Battle of Plassey: Causes, Significance, Consequences, Short Note

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

Battle of Plassey is a major historic event in the history of India, which was fought on 23rd June 1757 in West Bengal. The Battle of Plassey was fought between the British East India Company and the Nawab of Bengal. Robert Clive led the East India Company while Siraj-ud-daula, with the French troops, fought against them.

This battle is a historic point as it established British supremacy in Bengal. The Battle of Plassey UPSC is an important topic of GS paper 1 of modern history for both Prelims and Mains exam. Read this article till the end to learn more about the significance, consequences, and causes of the battle of Plassey.

Battle of Plassey

The Battle of Plassey was fought between the East Indian Company forces under the command of Robert Clive and Siraj-ud-Daulah, Nawab of Bengal, on June 23, 1757, in the present-day state of West Bengal, India. It was a significant battle during the period of British colonization in India and had far-reaching consequences for the British East India Company’s control over the Indian subcontinent.

Since the East India Company was Imperial and mercantile in nature, they drastically misused the trade privileges that adversely affected Nawab’s financial status, which infuriated Siraj-ud-Daulah. The major highlights of the Battle of Plassey are given below.

Year 1757
Fought Between East Indian Company & Nawab of Bengal
Result British East India Company won.
Nawab of Bengal During Battle Siraj-ud-Daulah

Causes of Battle of Plassey

The Battle of Plassey was primarily caused by a combination of political, economic, and regional factors. Here are the main causes leading to the battle:

  1. British East India Company’s Expansion: The British East India Company had been gradually expanding its influence in India since the early 18th century. They sought to establish control over lucrative trade routes, establish their own territories, and secure favorable economic conditions. The Company’s growing power and territorial ambitions threatened the existing regional powers.
  2. Political Rivalries: The Battle of Plassey was also driven by political rivalries among Indian rulers. Siraj-ud-Daulah, the Nawab of Bengal, was concerned about the British encroachment on his authority and feared their growing influence. He saw the British East India Company as a threat to his rule and sought to resist their expansion. On the other hand, there were influential Indian nobles and commanders who had grievances against the Nawab and were willing to ally with the British.
  3. Economic Factors: Bengal was a highly prosperous region known for its fertile lands, agriculture, and thriving industries. The British East India Company sought to gain control over Bengal’s wealth and resources, including its textile industry and the revenue from the lucrative trade in commodities such as silk, cotton, and indigo. Economic interests played a significant role in motivating the British to confront the Nawab of Bengal which led to the Battle of Plassey.
  4. Diplomatic Maneuvers: The British employed diplomatic strategies to weaken the Nawab’s position. They formed alliances and secured the support of disaffected Indian nobles, including Mir Jafar, who had aspirations to become the Nawab himself. By exploiting the internal rivalries and discontent within Nawab’s court, the British sought to divide and weaken his forces.
  5. Military Advantage: Although the British East India Company had a smaller army compared to Nawab’s forces, they possessed certain military advantages. The British had better-trained troops, disciplined soldiers, and superior artillery, which gave them an edge on the battlefield. They also employed innovative military tactics, such as the effective use of artillery and infantry formations.

Battle of Plassey was Fought Between

The Battle of Plassey involved several key players on both sides. Here is an explanation of the main participants:

British East India Company:

  • Robert Clive: Robert Clive, also known as Clive of India, was a British military officer and the commander of the British East India Company forces during the Battle of Plassey. He played a central role in planning and executing the British strategy. Clive was known for his tactical skills, diplomacy, and ability to exploit divisions among his opponents.
  • British East India Company troops: The British East India Company had around 3,000 troops consisting of European soldiers known as sepoys, as well as a contingent of Indian soldiers. These troops were trained and led by British officers. They were equipped with muskets, artillery, and other modern military equipment, which gave them an advantage over their opponents.

Nawab of Bengal’s Forces:

  • Siraj-ud-Daulah: Siraj-ud-Daulah was the Nawab of Bengal at the time of the Battle of Plassey. He was young and inexperienced, ascending to the throne in 1756 after the death of his grandfather, Alivardi Khan. Siraj-ud-Daulah was initially suspicious of the British East India Company and sought to resist their growing influence in Bengal.
  • Nawab’s army: The Nawab of Bengal’s army consisted of approximately 50,000 soldiers, mainly composed of cavalry and infantry. They were supported by a large number of artillery pieces. While the size of the Nawab’s forces was significantly larger than the British, they were not as well-disciplined or equipped. The army included both professional soldiers and regional levies.
  • Mir Jafar: Mir Jafar was an influential noble and commander in the Nawab’s court. He played a crucial role in the Battle of Plassey as he switched sides and supported the British East India Company. Mir Jafar had grievances against Siraj-ud-Daulah and aspired to become the Nawab himself. His betrayal and alliance with the British proved instrumental in the British victory.
  • Other Indian nobles: The battle also involved other Indian nobles and commanders who had their own interests and grievances against the Nawab. Some of them were dissatisfied with Siraj-ud-Daulah’s rule and saw an opportunity to further their own ambitions or settle scores by supporting the British.

It is worth noting that the battle of Plassey also saw the involvement of various local forces, allies, and mercenaries on both sides, although the main protagonists were the British East India Company and the forces of the Nawab of Bengal led by Siraj-ud-Daulah. The dynamics and motivations of the different participants played a critical role in shaping the outcome of the battle.

Battle of Plassey: Chronology of Events

Let us look at the chronology of events which must be learned by the UPSC aspirants to write the short note on Battle of Plassey. Here is a chronological overview of the events leading up to and during the Battle of Plassey:


  • June: Siraj-ud-Daulah becomes the Nawab of Bengal after the death of his grandfather, Alivardi Khan.
  • June 20: The British East India Company factory in Calcutta (now Kolkata) is captured by the Nawab’s forces. Many British prisoners are held in the infamous Black Hole of Calcutta, and several dies due to suffocation and overcrowding.


  • January: Robert Clive arrives in India as a Captain in the British East India Company’s army.
  • February: The British recapture Calcutta from the Nawab’s forces in the Battle of Calcutta.
  • March: Clive wins the Battle of Plassey, securing the support of Mir Jafar and other disaffected nobles who defect from Nawab’s side.
  • June 23: The Battle of Plassey takes place near the village of Plassey in Bengal. The Nawab’s forces, numbering around 50,000, launch a fierce assault on the British East India Company’s approximately 3,000 troops.
  • During the battle, the Nawab’s artillery is neutralized by the British artillery, and Mir Jafar’s forces turn against the Nawab, causing confusion and disarray in his army.
  • The Nawab’s forces suffer heavy casualties, while the British losses are relatively low.
  • Siraj-ud-Daulah flees the battlefield, and the British emerge victorious.


  • January: Mir Jafar is installed as the new Nawab of Bengal with British support. He becomes a puppet ruler under British control.

Consequences of Battle of Plassey

The Consequences of the Battle of Plassey can be categorized into political, economic, and cultural aspects.

Political Impact of the Plassey Battle

  • The Battle of Plassey started the process of colonialization of India by the British Company.
  • The British Company established its political influence over Bengal not directly but indirectly by putting Nawab Mir Jafar as a puppet on the throne of Bengal.
  • British Company started using Bengal as a launching pad to manifest his Imperial ambition.

Economic Consequences of Battle of Plassey

  • The drain of wealth started first by plundering, then misuse of privileges etc.
  • Mir Jafar gave the Diwani right 25(twenty-five) paragana to the British Company. And now the revenue from this region was to go in the favour of the British Company.
  • Mir Jafar also rewarded a huge amount of money not only to lord Clive but also to other British officers.
  • After the Battle of Plassey, British company maintained a monopoly over trade and commerce in Bengal.
  • Thus Bengal, once a rich province of the Mughals Empire, started beginning a region of Hunger, Famine, and Deprivation.

Cultural Impact:

The Battle of Plassey exposed the moral weakness of the Indian people and made it clear to the British Company that India could be conquered with the help of the Indian people because they had no conception of nationalism.

Why is the Battle of Plassey Significant?

The Battle of Plassey is considered important as it led to the transfer of power. After the Plassey war, Mir Jafar became a Nawab of Bengal. Mir Jafar was a puppet Nawab, and the company used him just to meet its financial demand. So that company could promote its colonial interest very soon. Mir Jafar was not able to meet the company’s greedy demands because the company itself was Imperial in nature.

As a result, Mir Jafar started losing his relevance in the imperial game of the company. Thus an allegation was raised against him that he was making a conspiracy with Dutch, but the reality was that he failed to pay the huge amount of revenue demanded by the company.

As a result, the British company made a compromise with Mir Kasim; thereby, the transfer of power took place in September 1760. This transfer of power was considered a kind of revolution in Bengal by some historians.

The scenario of Bengal after the historical Battle of Plassey:

  • The event led to the Battle of Buxar in 1764.
  • Transfer of power from Mir Jafar to Mir Kasim.
  • Mir Kasim was then the new Nawab of Bengal.

Battle of Plassey UPSC

Battle of Plassey UPSC is an important topic to learn from the Modern History syllabus of UPSC exam. To prepare for the Battle of Plassey notes of Modern History relevant to the exam, read this article till the end. Don’t forget to learn the causes and significance of the Battle of Plassey as questions from these topics might be asked in the Prelims exam.

Battle of Plassey UPSC Questions

Check sample questions on Battle of Plassey UPSC notes from UPSC Previous Years Question Papers below to get an idea of the type of questions asked in the paper.

Question 1: In which year did the Battle of Plassey take place? – (a) 1657, (b) 1756, (c) 1757, (d) 1857

Answer: c) 1757

Question 2: The Battle of Plassey was fought between:

a) British East India Company and the Marathas

b) British East India Company and the Mughals

c) British East India Company and the Nawab of Bengal

d) British East India Company and the French East India Company

Answer: c) British East India Company and the Nawab of Bengal

Question 3: Who led the British East India Company forces in the Battle of Plassey? – (a) Lord Mountbatten, (b) Robert Clive, (c) Warren Hastings, (d) Charles Cornwallis

Answer: b) Robert Clive

Question 4: What was the outcome of the Battle of Plassey? – (a) Victory for the Nawab of Bengal, (b) Stalemate, (c) Victory for the British East India Company, (d) Treaty between the British and the Nawab

Answer: c) Victory for the British East India Company

Question 5: Who betrayed the Nawab of Bengal and supported the British during the Battle of Plassey? – (a) Mir Jafar, (b) Siraj-ud-Daulah, (c) Alivardi Khan, (d) Shah Alam II

Answer: a) Mir Jafar

Important UPSC Notes:
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Right to Equality Panchayati Raj System
Facts about Indian Flag Jhansi Rani Lakshmi Bai
Russia Ukraine War Rowlatt Act
Quit India Movement Communalism
Basic Structure of Constitution Green Revolution in India
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