In the previous chapter (written light years ago), we read about how the imperialist “Marquess of Wellesley” extended the british dominion in India but putting an end to Mysore and doing more nasty things like extending the subsidiary alliance to most of the indian kingdoms (like a boss).
Now the plan was to continue presenting the indian struggle for independence from the side of firangis, but some of you wanted to know more about the anglo mysore wars and so, here is an attempt to make things easy for you.
Admittedly, these 4 wars, fought from 1767 to 1799 (32 years!) span a really long time in history. The timelines criss-cross with 3 empires which were humbled in course of time by the firangis (Marathas, Mysore & Nizam of Hyd).
Here’s a really quick timeline of what all happened –
4 wars – 4 legions – 3 treaties and the great mysore rocket
I hope you know about the mysore rockets right? No? Let’s tackle this bit of trivia first. The Mysorean rockets used by Hyder Ali during the Battle of Pollilur (2nd anglo-mysore war) were much more advanced than any the British East India Company had previously seen!
So, after they slay Tipu in the fourth and final battle, they (the firangis) took their indigenous rocket development to the next level to use in the Napoleonic wars.
#1. First Anglo-Mysore War
- Hyder Ali had just made peace with Marathas so that they don’t team up against him when he goes on to attack the Brits at Madras
- Brits had support from Nizam but that guy just balked out in the last moment! He gets bullied again by the brits (at a later date)
- So, Brits were from two places – Bombay Brits & Madras Brits. But somehow the daring Hyder that he was, he kept on with the fight that led the Brits to conclude a peace treaty with him
As per the Treaty of Madras:
- Both the Parties returned the areas won by each other
- The District of Arcot was given to Nawab of Arcot
- British & Hyder Ali promised that they would support each other if there is any foreign invasion
#2. Second Anglo-Mysore War
Now, what happens when you (allegedly) have a strong ally with you? More ambitions, more audacity, neh? That’s what Hyder thought after signing that treaty of madras. He started demanding tributes from the smaller states on the border of Maratha and Mysore. The Marathas responded this in 1770 with a force of over 30 thousand. This is the point when Hyder rings up the Brits to come for the rescue! Of course they did not. Hyder lost the battle – had to pay a huge tribute to the marathas and this episode left him high and dry.
Hyder did not like this one bit and he swears revenge from the Brits FOREVER.
The second anglo-mysore war begins now. It was one of the most bloodiest battle in the history of India (exaggeration helps). If you consider the 2nd anglo-mysore war as a T-20 world cup, then there many minor-major battles held in this 4 year period. Also, please note that Hyder Ali died during this prolonged battle period. So, Tipu Sultan rose to the occasion and marched ahead.
- The siege of Arcot – Hyder won
- The battle of Porto Novo – won by Sir Eyre Coote
- The battle at Pollilur – won by Hyder (remember the rockets!)
So, anyway – you win some – you lose continued and eventually the war ended with the last British-Indian treaty with an Indian ruler on equal footing, the 1784 Treaty of Mangalore.
#3. Third Anglo-Mysore War
Mangalore Treaty of 1784, which was signed on the end of the Second Anglo Maratha war had an article regarding transfer of the Prisoners. Now it is said that Tipu Sultan did not honour this part of the deal – strike 1.
It so happened that Tipu developed a beef with the local raja of Travancore about a disputed land. Travancore was a British ally, so when Tipu moved against him, Brits got a chance to home in on Tipu.
Where were the Marathas and the Nizams or the world? All credit goes to the diplomacy of Lord Cornwallis who kept Tipu aloof from the Marathas , Coorg and Nizams.
Result? Tipu lost. The peace was restored by the Treaty of Srirangapatnam which was signed in 1792.
This treaty was a big blow to Tipu Sultan. Half of his territories were snatched away and divided into Marathas, British and Nizam. Many would have thought it wise to retreat now but Tipu was seething with fear.
#4. The Final Battle
Marquess of Wellesley was a shrewd imperialist. He had got a wiff of a possible french-mysore collaboration and he did not want to give Tipu another chance. This battle was just a formality now. Tipu’s troops were outnumbered 4:1 in this war. The Nizam of Hyderabad and the Marathas launched an invasion from the north. Phew!
He lost. He died fighting. The Wodeyar dynasty was restored its place in Mysore and rest of the territory was divided by the Brits, Marathas and Nizam.
If you just joined us into reading the firangis, give the previous ones a quick read. Part 1 is here.