The Anglo-Mysore Wars were a series of four wars between the British East India Company and the Kingdom of Mysore. These wars span over more than thirty years of warfare between the kingdom of Mysore and the expanding East India Company, which were the main protagonists of the conflict, while the other powers such as the Marathas and the Nizam of Hyderabad played a secondary role.
The First Mysore War was fought between the Company and Hyder Ali between 1767-69, the second between Hyder Ali and the Company between 1780-84 when Warren Hastings was the Governor General; the third war was between the Company and Tipu Sultan (1790-92) when Lord Cornwallis was the Governor General of India and the last one between Tipu Sultan and the Company in 1799 during the days of Governorship of Lord Wellesley.
Mysore Dynasty and Hyder Ali
A Hindu kingdom, Mysore was originally part of Vijaynagar. In 1565, the Vijaynagar empire suffered a disaster in the battle of Talikota, resulting in the state of Mysore becoming quite powerful in South India under a Hindu Raja of the Wodeyar dynasty.
In 1721, Hyder Ali was born in Budikot, where his father served as the Faujdar of the ruler. His father was also the Jagirdar of Budikot. Hyder Ali became a soldier under King Krishna Raj in 1728 after the death of his father. Nand Raj was the minister at the time and was in fact the state’s de facto leader. During the Karnataka War, he gained prominence.
Having the chance to lay hands on the treasurer of Nasir lung, the Nizam of Hyderabad, would have been a great privilege. This money allowed him to recruit soldiers, train them, and capture a few cannons during Mysore’s invasion of Trichnopoly. Gradually he rose both in status and prestige.
Upon becoming Faujdar of Dindigul, he began to rise rapidly, eventually becoming the de-facto ruler in 1761. In order to gain control over the nearby chiefs and add several territories to Mysore, he took advantage of the weaknesses and conflicts between the Nizam, the Marathas and the East India Company with the French Company. He became ruler of the state in 1766 after the death of his Hindu master.
First Anglo-Mysore War (1767-69)
The First Anglo-Mysore War was fought in 1767–1769 between the Kingdom of Mysore and the British East India Company. On April 4, 1769, the English were forced to sign the Treaty of Madras with Hyder, which ended the war by restoring the conquered territories and committing to helping one another in the unlikely event of a foreign attack.
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Second Anglo-Mysore War (1780-84)
After forming an alliance with the Nizam and the Marathas, Hyder Ali defeated the British forces in Arcot. In 1782, Hyder Ali died, and his son Tipu Sultan Sir Eyre Coote continued the war. After an inconclusive war, both sides negotiated a peace by signing the Treaty of Mangalore (March, 1784), which required both parties to return the territories they acquired from each other.
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Third Anglo-Mysore War (1790-1792)
Tipu launched a war in 1789 on Travancore. It was a British-friendly state. Lord Cornwallis declared war against Tipu in 1790. English forces forced Tipu to make a peace deal when they marched on Seringapatam, Tipu’s capital. According to the terms of the Seringapatam Treaty, signed in 1792, Tipu had to hand over half of his empire to the English, including the provinces of Malabar, Dindigul, Coorg, and Baramahal. Tipu also had to pay the British three crores in war indemnity. Two of his sons had to serve as sureties until his debt was paid.
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Fourth Anglo-Mysore War (1799)
During the Battle of Seringapatam in 1799, the British won a decisive victory. Tipu died protecting the city. Tipu’s domains were handed over to the British and the Nizam of Hyderabad. As a result of Hyder Ali’s de facto rule of Mysore, the Wodeyar dynasty was restored to the main territory surrounding Seringapatam and Mysore. British residents were appointed to the Mysore Court as part of a Subsidiary Alliance with Mysore. Mysore was a princely state not directly under British rule until 1947, when it joined the Indian Union.
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