British Raj - From Company to Crown

Discussion in 'Military History' started by A.V., Apr 26, 2010.

  1. A.V.

    A.V. New Member

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    Aside from defeating the French during the Seven Years' War, Robert Clive, the leader of the Company in India, defeated a key Indian ruler of Bengal at the decisive Battle of Plassey (1757), a victory that ushered in the beginning of a new period in Indian history, that of informal British rule. While still nominally the sovereign, the Mughal Indian emperor became more and more of a puppet ruler, and anarchy spread until the company stepped into the role of policeman of India. The transition to formal imperialism, characterised by Queen Victoria being crowned "Empress of India" in the 1870s was a gradual process. The first step toward cementing formal British control extended back to the late eighteenth century. The British Parliament, disturbed by the idea that a great business concern, interested primarily in profit, was controlling the destinies of millions of people, passed acts in 1773 and 1784 that gave itself the power to control company policies and to appoint the highest company official in India, the Governor-General. (This system of dual control lasted until 1858.) By 1818 the East India Company was master of all of India. Some local rulers were forced to accept its overlordship; others were deprived of their territories. Some portions of India were administered by the British directly; in others native dynasties were retained under British supervision.
    Until 1858, however, much of India was still officially the dominion of the Mughal emperor. Anger among some social groups, however, was seething under the governor-generalship of James Dalhousie (1847–1856), who annexed the Punjab (1849) after victory in the Second Sikh War, annexed seven princely states on the basis of lapse, annexed the key state of Oudh on the basis of misgovernment, and upset cultural sensibilities by banning Hindu practices such as Sati. The 1857 Sepoy Rebellion, or Indian Mutiny, an uprising initiated by Indian troops, called sepoys, who formed the bulk of the Company's armed forces, was the key turning point. Rumour had spread among them that their bullet cartridges were lubricated with pig and cow fat. The cartridges had to be bit open, so this upset the Hindu and Muslim soldiers. The Hindu religion held cows sacred, and for Muslims pork was considered Haraam. In one camp, 85 out of 90 sepoys would not accept the cartridges from their garrison officer. The British harshly punished those who would not by jailing them. The Indian people were outraged, and on May 10, 1857, sepoys marched to Delhi, and, with the help of soldiers stationed there, captured it. Fortunately for the British, many areas remained loyal and quiescent, allowing the revolt to be crushed after fierce fighting. One important consequence of the revolt was the final collapse of the Mughal dynasty. The mutiny also ended the system of dual control under which the British government and the British East India Company shared authority. The government relieved the company of its political responsibilities, and in 1858, after 258 years of existence, the company relinquished its role. Trained civil servants were recruited from graduates of British universities, and these men set out to rule India. Lord Canning (created earl in 1859), appointed Governor-General of India in 1856, became known as "Clemency Canning" as a term of derision for his efforts to restrain revenge against the Indians during the Indian Mutiny. When the Government of India was transferred from the Company to the Crown, Canning became the first viceroy of India.
     
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  3. Sabir

    Sabir DFI TEAM Senior Member

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    My two cents about initial days of Company in India-

    The first footstep of British East India Company was in 1612 when they set up a post near Surat. The same year they, under command of Captain Thomas Best defeated the Portuguese in a small naval battle in Swally (Suvali) near Surat. This battle impressed the Mughals who were quite offended on the Portuguese as they often harassed the Mecca-bound pilgrim ships. This success helped the British to gain protection from the Mughals for their operation during negotiation of Sir Thomas Roe in Court of Emperor Jahangir in 1615.

    During 17th century they set up posts in Madras (1640) seeking permission from Vijayanagar King Venkat II , leased Bombay (1668) which went to the British from the Portuguese as dowry for the marriage of Catherine of Briganza to Charles II and in Kolkata (1690).

    Robert Clive’s success in Battle of Plassey (1757) against Siraj-Ud-Doulah, the last independent Nawab of Bengal, brought the company enormous wealth that helped them to strengthen their military might in India. Their position was strengthened further when they defeated combined force of Mir Qasim (Nawab of Bengal), Suja-Ud-Doulah (Nawab of Awadh) and Mughal emperor Shah Alam II in Battle of Buxar (1764). They forced Shah Alam II to grant the Diwani (Right to collect revenue) of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa to the Company following the Treaty of Allahabad (1765). Thus East India Company became a dominant power in East India.

    To expand territory in South India their main enemy were Hyder Ali and later Tipu Sultan of Mysore who was French ally. So the Company negotiated with the Nizam of Hyderabad and the Marathas. First two wars against Mysore and subsequent treaty of Mangalore could be considered humiliation for the Company but they managed to defeat Tipu in third Anglo-Mysore War (1789-92). In the fourth war Tipu was killed defending his capital in the Battle of Serigapatnam (4th May,1799) and most of his kingdom was shared between the Company, the Nizam and the Marathas. One interesting point is Colonel Arthur Wellesley ( later became 1st duke of Wllington, he was the brother of Governor General Richard Wellesley) who defeated Tipu helped the British to get rid of another enemy later in 1815- Napoleon in Battle of Waterloo.
     
  4. amoy

    amoy Senior Member Senior Member

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    it seems one of consequences of Brit Raj was it pulled various independent states together to form a modern-day /integrated India
     
  5. panduranghari

    panduranghari Senior Member Senior Member

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    Not really. It was the Great Sardar Patel who achieved that.
     
  6. Blackwater

    Blackwater Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    Chini kya jane adrak ka swaad lolllllllllllll

    (What chinis know how ginger taste) lollllllllllll:lol::lol::lol::laugh::laugh:
     

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