Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Carnatic Wars


The French power in India reached its peak dur­ing the governorship of Dupleix (1742-54). But during the closing years of his term itself (1753-54), they began to lose their ground to the Eng­lish, and in the early 1760's they completely lost their position to the English in India, including Andhra. This Anglo-French rivalry and the rise and fall of the French in India (including Andhra) can.be best seen in three Carnatic wars fought essentially between the French and the English between 1745 and 1763. From the Indian side the Nawabs of the Carnatic state (with Arcot in Tamilnadu as its capital) and the Nizams of Hyderabad state (who were the nominal over­lords of the Carnatic Nawabs) were closely in­volved in these wars.

First Carnatic War (1745-48)

Broke out as a consequence of war of Austrian succession in Europe where the English and the French took opposite sides.
  1. It began in 1745 when the French ships were captured by the English navy. But the French under the leadership of Dupleix retaliated by cap­turing Madras.
  2. The English in turn appealed to the then Carnatic Nawab, Anwaruddin, to save them from the French. But despite Anwaruddin's intervention, the French refused to release Madras.
  3. The resulting battle at St. Thome between the French forces and those of the Nawab (whose ratio was 1:10) ended in a severe defeat to the Nawab, in the process exposing the weakness of traditional Indian armies against the European trained ones.
  4. Finally, the end of Austrian Succession war in Europe brought the first Carnatic war also to an end in 1748.
Consequences : Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle which provided for returning each others places. Madras was therefore, restored to the English by the French.

Second Carnatic War (1749-54)

  1. The Anglo-French rivalry was soon revived when problems of succession arose in the Hyderabad as well as the Carnatic states, with the two European rivals taking up the cause of opposing candidates in both the states. The French, on the one hand, gave their support to Muzaffar Jung in Hyderabad, and Chanda Sahib in Carnatic. The English, on the other hand, lent their support, to Nasir Jang in Hyderabad and Anwaruddin (later to his son, Muhhammed Ali) in Carnatic.
  2. The French succeeded in both states in defeating and murdering their opponents (Nasir Jang in Hyderabad and Anwaruddin in Carnatic) and placing their supporters (Muzaffar Jang in Hyderabad and Chanda Sahib in Carnatic) on the thrones in 1750. In return for the French help, Muzaffar Jang gave Masulipatnam and Divi area in Krishna district and Yanam in East Godavari district to the French. He also accepted the stationing of a French army at Hyderabad under the command of General Bussy. But Muzaffar himself was unfortunately murdered by the Nawabs of Kurnool and Cuddapah in 1751, and hence General Bussy made Salabat Jung (one of the sons of Nizam-ul-Mulk, the founder of Hyderabad state) the new Nizam. Salabat in his turn granted to the French the four Northern circars of Kondave,edu (Kondapalli) Eluru, Rajahmundry and Chicacole in 1752. Thus, the French were the first Europeans to obtain politi­cal power in Andhra. But the actual occupation of the four Northern Circars by the French was not a smooth affair. Though Bussy appointed Vijayarama raju of Vizianagaram as the man­ager of Chicacole circar, and other circars were to be occupied by Mr. Moracin (Chief of French Factory at Masulipatnam ) they had to contend with the troubles caused by the Jafar Ali (Nizam's Faujdar) who not only personally raided some of these areas but also incited the Marathas of Nagpur to do the same. Infact, General Bussy had to come personally to these areas and establish law and order there. It was also during this time (1752-53) that Vijayaramaraju drew Bussy into private feud with Bobbili in which Vijayaramaraju was murdered. This incident has been immortalised in the famous "Ballad of Bobbili" (Bobbili Katha).
  3. In the meanwhile, the French started facing rough weather on the Carnatic front. The trend of the second Carnatic War was, in fact, re­versed with the capture of Arcot by the English under Robert Clive in 1751, and the French be­gan to suffer successive defeats at the hands of the English thereafter. Chanda Sahib was cap­tured and executed in 1752 by a general of Tanjore, who was an ally of the British during this war. The English promptly placed Muhammed Ali (son of Anwaruddin) on the throne of the Carnatic state.
  4. Dupleix, who was still the French governor in India, made several efforts between 1753 and 54 to reverse the trend, but in vain. And his recall by the French Government in 1754 and appointment of Count de Lally (Who proved to be rash and immature) in his place particularly sealed the fate of the French in India in general and in the Carnatic in particular.
Consequences : Treaty of Pondicherry signed by the French and the English, acknowledged Muhammed Ali as the Nawab of Carnatic. Still the French (through their representative, General Bussy) retained their position of being the protectors of the Nizam of Hyderabad and of being the rulers of the four Northern circars in Andhra.

Third Carnatic War (1758-63)

  1. In the background of the Seven years war in Europe (1756-62), wherein the English and the French were on the opposite sides caused the third Carnatic War. It was sparked off by 'the capture of Chandernagore (French settlement in Bengal) by The English under Clive and Watson.
  2. The battle that sealed the fate of the French in Andhra was the famous "Battle of Chandurthi" (7th December, 1758). In this battle, the com­bined forces of the Raja of Vizianagaram (Anandaraju, who had succeeded Vijayaramaraju, switched his support from the French to the Eng­lish because of a personal grouse against the French) and the English under Colonel Forde routed the French army at Chandurthi near Rajahmundry. The English later stormed the French fort at Masuiipatnam and captured it (April 1,759).
  3. The above French setbacks on land were immediately followed by a naval disaster in the Bay of Bengal. The French fleet under Admiral d'Ache was severely defeated by the English navy under Admiral Pocock in three successive naval battles in 1759.
  4. Nizam Salabat Jang, seeing the changed circumstances, asked the French to leave Hyderabad and conferred on the English the Masuiipatnam region and the districts of Nizampatnam, Kondapalli and Wakalmannar. Besides, the English came to replace the French as the Nizam's protectors from now onwards.
Consequences : And whatever bleak hopes that the French had of retrieving their position in India were finally but firmly dashed off by the defeat of the French army under Count de Lally by the English forces under General Eyre Coot in the Battle of Wandiwash (Jan, 1760). This was soon followed by the surrender of Pondicherry and loss of all other French settlements in India to the English. Though peace was finally concluded by the Treaty of Paris and all important French settlements were restored back in 1763, the French could henceforth live only under English protection and not as rivals.
Thus the French, though were first Europeans to acquire political power in Andhra, could retain it only for a short time (1750-58) and con­sequently their rule in the four Northern circars also lasted for a very short while (1752-58).

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