East India Company and Carnatic Wars- History Guide for Class 8

East India Company and Carnatic Wars- History Guide for Class 8

Information about East India Company and Carnatic Wars


East India Company and Carnatic Wars


Class 8


Class 8 History

Topics Covered

  • Trading Companies
  • The East India Company
  • The Carnatic War

Vasco da Gama landed at Calicut in 1498 and marked the beginning of the European era in Indian history. By the sixteenth century, the Portuguese had established their colony in Goa. In the next century, India became a popular destination for a large number of European traders, adventurers and missionaries from England, Spain, France, Holland, etc.

The Age of Imperialism in India began with the weakening and eventually, the disintegration of the Mughal Empire. The lack of a strong central authority led to the emergence of many independent states that revolted against the weak successors of Aurangzeb. They were the states of Bengal, Awadh, Hyderabad and Mysore. The Sikhs, the Marathas, the Jats and the Rajputs also set-up their own kingdoms. Hence, the stage was set for Europeans to take advantage of this situation. 

Trading Companies

Many European trading companies established their trading centres in coastal areas of India. The trading centres were called factories—the places where 'factors' or 'officials' worked. Some of the factories were fortified as a safeguard from the rival trading companies. They bought spices, cotton textiles (handlooms), indigo (for dying) and saltpetre (raw material for making gun powder) at cheap rates from India and sold them in Europe and America at high price. The huge profit margin led to a competition among the foreign trading companies.

Eventually, the other trading companies had to bow out to the English and the French companies, who remained the main rivals in India.

The East India Company

The history of the world has not witnessed a more amazing story than that of establishment of the British Empire in India. It was not the result of a deliberate effort but a series of episodes that finally led to political dominance of India by the East India Company.

The East India company set-up trading posts in Surat and the three presidency settlements at Fort William in Bengal, Fort St. George in Madras and the Bombay Castle. They established friendly relations with the local princes to further their profits. The Indian rulers signed alliances to secure the help of the English military to settle their internal rivalries. Taking advantage of the situation, the British introduced the policy of 'Divide and Rule'. As a result, the Indian princes became mere puppets in the hands of the English.

How could a trading company become an imperial power?
The real answer is that the East India Company became an imperial power to protect its trading interests from other European traders. It began as a trading company, took over political control and became the ruler of entire India. The aim of the Company was to gain monopoly of the entire trade in the East. The Company came into conflict with other foreign traders and hence, built up its own military and administrative departments. It became such a strong force that it took over the governance of Bengal, Madras (now Chennai) and Bombay (now Mumbai). Gradually, the trading Company transformed into an auxiliary government and military power that ended only in 1858. 

The Carnatic War

The Carnatic Wars were a series of battles fought between the English and the French, for the control of the trading ports of India, during the years 1746 to 1763.
These wars were driven by opportunism on all sides and though the native princes did not want to surrender their territory to an outside power, they often cooperated willingly with Europeans to strengthen their own position. 

The First Carnatic War (1746-48)

  • The Carnatic War was the result of Austrian succession war that took place in 1740 between Austria and Prussia.
  • England and France entered opposite sides in this war. Commodore Barnet, the British Naval Officer arrived into India with troop. But the French proposed peace with British.
  • The Nawab of Carnatic, Anwar-ud-Din, also ordered that there should not be any war. So, Commodore Barnet returned to England, but Dupleix did not keep his promise and attacked Madras and occupied it. 
  • The British complained to the Nawab. He declared war against the French. 
  • The battle took place in 1746. In this battle Anwar-ud-Din was defeated by the French.
  • The Austrian succession war came to an end in 1748.
  • The power of France weakened in India also. France was forced to sign a treaty and handover Madras back to England. 

The Second Carnatic War (1749-54)

  • There was war of succession between Chanda Saheb (son-in-law of Dost Ali Khan) and Anwar-ud-Din, for the Carnatic Nawabship.
  • After the death of Nizam-ul-Mulk, the Deccan Subedar, in 1748, a war broke out between Mujaffar Jung (grandson of Nizam-ul-Mulk) and Nasir Jung (son of Nizam-ul-Mulk).
  • The French signed a secret treaty with Muzaffar Jung and Chanda Sahib to help them with well-trained French forces.
  • They defeated Nazir Jung and Anwar-ud-Din, the Nawab of Carnatic and gained monopoly of trade over south India. Anwar-ud-Din died in the battle and his son Muhammad Ali ran away.
  • On the other hand, the English plotted with Nazir Jung and defeated the French army.

The Third Carnatic War (1756-63)

  • The Third Carnatic War began in 1756 between the French and the English when the French besieged Madras, Robert Clive sent Colonel Ford to occupy Northern Circars.
  • Ford occupied Northern Circars and brought Salabat Jung (the fourth Nizam of Hyderabad) under his control. Salabat Jung gave Northern Circars to the British.
  • A battle took place in 1760 at Wandiwash between the English and the French. The French were defeated.
  • Pondicherry (now Puducherry) was occupied by the British.
  • When the seven year war ended in Europe in 1763, the Treaty of Paris was signed.
  • As per this treaty, Pondicherry was given back to the French.
  • Robert Clive, succeeded in making a name for himself among the native princes.
  • He won many more battles for the English and foiled Dupleix, the French General, at every turn.
  • As a result of constant defeats, Dupleix was called back to France in disgrace. 

Eventually, French East India Company was dissolved in 1770. The French ambitions of establishing an empire in India ended and the British supremacy was firmly established. 
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