Battle of Madras [7-9 September 1746]

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : May 18, 2022, 7:28

During the first Carnatic War, the British appealed to Anwar-ud-din, the Nawab of Carnatic, for their assistance in fighting the French forces in Madras.

The Battle of Madras continued from 7 to 9 September 1746, resulting in the French forces' victory against the English. This battle between British and French colonial powers had a significant impact on the European Colonialism of India for many years.

Background of the Battle of Madras

Since the 1720s, the rivalry between the British and French colonies kept escalating. The War of the Austrian Succession of 1740 ignited the warfare between Britain and France. Both colonies had visions of establishing political power over India and setting up their outposts in the region, and India became their battlefield.

The Battle of Madras was preceded by the British attacking first by sending a Royal Navy Squadron under Commodore Curtis Bennett to raid French Settlements in India and other regions. The French answered by sending a navy fleet from Mauritius under its governor Admiral La Bourdonnais in 1745. The war between French and English ended in an inconclusive battle, forcing both to retreat to refit and repair.

The British retreated to Benga, Sri Lanka, leaving their settlement of the Coromandel coast in Madras off guard. The French took this opportunity to attack the British settlement of Madras by appointing the French Governor of Pondicherry, Joseph François Dupleix.

Dupleix promised the Nawab of Carnatic decree of neutrality. However, Dupleix broke the promise and tried to compensate by handing over the town to Nawab.

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What Happened During the Battle of Madras?

On the morning of September 1746, the people of Madras found the French fleet on their coast. Soon, the troops landed on the shore and started shelling Madras. The first naval bombardment was not successful due to the inaccurate range of the British garrison. The French navy ceased its naval bombardment, but they continued their shelling after getting accurate information about the British base.

The Madras fort could no longer withstand the constant shelling, forcing the British to fall apart. The civilians also joined the battle.

On 9 September, the Battle of Madras ended when Nicholas Morse, British Governor of Madras, sued for peace, and La Bourdonnais signed peace agreements.

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Battle of Madras Outcome

After the Battle of Madras, La Bourbonnais adhered to his peace term for a month. He took control over the fort and warehouse and offered the British the rest of the town.

However, a violent storm forced him to retreat to Pondicherry and leave the commands of Madras in the hands of Dupleix. Dupleix had promised the Nawab of the Carnatic to give Madras to the Nawab, but he refused.

His action became a political issue, and the Battle of Adyar happened on 24 October 1746 between a small French force and 10,000 Indian soldiers sent by the Nawab.

The Battle of Madras happened due to the growing rivalry between the French and British. It resulted in the defeat of the British against French forces.

The Battle of Madras led to the Battle of Adyar, which showed that a small, disciplined army could easily defeat a large Indian army, and Britain found this an eye-opener.

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FAQs on the Battle of Madras

Q1) Why did the Battle of Madras take place?

The Battle of Madras happened due to the growing rivalry between the French and British.

Q2) When did the Battle of Madras take place?

The Battle of Madras took place from 7 to 9 September 1746.

Q3) When did the Battle of Madras end?

On 9 September, the Battle of Madras ended when Nicholas Morse, British Governor of Madras, sued for peace, and La Bourdonnais signed peace agreements.

Q4) What was the outcome of the Battle of Madras?

After the Battle of Madras, La Bourbonnais adhered to his peace term for a month. In the peace term, he took control over the fort and warehouse and offered the British the rest of the town.

Q5) Who won the Battle of Madras?

The Battle of Madras resulted in the defeat of the British against French forces.