Consolidation of British Power in India

The years from 1757 to 1782 mark the rise of the modern British Empire. England’s ally, Fredrick the Great of Prussia won the Battle of Rossbach in 1757 during the 7 years war and humbled the France. In 1759, James Wolfe of England took Quebec in the Battle of Quebec and by 1763; whole of Canada was won from the French.

Clive won the battle of Plassey in 1757 and Eyere Coote crushed the remnants of French Power in India in 1761. These 5 years assured the greatness of England and France was humbled in America, Asia and Europe.

The 80 years from the Battle of Plassey 1757 to Accession of Queen Victoria in 1837 was the period of steady rise and expansion of the British Power India.

  • The three generations of the British consolidated the power of Britain in India and the consistent economic drain from the country assured its place among the poorest of the poor regions in the world.
  1. The First Generation was the age of Clive and Warren Hastings, which was closed by the Pitts India Act of 1784.
  2. The Second Generation was of Lord Cornwallis, Lord Wellesley and Lord Hastings which saw the final wars with Mysore and Marathas. It ended with the annexation of province of Bombay in 1817 and capture of last of the Peshwas.
  3. The Third Generation was of peace and administrative reforms in India which saw Lord Munro, Lord Elphinstone, Lord Bentinck, the names which are still cherished in India. Third generation ended with arrival of Lord Auckland in 1836 and accession of Queen Victoria in 1837.

The first three Carnatic wars assured elimination of all the competitive powers from India. In the First Carnatic War, the French had an advantage, but in the Third Carnatic war, Lally, the Patriotic but impulsive leader of France, got defeated in the Battle of Wandiwash and paved the way for British supremacy.

  • By 1763, there was no rival power in India which could hold the British in place.

In the first Anglo Maratha war, the British troops distinguished themselves by capturing Ahmadabad and Gwalior, but the mission of the British got failed. The ally of the British Raghunath Rao retired on pension but the Treaty of Salbai in 1782 added the Islands of Salsette and some other such as Bassein to the British possessions.

In the First Anglo Mysore war, the British felt the weight of arms of Hyder Ali, the most capable military commander that India produced in those times. Hyder Ali devastated the Carnatic and the British, struck with panic made peace (Treaty of Madras) with this terrible commander in 1769.

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