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Mysore’s Resistance to the Company || Mysore Dynasty

Mysore’s Resistance to the Company || Mysore Dynasty

The Wodeyar / Mysore Dynasty

Mysore Dynasty:- After the battle of Talikota (1565) gave a deadly blow to the great kingdom of Vijayanagara, many small kingdoms emerged from its remnants. In 1612 a Hindu kingdom under the Wodeyars emerged in the region of Mysore. Chikka Krishnaraja Wodeyar II ruled from 1734 to 1766. During the second half of the 18th century, Mysore emerged as a formidable power under the leadership of Haidar Ali and Tipu
Sultan. The English felt their political and commercial interests in south India was threatened because of Mysore’s proximity with the French and Haidar Ali and Tipu’s control over the rich trade of the Malabar coast. Mysore’s power was also seen as a threat to the control of the English over Madras.

Note :- This post will be available in Hindi soon

Mysore Dynasty

Rise of Haidar Ali

In the early 18th century two brothers, Nanjaraj (the sarvadhikari) and Devaraj (the Dulwai) had reduced Chikka Krishnaraja Wodeyar to a mere puppet. Haidar Ali, born in 1721 in an obscure family, started his career as a horseman in the Mysore army under the ministers, Nanjaraj and Devaraj. Though uneducated, he possessed a keen intellect and was a man of great energy and determination.

Repeated incursions of the Marathas and of the Nizam’s troops into the territories of Mysore resulted in heavy financial demands made by the aggressors from Mysore. Mysore became financially and politically weak. The need of the hour was a leader with high degree of military powers and diplomatic skill. Haidar Ali fulfilled that need and usurped the royal authority by becoming the de facto ruler of Mysore in 1761. He realised that the exceedingly mobile Marathas could be contained only by a swift cavalry, that the cannons of the French-trained Nizami army could be silenced only by an effective artillery, and that the superior arms from the West could only be matched by arms brought from the same place or manufactured with the same know-how.

Haidar Ali took the help of the French to set up an arms factory at Dindigul (now in Tamil Nadu), and also introduced Western methods of training for his army. He also started to use his considerable diplomatic skill to outmanoeuvre his opponents. With his superior military skill
he captured Dod Ballapur, Sera, Bednur and Hoskote in 1761- 63, and brought to submission the troublesome Poligars of South India (in what is now Tamil Nadu). Recovering from their defeat at Panipat, the Marathas under Madhavrao attacked Mysore, and defeated Haidar Ali in 1764, 1766, and 1771. To buy peace, Haidar Ali had to give them large sums of money, but after Madhavrao’s death in 1772, Haidar Ali
raided the Marathas a number of times during 1774-76, and recovered all the territories he had previously lost, besides capturing new areas.

First Anglo-Mysore War (1767-69)


After their easy success in Bengal, the English were confident of their military strength. They concluded a treaty with the Nizam of Hyderabad (1766) persuading him to give them the Northern Circars (region) in lieu of which they said they would protect the Nizam from Haidar Ali. Haidar already had territorial disputes with the Nawab of Arcot and differences with the Marathas.

Changing Alliances

The Nizam, the Marathas, and the English allied together against Haidar Ali. Haidar acted with considerable tact and diplomatic skill. He paid the Marathas to turn them neutral and, promising to share conquered territories with the Nizam, converted the Nizam into his ally. He then joined the Nizam to attack the Nawab of Arcot.

Course of War

The war continued for a year-and-a-half without any conclusion. Haidar changed his strategy and suddenly appeared before the gates of Madras. There was complete chaos and panic at Madras forcing the English to conclude a very humiliating treaty with Haidar on April 4, 1769—Treaty of Madras. The treaty provided for the exchange of prisoners and mutual restitution of conquests. Haidar Ali was promised the help of the English in case he was attacked by any other power.

Second Anglo-Mysore War (1780-84)


Haidar Ali accused the English of breach of faith and non-observance of the Treaty of Madras when in 1771 he was attacked by the Marathas, and the English failed to come to his aid. Also, he found that the French were much more helpful than the English in meeting his army’s requirement of guns, saltpetre and lead. Consequently, through Mahe, a French possession on the Malabar coast, some French war
material was brought to Mysore. Meanwhile, the American war of independence had broken out in which the French were on the side of the rebels against the English. Under the circumstances, Haidar Ali’s friendship with the French caused even more concern to the English. They therefore tried to capture Mahe, which Haidar regarded to be under his protection. Haidar considered the English attempt to capture
Mahe a direct challenge to his authority.

Course of War

Haidar forged an anti-English alliance with the Marathas and the Nizam. He followed it up by an attack in the Carnatic, capturing Arcot, and defeating the English army under Colonel Baillie in 1781. In the meantime, the English (under Sir Eyre Coote) detached both the Marathas and the Nizam from Haidar’s side, but the undeterred Haidar faced the English boldly only to suffer a defeat at Porto Novo in November 1781. However, he regrouped his forces and defeated the English and captured their commander, Braithwaite.

Treaty of Mangalore

Haidar Ali died of cancer on December 7, 1782. Now his son, Tipu Sultan, carried on the war for one year without any positive outcome. Fed up with an inconclusive war, both sides opted for peace, negotiating the Treaty of Mangalore (March, 1784) under which each party gave back the territories it had taken from the other.

Third Anglo-Mysore War


A dispute arose between Tipu and the state of Travancore. Travancore had purchased Jalkottal and Cannanore from the Dutch in the Cochin state. As Cochin was a feudatory of Tipu, he considered the act of Travancore as a violation of his sovereign rights. So, in April 1790, Tipu declared war against Travancore for the restoration of his rights.

Course of War

The English, siding with Travancore, attacked Tipu. In 1790, Tipu defeated the English under General Meadows. In 1791, Cornwallis took the leadership and at the head of a large army marched through Ambur and Vellore to Bangalore (captured in March 1791) and from there to Seringapatam. Coimbatore fell to them, but they lost it again, and at last with the support of the Marathas and the Nizam, the English attacked Seringapatam for the second time. Tipu offered serious opposition, but the odds were against him. Consequently, he had to pay heavily under the Treaty of Seringapatam.

Treaty of Seringapatam

Under this treaty of 1792, nearly half of the Mysorean territory was taken over by the victors. Baramahal, Dindigul and Malabar went to the English, while the Marathas got the regions surrounding the Tungabhadra and its tributaries and the Nizam acquired the areas from the
Krishna to beyond the Pennar. Besides, a war damage of three

We have crippled our enemy effectively without making our friends too formidable.
—Lord Cornwallis

crore rupees was also taken from Tipu. Half of the war indemnity was to be paid immediately while the rest was to be given in installments, for which Tipu’s two sons were taken as hostages by the English.

Fourth Anglo-Mysore War


The English as well as Tipu Sultan used the period 1792 to 1799 to recoup their losses. Tipu fulfilled all the terms of the Treaty of Seringapatam and got his sons released. In 1796, when the Hindu ruler of Wodeyar dynasty died, Tipu refused to place Wodeyar’s minor son on the throne and declared himself sultan. He also decided to avenge his humilitating defeat and the terms put by the Treaty of Seringapatam.

In 1798, Lord Wellesley succeeded Sir John Shore as the new Governor General. An imperialist to the core, Wellesley was concerned about Tipu’s growing friendship with the French and aimed at annihilating Tipu’s independent existence or force him to submission through the system of Subsidiary Alliance. So the chargesheet against Tipu mentioned that he was plotting against the English with the Nizam and
the Marathas and that he had sent emissaries to Arabia, Afghanistan, Kabul and Zaman Shah, as also to Isle of France (Mauritius) and Versailles, with treasonable intent. Tipu’s explanation did not satisfy Wellesley.

Course of War

The war began on April 17, 1799 and ended on May 4, 1799 with the fall of Seringapatam. Tipu was defeated first by English General Stuart and then by General Harris. Arthur Wellesley, the brother of Lord Wellesley, also participated in the war. The English were again helped by the Marathas and the Nizam. The Marathas had been promised half of the territory of Tipu and the Nizam had already signed the
Subsidiary Alliance. Tipu laid down his life fighting bravely; his family members were interned at Vellore, and his treasures were confiscated by the English. The English chose a boy from the earlier Hindu royal family of Mysore as the maharaja and also imposed on him the subsidiary alliance system.

Estimate of Tipu Sultan

Tipu Sultan was born in November 1750 to Haidar Ali and Fatima. A well educated man, he could freely converse in Arabic, Persian, Kanarese and Urdu.

Tipu was a great warrior (he was known as the ‘Tiger of Mysore’) and gave maximum care to the raising and maintenance of an efficient military force. He organised his army on the European model with Persian words of command. Though he took the help of the French officers to train his soldiers, he never allowed them (French) to develop into a pressure group. Like his father, Tipu realised the importance of a naval force. In 1796, he set up a Board of Admiralty and planned for a fleet of 22 battleships and 20 large frigates. Three dockyards were established at Mangalore, Wajedabad and Molidabad. However, his plans did not fructify.

Tipu was a patron of science and technology. He is credited as the ‘pioneer of rocket technology’ in India. He wrote a military manual explaining the operation of rockets. He was also a pioneer in introducing sericulture to the Mysore State.

Tipu was a great lover of democracy and a great diplomat. He gave his support to the French soldiers at Seringapatam in setting up a Jacobin Club in 1797. He ordered a salute of 2,300 cannons and 500 rockets to celebrate the occasion. Tipu himself became a member of the Jacobin Club and allowed himself to be called Citizen Tipu. He planted the Tree of Liberty at Seringapatam.

Some historians have depicted Tipu as a bigoted monarch. This was the main view of colonial historians. This estimation of the sultan is not fully correct. It is true that he crushed the Hindu Coorgs and Nairs. But at the same time he also punished the Muslim Moplahs when they defied his authority. Though he is reported to have demolished temples in Kerala when he conquered places there, Tipu is also known to have protected Hindu temples within his own kingdom. He sanctioned funds for the repair of the Sringeri Temple and installation of the idol of Goddess Sarada (the idol had been damaged during a Maratha raid in 1791). It is necessary not to judge characters of the past with modern yardsticks of secularism and democracy.

Tipu despised the use of palanquins and described them as fit only for use of women and the disabled. He is also credited with beginning capitalist development at a time when feudalism was prevalent.

Tipu was a man representing multiple traditions.

Mysore After Tipu

  •  Wellesley offered Soonda and Harponelly districts of Mysore Kingdom to the Marathas, which the latter refused.
  •  The Nizam was given the districts of Gooty and Gurramkonda.
  • The English took possession of Kanara, Wynad, Coimbatore, Dwaraporam and Seringapatam.
  • The new state of Mysore was handed over to the old Hindu dynasty (Wodeyars) under a minor ruler Krishnaraja III, who accepted the subsidiary alliance.
  • In 1831 William Bentinck took control of Mysore on grounds of misgovernance.
  • In 1881 Lord Ripon restored the kingdom to its ruler.

Tipu has been regarded by some writers as the first Indian
nationalist and a martyr for India’s freedom. But this is a wrong
view arrived at by projecting the present into the past. In the
age in which Tipu lived and ruled there was no sense of
nationalism or an awareness among Indians that they were a
subject people. It will, therefore, be too much to say that Tipu
waged war against the English for the sake of India’s freedom.
Actually he fought in order to preserve his own power and

—Mohibbul Hasan, History of Tipu Sultan

When a person travelling through a strange country finds it well
cultivated, populous with industrious inhabitants, cities newly
founded, commerce extending, towns increasing and everything
flourishing so as to indicate happiness he will naturally conclude
it to be under a form of government congenial to the minds
of the people. This is a picture of Tippoo’s country.
—Lieutenant Moore

Read More History

Vishal Singh

Vishal Singh

“Hi, I am Vishal Singh. I completed my Graduations in Physics in 2020 at VKSU, Arrah. Now I'm Preparing For Civil Service Exams. I'm Interested Physics as well as History, Polity, Geography, Technology & Science.

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