Anglo Mysore War: Causes, First and Second Anglo Mysore War, UPSC Notes

By K Balaji|Updated : October 27th, 2022

The Anglo Mysore Wars were a sequence of four military encounters between the British and the rulers of Mysore in India. The first anglo mysore war began in 1767 and lasted until 1799. During this volatile period of British governance in India, the East India Company was repeatedly trying to crush the Mysore Empire in south India. The clashes began when the British tried to integrate India as a country; British authority had previously spread all across north India, but the king of the Mysore Empire, Haider Ali, offered unforeseen resistance.

The Anglo Mysore War is linked to the history of the Indian rulers and is an important topic in the Indian history syllabus of the UPSC GS II examination. Frequent questions related to the Anglo Mysore War UPSC have been asked in the examination over the years. It is necessary to be up to date with the events that led to the first and second Mysore wars.

Table of Content

Historical Background of the Anglo Mysore War

The historical background of the Anglo Mysore war is traced back to 1612 when the Wodeyars established a Hindu kingdom in the Mysore territory. From 1734 to 1766, Chikka Krishnaraja Wodeyar II reigned. With his excellent administrative expertise and military strategy, Haider Ali, who was designated as a military soldier in the troops of the Wodeyars, then became the de-facto leader of Mysore and started the Anglo Mysore wars against the Britishers.

Anglo Mysore War PDF

  • Under his statesmanship, Mysore surfaced as a daunting power in the other half of the 18th century.
  • The vicinity of Mysore to the French and Haidar Ali's influence over the affluent barter of the Malabar coast challenged the English political and commercial aspirations, as well as their power over Madras.
  • Following their victory over the nawab of Bengal post the Battle of Buxar, the British concluded a treaty with the Nizam of Hyderabad, convincing him to offer them the Northern Circars in a swap for safeguarding the Nizam from Haidar Ali, who previously had issues with the Marathas.
  • The Nizam of Hyderabad, along with the Marathas, and the English, formed an alliance to oppose Haidar Ali.
  • Haider used his diplomacy to make the Marathas neutral and turn Nizam into one of his allies against the Nawab of Arcot.

Anglo Mysore War Timeline

  • The First Anglo Mysore War (1767-69) - Treaty of Madras
  • The Second Anglo Mysore War (1780-1784) - Treaty of Mangalore
  • The Third Anglo Mysore War (1789-1792) - Treaty of Srirangapattanam
  • The Fourth Anglo Mysore War (1799)

First Anglo Mysore War

The first Anglo Mysore War started in 1767 and lasted until 1769. The causes of the first anglo mysore war were that Haider Ali built a strong army to fight against the Britishers and annexed many southern regions, including Canara, Bidnur, Malabar, Sera, and Sunda. He also took the support of the French army in training his soldiers. That is why the British declared war against Mysore in 1767.

  • The war dragged on for another year and a half with no end in sight.
  • Haider abruptly changed his tactic and popped up in front of the gates of Madras, having caused absolute chaos and distress.
  • This compelled the English to sign the Treaty of Madras with Haidar on April 4, 1769.
  • The treaty called for the exchange of detainees and occupied territories.
  • Haidar Ali pledged English assistance if he was ever threatened by another power.

Second Anglo Mysore War

The second anglo mysore war took place due to the breach of the Treaty of Madras. This led to severe conflicts between the British and Haider Ali. One event progressed to another, and it led to the 2nd anglo mysore war.

  • When the Maratha troops attacked Mysore in 1771, the British broke the treaty of Madras.
  • Haider Ali confronted them for breaching his trust.
  • Furthermore, Haider Ali discovered the French to be significantly industrious in regards to meeting the army's prerequisites for guns, lead, and saltpetre.
  • As a result, he began to import French military supplies to Mysore via Mahe, a French ownership on the Malabar Coast.
  • The British were concerned about the two's growing friendship.
  • As a result, the British tried to arrest Mahe, who had been under Haider Ali's security. Haidar Ali formed a coalition against the British along with the Marathas and Nizam.
  • He arranged a joint front with the Nizam and the Marathas against the common enemy - the English East India Company. The second anglo mysore war lasted from 1780-1784.
  • But he died in 1782 and was succeeded by his son Tipu Sultan.
  • Tipu continued the war for another year but absolute success eluded both sides.
  • Tired of war, the two sides concluded the peace Treaty of Mangalore.
  • By this Treaty it was decided that the English would return Srirangapatnam to Tipu and Tipu would hand over Fort of Badnur to the English.
  • Treaty of Mangalore: Both sides agreed to a mutual restoration of possessions (barring the forts of Amboorgur and Satgur) and Tipu undertook not to make any claims on the Carnatic in the future. Tipu agreed to release all prisoners of war and he had to restore the factory and privileges possessed by the Company at Calicut until 1779.

Third Anglo Mysore War

The Third Anglo Mysore War was fought between Tipu Sultan and the British. It began in 1789 and ended in Tipu's defeat in 1792. It was started when Tipu struck Travancore, an English ally and the East India Company's only way of sourcing pepper. Tipu considered Travancore's purchase of Jalkottal and Cannanore from the Dutch in Tipu's feudatory state of Cochin to have been an infringement of his sovereign powers.

  • The British took Travancore's side and fired at Mysore.
  • Tipu's growing power enraged the Nizam and the Marathas, who decided to join the British.
  • Tipu Sultan crushed General Meadows' British army in 1790.
  • Lord Cornwallis took command in 1791 and led a massive army through Ambur and Vellore to Bangalore and then to Seringapatam.
  • They took Coimbatore but lost it again, and finally, with the help of the Marathas and the Nizam, Seringapatam was again attacked by the British.
  • Tipu provided strong opposition. However, the odds were heavily stacked against him.
  • The Treaty of Seringapatam, signed in 1792, ended the third anglo mysore war.
  • The alliance of the British, Nizam, and Marathas took over nearly half of Mysorean territory under this treaty.

Fourth Anglo Mysore War

Both Tipu Sultan and the British utilized the years 1792-99 to recover their losses. Tipu accomplished all of the Treaty of Seringapatam's terms and had his sons liberated.

  • When the Hindu king of the Wodeyar empire died in 1796, Tipu proclaimed himself Sultan and resolved to exact revenge for his embarrassing defeat in the past anglo mysore war.
  • Lord Wellesley, a staunch imperialist, took over as Governor General in 1798, succeeding Sir John Shore.
  • Wellesley was concerned about Tipu's growing relationship with the French.
  • He used the Subsidiary Alliance system to coerce Tipu into submission in order to eliminate his separate status.

Anglo Mysore War: Subsidiary Alliance

In India, Lord Wellesley established the Subsidiary Alliance system in 1798, under which the king of a consorting Indian state was obligated to pay a tax incentive for the upkeep of the British army in exchange for British protection against their adversaries.

  • It supplied for the posting of a Resident of the British at the ruler's court, preventing the leader from utilizing any European in his facility without having the British's approval.
  • The Nizam of Hyderabad was the first Indian ruler to join the Subsidiary Alliance.
  • Those native royals or rulers who registered under the Subsidiary Alliance were not allowed to wage war or open up into dialogue without the British's consent.
  • The Subsidiary Alliance was predicated on a non-interference policy in the internal matters of the allied state, although this was a pledge that the British rarely held.
  • Fees of the arbitrary and overinflated subsidy inevitably disturbed the state's economy and bankrupted its people.

Anglo Mysore War UPSC

The Anglo Mysore War is an important portion of the UPSC syllabus for the preparation of the IAS Examination. It is important to cover the history of the Indian rulers in the syllabus, which covers the important events, factors, and rebellions that led to Anglo Mysore Wars. A major part of this topic includes the role of the East India Company and the breach of multiple treaties that led to the four wars. It is also important to constantly keep referring to the Indian polity and history books for a good score in the IAS exam. You can also refer to the currently available UPSC study material and previous year's question papers to prepare better.

Anglo Mysore War UPSC Question

Following is a sample question that you can practice to familiarise yourself with the format of questions asked in the UPSC examinations:

Question 1: Consider the following statements:

  1. The Nizam of Hyderabad was the first Indian ruler to join the Subsidiary Alliance.
  2. The Nizam of Hyderabad, along with the Marathas, and the English, formed an alliance to oppose Haidar Ali that led to the Anglo-Mysore War.

Which of the above statements is correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: (C)

Important Notes for UPSC
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FAQs on Anglo Mysore War

  • The Anglo-Mysore Wars were four military conflicts between the British and the Mysore rulers The 1st anglo mysore war, which lasted till 1799, began in 1767. 

    • During this turbulent period of British rule in India, the East India Company attempted numerous times to crush the Mysore Empire in south India. 
    • The conflicts began when the British attempted to integrate India as a country; British authority had previously spread all across north India, but Haider Ali, the king of the Mysore Empire, offered unexpected rigidity.
    • Haider Ali started off as a soldier in Mysore, where he progressed through the ranks to the position of Dindigul police officer.
    • Haider Ali forced Nanjaraja, the prime minister of the Wodeyar kingdom under King Krishnaraja I, to abdicate in 1761. He maintained his recognition of the king as the rightful heir.
  • The Treaty of Madras was an agreement reached on 4th April 1769 among both Mysore (led by Haidar Ali) and the British East India Company (led by Lord Harry Verelst) that ceased the First Anglo Mysore War. Violence erupted in 1767, and Haidar Ali's troops came dangerously close to conquering Madras.

     A provision in the Treaty obligated the British to aid Haidar Ali if he was threatened by his rivals. When Mysore fought a war with the Marathas in the year 1771, Haidar Ali realized that the consensus had been compromised. The breach of the clause may have contributed to the onset of the Second Anglo-Mysore War, post a decade.

  • The 2nd anglo mysore war included:

    • Haidar Ali joined forces against the British along with the Marathas and the Nizam.
    • In 1781, he tried to attack the Carnatic, seized Arcot, and conquered the English army led by Colonel Baillie.
    • Meanwhile, the English separated the Marathas and the Nizam from Haidar's shelter, but the unfazed Haidar confronted the English courageously, only to be defeated in November 1781 at Porto Novo, which we call present-day Parangipettai located in Tamil Nadu.
    • He reorganized his troops, crushed the Englishmen, and imprisoned their commanding officer, Braithwaite.
    • After Haidar Ali’s death, tired of an ambiguous war, both parties agreed to a truce, attempting to negotiate the Treaty of Mangalore in the March of 1784, in which both parties agreed to return the territories that were captured.
  • Tipu Sultan, born in November 1750, was Haidar Ali's son and a prominent figure and an accomplished combat warrior in the Anglo Mysore war, famously known as the Tiger of Mysore.

    • Tipu was a highly educated royal who could understand and verbalize Arabic, Persian, Kanarese, and Urdu languages fluently.
    • He, just like his father, prioritized the progress and upkeep of a powerful military force.
    • Tipu was an advocate of technology and science and is often known in India as the "pioneer of rocket technology."
    • Tipu was a big promoter of democracy and a terrific diplomat who helped the French soldiers at Seringapatam in establishing the Jacobin Club in the year 1797.
  • Hyder Ali established a powerful army and invaded many southern regions. Bidnur, Canara, Sera, Malabar, and Sunda to name a few. He also sought French assistance in training his military. This concerned the British government. This conflict of interest led to the first Anglo-Mysore War.

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