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Before the beginning of the formal rule of the Britishers in India, there was a background of Indo-European economic relationship. The British East India Company sometimes referred to as “John Company”, was a Joint- Stock Company established in 1600, as The Company of Merchants of London Trading into the East Indies. During this time, other trading companies, established by the Portuguese, Dutch, French, and Danish were similarly expanding in the region. The British Company gained footing in India in 1612 after Mughal emperor Jahangir granted the rights to establish a factory (a trading post) in Surat to Sir Thomas Roe, a representative diplomat of Queen Elizabeth Ist of England. The formal British rule in India is understood to have commenced in 1757, after the Battle of Plassey, when the Nawab of Bengal surrendered his dominions to the British East India Company. Henceforth the British Company transformed from a commercial trading venture to a political entity which virtually ruled India. Now it acquired auxiliary governmental and military functions, until its dissolution in 1858 when, consequent to the Government of India Act 1858, the British government assumed the task of directly administering India.


Even after securing the control over the trade routes during sixteenth-seventeenth centuries, the Europeans did not solve the basic pattern which had long dominated trade between India and the West. Indian goods were in far greater demand in Europe than were European goods in India. Merchants might profit handsomely through the sale of Indian goods, which were of both better quality and lesser price than similar European products. The result was both a drain of bullion from Europe to India, as well as stiff competition for European producers who were unable to match either the price or quality of Indian goods.

In fact the British East India Company, in the first 50 years of its existence, had no interest in the development of colonies, preferring to engage in trade only, following the pattern set by the Portuguese. This pattern was changed by 1650 when the power of the old guard British royalist merchants was broken, and a new class of merchants wrested control of the Company. They followed the pattern set by the colonial merchants in American colonies and the West Indies, and sought to establish a network of colonies linking England, Africa and India in a complicated network of exchange relationships.

The Mughal Empire declined in the first half of the eighteenth century. The political vacuum was filled by the rise of regional states like Bengal, Hyderabad, Awadh, Punjab and Maratha Kingdoms. But these regional powers could not provide lasting political stability resulting into a lustful chance for the British East India Company to establish a territorial empire in India. Now a set of institutions and regulations were required to rule India through colonial mechanism.

They adopted three methods to expand the British Empire. They were: 1. Wars and conquests, 2. Subsidiary Alliance System, and 3. annexation of territories through the adaptation of doctrine of lapse. Initial method was outright military conquest or direct annexation of territories; it was these areas that were properly called British India. Latter on to consolidate its position diplomatic efforts through treaties and agreements with indigenous rulers were also made.


By the beginning of the eighteenth century only two European trading companies of the British and the French were left in India competing for the Indian resources. The Anglo- French rivalry, taking the form of three Carnatic Wars constituted landmarks in the history of British conquest of south India in the eighteenth century. In order to establish their supremacy, it was necessary for the English East India Company to eliminate the French from this region. As a result of Seven Years’ War (1756–1763) in Europe, the French and English settlements in India also became involved in open hostilities. In the third Carnatic war, the British East India Company defeated the French forces at the battle of Wandiwash ending almost a century of conflict over supremacy in India. This battle gave the British trading company a far superior position in India compared to the other Europeans. The French were defeated by Sir Eyre Coote at Wandiwash in January, 1760, and Pondicherry capitulated a year later. The work of Dupleix and Bussy in the South was thus destroyed in 1760–1761; the French possessions in India were, however, restored by the treaty of Paris (1763). This conflict was resolved in the English East India Company’s favour because of its strong navy in India, its progressively increasing military strength and good leadership, the support they received from the Government in England, and the larger resources at its command in Bengal. A part of the fallout of the events in the Carnatic cycle of wars that the weakness of the Indian regional powers (in particular their inability to make naval interventions and the ineffectiveness of large armies of some of their powers against smaller European forces) became manifest and this had grave implications in the political history of the rest of the eighteenth century.


The first major conflict of the British against an Indian power was in Bengal. The history of Bengal from 1757 to 1765 is the history of gradual transfer of the power from the nawabs to the British. During this short period of eight years three nawabs, Siraj-ud- Daula, Mir Jafar and Mir Qasim ruled over Bengal but they failed to uphold the sovereignty of the nawab and ultimately the reign of control passed into the hands of the British .

The British, unable to compete with the Asian merchants in business, resorted to force, taking control of Bengal in 1757 under the pretext of the “Plassey revolt”. The result was that the British achieved victory in Bengal, for their use of force led to the decline of the very trade they so longed to control. By the time Sirajud- Daula succeeded Ali Vardi Khan as nawab of Bengal in 1756 trade privileges and their misuse by the Company and its officers had already become an issue of conflict. There was a privilege which had been granted to the Company for its export and import trade by the Mughal emperor Farrukhsiyar. According to this Imperial farman, the Company had to pay Rs. 3000 a year and in return could carry on trade duty- free in Bengal. The Company’s servants extended this privilege to their own coastal trade, inter- Asian trade and finally the inland trade. This was an obvious usurpation. Certain other factors like the fortification around Calcutta without the permission of the nawab and repeated defiance of the nawab’s authority along with sheltering the offenders of the nawab were the acts on the part of the English Company which provoked the nawab. The Company officials also suspected that nawab was going to have an alliance with the French in Bengal. Siraj-ud-Daula’s attack on Calcutta precipitated an open conflict.

The British retaliation started with hatching a conspiracy against the nawab in alliance with his officers like Rai Durlabh, Ami Chand, Mir Jafar and Jagat Seth. So English victory in the battle of Plassey (23 June, 1757) was pre-decided. It was not the superiority of the military power but the conspiracy that helped the English in wining the battle. Mir Jafar, The commander-in-chief of the Nawab was awarded the Nawabship by Clive for his support to the English. Mir Jafar responded by paying a sum of Rs.One Crore and Seventy Seven lakhs (17,700,000) to the Company and large sums to the Company officers as bribe. But Mir Jafar could not support the ever increasing demands of the English who were also suspicious about his collaboration with the Dutch Trading Company. Mir Jafar, who was made nawab after the battle of Plassey, was deposed in 1760. Mir Qasim was placed on the throne by the British in the hope that he would be able to meet their financial demands. The new Nawab assigned to them the district of Burdawan, Midnapore and Chittagong for the expenses of the British army which was to help him. This alliance was of great help to the British in their campaign against the French in 1760–1761; the money paid by Mir Qasim helped the Calcutta Council to finance their war in South. The Nawab succeeded in establishing a better system of administration. But he came into conflict with the British in Bengal on the question of a privilege i.e. duty free private trade of the Company. Mir Qasim’s proposed plan about equal trade duties for British and Indian traders was turned down by the British council at Calcutta. Mir Qasim, in the circumstances, remitted all duties on Indians and the British alike for two years. This measure deprived the British private traders of the privileged position they had created for themselves, they could not compete with Indian traders on equal terms. The Nawab’s attempts to reorganize the army and shifting of capital from Murshidabad to Monghyr were also taken as unforgivable offences by the Company.

In June 1763 under Major Adams British army defeated Mir Qasim the Nawab of Bengal. Mir Qasim fled to Patna and took help from Emperor Shah Alam II and Shujaud-Daula (Who was Nawab of Awadh and also the Wazir of the Mughal empire). Matters came to a head when the chief of the Company’s factory at Patna, tried to seize the city. This precipitated war. Mir Qasim, an excellent civil administrator, was no military leader. His army was defeated. When he was forced to withdraw to Awadh, the Nawab Wazir and emperor Shah Alam II decided to come to the defence of the eastern subas of the empire. The confederates advanced to Patna, and a battle was fought at Buxar on October 22, 1764. With a decisive victory at Buxar, the British army overran Awadh. The Nawab Wazir fled to the Rohilla country, but Shah Alam II came to terms with the British. Lord Clive, then British Governor in Calcutta, also concluded treaty of Allahabad with the Shuja-ud-Daula Nawab Wazir of Awadh, who was to pay fifty lakhs of rupees for the expenses of the war and was given back his dominions. He entered into defensive alliance with the Company. Awadh became for the British a buffer state. Shah Alam II was now a fugitive- Delhi had now fallen into the hands of the Rohilla chief Najib-ud-daulah. The British gave emperor Shah Alam II possession of Kara and Allahabad, while he granted them the Diwani of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa in return for a regular annual payment of twenty- six lakhs of rupees.


The early mechanism of the establishment of Company rule in Bengal followed the administrative system under the Mughals. The Mughal provincial administration had two main heads - nizamat and diwani. Broadly speaking, nizamat meant administration of law and order and criminal justice; while diwani was the revenue administration and civil justice. The provincial Subadar was in charge of nizamat (he was also called nazim) and the diwan was in charge of revenue administration. After the treaty of Allahabad the English East India Company was made the Diwan of Bengal but Lord Clive choose not to take over the administration of Bengal directly; this responsibility was left to the Nawab’s Naib Diwan and Naib Nazim Muhammad Raza Khan. As naib nazim he was to represent the nawab and as naib diwan he was to represent the Company. Thus the Nawab had to handle the entire responsibility for the civil and criminal justice administration. However, he had to function through Muhammad Raza Khan who was placed under the superintendence, direction and control of the British Company.

As the Diwan, the Company directly collected its revenue, while through the right to nominate the Deputy Nazim, it controlled the nizamat or the Police or Judicial powers. This arrangement is known as ‘Dual or Double Government’. Under this system British had power and resources without responsibility while the Nawab had the responsibility of the administration without power to discharge it. Thus the Nawab had to take all responsibility for bad governance. The revenue remained the sole earning of the Company in lieu of a meager annual payment to the Mughal emporer.


Shifting its role from a trading corporation, the English East India Company gradually became supreme political power in India. There were other regional kingdoms which were conquered by the British. Haidar Ali and his son Tipu Sultan the legendary rulers of Mysore (in Carnatic, modern day Indian state of Karnataka ), gave a tough time to the British forces in the second half of the eighteenth century. Haidar Ali was in command of the army in Mysore from 1749; he became the ruler of the state in 1761. Until his defeat by Sir Eyre Coote in 1781 Haidar Ali continued his struggle against the Company. Mysore finally fell to the Company forces in 1799, with the slaying of Tipu Sultan in 1799. With the gradual weakening of the Maratha Empire in the aftermath of the three Anglo-Maratha wars fought during 1772-1818, the British also secured the Maratha territories. It was during these campaigns, both against Mysore and the Marathas, that under the command of Arthur Wellesley, the British had secured the entire region of Southern India (with the exception of small enclaves of French and local rulers), Western India and Eastern India.

The second method was the use of subsidiary agreements (sanad) between the British and the local rulers. This development created what came to be called the Native States, or Princely States. The Subsidiary Alliances system was also introduced by Lord Wellesley in and after 1798. The British, under the subsidiary alliance system, agreed to protect the Indian rulers against external threats and internal disorder but, in return, the Indian rulers who accepted the Subsidiary Alliance system were to agree to the stationing of British contingent for whose maintenance they would pay a subsidy to the British. The ruler under the system of alliance could neither enter into alliance with any other power nor fight a war without prior permission from the British. A British resident was stationed at these ruling states that had the authority to interfere in state politics. This system was suited best to the advantage of the British as, without even spending a single penny the British were able to maintain large forces. Moreover this system enabled the English to weed out the foreign influence from the Indian courts. The Nizam of Hydrabad was first to enter into a subsidiary alliance with the English in 1798. He was forced to replace the French officers from his court and put English officers in their place. He also granted the territories of Bellari and Cudappah to British for the maintenance of the army. The subsidiary alliances created the Princely States (or Native States) of the Maharajas and the Nawabs, prominent among which were: Cochin (1791), Jaipur (1794), Travancore (1795), Hyderabad (1798) and Mysore (1799). The annexed regions included the North Western Provinces (comprising Rohilkhand, Gorakhpur, and the Doab) (1801), Delhi (1803), and Sindh (1843). Punjab, Northwest Frontier Province, and Kashmir, were annexed after the Anglo-Sikh Wars in 1849. Kashmir was sold under the Treaty of Amritsar (1850) to the Dogra Dynasty of Jammu, and thereby became a princely state. In 1854 Berar was annexed, and the state of Oudh two years later. The Main purpose of the subsidiary alliance system was to expand the British Empire in India by bringing new territories under its control and to decrease the French influence so that The British could become the paramount power in India.

Punjab remained the last Indian state to be conquered by the British in 1849. It was under the rule of Maharaja Ranjit Singh who had united the various Sikh misls into one state. He had established a modern administrative system. His army was the second largest modernized regular army in Asia after the British army. The East India Company maintained friendly relations with Ranjit Singh .But just within one decade of his death in 1839, two Anglo-Sikh wars were fought and in 1849 Punjab also became part of the British India. The Doctrine of Lapse was an annexation policy devised by Lord Dalhousie, who was the Governor General of India between 1848 and 1856. There was a widespread custom of adoption among the Indian kings to secure an heir in the absence of a natural successor i.e. son. But as per the doctrine of lapse any Indian state created by or under the direct influence (paramount) of the British East India Company , as a vassal state under the British Subsidiary System, would automatically “lapse” or annexed by the British if the ruler was either incompetent or died without a natural male heir. Thus not only the long-established right of the Indian sovereigns without an heir to choose successor was taken over, but the British also took over the authority of deciding the competence of the Indian rulers. With the introduction of this policy of lapse, the Company could establish absolute, imperial administrative control over many regions spread over the subcontinent. The Company took over the princely states of Satara, Jaitpur , Sambalpur, Nagpur and Jhansi using this Doctrine. Often the annexation, such as that of Awadh [Oudh] in 1856, was justified on the grounds that the native prince was of evil disposition, indifferent to the welfare of his subjects.


The need for constitutional change arose after the East India Company became the political power in 1757 .The British Government was no longer willing to allow the Company’s affairs to continue unsupervised .Pressure from merchants and manufacturers to end the monopoly of the Company mounted .Public opinion was critical of corruption in the Government in Bengal. Free enterprise was a major demand. The British Parliament enacted a series of laws among which the Regulating Act of 1773 stood first, to curb the Company traders’ unrestrained commercial activities and to bring about some order in territories under the Company control. Limiting the Company charter to periods of twenty years, subject to review upon renewal, this act gave the British government supervisory rights over the Bengal, Bombay, and Madras presidencies. The Regulating Act also created a unified administration for India, uniting the three presidencies under the authority of the Bengal’s governor, who was elevated to the new position of governor-general. Warren Hastings was the first incumbent governor-general (1773–1785). The Pitt’s India Act of 1784 sometimes described as the “half-loaf system”, as it sought to mediate between Parliament and the company directors, enhanced Parliament’s control by establishing the Board of Control, whose members were selected from the British cabinet. As governor-general from 1786 to 1793, Lord Cornwallis, professionalized, bureaucratized, and Europeanized the company’s administration. He also outlawed private trade by company employees, separated the commercial and administrative functions, and enhanced the salaries of company’s servants.

As revenue collection became the company’s most essential administrative function, Lord Cornwallis granted legal ownership of land to the zamindars in Bengal. In return, zamindars had to pay the government fixed revenue by a certain particular date. This arrangement was to last for ever; hence the title “permanent settlement” was given. This system was also known as the zamindari system. The immediate consequence was that as now zamindar became the owner of the land, the peasant was reduced to the status of the tenant on his own land. Moreover now land became a negotiable property and the state was excluded from agricultural expansion and development, which came under the purview of the zamindars. In Madras and Bombay, however, the ryotwari (peasant) settlement system was set in motion, in which peasant cultivators had to pay annual taxes directly to the government.

The Charter Act of 1813 ended the monopoly of the Company over trade with India. The Company’s control over revenue, administration and appointments remained untouched. The Charter Act of 1833 abolished the Company’s monopoly of the China trade. The Act also deprived the presidencies of the power to make laws, concentrating legislative power with the Governor-General and his council.

With such expansion of the British territories and the increasing administrative responsibilities, a bureaucracy was also required to control British possessions. In 1785, Lord Cornwallis created a professional cadre of Company servants who had generous salaries, had no private trading or production interests in India, enjoyed the prospect of regular promotion and were entitled to pensions. All high-level posts were reserved for the British, and Indians were excluded. Cornwallis appointed British judges, and established British officials as revenue collectors and magistrates in each district of Bengal.

From 1806 the Company trained its young recruits in Haileybury College near London. Appointments were still organized on a system of patronage. In 1829 the system was strengthened by establishing districts throughout British India small enough to be effectively controlled by an individual British official who henceforth exercised a completely autocratic power, acting as revenue collector, judge and chief of police. After 1833 the Company selected amongst its nominated candidates by competitive examination. After 1853, selection was entirely on merit and the examination was thrown open to any British candidate. The Indian civil service (i) was very highly paid; (ii) it enjoyed political power which no bureaucrat could have had in England.


By the mid- eighteenth century, the British had a political presence in the three presidency towns of Madras, Bombay, and Calcutta which also saw the emergence of British judicial system in India. The Mayor’s Court was established in 1727 for civil litigation in Bombay, Calcutta, and Madras. In 1772 an elaborate judicial system, known as adalat, established civil and criminal jurisdictions. Both Hindu pandits and Muslim qazis (Sharia court judges) were recruited to aid the presiding judges in interpreting their customary laws, but in general, British common and statutory laws became applicable. The two main theoretical principles underlying the entire British judicial system in India were the notions of the Rule of Law and Equality before law; thus as per theory no one was above the law (certain rules which defined the rights, privileges and obligations of the people) and all the citizens irrespective of their caste, class and other status, were now equal before law. The principle of habeas corpus provided that no person could be arrested or kept in prison without a written order from the local executive or the judicial authority. Even the Government servant, if the acts done in their official capacity could be sued in the court of Law. The natural upshot of the Rule of Law was the Equality before the Law, which subsequently followed the Rule of Law. The Equality before the Law appeared as a novel feature in the caste-ridden Indian society.

Under the Regulating Act of 1773 the King-in-Council created a Supreme Court in the Presidency town of Calcutta. Under the charter, the Supreme Court also had the authority to exercise all types of jurisdiction in the region of Bengal, Bihar, and Orissa, with the only caveat that in situations where the disputed amount was in excess of Rs. 4,000, their judgment could be appealed to the Privy Council at London. The Supreme Courts in Madras and Bombay were finally established in 1801 and 1823, respectively.

Lord Cornwallis separated the executive and judicial duties at district level. For the civil cases Sadar Diwani Adalat was the highest appealing body followed by the four Provincial Courts of Civil Appeal at Calcutta, Dacca, Murshidabad and Patna. Then at local levels District Courts, Registrars’ Courts and a number of Subordinate Courts were making the hierarchy. A large number of magistrates were active to deal with criminal cases, above them were four Courts of Circuit at Calcutta, Dacca, Murshidabad and Patna which were governed by Sadar Nizamat Adalat at Calcutta. In 1831 William Bentinck abolished the four Provincial civil and criminal courts and redistributed their work to Commissioners and District Collectors.

So to conclude the British rule over India changed the course of history in India. The British came to India in the beginning of the seventeenth century. The British East India Company was established with the aim of having monopoly over Asian trade. In the process of gaining trading rights in India, the British annexed many Indian princely states and formed laws and policies of their own. Slowly but rapidly the entire Indian sub continent came under the British rule. However its policies were disliked by Indians and together they revolted against the company in 1857. This led to the downfall of the company and the administration of India went directly under the Queen. By the Government of India Act of 1858 the direct rule of the British Crown was finally established in place of the Company’s rule.


Since ancient times the commercial interests subsumed the relationship between India and Europe. There was a great demand from the Europeans, chiefly for Indian spices like pepper, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger and such other things. These products were being exported to Greek and Roman empires of Europe. In the middle ages, trade between Asian countries and Europe used to take place via the Presian Gulf, Red sea and through the north western regions of India. The commercial activity of Asia was being controlled by the Arabs. Mediterranean and European trade were under the monopoly of Italy. By 1400, this trade proved to be immensely profitable. It was through its rich cities of Venice, Geneva, Milan and Florance that Italy acted as a distribution centre for the spices obtained from India. It was to overcome this Italian monopoly that the western European nations tried to look for alternative trade routes through the Atlantic Ocean. Beginning with Spain and Portugal, the countries of Europe encouraged the sailors in their venture of discovering new regions.

The new scientific instruments like the compass, gun powder, naval equipments, maps etc., helped the sailors in their sea voyage. Besides the stories that were being told about the wealth of the Eastern nations, the eagerness of missionaries for proselytisation was a source of inspiration which promoted to find out alternative routes to India.

The Europeans had begun their sea voyages towards the east even before the establishment of the Moghul empire in India. They were attracted by the information of Indians wealth. In 1498, for the first time, the Portuguese navigator, Vasco da Gama, came to Calicut on the western coast of India for the purpose of trade. With this, he became the first European to re-establish trade relations with India. 

The Portuguese enjoyed trade monopoly over the Arabian Sea till the 17th century. With the arrival of the Dutch and the English, in to India, the Portuguese monopoly started declining. The British sought and obtained permission for trade from the native chiefs and the Mughal Emperor. Initially, the trade was for the mutual benefit of Indians and Europeans. During these early days, the British fought with other Europeans to gain monopoly over trade. In the early part of the 17th century the British were able to over come the Portuguese in these conflicts. They became victorious even against the Dutch towards the end of the 18th century. During the begining of the 17th Century, The Mughal Emperor Furuk siyyar granted to the British some villages near Calcutta. Gradually, the British extended their sway even in Madras and Bombay. These fishing villages of Madras, Calcutta and Bombay subsequently became British administrative centres or Presidencies. Through the British East India Company they expanded their trade, commerce and political control. Initially, these places were the trade centres of the East India Company. The British built forts around these areas and strengthened them. They became their warehouses for the commodities they traded in. These areas had their own civil and criminal laws. The first half of the 18th century was a period of great decline for the Moghul Empire. It was the rise of marchants states and Playagars that the Moghul Empire declined. Among them of significance were the native states of Bengal, Oudh, Hyderabad and the Maratha. Only for the name sake had the native states acknowledged the suzerainty of the Moghal Emperor.

During this period, the British company built its own army to protect its trade. These small native rulers of India who dared to free themselves from the hold of Delhi came forward to seek the assistance of the foreign army. In the subsequent days, the British and the French interfered in the politics of these native rulers to establish their supremacy in India. The British traders became the masters of the Empire not nearlly by the might of their army. But rather, used their political acumen and cunningness. Even during the days of the decline of the native states, the opposition to the establishment of British Empire was in no way small.

Beginning with Siraj-ud-Daula, the Nawab of Bengal, there were many including Hyder Ali and Tippu of Mysore who fought against the British. In the conflict between the British and the French, Nawab Anwaruddin of Carnatic was used as a pawn by the British. The French captured Madras. On account of the agreement that was made subsequently, the French handed over Madras back to the English. This has been called the First Carnatic War.

In the Deccan region, there ensued a struggle for the position of the Nizam of Hyderabad and the Nawab of Carnatic. In this struggle for succession, the English and the French supported their candidates. The British, under the leadership of Robert Clive, supported Anwaruddin. In the same manner, the French under the leadership of Dupleix, supported Chanda Sahib. In the war that ensued, Robert Clive attacked Arcot and surrounded Tiruchinapalli. Chanda Sahib who supported the French, died in the battle. Due to this Carnatic region fell indirectly into the hands of the British. The French defeated Nasir Jung of Hyderabad who was a supporter of the British. As a result, Hyderabad came into the control of the French. This has been called the Second Carnatic war. However, the infuence of the French over the Deccan area slowly dissipated.

But later the attempt of the French to capture Fort St.George and attack Madras did not succeed. The English army Commander Sir Eyre Coote, defeated the French in the Battle of Wandiwash. Due to this, the French lost most of their power in India. In the subsequent agreement that was made, the British handed over to the French most of what was won. Despite this the French were not permitted to build forts and to protect them. Those places had to remain only as trade centres. This was the main effect of the Third Carnatic War. After having defeated all the European powers who wanted to establish their rule over India, the British started conquering India. In this conquest the first to be conquered was Bengal. The battle that was fought by Siraj-ud-Daula against the British to regain control over Bengal has been called the Battle of Plassey. In this war of 1757, the English army under Robert Clive, decisively defeated Nawab Siraj-ud-Daul at the Battle of Plassey. Mir Jafar, who helped the British, was nominated as the Nawab of Bengal. The British in return got the zamindari right over the 24 Paraganas and became all powerful. When Mir Jafar started consolidating his position, the British removed him and appointed Mir Qasim as the Nawab of Bengal. In return he granted the British the regions of Burdwan, Midnapur and Chittagong. When Mir Qasim tried to free himself from the hold of the British, he was removed. Later, the English installed once again Mir Jafar as a Nawab with certain conditions.

In the midst of all this, the confederate army of the Moghul Emperor Shah Alam, Nawab of Oudh, Shuja-Ud-Daula and Mir Qasim, fought against the British army and were defeated. This war has been called the Battle of Buxar of 1764. As a consequence of this war, the English acquired the provinces of Bihar, Orissa and Bengal. The Moghul emperor, Shah Alam conceded the Diwani rights to the British. Subsequently, Robert Clive who was appionted as the company Governer in 1765 introduced the Dual Government in Bengal. That implied due to the Diwani rights English were collecting the land revenue. Administration, importing of Justice and other administrative functions were carry on by the Nawab, this as been called the ‘Dual Government’. In this way, in order to protect their commercial interests, the British by their political shrewdness took control over the native regions. Thus gradually, they appeared on the main stream of India and began to assert their supremacy.

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For a very long time, the Europeans and the Arabs had trade relations with India through Asian land routes. It was from Constantinople through the territories of Asia that they came over to India. During those days, this was the only available route to India. But with the Capture of Constantinople by the Ottoman Turks in1453 the Europeans trade with India was adversly effected. This was the chief motivating factor for the Europeans to search for an alternative route to India.


Robert Clive

Robert Clive was the first official responsible for the creation of a British India. He had joined the East India Company as a clerk. He played a significant role in the Carnatic War, Porlimentary in the sages of Arcot and became responsible for the victory of the British. After having become seccussfull in the establishment of the British existance in the south, he was also responsible for their victory over Bengal. On account of the Battle of Plassey of 1757, he gained control over the Nawab of Bengal. As a result, Clive earned lot of wealth both for himself and the East India Company. When Clive returned to England as a very prosperous man, he managed to get appointed as a Member of Parliament too. After Clive’s departure to England, The East India Company began to experience huge losses. Although there were many accusations against him, in order to regain its lost status, the British government was forced to send him back to India as a General. Clive brought victory to the British again in the Battle of Buxar and obtained the Diwani rights of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa. Thus having acquired wealth for himself and the East India Company, he returned to England in 1767.


Dupleix was appointed Governor General of the French possessions in India in 1742. In order to realize his dream of establishing French supremacy over India, Dupleix had entered into agreements with the native Rulers. Even Hyder Ali was trained in the same native army that was reared by Dupleix. Dupleix had posed a great challenge to the establishment of British supremacy. It is with regard to the establishment of their supremacy in the Carnatic and the Deccan that we see the conflict between the British and the French. Dupleix having played a Significant role in the battle of Madras of 1746, was succesful. The conflict between the French and British continued till 1754. Subsequently, the French Government, desiring peace, recalled Dupleix.

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Black Hole Tragedy In 1756, Siraj-ud-Daula, the Nawab of Bengal, had attacked Qasim Bazaar, the trade centre of the British, and occupied St.David Fort of Calcutta. He lodged the British soldiers captured at this time in a small room at Calcutta. Among the 146 prisoners imprisoned there, 123 died due to the suffocating heat in the room. This came to be known as the ‘Black Hole Tragedy’.

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1600 A.D. : The East India Company was established in England.

1602 A.D. : United East India Company was established in Netherland.

1619 A.D. : The Moghul Emperor, Jehangir, gave permission to the East India Company to carry on trade in Surat on the west coast, and Hoogly on the east coast of India.

1639 A.D. : The British established their ware house at Madras.

1664 A.D. : The French East India Company was established at France.