In the Third Anglo-Mysore War, the British East India Company fought against the Kingdom of Mysore. Due to their own problems and limitations, both sides of the Anglo-Mysore war wanted to end it. However, Tipu Sultan was determined to have his supremacy in the Deccan. The English improved their relation with the Nizam of Hyderabad and the Marathas. In this article we will discuss the Third Anglo-Mysore War (1780-84) which is helpful for the UPSC and other competitive exams.
Causes of the Third Anglo-Mysore War
Tipu Sultan was keen to take revenge both from the Marathas and the Nizam of Hyderabad for their leaving him in spite of their forming a confederacy.
While the British East India Company was experiencing financial difficulties and their board of directors decided not to wage wars, they wanted to expand into the South and crush Tipu Sultan who had joined forces with the French, the Company’s traditional rival and adversary.
Lord Cornwallis became Governor-General and he wanted to punish Tipu with vengeance. Two great southern powers, the Nizam of Hyderabad and the Maratha confederacy, supported the British. After the First Anglo-Maratha War in 1782, the Nizam of Hyderabad provided resources and even troops to the British for war against Tipu. Also, the Marathas joined the British after signing the Treaty of Salbai with the English. This greatly strengthened British positions.
As part of Tipu’s diplomatic efforts to strengthen himself against the English, he sent an embassy to Constantinople (Turkey), in 1787 a second to Paris (France). Although Louis XVI was hospitable, he could not provide the Sultan with concrete support.
Cornwallis was very careful before launching war on Tipu. He wanted to make sure both the Marathas and the Nizam of Hyderabad would not cooperate with Tipu, so that the three would not form a confederacy and threaten British interests in India.
Initially, he approached Nizam and demanded Guntur be returned to him. Nizam agreed to his proposal on condition that the Company would assist him in regaining control of all of the territory he had previously conquered from Tipu Sultan. When these territories were conquered, the Company promised them would be handed over to the Nizam once they were conquered. Nizam was granted access to the Company’s armed forces on condition that they not be used against friendly states of the Company.
His efforts also led the Marathas not to support Tipu Sultan. On June 1, 1790, he signed a treaty with the Marathas, and on July 4, 1790, with the Nizam, by which the two agreed to assist the Company.
Events of the Third Anglo-Mysore War
Having made these arrangements, Cornwallis remained on the alert for an opportunity to deal with Tipu Sultan. This opportunity occurred when Tipu invaded the Raja of Travancore, a friend of the Company.
Tipu believed that Travancore (ally of British) had violated his sovereign powers by buying Jalkottal and Cannanore from the Dutch in the state of Cochin. Since Cochin was Tipu’s feudatory, Tipu fought Travancore in April 1790 in order to reclaim his rights.
The English declared war on Tipu Sultan in January, 1790. Nizam of Hyderabad and the Marathas did not take part in the war, so the English had to deal with Tipu Sultan all alone. Tipu captured Tiruvannamalai in response to Hartley’s defeat of Husain Ali, the general who served under Tipu. His attempt to obtain the support of French Pondicherry Governor did not succeed.
After marching from Vellore to Bangalore, Cornwallis was captured in March 1791. However, they had to relax their hold because of a lack of food supplies, etc., and the capture of Bali Pur and Deolali. Tipu’s attempt to retake Bangalore absolutely failed. Nizam sent his forces to the English at this critical time, resulting in a further setback for Tipu.
British forces then marched to Srirangapatnam, the capital of Mysore, and reached it within a few miles. As a result, Tipu put up a tough resistance and British forces ran low on food and war materials. When Tipu learned that Maratha forces had joined the English forces against him, they were considering retreating. Thus, whereas the resources and morale of the English forces went up, those of Tipu Sultan and his forces went down.
Tipu was now ready to sign a peace treaty but Cornwallis was only willing to do so if the Sultan agreed to include both the Nizam and the Marathas in the deal, which the latter was unwilling to do. The war continued till Tipu exhausted his ammunition. As a result, Tipu signed a peace treaty with the English.
Result of the Third Anglo-Mysore War
In March, 1792, the Srirangapatnam Treaty was signed, to Tipu Sultan’s great disadvantage. Under compelling circumstances, he had no choice but to sign it. As a result of this treaty, half of his territories were surrendered. They were divided among the three winning partners as follows:
- The English got the territories of Baramahal, Salem, Dindigul and Malabar.
- The Marathas received territories extending from river Krishna to Tungbhadra.
- The Nizam got territories extending from river Krishna to Panna including the forts of Cuddapah and Guji Kotah.
As agreed, the English were the overlord of Raja of Coorg. The English were also to be paid war indemnity of Rs. 3 crores and thirty lakhs, half of which would be paid immediately and the rest would be paid in easy installments. All of the prisoners of war who were in Mysore’s custody were to be returned. His two sons were to remain as hostages with the English in order to ensure that Tipu Sultan did not break the terms of the treaty.