Prelims Capsule

Prelims Capsule: Expansion of British Rule – Made Easy to remember, 600 words story

Expansion of British Rule: Made Easy to remember, 600 words story

The modern History’s classification begins with the fall of Mughal Empire, which is after 1707, death of Aurangzeb.

However, let us like to begin with Expansion of British rule as the first post in the series.

There are so many wars, Anglo Carnatic Wars, Anglo Mysore wars, Anglo Maratha Wars, Anglo this, Anglo that, and all of them haphazardly organized. How do we remember them in perspective and organize them in a pattern?

Here’s the simple thumb rule.

  1. Eliminate external threats/ enemies.
  2. Choose a place for yourself to settle.
  3. Eliminate Enemies’ friends.
  4. Start moving in one direction and eliminate other threats
  5. Close all those loopholes where you’re vulnerable.

Step 1: External threats for British were French, Portuguese could never go long, and Dutch were more interested in Java and Sumatra. Hence, French should be the first to go. There by Carnatic Wars start first.

Carnatic War I (1746-1748): Heroics and strategies of Dupleix, war remained inconclusive

Carnatic War II (1749-1756): Enter Robert Clive, again war remained inconclusive, but it was almost sure that English would dominate the scene.

Carnatic War III (1758-1763) French Lost: Treaty of Paris, all French territories given to British.

Step 2: Choose a place to settle: Bengal chosen as the place they would establish a fortress. Annexed it. Battle of Plassey– 1757. Battle of Buxar– 1764. Diwani Rights. Puppet installed

Step 3: Eliminate Enemies’ Friends:

Mysore state rulers Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan were friends with French, so they had to be eliminated before anyone else.

Anglo-Mysore Wars

Anglo Mysore War I (1767-1769): British Lost: Treaty of Madras

Anglo Mysore War II (1780-1784): Inconclusive war: Treaty of Mangalore. Hyder died in between, Tipu continued war

Anglo Mysore War III (1790-1792): Tipu defeated: Half of the territory gone. Treaty of Srirangapatnam

Anglo Mysore War IV (1799): Tipu died, Subsidiary Alliance imposed. Puppet installed.

Step 4: Other threats in a direction.

The immediate territory above the Mysore was Marathas. They had to be annexed.

Hyderabad and Travancore came free with Anglo Mysore wars. So there was no need for another major war.

Step 5: Close Loopholes

All the major kingdoms were under British, but there were loopholes. British had problems with Russia in Europe and Russians were expanding quickly in Central Asia, they feared they could enter India and the only way was through North West.

To be safe from Russians, British had to secure the areas in North west, but Punjab had a king called Maharaja Ranjit Singh, he had the best army, English feared they if they could conquer him. So they wanted to secure places further ahead of Punjab. They reached Afghanistan.

First Anglo-Afghan War (1838-1842) Company couldn’t secure it

But Sindh was annexed easily in 1843. Company were entangled

Meanwhile in Punjab, Maharaja Ranjit Singh died in 1839 and that gave impetus for British to attack Punjab, they waited till there was disorder in state of Punjab. When they got the chance British annexed Punjab.

There were two Anglo–Sikh wars:

The Sikh Empire dissolved after defeat in 1849.

Now that all the big kingdoms were under British directly or indirectly, they didn’t need a full-fledged war to acquire the small and insignificant ones. Doctrine of Lapse, introduced by Lord Dalhousie was applied and the smaller ones were taken into British rule between 1848-1856.


Print Friendly