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British Conquests in India - 19th Century

The power of Tippu had been for ever crushed in the fourth Mysore war (1798-1799), and the districts of Kanara, Coimbatore, Wainad, and the Nilgiri Hills were annexed by the English. The Nizam in 1800 ceded the districts of Bellari and Cuddapah, and all the territories to the south of the Tungabhadra and to the south of the Kistna below the junction of those two rivers, which had been part of his share in the cessions after the third and fourth Mysore wars, for the maintenance of a subsidiary force. They were henceforth known as the "Ceded Districts of Haidarabad ".

In 1800 a dispute arose as to the succession in Tanjore. Wellesley being called upon to arbitrate annexed the state. In 1801 the nawab of Oudh was forced to cede, for the maintenance of a subsidiary force, the districts of Allahabad, Fatehpur, Cawnpur, Azamgarh, Gorakhpur, Bareilly, Moradabad, Bijnaur, Budaun, and Shahjahanpur, called the "Ceded Districts of Oudh". In the same year (1801) the Carnatic was annexed to the British possessions, because the late nawab had frequently put obstructions in the way of the Marquis of Wellesley, and had held treacherous correspondence with Tippu.

From 1802-1803 the second Mahratta war was fought; the English, the Peshwa, and the Nizam being on one side, with Bhonsle of Nagpur and Sindia on the other. Bhonsle and Sindia were defeated all along the line. By the treaty of Dewalgaon, 1803, the raja of Nagpur ceded to the British and their allies the province of Cuttack, including Balasor, the territory west of the Wardha river and south of Gawilgarh. Narnala, Gawilgarh, and some districts south of these forts were, however, restored to Bhonsle.

By the treaty of Sirji Arjenjaon, 1803, Sindia ceded to the British and their allies his territories between the Jumna and Ganges, all the territory situated north-east of the Eajput states, and the districts and towns of Broach and Ahmadnagar. Of these territories, the Nizam received the whole tract west of the Wardha and south of the hills on which stand Gawilgarh and Narnala down as far as the Godaveri, whilst the Peshwa received the district and fort of Ahmadnagar. Territories in Bundelkhand contiguous to the British possessions and yielding thirty-six lakhs of rupees, were ceded by the Peshwa for the maintenance of a subsidiary force in 1803.

India History Map - 1804 India History Map - 1805
The British supremacy had been recognised in the following states: Kuch Behar in 1772, Cochin in 1791, Haidarabad in 1798, Mysore in 1799, Barodain 1802, Rampur in 1801, the Peshwa's dominions in 1802, Sindia's dominions in 1804, Travancore in 1805, in Bhartpur, Alwar, and Dholpur between 1802 and 1806.

The Amirs of Sindh and the Sikhs had by this time acquired independence. The Sikhs on the right bank of the Sutlej were ruled by Eanjit Singh who, in 1798, had been appointed governor of Lahore by the Afghan king, but had gradually assumed independence. Bahawalpur was independent in 1805, Kashmir was still ruled by the Afghans. The Gurkhas of Nepal had been steadily extending their territory to the west. In Cutch anarchy prevailed. In 1805 the English were at war with Holkar on behalf of the Eajputs, their allies.

India History Map - 1823After the period of conquests and treaties under the Marquis of Wellesley a period of reaction set in. A large section of the British nation was opposed to the aggressive policy of the late governor-general. Hence the alliance with the Rajputs was given up and Holkar and Sindia were allowed to exact chauth from them. The governor-general received strict injunctions not to enter upon any fresh war and not to interfere in the quarrels of native princes.

Under Lord Minto (1807-1813), however, the old policy began to revive. The Sikh states on the left bank of the Sutlej placed themselves under British protection, 1809, rather than become subject to Eanjit Singh.

Then followed the administration of the Marquis of Hastings (1813-1823). Under him, after a hardfought campaign against the Gurkhas (1814-1816), Nepal was reduced to its present dimensions by the treaty of Segauli. At this time the principal Mahratta states were disaffected and intriguing against the English. Bands of robbers, Pindharis, were ravaging central India and making frequent inroads on the territory of the British and their allies. They were sheltered and abetted by the Mahratta princes.

The Peshwa first rose against the English in 1817. A short campaign ended with the annexation of the territories of the Peshwa, who was sent a state prisoner to Bithur on the Ganges. After the defeat of his army at Mehidper, Holkar was forced, by the treaty of Mandeswar, to renounce his rights to Tonk Eampura, Bundi, and all other places north of the Bundi hills. Subsequently, however, Sir G. Barlow restored to him Eampura and the territory north of the Bundi hills. The principality of Sagar was likewise annexed. Sindia, who had been intriguing against the English with the Nepal ministry, was forced to cede the district of Ajmere and to renounoe his claims of tribute on the Eajputs. Apa Sahib of Nagpur was after a short campaign deposed.

The British supremacy was recognised in all the Rajput states in 1817, 1818, and 1823 ; in the Malwa states: Bhopal (1817), Indore (1818), Dewas (1818), Jaora (1818), Dhar(1819); in Bundelkhand: Orchha, or Tehri (1812), Rewa (1813), Samptar (1817); in Kolhapur (1812); in Sawantwadi (1819); in Cutch (1816 and 1819); in Kapurthala (1809); in Qarhwal (1820). In Kathiawar the British acquired the Peshwa's share in the supreme authority in 1817 and the Gaekwar's rights in 1820.

India History Map - 1848Under Lord Amherst, after the first Burmese war (1824-1826), the Burmese government ceded Arakan and Tenasserim, and gave up its claims to Assam, Cachar, and Jaintia (see map 32). Coorg and Karnul were annexed in 1834 and 1841, because their rulers became insane and oppressed the people. Sindh was annexed after the Sindh oampaign in 1843. In 184

5 the Sikhs made an unprovoked attack on the British possessions. Hard-fought battles took place at Mudki, Firuzshar, and Sobraon, but at last the victorious English entered Lahore, the capital of the Sikhs, and a peace was concluded in 1846. The Jalandhar Doab, i.e., the country between the Bias and Sutlej, was annexed to the British possessions, and Kashmir made over to Golab Singh, a prominent Sikh leader, who agreed to pay the cost of the war. In 1832 Cachar lapsed to the sovereign power. . The British supremacy was recognised by the following states: Bahawalpur in 1838, Mandi and Suket in 1846, Chamba in 1847, Kashmir in 1846. Agra was constituted a distinct province under a Lieutenant-Governor, by Lord W. Bentinck in 1834.

India History Map - 1857Under Lord Dalhousie (1848-1856) another period of annexation began. Lord Dalhousie’s administration did three things in India. He extended its frontiers, so as to bring them into inevitable although indirect contact with a great European nation on the one side, and with an ancient Asiatic power on the other.

He at the same time consolidated the East India Company’s internal possessions and the intervening Feudatory States, into the true beginnings of a united Indian Empire. The power of the Sikhs was finally broken in the battle of Gujrat (1849) and the Punjab annexed. Satara lapsed to the paramount power in 1848, because the raja died leaving no natural heir. Pegu was annexed after the second Burmese war in 1853. Nagpur lapsed to the ruling power in 1853, there being no heir to the throne on the raja's death. Berar was assigned to the English as payment for the subsidiary force in 1853. Jhansi lapsed to the paramount power in 1853. Oudh was annexed in 1856.

But perhaps his most permanent claim on the gratitude of his country is that by his far-reaching schemes of railways, roads, canals, and public works, he inaugurated the great revolution which has converted the agricultural India of antiquity into the manufacturing and mercantile India of our own day. Expansion of territory, unification of territory, and the drawing forth of material resources, these were the three labours given to Lord Dalhousie to accomplish in India: and in the three words, conquest, consolidation, and development, his work may be summed up.

Lord Dalhousie found India an isolated country. In the North-west a powerful and warlike people, the Sikhs, lay between us and Central Asia. By the annexation of the Punjab, Lord Dalhousie abolished that intervening military nationality. He advanced the British boundary to the foot of the mountains, and made British officers the wardens of the passes. Since his time the North-western frontier of India has been garrisoned by British armies, alike against the Muhammadan races of Central Asia and against Russia. Asiatic relations with Russia, which had previously been fitful, were brought by the conquest of the Punjab, gradually but inevitably, within the normal sphere of European diplomacy. The supreme factors in Indian foreign policy had been transferred from Calcutta and Lahore to London and St. Petersburg.

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Page last modified: 15-04-2022 20:25:06 ZULU