Daulah, a grandson whom Alivardi had adopted. The circumstances of this transition gave rise to considerable controversy, and the British began supporting the intrigues of Alivardi's eldest daughter, Ghaseti Begum, against that of his grandson, Siraj.


Instructions dated 13 October, 1756 from Fort St. George instructed Robert Clive, "to effect a junction with any powers in the province of Bengal that might be dissatisfied with the violence of the Nawab's government or that might have pretensions to the Nawabship". Accordingly, Clive deputised William Watts, chief of the Kasimbazar factory of the Company, who was proficient in Bengali and Persian, to negotiate with two potential contenders, one of Siraj's generals, Yar Latif Khan, and Siraj's grand-uncle and deposed army chief, Mir Jafar Ali Khan.


On 23 April, 1757, the Select Committee of the Board of Directors of the British East India Company approved coup d'état as its policy in Bengal.


Mir Jafar, negotiating through an Armenian merchant, Khojah Petrus Nicholas, was the Company's final choice. Finally, on 5 June, 1757, a written agreement was signed between the Company, represented by Clive, and Mir Jafar. It ensured that Mir Jafar would be appointed Nawab of Bengal once Siraj Ud Daulah was deposed.




The East India Company's army led by Robert Clive, consisting of 950 Europeans and 2100 native Indian sepoys and a small number of guns was vastly outnumbered. The Nawab had an army of about 50,000 with some heavy artillery operated by about 40 French soldiers sent by the French East India Company. However, 16,000 of the 50,000 were under the control of Mir Jafar. Upon the promise of crown from the 'company masters', he chose not to fight, so the morale of the Nawab's army sank.[citation needed]


Along with Mir Jafar, the troops commanded by yar Latif and Rai Durlabh did not take part in the battle because of a secret pact made with the British. Only 5,000 troops actually engaged in battle, which was still significantly superior to the estimated 2,500 British soldiers facing them and there was a time when Clive thought that he would be forced to retreat. A cannonball strike that killed army chief Mir Madan and the ensuing confusion in the Nawab's ranks turned the course of the battle. The casualty figures - less than 20 British deaths - point to a very unequal battle.


The battle


The battle opened on a very hot and humid morning at 7:00 a.m. on 23 June, 1757, when the Nawab's army came out of its fortified camp and launched a massive cannonade against the British camp. The 18th century historian Ghulam Husain Salim describes what followed:

“     Mīr Muhammad Jafar Khān, with his detachment, stood at a distance towards the left from the main army; and although Sirāju-d-daulah summoned him to his side, Mīr Jafar did not move from his position. In the thick of the fighting, and in the heat of the work of carnage, whilst victory and triumph were visible on the side of the army of Sirāju-d-daulah, all of a sudden Mīr Madan, commander of the Artillery, fell on being hit with a cannon-ball. At the sight of this, the aspect of Sirāju-d-daulah’s army changed, and the artillerymen with the corpse of Mīr Madan moved into tents. It was now midday, when the people of the tents fled. As yet Nawāb Sirāju-d-daulah was busy fighting and slaughtering, when the camp-followers decamping from Dāūdpūr went the other side, and gradually the soldiers also took to their heels. Two hours before sun-set, flight occurred in Sirāju-d-daulah’s army, and Sirāju-d-daulah also being unable to stand his ground any longer fled. ”


At around 11:00 a.m., Mir Madan, the chief of the army and one of the Nawab's most loyal officers, launched an attack against the fortified grove where the East Indian Company was located. However, he was mortally wounded by a British cannonball, and this caused confusion among his troops.


At noon, a heavy rainstorm fell on the battlefield. The British quickly covered their gunpowder, cannons and muskets against the rain, but the untrained troops of the Nawab, in spite of French assistance, failed to do so. When the rains stopped, therefore, the British still had firepower while the Nawab's guns were useless. As a result, the cannonade ceased by 2:00 p.m. Clive's chief officer, Kilpatrick, launched an attack against the water ponds in between the armies. With their cannons and muskets completely useless, and with Mir Jafar's cavalry, who were the closest to the English, refusing to attack Clive's camp, the Nawab was forced to order a retreat. By 5:00 p.m., his army was in full retreat and the British had command of the field.


The battle cost the British East India Company just 22 killed and 50 wounded (most of these were native sepoys), while the Nawab's army lost at least 500 men killed and wounded.[9]




The Battle of Plassey is considered as a starting point to the events that established the era of British dominion and conquest in India.


Mir Jafar's fate


Mir Jafar, for his betrayal of the Nawab Siraj Ud Daulah and alliance with the British, was installed as the new Nawab, while Siraj Ud Daulah was captured on 2 July in Murshidabad as he attempted to escape further north. He was later executed on the order of Mir Jafar's son Miran. Ghaseti Begum and other powerful women were transferred to a prison in distant Dhaka, where they were eventually drowned in a boat accident, widely thought to have been ordered by Mir Jafar.


Mir Jafar chafed under the British supervision, and so asked the Dutch East India Company to intervene. They sent seven ships and about 700 sailors up the Hoogley to their settlement, but the British led by Colonel Forde managed to defeat them at Chinsura on 25 November, 1759. Thereafter, Mir Jafar was deposed as Nawab (1760) and Mir Kasim Ali Khan, (Mir Jafar's son-in-law) was appointed as Nawab. Mir Kasim showed signs of independence and was defeated in the Battle of Buxar (1764), after which full political control shifted to the Company.


Mir Jafar was re-appointed and remained the titular Nawab until his death in 1765, though all actual power was exercised by the Company.




As per their agreement, Clive collected £2.5 million for the company, and £234,000 for himself from the Nawab's treasury [10]. In addition, Watts collected £114,000 for his efforts. The annual rent of £ 30,000 payable by the Company for use of the land around Fort William was also transferred to Clive for life. To put this wealth in context, an average British nobleman could live a life of luxury on an annual income of £ 800 [11].


Robert Clive was appointed Governor of Bengal in 1765 for his efforts. William Watts was appointed Governor of Fort William on 22 June, 1758. He later resigned in favour of Robert Clive, who was also later appointed Baron of Plassey in 1762. Clive committed suicide in 1774, after being addicted to opium.


Diwani and Dual government In Bengal: Terms of Agreement


These were the terms agreed between the new Nawab and the Company:


   1. Confirmation of the mint, and all other grants and privileges in the Alinagar treaty with the late Nawab.

   2. An alliance, offensive and defensive, against all enemies whatever.

   3. The French factories and effects to be delivered up, and they never permitted to resettle in any of the three provinces.

   4. 100 lacs of rupees to be paid to the Company, in consideration of their losses at Calcutta and the expenses of the campaign.

   5. 50 lacs to be given to the British sufferers at the loss of Calcutta

   6. 20 lacs to Gentoos, Moors, & black sufferers at the loss of Calcutta.

   7. 7 lacs to the Armenian sufferers. These three last donations to be distributed at the pleasure of the Admiral and gentlemen of Council.

   8. The entire property of all lands within the Mahratta ditch, which runs round Calcutta, to be vested in the Company: also, six hundred yards, all round, without, the said ditch.

   9. The Company to have the zemindary of the country to the south of Calcutta, lying between the lake and river, and reaching as far as Culpee, they paying the customary rents paid by the former zemindars to the government.

  10. Whenever the assistance of the British troops shall be wanted, their extraordinary charges to be paid by the Nawab.

  11. No forts to be erected by the Nawab's government on the river side, from Hooghley downwards.


Contributing factor in Battle of Plassey and Buxar


    * One of members of Clive's entourage at Plassey was a young volunteer called Warren Hastings. He was appointed the British Resident at the Nawab's court in 1757. Hastings later became the first Governor-General of India for the British East India Company from 1773 to 1786, he was impeached for corruption.

    * Clive was later awarded the title Baron of Plassey and bought lands in County Limerick and County Clare, Ireland naming part of his lands near Limerick City, Plassey. It retains this name to this day and is now the site of the University of Limerick.

    * The French guns captured at this battle can still be visited at the Victoria Memorial in Calcutta [1].

    * The infamous meeting between Mir Jafar and Watts took place at Jaffarganj, a village close to Murshidabad. Mir Jafar's palace now stands in ruins at the place, but close to it is a gate called Nemak Haramer Deori (literally traitor's gate) where Watts is supposed to have entered the palace disguised as a purdanasheen (Urdu for veiled) lady in a palanquin.

    * One of the unseen protagonists of the court drama was a wealthy Marwari trader who went by the family name Jagat Sheth (English: World Banker (actual name - Mahtab Chand)). He was a hereditary banker to the Mughal Emperor and the Nawab of Bengal and thus well conversant with court intrigues. He negotiated a 5% commission from Clive for his assistance with the court intrigue to defeat Siraj. However, when Clive refused to pay him after his success, he is supposed to have gone mad. The family (i.e. Jagat Seth's) remained bankers to the Company until the transfer of the British head quarters to Calcutta in 1773 [12].

    * The Indian rebellion of 1857 began almost exactly a century later during May, 1857

    * Plassey Day is still celebrated by 9(Plassey) Battery, Royal Artillery




    * "A great prince was dependent on my pleasure, an opulent city lay at my mercy; its richest bankers bid against each other for my smiles; I walked through vaults which were thrown open to me alone, piled on either hand with gold and jewels! Mr. Chairman, at this moment I stand astonished at my own moderation" - Baron Robert Clive commenting on accusations of looting the Bengal treasury after Plassey, at his impeachment trial in 1773 [2][13]

    * "Heaven-born general" - British Prime Minister William Pitt 'The Elder', Earl of Chatham referring to Robert Clive

    * "It is possible to mention men who have owed great worldly prosperity to breaches of private faith; but we doubt whether it is possible to mention a state which has on the whole been a gainer by a breach of public faith." - Thomas Babington, Lord Macaulay, later British Secretary at War, who condemned Clive's actions


The battle was waged during the Seven Years' War (1756–1763) and in a mirror of their European rivalry, the French East India Company sent a small contingent to fight against the British. Siraj-ud-Daulah had a numerically superior force and made his stand at Plassey. The British, worried about being outnumbered and so promising huge amounts in bribes, reached out to Siraj-ud-Daulah's deposed army chief - Mir Jafar, along with others such as Yar Latif, Jagat Seth, Maharaja Krishna Nath and Rai Durlabh. Mir Jafar thus assembled his troops near the battlefield, but made no move to actually join the battle, causing Siraj-ud-Daulah's army to be defeated. Siraj-ud-Daulah fled, eventually to be captured and executed. As a result, the entire province of Bengal fell to the Company, with Mir Jafar appointed as the Company's puppet Nawab.


This is judged to be one of the pivotal battles leading to the formation of the British Empire in South Asia. The enormous wealth gained from the Bengal treasury, and access to a massive source of foodgrains and taxes allowed the Company to significantly strengthen its military might, and opened the way for British colonial rule, mass economic exploitation and cultural domination in nearly all of South Asia. The battles that followed strengthened the British foothold in South Asia and paved way for British colonial rule in Asia.


Pôlash (Bengali: পলাশ), an extravagant red flowering tree (Flame of the forest), gives its name to a small village near the battlefield. A phonetically accurate romanization of the Bengali name would be Battle of Palashi, but the anglicised spelling "Plassey" is now conventional in English.

      Major-General Robert Clive, 1st Baron Clive, KB (29 September 1725–22 November 1774), also known as Clive of India, was a British soldier who established the military and political supremacy of the East India Company in Southern India and Bengal. He is credited with securing India, and the wealth that followed, for the British crown. Together with Warren Hastings he was one of the key figures in the creation of British India.


Lieutenant-General Lord William Henry Cavendish-Bentinck GCB, GCH, PC (14 September 1774 – 17 June 1839), known as Lord William Bentinck, was a British soldier and statesman. He served as Governor-General of India from 1828 to 1835.

After service in the Peninsular War, Bentinck was appointed commander of British troops in Sicily. A Whig, Bentinck used this position to meddle in internal Sicilian affairs, effecting the King's withdrawal from government in favour of his son, the Crown Prince, the reactionary Queen's disgrace, and an attempt to devise a constitutional government for the troubled island, all of which ultimately ended in failure. In 1814, Bentinck landed with British and Sicilian troops at Genoa, and commenced to make liberal proclamations of a new order in Italy which embarrassed the British government (which intended to give much of Italy to Austria), and led, once again, to his recall in 1815.



On his return to England, Bentinck served in the House of Commons for some years before being appointed Governor-General of Bengal in 1827. His principal concern was to turn around the loss-making Honourable East India Company, in order to ensure that its charter would be renewed by the British government.


Bentinck engaged in an extensive range of cost-cutting measures, earning the lasting enmity of many military men whose wages were cut. Although his financial management of India was quite impressive, his modernising projects also included a policy of westernisation, influenced by the Utilitarianism of Jeremy Bentham and James Mill, which was more controversial. Reforming the court system, he made English, rather than Persian, the language of the higher courts and encouraged western-style education for Indians in order to provide more educated Indians for service in the British bureaucracy.


Bentinck also took steps to suppress sati, the death of a widow on her husband's funeral pyre, and other Indian customs which the British viewed as barbaric. Although his reforms met little resistance among native Indians at the time, it has been argued[citation needed] that they brought on dissatisfaction which ultimately led to the great Mutiny of 1857. His reputation for ruthless financial efficiency and disregard for Indian culture led to the much-repeated story that he had once planned to demolish the Taj Mahal and sell off the marble. According to Bentinck's biographer John Rosselli, the story arose from Bentinck's fund-raising sale of discarded marble from Agra Fort and of the metal from a famous but obsolete Agra cannon.[2]


Bentinck returned to the UK in 1835, refusing a peerage, and again entered the House of Commons as a Member for Glasgow.



Bentinck married Lady Mary, daughter of Arthur Acheson, 1st Earl of Gosford, in 1803. The marriage was childless. He died in Paris in June 1839, aged 64. Mary died in May 1843.[3] The department of Manuscripts and Special Collections, The University of Nottingham holds the personal papers and correspondence of Lord William Bentinck (Pw J), as part of the Portland (Welbeck) Collection.



James Andrew Broun-Ramsay, 1st Marquess of Dalhousie KT, PC (22 April 1812 – 19 December 1860) was a British statesman, and a colonial administrator in India.


Born in Dalhousie Castle, Scotland, he crowded into his relatively short life conspicuous public service in the United Kingdom, and established an unrivalled position among the master-builders of the Indian empire. He was responsible for re-creating the government in India based on a British model.


To his supporters he stands out in the clear light of history as the far-sighted Governor-General who consolidated British rule in India, laid the foundations of its later administration, and by his sound policy enabled his successors to stem the tide of rebellion.


To his critics, he stands out as the destroyer of both the East India Company's financial and military position through reckless policies. His critics also hold that he laid the foundations of the Indian Rebellion of 1857 and led the final transformation of profitable commercial operations in India into a money-losing colonial administration. His period of rule in India directly preceded the transformation into the Victorian Raj period of Indian administration.


He was denounced by many in England and India on the eve of his death as having failed to notice the signs of the brewing Indian Rebellion of 1857, having aggravated the crisis by his overbearing self-confidence, centralizing activity, and expansive annexations.


Dalhousie assumed charge of his dual duties as Governor-General of India and Governor of Bengal on 12 January 1848, and shortly afterwards he was honoured with the green ribbon of the Order of the Thistle.During this period, he was an extremely hard worker, often working sixteen to eighteen hours a day. The shortest workday Dalhousie would take began at half-past eight and would continue until half-past five, remaining at his desk even during lunch.[2] During this period, he sought to expand the reach of the empire and ride long distances on horseback, in spite of having a bad back. [3]


In contrast to many of the past leaders of the British Empire in India, he saw himself as an Orientalist monarch and believed his rule was that of a modernizer-attempting to bring the English intellectual revolution to India. A staunch utilitarian, he sought to improve Indian society under the prevalent Benthamite ideals of the period. However, in his attempt to do so he ruled with authoritarianism, believing these means were the most likely to increase the material development and progress of India. His well-intentioned policies, especially the doctrine of lapse, contributed to a growing sense of discontent among sectors of Indian society and therefore greatly contributed to the Great Indian Uprising of 1857, which directly proceeded his departure from India. [4]


Shortly after assuming his duties, in writing to the president of the board of control , Sir John Hobhouse, he was able to assure him that everything was quiet. This statement, however, was to be falsified by events almost before it could reach England.



On 19 April 1848 Vans Agnew of the civil service and Lieutenant Anderson of the Bombay European regiment, having been sent to take charge of Multan from Diwan Mulraj, were murdered there, and within a short time the Sikh troops and sardars joined in open rebellion. Dalhousie agreed with Sir Hugh Gough, the commander-in-chief, that the British East India Company's military forces were neither adequately equipped with transport and supplies, nor otherwise prepared to take the field immediately. He afterward decided that the proper response was not merely for the capture of Multan, but also the entire subjugation of the Punjab. He therefore resolutely delayed to strike, organized a strong army for operations in November, and himself proceeded to the Punjab. With evidence that the revolt was spreading outwards, Dalhousie declared, “Unwarned by precedent, uninfluenced by example, the Sikh nation has called for war; and on my words, sirs, war they shall have and with a vengeance.”[5] Despite the successes gained by Herbert Edwardes in the Second Anglo-Sikh War with Mulraj, and Gough's indecisive victories at Ramnagar in November, at Sadulapur in December, and at Chillianwala in the following month, the stubborn resistance at Multan showed that the task required the utmost resources of the government. At length, on 22 January 1849, the Multan fortress was taken by General Whish, who was thus set at liberty to join Gough at Gujrat. Here a complete victory was won on the 21 February at the Battle of Gujrat, the Sikh army surrendered at Rawalpindi, and their Afghan allies were chased out of India. In spite of substantial attempts by Sikh and Muslim forces to polarize opposition through religious and anti-British sentiment, Dalhousie’s military commanders were able to maintain the loyalty of troops, with the exception of a small number of Gurkah deserters. [6] For his services the earl of Dalhousie received the thanks of parliament and a step in the peerage, as marquess.


The war being now over, Dalhousie, without specific instructions from his superiors, annexed the Punjab. Believing in the inherent superiority of British rule over the “archaic” Indian system of rule, Dalhousie attempted to dismantle local rule, fulfilling the imperial goals of the Anglicizer Lord Bentinck. However, the province quickly became ruled by a group of “audacious, eccentric, and often Evangelical pioneers.”[7] In an attempt to minimize further conflict, he removed a number of these officials, establishing what he believed to be a more logical and rational system in which the Punjab was systematically divided into districts and divisions, governed by District officers and Commissioners respectively. This lasting system of rule established governance through a young maharaja under a triumvirate of the Governor General.[8] Governance under the established “Punjab School” of Henry and John Lawrence was initially successful, partially due to the system of local cultural respect, while still maintaining British values against acts of widow burning, female infanticide, and burning of lepers alive by small segments of the Indian populace.[9] However, Punjabi rule eventually came to be seen as despotic, largely because of the expansion of judicial system. Although often unpredictable or despotic, many Indians in “rationalized” provinces preferred their previous native rule. A village Brahmin told one of Dalhousie’s envoys: “The truth, Sir is seldom told in [the English] courts. They think of nothing but the number of witnesses, as if all were alike. Here, Sir, we look to the quality. When a man suffers wrong, the wrongdoers is summoned before the elders, or most respectable men of his village; and if he denies the charge and refuses redress, he is told to bathe, put his hand on the peepul tree, and declare his innocence..A man dares not, Sir, put his hand upon that sacred tree and deny the truth. The gods sit in it and know all things; and the offender dreads their vengeance.”[10]



One further addition to the empire was made by conquest. The Burmese court at Ava was bound by the Treaty of Yandaboo, 1826, to protect British ships in Burmese waters. But there arose a dispute between the Governor of Rangoon and certain British shipping interests (the Monarch and the Champion). While the dispute cannot be considered anything but minor, Dalhousie adopted the maxim of Lord Wellesley that an insult offered to the British flag at the mouth of the Ganges should be resented as promptly and fully as an insult offered at the mouth of the Thames. Attempts were made to solve the dispute by diplomacy. The Burmese eventually removed the Governor of Rangoon but this not considered sufficient. Commodore Lambert, despatched personally by Dalhousie, deliberately provoked an incident and then announced a war. The Burmese Kingdom offered little in the way of resistance. Martaban was taken on 5 April 1852, and Rangoon and Bassein shortly afterwards. Since, however, the court of Ava was unwilling to surrender half the country in the name of "peace", the second campaign opened in October, and after the capture of Prome and Pegu the annexation of the province of Pegu was declared by a proclamation dated 20 December 1853. To any further invasion of the Burmese empire Dalhousie was firmly opposed, being content to cut off Burma's commercial and political access to the outside world by the annexation. Some strangely spoke of the war as "uniting" territory, but in practice Arakan, Tenasserim and the new territories were still only linked in practical terms by sea.


By what his supporters considered wise policy he attempted to pacify the new province, placing Colonel Arthur Phayre in sole charge of it, personally visiting it, and establishing a system of telegraphs and communications. In practice, the new province was in language and culture very different from India. It could never successfully integrate into the Indian system. The end result of the war was to add an expensive new military and political dependency which did not generate sufficient taxes to pay for itself..[11] British Indian rule of Arakan and Tenasserim had been a financial disaster for the Indian Administration. Multiple times in the 1830s questions were raised about getting rid of these territories altogether. Why Dalhousie was so obsessed with increasing the size of a territory that did not generate sufficient revenue to pay for its own administration has never been explained.


One consequential factor of this war was Dalhousie’s continuation of the requirement that Sepoys be forced to serve abroad. This created great discontent among Indian sepoys, because it violated the Hindu religious prohibition against travel. In fact, this resulted in the mutiny of several regiments in the Punjab.[12] When this belief that the British were intentionally forcing caste breaking was combined with the widespread belief that the British were intentionally violating Hindu and Muslim purity laws with their new greased cartridges, the consequences (culminating in 1857), would prove to be extremely destructive..[13]



Perhaps the most controversial reform developed and implemented under Dalhousie was the policy of taking all legal means possible to assume control over “lapsed” states. Dalhousie, driven by the conviction that all India needed to be brought under British administration, began to apply what was called the doctrine of lapse. Under the doctrine, the British annexed any non-British state where there was a lack of a proper male lineal heir. Under the policy he recommended the annexation of Satara in January 1849, of Jaitpur and Sambalpur in the same year, and of Jhansi and Nagpur in 1853. In these cases his action was approved by the home authorities, but his proposal to annex Karauli in 1849 was disallowed, while Baghat and the petty estate of Udaipur, which he had annexed in 1851 and 1852 respectively, were afterwards restored to native rule. These annexations are considered by critics to generally represent an uneconomic drain on the financial resources of the company in India.



Other measures with the same object were carried out in the Company's own territories. Bengal, too long ruled by the Governor-General or his delegate, was placed under a separate Lieutenant-Governor in May 1854. The military boards were swept away; selection took the place of seniority in the higher commands; an army clothing and a stud department were created, and the medical service underwent complete reorganization. A department of public works was established in each presidency, and engineering colleges were provided. An imperial system of telegraphs followed. The first link of railway communication was completed in 1855, and well-considered plans mapped out the course of other lines and their method of administration. Dalhousie encouraged private enterprise to develop railways in India for the good of the people and also to reduce absolute dependence on the government. However, as an authoritarian, utilitarian ruler, Dalhousie brought the railways under state control-attempting to bring the greatest benefit to India from the expanding network.


In addition, the Ganges canal, which then exceeded all the irrigation lines of Lombardy and Egypt together, was completed; and despite the cost of wars in the Punjab and Burma, liberal provision was made for metalled roads and bridges. [14] The construction of massive irrigation works such as the 350-mile Ganges Canal, which contains thousands of miles of distributaries was a substantial project that was particularly beneficial for the largely-agricultural India. In spite of damaging certain areas of farmland by increasing soil salinity, overall the individuals living along the canal were noticeably better fed and clothed than those who were not. [15] Europeanization and consolidation of authority were the keynote of his policy. In nine minutes he suggested means for strengthening the Company's European forces, calling attention to the dangers that threatened the English community, a handful of scattered strangers ; but beyond the additional powers of recruitment which at his entreaty were granted in the last charter act of 1853, his proposals were shelved by the home authorities as they represented yet more expense added to the cost of India. In his administration Dalhousie vigorously asserted his control over even minor military affairs, and when Sir Charles Napier ordered certain allowances, given as compensation for the dearness of provisions, to be granted to the sepoys on a system which had not been sanctioned from headquarters, and threatened to repeat the offence, the Governor-General rebuked him to such a degree that Napier resigned his command.


Dalhousie's reforms were not confined to the departments of public works and military affairs. He created an imperial system of post-offices, reducing the rates of carrying letters and introducing postage stamps. He created the department of public instruction; he improved the system of inspection of gaols, abolishing the practice of branding convicts; freed converts to other religions from the loss of their civil rights; inaugurated the system of administrative reports; and enlarged the Legislative Council of India. His wide interest in everything that concerned the welfare of British economic interests in the country was shown in the encouragement he gave to the culture of tea, in his protection of forests, in the preservation of ancient and historic monuments. With the object of making the civil administration more European, he closed what he considered to be the useless college in Calcutta for the education of young civilians, establishing in its place a European system of training them in mufasal stations, and subjecting them to departmental examinations. He was equally careful of the well-being of the European soldier, providing him with healthy recreations and public gardens.



To the civil service he gave improved leave and pension rules, while he purified its moral by forbidding all share in trading concerns, by vigorously punishing insolvents, and by his personal example of careful selection in the matter of patronage. No Governor-General ever penned a larger number of weighty papers dealing with public affairs in India. Even after laying down office and while on his way home, he forced himself, ill as he was, to review his own administration in a document of such importance that the House of Commons gave orders for its being printed (Blue Book 245 of 1856). Another consequential set of reforms, were those aimed at modernizing the land tenure and revenue system. Throughout his time in office, Dalhousie disposed large landowners from portions of their estates. He also implemented policies attempting to end the rule of the zamindar tax farmers, as he viewed them as destructive “drones of the soil.”[16] However, thousands of smaller landlords had their holdings completely removed as did the relatively poor who leased small parcels of their land while farming the rest. This was particularly significant as the sepoys were often recruited from these economic groups. [17]



His foreign policy was guided by a desire to reduce the nominal independence of the larger native states, and to avoid extending the political relations of his government with foreign powers outside India. Pressed to intervene in Hyderabad, he refused to do so, claiming on this occasion that interference was only justified if the administration of native princes tends unquestionably to the injury of the subjects or of the allies of the British government. He negotiated in 1853 a treaty with the nizam, which provided funds for the maintenance of the contingent kept up by the British in support of that princes authority, by the assignment of the Berars in lieu of annual payments of the cost and large outstanding arrears. The Berar treaty, he told Sir Charles Wood, is more likely to keep the nizam on his throne than anything that has happened for fifty years to him, while at the same time the control thus acquired over a strip of territory intervening between Bombay and Nagpur promoted his policy of consolidation and his schemes of railway extension. The same spirit induced him to tolerate a war of succession in Bahawalpur, so long as the contending candidates did not violate British territory.


He refrained from punishing Dost Mohammad for the part he had taken in the Sikh War, and resolutely to refuse to enter upon any negotiations until the amir himself came forward. Then he steered a middle course between the proposals of his own agent, Herbert Edwardes, who advocated an offensive alliance, and those of John Lawrence, who would have avoided any sort of engagement. He himself drafted the short treaty of peace and friendship which Lawrence signed in 1855, that officer receiving in 1856 the order of K.C.B. in acknowledgement of his services in the matter. While, however, Dalhousie was content with a mutual engagement with the Afghan chief, binding each party to respect the territories of the other, he saw that a larger measure of interference was needed in Baluchistan, and with the Khan of Kalat he authorized Major Jacob to negotiate a treaty of subordinate co-operation on 14 May 1854. The khan was guaranteed an annual subsidy of Rs. 50,000, in return for the treaty which bound him to the British wholly and exclusively. To this the home authorities demurred, but the engagement was duly ratified, and the subsidy was largely increased by Dalhousies successors. On the other hand, he insisted on leaving all matters concerning Persia and Central Asia to the decision of the queens advisers. After the conquest of the Punjab, he began the expensive process of attempting to police and control the Northwest Frontier region. The hillmen, he wrote, regard the plains as their food and prey, and the Afridis, Mohmands, Black Mountain tribes, Waziris and others had to be taught that their new neighbours would not tolerate outrages. But he proclaimed to one and all his desire for peace, and urged upon them the duty of tribal responsibility. Nevertheless, the military engagement on the northwest frontier of India he began grew yearly in cost and continued without pause until the British left Pakistan.


The annexation of Oudh was reserved to the last. The home authorities had asked Dalhousie to prolong his tenure of office during the Crimean War, but the difficulties of the problem no less than complications elsewhere had induced him to delay operations. In 1854 he appointed Outram as resident at the court of Lucknow, directing him to submit a report on the condition of the province. This was furnished in March 1855. The report provided the British an excuse for action based on "disorder and misrule". Dalhousie, looking at the treaty of 1801, decided that he could do as he wished with Oudh as long as he had the king's consent. He then demanded a transfer to the Company of the entire administration of Oudh, the king merely retaining his royal rank, certain privileges in the courts, and a liberal allowance. If he should refuse this arrangement, a general rising would be arranged, and then the British government would intervene on its own terms. On 21 November 1855 the court of directors instructed Dalhousie to assume the control of Oudh, and to give the king no option unless he was sure that his majesty would surrender the administration rather than risk a revolution. Dalhousie was in bad health and on the eve of retirement when the belated orders reached him; but he at once laid down instructions for Outram in every detail, moved up troops, and elaborated a scheme of government with particular orders as to conciliating local opinion. The king refused to sign the ultimatum (in the form of a "treaty") put before him, and a proclamation annexing the province was therefore issued on 13 February 1856.


In his mind, only one important matter now remained to him before quitting office. The insurrection of the Kolarian Santals of Bengal against the extortions of landlords and moneylenders had been severely repressed, but the causes of the insurrection had still to be reviewed and a remedy provided. By removing the tract of country from local rule, enforcing the residence of British officers there, and employing the Santal headmen in a local police, he created a system of administration which proved successful in maintaining order.



At length, after seven years of strenuous labour, Dalhousie, on the 6 March 1856, set sail for England on board the Company's Firoze, an object of general sympathy and not less general respect. At Alexandria he was carried by H.M.S. Caradoc to Malta, and thence by the Tribune to Spithead, which he reached on 11 May. His return had been eagerly looked for by statesmen who hoped that he would resume his public career, by the Company which voted him an annual pension of £5,000, by public bodies which showered upon him every mark of respect, and by the queen who earnestly prayed for the blessing of restored health and strength. That blessing was not to be his. He lingered on, seeking sunshine in Malta and medical treatment at Malvern, Edinburgh and other places in vain obedience to his doctors. The outbreak of the mutiny led to bitter attacks at home upon his policy, and to strange misrepresentation of his public acts, while on the other hand John Lawrence invoked his counsel and influence, and those who really knew his work in India cried out, "Oh, for a dictator, and his return for one hour!" To all these cries he turned a deaf ear, refusing to embarrass those who were responsible by any expressions of opinion, declining to undertake his own defence or to assist in his vindication through the public press, and by his last directions sealing up his private journal and papers of personal interest against publication until fifty years after his death. On 9 August 1859 his youngest daughter, Edith, was married at Dalhousie Castle to Sir James Fergusson, Bart. In the same castle Dalhousie died on 19 December 1860; he was buried in the old churchyard of Cockpen.


Dalhousie's family consisted of two daughters, and the marquessate became extinct at his death.


Dalhousie is a beautiful hill station in Himachal Pradesh, India. Established in 1854 by the British Empire in India as a summer retreat for its troops and bureaucrats, the town was named after Lord Dalhousie who was the British viceroy in India at that time.


In office
1773 – 1785

(6 December 1732 - 22 August 1818) was the first Governor-General of Bengal, from 1773 to 1785. He was famously accused of corruption in an impeachment in 1787, but was acquitted in 1795. He was made a Privy Councillor in 1814.

Warren Hastings was born at Churchill, Oxfordshire in 1732 to a poor father and a mother who died soon after he was born[1]. He attended Westminster School before joining the British East India Company in 1750 as a clerk. In 1757 he was made the British Resident (administrator in charge) of Murshidabad. He was appointed to the Calcutta council in 1761 and returned to England in 1764. He went back to India in 1769 as a member of the Madras council and was made governor of Bengal in 1772. In 1773, he was appointed the first Governor-General of India.


At the time of his appointment to the post of Governor-General of India, the position was so new that the mechanisms by which the British would administer the territory were still being developed. Hastings held the title of governor, but rule was effected by a five man council on which he was no more than a member. In fact, the organizational structure was so confused that it "passed the wit of man to say what constitutional position he occupied[2]."


After an eventful ten-year tenure in which he greatly extended and regularised the nascent Raj created by Clive of India, Hastings resigned in 1784. On his return to England he was charged with high crimes and misdemeanours by Edmund Burke, encouraged by Sir Philip Francis whom he had wounded in a duel in India. He was impeached in 1787 but the trial, which began in 1788, ended with his acquittal in 1795. Hastings spent most of his fortune on his defence, although towards the end of the trial the East India Company did provide financial support.


He retained his supporters, however, and on 22 August 1806, the Edinburgh East India Club and a number of gentlemen from India gave what was described as "an elegant entertainment" to "Warren Hastings, Esq., late Governor-General of India", who was then on a visit to Edinburgh. One of the 'sentiments' drunk on the occasion was "Prosperity to our settlements in India, and may the virtue and talents which preserved them be ever remembered with gratitude."[3]


In 1788 he acquired the estate at Daylesford, Gloucestershire, including the site of the medieval seat of the Hastings family. In the following years, he remodelled the mansion to the designs of Samuel Pepys Cockerell, with magnificent classical and Indian decoration, and gardens landscaped by John Davenport. He also rebuilt the Norman church in 1816, where he was buried two years later.

Under Hastings's term as Governor General, a great deal of administrative precedent was set which profoundly shaped later attitudes towards the government of British India. Hastings had a great respect for the ancient scripture of Hinduism and set the British position on governance as one of looking back to the earliest precedents possible. This allowed Brahmin advisors to mould the law, as no Englishman thoroughly understood Sanskrit until Sir William Jones, and, even then, a literal translation was of little use; it needed to be elucidated by religious commentators who were well-versed in the lore. This approach accentuated the Hindu caste system and, to an extent, the frameworks of other religions, which had, at least in recent centuries, been somewhat more flexibly applied. Thus, British influence on the fluid social structure of India can in large part be characterised as a solidification of the privileges of the Hindu caste system through the influence of the exclusively high-caste scholars by whom the British were advised in the formation of their laws.


In 1781, Hastings founded Madrasa 'Aliya, meaning the higher madrasa, at Calcutta in an attempt to conciliate the goodwill of the Muslim population.[5] In addition, in 1784 Hastings supported the foundation of the Bengal Asiatic Society (now Asiatic Society of Bengal) by the oriental scholar Sir William Jones, which became a storehouse for information and data pertaining to the subcontinent, and exists in various institutional guises up to the present day.[6] Hastings' legacy has been somewhat dualistic as an Indian administrator, he undoubtedly was able to institute reforms during the time he spent as governor there that would change the path that India would follow over the next several years. He did, however, retain the strange distinction of being both the “architect of British India and the one ruler of British India to whom the creation of such an entity was anathema[7]."



In 1786 Cornwallis was appointed Governor-General and commander in chief in India. He instituted land reforms and reorganized the British army and administration. He was increasingly aligned with the government of William Pitt, writing home about his relief at King George III's recovery from illness, which had prevented the radical opposition led by Charles James Fox from taking power.[16]


Main article: Third Anglo-Mysore War


In 1792 he defeated Tippu Sultan, the powerful sultan of Mysore by capturing his capital Srirangapatnam, which concluded the Third Anglo-Mysore War and paved the way towards British dominance in Southern India.


Cornwallis was created Marquess Cornwallis in 1792. He returned to England the following year, and was succeeded by Sir John Shore. His time in India did much to restore his reputation which had been tarnished at Yorktown.


[edit] Lord Lieutenant of Ireland


Cornwallis was made Lord Lieutenant of Ireland in June 1798, after the outbreak of the Irish Rebellion of 1798 between republican United Irishmen and the British Government. His appointment was greeted unfavourably by the Irish elite, who preferred his predecessor Lord Camden, and suspected he had liberal sympathies with the predominantly Catholic rebels. However, he struck up a good working relationship with Lord Castelreagh, the Chief Secretary for Ireland.


In his combined role as both Viceroy and Commander-in-Chief Cornwallis oversaw the defeat of both the Irish rebels and a French invasion force led by General Humbert that landed in Connaught in August 1798. Panicked by the landing, and the British defeat at the Battle of Castlebar, thousands of reinforcements were despatched to Ireland swelling his forces to 60,000.[17] The French invaders were defeated and forced to surrender at the Battle of Ballinamuck. During the Autumn Cornwallis secured government control over the island, and organised the suppression of the remaining supporters of the United Irish movement.


He was also responsible for ordering the Military Road in Wicklow built, to root out rebels to the south of Dublin. It was part of a lengthy operation in mopping up the last areas of resistance, which lasted until Cornwallis' departure in 1801.


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