Carnatic Wars


  • The English and the French East India companies were established with the motive of trading with India.
  • In course of time their competition turned into rivalry and both the powers tried to remove the other from the Indian scene.
  • Their trade interest was also diverted towards politics.
  • Making use of the situation and the rivalry among the native rulers, the English and the French tried to capture power in India and to establish their supremacy.
  • Between 1740- 1763 the rivalry between the English and the French led to three wars in India.
  • These wards were known as Carnatic wars as they were fought in the Carnatic region.
  • Carnatic was originally a Mughal province under the Nawab.
  • It was ruled by Anwar- ud-din, the Nawab of Carnatic.
  • The Nawab ruled the territory as an independent ruler.
  • Arcot was the capital of Carnatic.
  • The British and the French exploited the region to strengthen their power.
  • In the end, the British drove the French out of India by 1763 and established their supremacy over the Carnatic region.

The first Carnatic war (AD 1746-AD 1748) Causes

  • This war was an echo of the Austrian war of Succession.
  • In this First Carnatic war, the English and the French took opposite sides.
  • They began to fight in India in 1746.
  • Dupleix, the French Governor of Pondicherry had an ambition to establish French power in India.


  • Dupleix wanted to make the French power supreme in South India.
  • When the war started in Europe, Dupleix sent an appeal to La Bourdonnais, the Governor of Mauritius to capture Madras.
  • He besieged Madras and captured it in 1746.
  • The Nawab of Carnatic, Anwaruddin did not like this.
  • So he sent an army against the French.
  • At Santhome on the banks of the river Adayar, Anwaruddin’s army was defeated.
  • Then Dupleix tried to capture Fort St. David from the English but failed.
  • Later the English attacked Pondicherry but the French successfully defended the city.
  • In 1748 the war of Austrian succession came to an end in Europe.
  • So the Carnatic war also came to an end in India.


  • The First Carnatic war came to an end by the treaty of Aix- la-Chappelle (1748).
  • As a result the English got back Madras.

The second Carnatic war (AD 1748-AD 1754) Causes

  • The second Carnatic war was connected with the succession disputes between the Nizam of Hyderabad and the Nawab of Carnatic.
  • The Nizam of Hyderabad, Asaf Shah died in 1748.
  • There arose a competition between his osn Nasir Jung and his grandson Muzzafar Jung.
  • At the same time the Nawab of Carnatic, Dost Ali died.
  • There was a dispute between Anwar- ud- din and his son-in-law Chanda Sahib for the throne of Arcot.
  • The French supported Muzzafur Jung and Chanda Sahib.
  • Hence Nasir Jung and Anwarud-din were forced to seek the assistance of the English.
  • So a war broke out in 1748.


  • With the help of the French, Muzzaffar Jung and Chanda Sahib defeated and killed.
  • Anwar- ud- din at the battle of Ambut in 1749.
  • But his son Mohammad Ali took refuge in the fort of Tiruchirappalli.
  • Chanda Sahib became the Nawab of Carnatic.
  • In Hyderabad. Both Nasir Jung and Muzzaffar Jung were killed General Bussy, the French Governor made Salabat Jung the Nizam of Hydereabad.
  • In return for the French help, he handed over the Northern circars to the French.
  • The condition of the English became very critical.
  • Robert Clive a clerk in the English East India company changed the course of the war.
  • He attacked Arcot, the capital of Carnatic.
  • He defeated Chanda Sahib and made Mohammad Ali, the Nawab of Arcot.
  • Clive was called as the “Hero of Arcot”.
  • Dupleix recalled in 1754 and was succeeded by Godeheu.


  • The second Carnatic war came to an end with the Treaty of Pondicherry in 1755.
  • By this treaty both the sides agreed not to interface in the internal affairs of the Indian princely states and returned each others territories captured during the war.
  • Mohammad Ali was acknowledged as the Nawab of Carnatic.

The third Carnatic war (AD 1756-AD 1763) Causes

  • In 1756 the seven years war broke out in Europe and the same war echoed in India as the Third Carnatic war.


  • The French General Count de Lally captured Fort St. David.
  • Bussy the French General at Hyderabad was asked to attack Madras which was a great blunder committed by the French.
  • When Bussy left Hyderabad the British captured Hyderabad.
  • Count de Lally and Bussy together attacked Madras.
  • But the British general, Sir Eyre Coote defeated both the French generals at the battle of Wandiwash in 1760.
  • In the nexr year 1761 Count- de- Lally surrendered Pondicherry to the British.


  • The war came to an end with the Treaty of Paris in 1763.
  • Pondicherry, Karaikal, Chandrangore and Mahe were returned to the French but they were not allowed to fortify them.
  • The French lost all their prestige and influence in India.
  • British became more powerful in India.

Causes for the success of the British

  • Britain was commercially superior and the British in India were supported by the Home government.
  • The naval power of the British was far superior to that of the French.
  • There was full co-operation among the English officers.
  • The mistakes committed by Count-de-Lally enabled the British to capture Madras.
  • The British could concentrate on wars as there was peace in England while the French were too busy fighting wars in Europe.

Establishment of British supremacy over Bengal

  • Bengal a very rich province of the Mughal Empire developed unto an independent kingdom under Alivardi Khan.
  • After his death, his grandson Siraj-ud- daulah became the Nawab of Bengal.
  • The battle of Plassey was a result of a quarrel that arose between Siraj-ud- daulah and the British in 1757.

Battle of Plassey (AD 1757) Causes

  • The English and the French were strengthening their fortification in Bengal.
  • Siraj-ud- daulah, Nawab of Bengal asked them not to fortify their forts.
  • The French obeyed but the English refused to do so.
  • More over the British were misusing their trade privileges.It enraged the Nawab.
  • Siraj-ud- daulah marched with his army and captured Calcutta.
  • One hundred and forty six British soldiers were taken as captives and they were locked up in a very small room.
  • Most of them died due to suffocation.
  • Only twenty three of them were survived. This incident in history is called as the Black Hole Tragedy.
  • On hearing about this tragedy, Admiral Watson and Robert Clive were sent to Bengal. They recaptured Calcutta.


  • On 23rd June 1757 Siraj-ud- daulah met Robert Clive in a village called Plassey near Calcutta.
  • Within a few hours, the Nawab was defeated and killed.
  • The British appointed Mir Jafar as the Nawab of Bengal.

Battle of Buxar

  • After few years Mir Jafar was removed and Mir Qasim was made the Nawab of Bengal.
  • A misunderstanding developed between Mir Qasim and the British.
  • Mir Qasim was also removed, so he entered into an alliance with Shuja-ud- daulah the Nawab of Oudh and Shah Alam II the Mughal Emperor against the British and invaded Bengal.
  • A battle between the combined army of Indian rulers and the British took place at Buxar on October 22, 1764.
  • In this battle, Mir Qasim fled from the battlefield while Shuja II surrendered to the British.


  • The Treaty of Allahabad was signed in 1765 between the English in one side and Shah Alam II and Shuja-ud- daulah on the other side.
  • Shuja-ud- daulah was asked to pay a war indemnity of 50 lakhs to the British and also gave Kara and Allahabad to the British.
  • The Mughal Emperor was given an annual pension of rupees 26 lakhs.
  • Shah Alam II granted the Diwani rights of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa to the English.
  • Bengal, Bihar, Orissa and Carnatic practically came under the control of the British.
  • The Battle of Buxar made the English East India company a sovereign power in India.
  • After the Battle of Buxar, Robert Clive became the Governor of Bengal on 1765 AD.

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