Battle of Plassey

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Battle of Plassey
Part of the Seven Years' War
Lord Clive meeting with Mir Jafar after the Battle of Plassey, oil on canvas (Francis Hayman, c. 1762)
Date23 June 1757
LocationPalassy, Bengal Subah
Result Decisive victory for the British East India Company
Bengal annexed by British East India Company
Flag of the British East India Company (1707).svg British East India Company Mughal Empire Bengal Subah
Royal Standard of the King of France.svg French East India Company
Commanders and leaders

Flag of the British East India Company (1707).svg Colonel Robert Clive

  • Major Kilpatrick
  • Major Grant
  • Major Eyre Coote
  • Captain Gaupp

Mughal Empire Siraj ud-Daulah

Royal Standard of the King of France.svg Monsieur Sinfray
750 European soldiers
100 Topasses
2,100 Indian sepoys
100 gunners
8 cannon (six 6-pounders and 2 howitzers)
35,000 infantry
18,000 cavalry
53 field pieces (mostly 32, 24 and 18-pounders)
50 French artillerymen (6 field pieces)
Casualties and losses
22 killed
(5 Europeans, 13 Indians)
50 wounded
(15 Europeans and 30 Indians)[1]
500 killed and wounded
A map of the Indian subcontinent depicting the European settlements in India in the period from 1501 to 1739
European settlements in India from 1501-1739

The Battle of Plassey [2] was a major battle that took place on 23 June 1757 at Palashi, Bengal. It was an important British East India Company victory over the Nawab of Bengal and his French allies. It let the British East India Company take control of this part of the Indian subcontinent. Their area of control grew over a large part of the Indies in the next hundred years.

The battle took place at Palashi, Bengal on the river banks of the Bhagirathi River. The fighting took place about 150 kilometres (93 mi) north of Calcutta. This was near Murshidabad which was the capital of Bengal at the time. Plassey is the anglicised version of Palashi. The battle was between Siraj ud-Daulah, the last independent Nawab of Bengal, and the British East India Company.

The battle took place after the attack and plunder of Calcutta by Siraj-ud-daulah and the Black Hole tragedy (Sir William Meredith, during the Parliamentary inquiry into Robert Clive's actions in India, vindicated Siraj ud-Daulah of any charges surrounding the Black Hole incident) . The troubles between Siraj-ud-daulah and the British led to the Battle of Plassey. The "trouble" was that the British strengthened the fortification around the Fort William without any intimation and approval; secondly, they grossly abused the trade privileges granted to them by the Mughal rulers, which caused heavy loss of customs duties for the government; and thirdly, that they gave shelter to some of his officers, for example Krishnadas, son of Rajballav, who fled Dhaka after misappropriating government funds. Hence, when the East India Company started further enhancement of military preparedness at Fort William in Calcutta, Siraj asked them to stop. The Company did not heed his directives, so Siraj-ud Daulah retaliated and captured Kolkata (Shortly renamed as Alinagar) from the British in June 1756.The Nawab gathered his forces together and took Fort William.

The British sent more soldiers under Colonel Robert Clive and Admiral Charles Watson from Madras to Bengal. The British retook control of Calcutta. Clive then took control of the French fort of Chandernagar. The battle was fought during the Seven Years' War (1756–63). The French East India Company sent a small group to fight against the British. Siraj-ud-Daulah had more soldiers and chose to fight at Plassey. The British were worried about having fewer soldiers. They formed a conspiracy with Siraj-ud-Daulah's demoted army leader Mir Jafar as well as others such as Yar Lutuf Khan and Rai Durlabh. Mir Jafar, Rai Durlabh and Yar Lutuf Khan brought their soldiers near Plassey but did not actually join the battle. Siraj-ud-Daulah's army was beaten by about 3,000 soldiers of Col. Robert Clive, and Siraj-ud-daulah fled from the battlefield.

This is thought to be one of the most important battles for the control of the Indian subcontinent by the colonial powers. The British now had influence over the Nawab. They also got a lot of revenue from trade. The British used this revenue to increase their military power. They pushed the other European colonial powers such as the Dutch and the French out of South Asia. This was a sign of the expansion the British Empire in Asia.

As a reward for his treachery, Mir Jafar was made the Nawab of Bengal. Former Nawab Mutsheed Kiki Khan directed all Zaminders of Bangla, Biher and urishna not to sell any plot of lands to British East India Company.Not only this,he also chastised them.In and after 1717,the then Mugal emperor Farrukhshear issued Forman giving East India Company business privileges which was much lenient to them,nevertheless, Nawab Mursheed Kuli Khan took stringent policy not to sell them any land property.But during wars between Nawab Alibordi Khan and Maratha empire,East India Company managed to buy three villages near Hoogley river which were Calcatta,Shutanuty and Gobindapur,stipulated that this pieces of land would be used only for business purposes,although East.India Company reneged the stipulation and built Fort William castle in the opportunity between war of Alibordi Khan and Maratha Empire.Nawab Alibordi Khan was very much cautious about British East India Company's political ambitions and kept eyes on them not to strengthen their power any more. In the final days of Nawab Alivardi Khan ,he analyzed all the details of political situations prevailed in his terrains and outsides and cautioned his nominated heir and grandson Siraj_ud_daula about East India Company's political ambitions.Nawab Siraj_ud_daula strictly followed his grandfather Nawab Alivardi Khan's advices.When East India Company was going to fortify Fort.William Castle in Calcatta without imparting and approval of Nawab Siraj_ud_daula,Nawab prohibited them not to advance more to fortify.their castle.But British East India Company defied Nawab's order which infuriated Nawab Siraj_ud_daula and he attacked and captured Calcatta and named it after his grandfather's prefix name Alinagar.This is the ground of the battle of plassey.

References[change | change source]

  1. Harrington, pp. 81–82
  2. Bengali: পলাশীর যুদ্ধ, Pôlashir Juddho