Anglo Mysore War (1766-1769):

Causes and Results

Modern History of India is One of the most important topics, nowadays, asking in different government exams like UPSC CSE, State PCS, SSC, FSSAI, DMRC, CDS, NDA, ASRB, Railways, and others. This is the next chapter – the Anglo-Mysore War of Modern India Notes Series.


The state of Mysore rose to prominence in the politics of South India under the leadership of Haider Ali. His father was under the military service of the Hindu king of Mysore and was the jagirdar of Budikot. But he died when Haider Ali was only seven years of age.

Haider Ali joined the army of Mysore when he became young. He gradually rose to prominence, increased the number of his soldiers, and trained them on the model of the French army. He finally succeeded in capturing power and by 1761, became the de facto ruler of Mysore.

The First Anglo-Mysore War (1766-1769)

First Anglo-Mysore War (1766-1769)

The wars of succession in Karnataka and Hyderabad, the conflict between the English and the French in the South, and the defeat of the Marathas in the third battle of Panipat helped Haider Ali in extending and consolidating the territory of Mysore.

Thus, Mysore, under Hyder Ali, gradually grew into a powerful and important state in the South. That provoked the jealousy of the Marathas and the Nizam of Hyderabad.

The Marathas attacked Mysore and in 1765 forced Haider Ali to cede a part of his territory and pay annual tribute to them. The Nizam, in his turn, joined hands with the English against Mysore and that resulted in the first Anglo-Mysore War.

Causes of The War:

  1. Hyder Ali built a strong army and annexed many regions in the South including Bidnur, Canara, Sera, Malabar and Sunda
  2. He also took French support in training his army
  3. This alarmed the British

Course of The War:

In 1765, the Nizam of Hyderabad sought the help of the English at Madras against Haider Ali who had agreed to in return for the surrender of Northern Sarkars to them. The Marathas also joined this alliance in 1766.

The war started when the Marathas attacked Mysore in 1766. Haider Ali Purchased peace with the Marathas on Payment of rupees thirty-five lakh to them. The Marathas, then, turned back. Next, the Nizam attacked Mysore with the help of an English force. But the attack did not quite succeed. In September 1767, the Nizam left the side of the English and joined hands with Haider Ali, Smith, the English commander, could not face their combined forces and retreated to Trichinopoly where Colonel Wood joined him. The Nizam and Haider Ali failed to gain any success in the battle near Trichinopoly and in December 1767, Haider Ali was defeated at another place. The English planned to attack Hyderabad which broke up the spirit of the Nizam. He left the side of Haider Ali and entered into a treaty with the English in March 1768.

Terms of treaty 1768-

  1. The Nizam regarded Haider Ali as a usurper and refused to ackowledge his right to rule Mysore.
  2. He granted the right of Diwani of Mysore to the English.
  3. He also agreed to help the English and the Nawab of Karnataka to punish Haider Ali.

This treaty made the English and Haider Ali permanent enemies of each other because of the grant of Diwani of Mysore to the English by the Nizam once it was conquered. The treaty also left Haider Ali without any ally. He, however, did not lose courage. He defeated an English force sent by the English from Bombay and captured Mangalore. In March 1769, he attacked Madras and forced the English to sign a treaty on April 4, 1769, which was the Treaty of Madras.

Terms of Treaty

  1. Both the parties returned the conquered territories of each other.
  2. Both parties promised to help each other in case of any foreign attack on them.

Result of War

Thus ended the first Anglo-Mysore War. But, it was no peace between the two for maintaining friendly relations with each other. It was only a temporary truce between two enemies. Thus, the first Anglo-Mysore War was not a decisive war. However, Haider Ali was able to prove his talents both as a diplomat and military commander. The war started when three political powers in the South had joined hands against Mysore. Yet, Haider Ali brought it to a respectable end. While the Marathas withdrew from the battle and the Nizam gained nothing, the English were forced to sign a treaty on equal terms.

The Second Anglo-Mysore War (1780-84)

The Cause of The Second Anglo-Mysore War (1780-84)

The growing dissatisfaction of Hyder Ali and the Nizam of Hyderabad with the English company.

  1. The English alienated both the Nizam of Hyderabad and Haider Ali by their acts. They did not pay the annual amount of rupees seven lacs to the Nizam which they had agreed to pay him by the treaty of 1768. Also, they helped the Nawab of Karnataka in capturing Tanjore. They also took over the district of Guntur from Basalat Jung who was a relative of the relative of the Nizam, therefore, felt offended.
  2. Haider Ali also did not like the occupation of Guntur by the English. The English had also failed to help him against the Marathas in 1771 for which they were obliged by the treaty executed with him in 1769 (i.e., by treaty of Madras). In 1779, the English captured the French possessions at Mahe which were under the protection of Haider Ali. This infuriated Haider Ali and he decided to take revenge on the English.
  3. The English had also interfered in the affairs of the Marathas and the first Maratha War had already started.

Therefore, Haider Ali made a common cause with the Nizam and the Marathas and all the three agreed to fight against the English. It was agreed that the Marathas would attack the English possessions in the North, the Nizam would attack the Northern Sarkars and Haider Ali would attack Madras and its neighboring territories.

Course of War

In July 1780, Haider Ali attacked Karnataka. The English dispatched one force under Colonel Baillie and another one under Sir Hector Munro to oppose him. Tipu, the son of Haider Ali, advanced to check the combinations of the two armies. He fought a battle against Baillie near Kanjeevaram. Baillie and his entire force were cut down to pieces. Munro who was waiting for Baillie at Kanjeevaram was so demoralized that he immediately retreated to Madras. By December 1780, Haider Ali captured Arcot and put the English in a most difficult position. Sir Alfred Lyall remarked: “The fortunes of the English in India had fallen to their lowest water-mark”. The English lost all their possessions in Karnataka except the sea coast.

Warren Hastings, the governor-general of the Company, however, did not lose heart. He moved diplomatically and attempted to win the favour of the Nizam and the Marathas. He handed over the district of Guntur to the Nizam who abandoned the side of Haider Ali. In the same way, the Bhonsle and the Sindhia were tackled diplomatically and both agreed to give up the cause of Haider Ali. Haider Ali was, thus, left alone to fight the English.

In 1781, Sir Ayre Coote defeated Haider Ali at Porto Novo and Tipu was obliged to raise the siege of Wandiwash. Another force from Bengal also joined Ayre Coote and their combined force fought an indecisive battle against Haider Ali. However, in September 1781, Ayre Coote defeated Haider Ali at Solinghur and the English captured Negapatam in November. But, in the next round, the English met with reverses. Tipu besieged Tanjore and captured it. In 1789, the French Admiral, Suffrein, reached Madras to support Haider Ali. The French captured Cuddalore and Trincomali from the English while the attempt of Ayre Coote to capture Arni and the attack of the English from Bombay on Malabar failed. No party could make further progress for some time due to the rainy season. At that very time, Haider Ali died of cancer on December 7, 1782.

Tipu, however, continued fighting against the English even after the death of his father. The English government at Bombay deputed Brigadier Mathews to attack Mangalore and Bednore. He was, however, defeated and imprisoned by Tipu. But in June 1783, the French withdrew from the fighting because France concluded a treaty with Britain. It was a serious loss to Tipu. The English also succeeded in capturing Palghat and Coimbatore. But when Colonel Fullerton proceeded towards Srirangapatam, the capital of Mysore, he was recalled by the governor at Madras, Lord Macartney, who had opened negotiations for peace with Tipu because of serious financial difficulties. By that time Tipu had also become desirous of peace.

Result of War

On March 7, 1784, the treaty of Mangalore was signed between the two parties. Both agreed to return the conquered territories of each other and also the prisoners of war. Again, it was a temporary truce between the two. It was clear that both the parties would contest each other at an opportune time in the near future.

The Third Anglo-Mysore War (1790-92)

The third contest between the English and Mysore took place when Cornwallis came to India as the governor-general of the Company. Tipu was a determined enemy of the English. He was trying to seek an alliance with foreign powers against the English and, for that purpose, had sent his ambassadors to France and Turkey. Cornwallis, therefore, was convinced of the necessity of subduing Tipu and described the war against him as a ‘cruel necessity. Cornwallis also tried to find allies from among the native rulers. He made a settlement with the Nizam of Hyderabad concerning the district of Guntur. Tipu Sultan was not consulted while making the agreement which convinced him that the English were preparing for a war against him.

Causes of The War:

  • The British started improving their relationship with the Nizam of Hyderabad and the Marathas.
  • Tipu Sultan, who assumed control of Mysore after Hyder Ali’s death, had French help in bettering his military resources.
  • He also refused to free the English prisoners taken during the second Anglo-Mysore war as per the Treaty of Mangalore.

The Course of The War:

  • Tipu declared war on Travancore in 1789. Travancore was a friendly state of the British.
  • In 1790, the Governor-General of Bengal, Lord Cornwallis declared war on Tipu.
  • Tipu was defeated in the first phase of the war and his forces had to retreat.
  • Later the English advanced towards Tipu’s capital of Seringapatam and Tipu had to bargain for peace.

Result of The War:

  • The war ended with the Treaty of Seringapatam in 1792.
  • As per the treaty, Tipu had to cede half of his kingdom to the English including the areas of Malabar, Dindigul, Coorg and Baramahal.
  • He also had to pay Rs. 3 Crore as war indemnity to the British.
  • Tipu also had to surrender two of his sons as surety to the British till he paid his due.

The Fourth Anglo-Mysore War (1798-99):

Causes and Results

The primary cause of the fourth Mysore War was the imperialist policy of Lord Wellesley, though of course, Tipu Sultan too was preparing himself to settle his score with the English. Tipu did not forget his defeat and humiliation at the hands of the English in the Third Anglo-Mysore War. He prepared himself to restore his last power and prestige. He further fortified his capital, increased the number of his infantry and cavalry, and improved their training, suppressed the rebellious chiefs, and encouraged agriculture.

In 1796, the titular Hindu Raja of Mysore died and Tipu refused to place his minor son ever nominally on the throne and declared himself the Sultan. He sought alliances with foreign powers against the English and sent ambassadors to Arabia, Turkey, Afghanistan, and the French at the island of Mauritius. He became a member of the French Jacobin Club and called himself ‘Citizen Tipu’. Some French volunteers arrived in Seringapatam and planted the tree of liberty there. A small contingent of French soldiers also arrived at Mangalore at the same time when Lord Wellesley reached Calcutta. Thus, it was clear that Tipu desired to take revenge on the English.

Lord Wellesley, who came to India as governor-general of the Company in 1798 was equally anxious to finish Tipu forever. He regarded the activities of Tipu as those of an enemy, determined to eliminate the influence of the French from the courts of native rulers including that of Mysore, and frankly an imperialist and was determined to extend the territory of the English in India by every means. Mysore could be easy prey. Therefore, he planned to finish the power of Tipu for once and all. He opened negotiations with the Nizam of Hyderabad and Marathas.

The Nizam cantered into a treaty with the English in September 1798. The Marathas did not reply clearly, yet, Wellesley assured the Peshwa that he would give him half of the territory captured from Tipu after the war. Thus, assured of the neutrality of the Nizam and the Marathas, Wellesley declared war against Tipu in 1799.

The Fourth Mysore War (1799)

Mysore was attacked by the English from two sides in March 1799. Tipu was defeated in some engagements and finely was forced to take shelter within the walls of Seringapatam. The English besieged Seringapatam and captured it on May 4, 1799. Tipu died fighting and his son, Fateh Ali, surrendered himself to the English.

The fourth Anglo-Mysore war destroyed the state of Mysore which was strengthened and taken over by Haider Ali thirty-three years back. The English offered some territory to the Peshwa on certain conditions which he refused to accept. The Nizam was given some territory near his own territory. The English occupied a larger part of the territory of the state of Mysore. The rest of its territory was handed over to the minor son of the previous Hindu ruler who accepted the subsidiary alliance and thus, became a dependent ally of the English. The members of the family of Tipu were imprisoned in the fort of Vellore.

Thus, the state of Mysore was finished by the English. It was a grand success of Wellesley and he was rewarded by the title of ‘Marquis’ by the English government.

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