First Carnatic War

First Carnatic War 1746-48 was a part of the War of the Austrian Succession that was fought between the Kingdom of Prussia, Spain, France, and Bavaria, Sweden etc. on one side and Habsburg Monarchy, England, Dutch Republic, Russia on the other side. This war finally ended with the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle (1748).

This treaty could not bring any substantial settlement with regard to the commercial struggle between the Britain and France in India. In India the same war is coterminous with the First Carnatic War.

The First Carnatic war in India began with the appearing of a British Fleet on the Coromandel Coast. in 1745. The Judicious French Governor Dupleix induced the Nawab of Arcot for intervention but the Nawab opted for an impartial policy.

British initially captured a few French ships, the French called for backup from Mauritius. In 1746 a French squadron arrived under the command of Bertrand François Mahe de la Bourdonnais, who was the famous French governor of Mauritius.

  • In September 1746, the French captured the Madras almost without any opposition and the British were made prisoners of war. Clive was also one of those Prisoners.

The Nawab of Arcot had adopted the impartial policy but to drive the British out of Madras, marched with 10,000 soldiers to the St Fort George but was defeated.

The negotiations about the fate of Madras started but these negotiations took too much time to let Clive escape from the Fort St. George to Fort St David, some twenty miles to the south.

  • In 1748 an English fleet arrived under Admiral Boscawen, and attempted the siege of Pondicherry.
  • At the same time the Land Force of the company was led by Major Stringer Lawrence.
  • Major Stringer Lawrence successfully foiled an attempted French surprise at Cuddalore, but subsequently was captured by a French cavalry patrol at Ariancopang (Ariankuppam) near Pondicherry and kept prisoner till the peace Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle.
  • Major Stringer Lawrence was the first Commander-in-Chief, India, of the East India Company.Some people also call him the “Father of Indian Army”.

In October 1748, the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle restored the peace between France and England and this also brought an end to the First Carnatic War.

  • Madras was restored to the English for some territories (Louisburg) in North America.

The Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle was merely a truce and it was violated by both French and British, thus the war formally renewed in 1756. But before that a crisis in Indian Politics led to the Second Carnatic War.

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