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Anglo French Rivalry



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Anglo French War The trading company's rivalry ousted the Dutch and the Portuguese from the Indian scene. Now, only the English and French were left to compete with each other for the Indian markets. Between 1740-1760 European wars in which France and England were opponents brought them into conflict in India as well. The political disorders and the decline of imperial authority facilitate their ambition. This was more true for the South India. The Coromandal Coast and its hinterland which was referred to as Carnatic by the European became the scene of a long drawn contest between the French and the English.

Taking advantage of the mutual discords and selfish motives among the Indian rulers, the English successfully adopted all types of fraudulent means to achieve victory over India. But before it the French and the English were locked in a struggle for economic and political fortune in India, which unfolded in the form of three Carnatic was between 1740 and 1763 in Southern India.

First Carnatic War : The hostilities between the English and the French began in the late 18th century. The first Carnatic War was the fallout of the Austrian war of succession, in which France and England were in opposite camps. The English navy under Barnett captured a few French ships. The French Governor, Dupleix, besieged Madras, in 1746 both by land and sea.

In 1748, the general war between the England and French ended and, as a part of the peace settlement, Madras was restored to the English by the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle in 1748 which ended the Austrian war of succession. Under the terms of Treaty Madras was handed back to English much to the disgust of Dupleix. Though the First Carnatic war ended, the rivalry in trade and over the possessions in India continued and had to be decided one way or the other.

Second Carnatic War : The Second Carnatic War was closely linked with the dispute of succession in the Nizam Hyderabad and over the Nawabship of Carnatic. The establishment of Chanda Sahib, ally of the French, on the throne of Carnatic was bound to have adverse effect on English trade since the hinterland of Madras would be in the hands of their enemies. Clive was sent with 200 Europeans and 300 Indian soldiers.
The timely arrival of Muran Rao, a Maratha chief, enabled Clive to defeat Raja Sahib. Then, Chanda Sahib was forced to raise the seige of Trichinopoly. He fled away and was put to death by the Raja Tanjore. Thus, Muhammad Ali became the Nawab of Carnatic. Dupleix tried to recover his position but could not do anything. He was recalled in 1754. His successor, Godheau, began to negotiate for peaceful relations with the English and ended warfare with them in 1754 A.D and he signed the Treaty of Pondicherry.

Treaty of Pondicherry, 1754
The treaty of Pondicherry which brought an end to the Second Carnatic War had the following provisions.
  • Promise of the English and the French companies not to interfere in the internal affairs of Indian rulers
  • Acceptance to stay of the French army under Bussy at Hyderabad
  • Return by the English and the French companies of the conquered parts of each other
  • Treaty to be finalised only after the approval of the respective governments of the two companies at home

Third Carnatic War : The treaty of Pondicherry proved to be very short-lived. In 1756, there broke out the well-known Seven Years' War in Europe and before long the two nations began to fight in India also. Thus, the Third Carnatic War was merely an echo of the Seven Years' War in Europe.
The French Government sent a powerful army under the command of Count-de-Lally to mitigate the influence of the British in India. In January 1760, the English General, Sir Eyre Coote, defeated the French army under Lally in the Battle of Wandiwash. The English captured Pondicherry and Mahe, badly defeating the French.
The war ended in 1763 with the signing of the Treaty of Paris. The third Anglo French conflict proved to be decisive. Although French factories in India were restored, they could no longer be fortified or even adequately garrisoned with troops.

Reasons for the English Success
  1. Naval superiority of the British, facilitating swift movement of the English to and from India
  2. Comparatively secure geographical position of England
  3. Home government's complete approval to the policies and programmes of the English; little interest of the French government in Indian affairs
  4. Stronger financial position of the British
  5. Establishment of the English control over Bengal, one of the richest and most prosperous regions of India
  6. English control over Bombay and Madras
  7. Lack of coordination between the policy of Dupleix and the French government
  8. Recall of Bussy from Hyderabad

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