The first Carnatic War (1746-48) was the first in the series of the Carnatic Wars that happened in the middle of the 18th century in India. This war was fought between the French and English East India Companies. The English were trying to gain a foothold in the Carnatic region, while the French were trying to maintain their presence. Both sides had their share of successes and failures, but ultimately the English were able to secure the Carnatic region.
Causes of First Carnatic War
Europeans called the Coromandel coast and its hinterland Carnatic. The First Carnatic War was an extension of the Anglo-French War sparked by the Austrian War of Succession. In 1740, Europe was engulfed in the War of Austrian Succession, which divided France and Britain.
During the British and French colonial periods in India, both companies were interested in having power and supremacy as well as an increased level of trade with the country without interference from the other. English in India expected the French to fight against them when the war began in Europe in 1746.
Events of the First Carnatic War
As a result of the nationalization of the French East India Company in 1720, France had ambitious plans for India. The French Governor of Pondicherry established an army of Indian sepoys under the command of the French government in India.
It was in 1745 that Britain attacked a French fleet and Pondicherry was in danger. As a result, Dupleix, the Governor of Pondicherry, appealed to the French Government of Mauritius for help. Therefore, La Bourdonnais, the French General, came to India and conquered Madras.
Anwaruddin Khan, the Nawab of Arcot, provided assistance to the English. The Nawab asked the French to return Madras to the British. Dupleix tried unsuccessfully to convince the Nawab that he would receive Madras later. In 1746, the Nawab sent a huge army to battle the French. In Mylapore (modern-day Chennai), the relatively small French forces defeated this army in the Battle of St. Thome.
Result of the First Carnatic War
In Europe, the war came to an end when the Treaty of Aix La Chapelle was signed between the English and the French. As a result of the treaty, the French agreed to hand over Madras to the English and the English agreed to surrender the territories they had captured from the French.
Significance of the First Carnatic War
It made clear that the sea had a great deal of importance and that it could not be ignored any longer. It also showed the Indian princes that European war methods and techniques were far superior to theirs. As a result, the Indian political system had completely degenerated, and the princes were incapable of defending themselves.
But the worst part was that Indian prince still did not realize the value of modernization and unity.