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1767-1799 - Four Mysore Wars

India History Map - 1784 During its infancy the Mysore State had attracted little notice from its Mussalman neighbours; but its rapid progress brought it into conflict with the Nizam, and also with the rising and encroaching power of the Mahrattas. Against these enemies Hyder held his own, but not without some severe defeats. He extended his possessions in the south, and in 1766, he invaded Malabar and took Calicut. The English were now induced to join a confederacy of the Mahrattas and the Nizam against Hyder, and thus became involved in the first Mysore war. Hyder was however equal to the occasion and he induced the Nizam to renounce the English alliance and to join him. During this war (1767-69), Hyder twice invaded the Carnatic, and eventually obtained a treaty of peace under the walls of Madras.

During the interval between the first and second Mysore wars, Hyder was invaded by the Mahrattas, invoked, and was refused the assistance of the English ; made, after a bad defeat, a disadvantageous peace with the invaders; then conquered and annexed Coorg ; then avenged himself on the Mahrattas, and recovered more than he had lost ; seized the Bellary districts and Gooty ; extended his dominions southwards; discussed with the Mahrattas a scheme for a general alliance against the English, but offered the latter an alliance whereby, yeilding to them on the east, for a sum of twenty lakhs of rupees, the low-land districts of Baramahal and of Salem, he should keep for ever the Mysore plateau and the country to the coast on the west. The rejection of these terms made him resolve to drive the British from Southern India. With this view he turned his earnest attention to the French now recovering their influence, and between whom and the English hostilities were impending.

The second Mysore war was brought about by the capture of Mah by the English from the French in 1779. This place was in the Mysore dominions. Hyder, in revenge, again invaded the Carnatic in 1780, and advanced towards Madras, laying waste the country. He out-manoeuvred Sir Hector Munro, who retreated to Madras in September 1780. Reinforcements arrived from Calcutta in November under Sir Eyre Coote, the Commander-in-Chief in Bengal. Coote was however unable to take the field until January, when he attacked Hyder at Porto Novo, and completely defeated and routed his army. This was the decisive battle of the war. Hyder died in December 1782, and was succeeded by his son Tippoo. The war continued and was carried into the heart of Mysore; but a treaty was foolishly concluded in 1784, by which all conquests on either side were restored.

Six years elapsed without a breach of this treaty. Tippoo then began to intrigue with the French and sent envoys to the Mauritius. Bonaparte was at that time in Egypt and turning his attention to India. The French were actively intriguing both in Mysore and at Hyderabad. Lord Wellesley, then GovernorGeneral, first negotiated with the Nizam and entered into a treaty, by which a contingent of 6,000 troops was to be supported by him and the French expelled from his dominions. [The districts of Bellary and Cuddapah were made over in 1,800 as an equivalent for the support of this contingent.]

Preparations were then made for the invasion of Mysore. Lord Wellesley and Lord Clive (son of the great Clive), Governor of Madras, by great exertions raised and equipped an army of 20,000 men, of whom 6,000 were Europeans. To this there were added 10,000 horse and 10,000 foot of the Nizam's troops under European Officers, led by Colonel Wellesley and Captain Malcolm. General Stuart, with a Bombay contingent, marched from Cannanore through Coorg. General Harris was Commander-in-Chief and accompanied the Madras Army by Royacotta. The different columns closed on Seringapatam.

Tippoo was defeated in pitched battles by both columns, and shut up in Seringapatam. The siege lasted but three weeks. On May 4th, 1799, the city was taken by assault and Tippoo slain. The Mussalman usurping dynasty was set aside and the ancient Hindu family restored. The British took possession of Canara, Coimbatore and the Wynaad. Gurrumcotta and Gooty were given to the Nizam, Mysore has since remained under the protection of the Governor-General, and the Government is now administered by the Maharaja.




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