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Battle of Plassey 1757

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updated on September 11th, 2019

Background of Battle of Plassey

  • Bengal was the richest province in the 18th century.
  • East India company was making huge profits here.
  • EIC had headquarters in Calcutta, Fort William
  • Dutch and French had factories only.
  • Chinsura – Dutch
  • Chandernagar -French
  • 1756 Siraj ud Daulah became a new Nawab of Bengal.
  • English and French companies were fighting Carnatic wars in south India.
  • English began to fortify their factory( Fort William) at Calcutta without the permission of the Nawab.
  • Siraj ud Daualh asked English to stop the enhancement of military preparedness.
  • English did not respond in a positive way and continued fortification of the factory at Calcutta

Misuse of Dastak

  • secondly, Misuse of Dastak by the employees of the company
  • This Dastak was based on a Firman issued by Mughal Emperor Farrukhsiyyar in 1717.
  • Dastak allowed the east India company to trade without paying taxes.
  • Employees of EIA started using dastak for their personal trade and started giving it local traders
  • This led to the fall of Revenue of the Nawab.

Siraj attacks and Capture Calcutta

  • 16 June 1756, Siraj attack Calcutta
  • 20 June 1756 Siraj captures Calcutta

Blackhole Tragedy

  • after the fall of Fort William, the surviving British soldiers, Anglo-Indian soldiers, and Indian civilians were imprisoned overnight in conditions so cramped
  • It was a room 18 feet (5.5 meters) long and 14 feet (4 meters) wide, and it had two small windows.
  • that many people died from suffocation and heat exhaustion, and that 123 of 146 prisoners of war imprisoned there died.
  • Historians often debate about the authenticity of the Blackhole incident.

Robert Clive recapture Calcutta – Alinagar treaty

  • Robert Clive and Watson recapture Calcutta in January 1757
  • The attack scared the Nawab into concluding the Treaty of Alinagar ( Old name for Calcutta )with the Company on 5 February
  • agreeing to restore the Company’s factories, allow the fortification of Calcutta and restoring former privileges.
  • The Nawab withdrew his army back to his capital, Murshidabad.

British Captures Chandernagar

  • Clive planned to capture the French town of Chandernagar, 20 miles (32 km) north of Calcutta.
  • The French expected assistance from the Nawab’s forces from Hooghly, but the governor of Hooghly, Nandkumar had been bribed to remain inactive and prevent the Nawab’s reinforcement of Chandernagar.
  • At 9:00 on 24 March, a flag of truce was shown by the French and by 15:00, the capitulation concluded.
  • After plundering Chandernagar, Clive decided to ignore his orders to return to Madras and remain in Bengal.
  • He moved his army to the north of the town of Hooghly.

Battle of Plassey

  • The Battle of Plassey was a major battle that took place on 23 June 1757.
  • The battle took place at Palashi, Bengal on the river banks of the Bhagirathi-Hooghly River, a distributary of the Ganges.
  • The fighting took place about 150 kilometers (93 mi) north of Calcutta.
  • This was near Murshidabad which was the capital of Bengal at the time.
  • Britishers formed a conspiracy with Siraj-ud-Daulah’s demoted army leader Mir Jafar as well as others such as Yar Lutuf Khan and Rai Durlabh.
  • Mir Jafar, Rai Durlabh and Yar Lutuf Khan brought their soldiers near Plassey but did not actually join the battle.
  • Siraj-ud-Daulah’s army was beaten by about 3,000 soldiers of Col. Robert Clive, and Siraj-ud-daulah fled from the battlefield.
  • Siraj-ud-Daulah was executed on 2 July 1757 by Mohammad Ali Beg under orders from Mir Meerun, son of Mir Jafar
  • As a reward for his treachery, Mir Jafar was made the Nawab of Bengal.
  • The British now had influence over the Nawab.
  • They also got a lot of revenue from trade.
  • The British used this revenue to increase their military power.
  • They pushed the other European colonial powers such as the Dutch and the French out of South Asia.
  • This was a sign of the expansion of the British Empire in Asia.
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