History   -Page   2

1790-1792 The Third Anglo-Mysore War

From 1782 till 1790, when the Third Mysore War between the British and Tipu took place, there was relative inactivity except Tipu attempting to convert Hindus and Christians to the Mohammedan faith, some fighting with the Marathas and Coorg and "flirting" with Turkey and France. When Lord Cornwallis came to India he was bound by Pitt's India Act to refrain from following a policy of war except for purely defensive purpose. Tipu Sultan was also not satisfied by the treaty of 1784 and so in 1787 sent an emissary to France and Constantinople for support. Cornwallis believed that Tipu allying himself with the French would strike against the English. So he worked on the anti-Tipu suspicions of the Nizams and Marathas. Cornwallis provoked Tipu by signing an agreement with the Nizams for help to recover the district of Balaghat which was in the possession of Mysore.The immediate cause of the war was Tipu's attack on Travancore on December 29, 1789. Tipu's differences with the Raja of Travancore arose over the latter's purchase of Jaikottai and Travancore from the Dutch in the Cochin state and Tipu considered Cochin as his tributary state and thus considered the act of the Raja as violation of his sovereign rights. On the other hand, the Raja of Travancore was entitled to the protection of the English. Thus taking advantage of the situation, the English, making a triple alliance with the Nizams and the Marathas, attacked Tipu Sultan.

The war between Tipu and "Triple alliance" lasted for almost two years. The first, under Major-General Medows, did not produce any decisive result and Tipu displayed greater skills and strategy than Medows. So on January 29, 1791, Cornwallis himself took over the command of the British troops. With a large army, Cornwallis marched through Vellore and Ambure to Bangalore. He captured Bangalore in 1791 and approached Seringapatnam, Tipu's capital, by May 13. Tipu displayed great skill in defending and his tactics forced Cornwallis to retreat by cutting off supplies. The fighting was resumed in the summer of 1791.  Cornwallis, with the help of the army sent from Bombay, occupied all the forts in his path to Seringapatnam, where he arrived on February 5, 1792. Tipu displayed all his skills and offered tough resistance but soon realised the impossibility of carrying further the struggle. Though Tipu's weaponry were superior and cast under French supervision and his army well-equipped and disciplined Cornwallis easily captured the Bangalore Fort. Tipu did make the mistake of awaiting French help from Pondicherry but the main thing tipping the scales in favour of the British was treachery and betrayal.Tipu had to sue for peace and the Treaty of Seringapatnam concluded in March 1792. The treaty resulted in the surrender of nearly half of the Mysorean territory to the victorious allies. The British acquired Baramahal, Dindigul and Malabar while the Marathas got territory on the Tungabhadra side and the Nizams acquired the territories from the Krishna to beyond the Pennar. Tipu also had to pay a war indemnity of over three millions pounds and hand over his two sons as hostages. Out of this war the Company gained some possessions in the South which added to the strength and compactness of the Company's territories.

1799 : The Fourth  Anglo-Mysore War

1n 1798 Lord Wellesley came as Governor-General : Lord Wellesley was an imperialist and combined the instruments of war and supremacy. Wellesley was determined either to tame Tipu to submission or wipe out Tipu's independence. Out of this grew the system of Subsidiary Alliances. The system was such that when an Indian ruler was in danger of his neighbors, they could take help of the English and in return they would have to pay and maintain the British troops in his state. This system was a complete success. It undermined the independence of Indian rulers and made the British power and prestige paramount in India.

Tipu Sultan tried to secure an alliance with the French against the English in India. He sent emissaries to Arabia, Kabul, Constantinople, Versallies and Mauritius. The French Governor welcomed the proposals of Tipu and published a proclamation inviting volunteers to come forward to help Tipu. As a result some Frenchmen landed in Mangalore in April, 1798. On the other hand, Wellesley apprehended danger from Tipu and so moved to Madras and endeavored to isolate Tipu Sultan by reviving the Triple Alliance. The Nizams agreed to conclude subsidiary treaties with English on September 1, 1798. However the Marathas turned down the British offer. They remained aloof and neutral. Following all these arrangements, Wellesley called upon Tipu to question the relationship with the French. Tipu's explanation did not satisfy Wellesley. Thus, two British forces, one from Bombay and the other from Madras, fell upon Mysore.

The fourth Anglo-Mysore War was of very short duration and decisive. Tipu was defeated by Stuart at Sedaseer on March 5, 1799 and by General Harris at Malvelly on March 27. Tipu then retired to Seringapatnam, which was finally captured on May 4, 1799. Tipu was killed fighting bravely. Thus fell a leading Indian power and one of the most inveterate foes of the English. The members of Tipu's family were interned at Vellore. The English annexed Kanara, Coimbatore, Wynad, Dharpouram besides the entire sea coast of (the then) Mysore. The Nizam received some land which they handed over again to the Company for the support of the British troops. Thus the fourth Mysore war destroyed the whole state of Mysore. The British also offered some territories to Peshwas which they did not accept. Mysore was restored to the Hindu royal family after signing a subsidiary alliance. In addition to the usual provisions, the Governor General could interfere the administration. As a result of this war, the British got complete power of South India. After this war Wellesley was given the title of Marquees by the British Government.

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