The Battle of Plassey (1757)
Introduction: The Battle of Plassey was a decisive victory of the British East India Company over a much larger force of Nawab of Bengal and French troops together on 23 June 1757. The Leader of the British was Robert Clive. After the victory, the Company Seizes control of Bengal, and the victory cited the source of British Company rule in India, by giving ultimate power.
Important Facts of the battle of Plassey:
- Battle of Plassey: 23 June 1757
- Fought Between: British East India Company under the leadership of Robert Clive and Nawab of Bengal Siraj-ud-Daula joined with French troops.
- Victory: The Battle of Plassey was a decisive victory of British East India Company
Causes of Battle of Plassey:
The conflict between the Nawab of Bengal, Siraj-ud-Daula, and the English led to the battle of Plassey. The main reasons behind the conflict as:
- The uncontrolled misuse of trade privileges by the British company adversely affected the finances of Nawab.
- The English fortified Calcutta without the permission of Nawab.
- They gave protection to the political fugitive, Krishna Das, son of Raj Ballabh who fled with immense treasure against the will of Nawab.
- On the other hand, the Copan suspected that the Siraj would drastically reduce its trade privileges in collusion with the French in Bengal.
- Siraj attacked and seized the English Fort at Calcutta. The incident brought English hostility into open.
The course of The War:
- The battle took place at Plassey on the bank of Hooghly River.
- The battle was preceded by an attack of Siraj-ud-Daulah on British-controlled Calcutta and the Black Hole massacre.
- The Black Hole Massacre: Siraj-ud-Daulah is believed to have imprisoned 146 Engish persons and lodged them in a very tiny room due to which 123 of them died due to suffocation. (Historians do not believe this story, or they say that the number of victims must have been much smaller.)
- The British sent reinforcement Under Colonel Robert Clive and Admiral Charles Watson from Madras to Bengal and the English recaptured Calcutta.
- Clive forged a secret alliance with Mir Jafar (Commander-in-chief of Nawab’s army), Rai Durlabh (One of the Commanders of Nawab’s army), Jagat Seth (Influential Banker), and Omichand (Bengal Merchant). Under the deal, Mir Jafar was to be made the Nawab. This alliance strengthened the English position. So, the victory of the English was decided even before the battle fought.
- Due to the conspiracy of officials of Nawab, the Siraj-ud-Daulah’s army with about 50,000 soldiers, 40 cannons, and 10 war elephants was defeated by 3,000 soldiers of Col. Robert Clive. The battle ended in 11 hours approx.
- Siraj-ud-Daula was captured and murdered by the order of Mir Jafar’s Son, Miran.
- After the trade, the English monopolized the trade and commerce of Bengal.
Effects of Battle of Plassey
It has significance for it laid the foundation of the British empire in India, or it is regarded as the starting point of British rule in India. The battle established the military supremacy of the British in Bengal. The battle affected both politically and economically. The main effects are as follows:
- The battle resulted in the end of French forces.
- Mir Jafar as a Nawab felt that his position as a subordinate to the British could not be tolerated. So, he started encouraging the Dutch to advance against the British and eject them from Bengal.
- The Battle of Chinsura was fought between the Dutch and British forces on 25 November 1795.
- The British then dismissed Mir Jafar with a pension of rs. 1,500 per annum and the position of Nawab given to Mir Kasim after a treaty with Kasim.
- The treaty between Mir Kasim and Company was signed in 1760.
- The British were now the paramount European power in Bengal.
- Robert Clive titled Irish peerage (titles of nobility created by the English monarchs in their capacity as Lord or King of Ireland)
- After the victory, the British imposed several rules and regulations, heavy taxation on Bengal inhabitants.
You can also read:
- First Carnatic War – 1740-48
- Second Carnatic War (1749-54)
- Third Carnatic War (1758-63)
- The advent of Europeans – British in India
- Battle of Buxar (1764)
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