Carnatic Wars – History, Course of First Carnatic War

By Balaji

Updated on: March 9th, 2023

The Carnatic wars were initially fought in the eighteenth century at Indian Coastal’s base. These wars were earlier presented as one of the wars that the Indian Military Services valued the most throughout their history. Hyderabad, an Indian state, hosts the important Carnatic Wars. Even though the British and the French arrived in India with the intention of commerce, they eventually became involved in Indian politics. Both had plans to consolidate governmental dominance over the area. The naval and commercial competition between France and England was the primary reason for the Carnatic wars.

Between 1746 and 1963, the principal three forms of the Carnatic wars were started. When it first began, the war was primarily a military-based battle. The longstanding competition between England and France throughout their histories was represented in the Anglo-French rivalry in India. Particularly in India, the rivalry, which manifested itself in three Carnatic wars, determined definitively that the English, and not the French, were the better-fit ones to impose their dominion throughout India. The historical Carnatic War was primarily motivated by trade, according to the commercial government. The Carnatic Wars topic is an important chapter of Modern Indian History.

Table of content

  • 1. First Carnatic War (more)
  • 2. First Carnatic War (more)
  • 3. Course of Carnatic Wars (more)
  • 4. Treaty of Aix La Chapelle (more)
  • 5. War of Austrian Succession (more)
  • 6. Battle of St. Thome (more)
  • 7. Dupleix (more)
  • 8. Facts Related to Carnatic Wars (more)
  • 9. Significance of the Carnatic Wars (more)
  • 10. Carnatic Wars UPSC (more)

First Carnatic War

The British East India Company and the kings of India initially engaged in battle during the Carnatic Wars. In the year 1744, the first Carnatic war broke out, which was first complicated by Australian succession.

Carnatic War UPSC PDF

France, Spain, Sweden, and Prussia were the main combatants, while the Dutch Republic, Russia, and England were the opposing forces. The conflict between the “British East India Company and the French,” however, was unavoidable because Russia and France were on opposing sides.

In this conflict, “Nawab of Arcot was first granted true confidence toward the French residence for their military power. However, more than 500 warriors were mostly effective in fending off the 10,000 armies. Additionally, this has the potential to initially increase French influence’s supremacy.

First Carnatic War

The First Carnatic War was a major military conflict between the British East India Company and the French forces between 1746 and 1748. Further, the war is also remembered for the Battle of St. Thome, which was fought between the forces of the Nawab of Carnatic and the French forces. The British went to the Nawab for help against the French.

The First Carnatic war saw a series of battles and sieges, with the French initially capturing the British stronghold of Madras. However, the British were able to recapture Madras with the help of their naval superiority. The war concluded with the signing of the Aix-la-Chapelle peace Treaty in 1748. However, the wars set the stage for future conflicts between the British and French in India.

  • Europeans named the Coromandel coastline and its surroundings “Carnatic”. The Anglo-French war was initiated by the Austrian War of Succession. The Anglo-French competitions in India were competing for dominance.
  • An army of Indian sepoys, that was commanded by French Officers was formulated in India by the French Governor of Pondicherry, Dupleix.

Course of Carnatic Wars

France and Britain faced off in the 1740 European uprising known as the War of Austrian Succession. The Anglo-French conflict led to competition among their economic enterprises in India for supremacy. Check out the sequence of the events and the course of the Carnatic wars.

  • In India, a regiment of Indian soldiers was founded by Dupleix, the French governor of Pondicherry.
  • France had colonialist intentions for India when it nationalised the French East India Company in 1720.
  • Pondicherry was in danger in 1745 when Britain mounted a naval assault on a French navy.
  • Dupleix resisted the assault and captured Madras, which had been in the hands of the English, with the assistance of additional French men from Mauritius.
  • When the English attempted to invade Pondicherry again, they were soundly defeated.
  • The English asked the Nawab of Carnatic, Anwaruddin Khan, for assistance (Arcot).
  • The English made a second attempt to take Pondicherry, but were soundly defeated. Anwaruddin Khan, the Nawab of Carnatic, was contacted by the English for help (Arcot).
  • The French were asked by the Nawab to hand over Madras to the British.
  • Dupleix made an ineffectual attempt to persuade the Nawab that Madras would eventually be given over to him.
  • The Nawab then sent a sizable force to battle the French. A tiny group of French soldiers defeated this force in Mylapore in 1746. (modern-day Chennai).
  • This demonstrated how inadequate the forces of the Indian kings were in comparison to the well-equipped armies of the European powers.

Treaty of Aix La Chapelle

Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, which ended the War of the Austrian Succession, was signed primarily by Britain and France, with the remaining nations following their lead, on October 18, 1748. (1740–48).

  • The pact was distinguished by the bilateral restoration of victories, including that of the boundary towns to the Dutch, the fortress of Louisbourg on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, France, and Madras, India, to England.
  • Although the acquisition of Silesia by Prussia, which was not a signatory to the pact, was secured, the authority of the Habsburg heiress Maria Theresa to the Austrian territories was not, and this significantly undermined the Habsburgs.
  • The War of the Austrian Succession was put to an end in 1748 by the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, often known as the Treaty of Aachen.
  • The First Carnatic War was virtually over by the treaty (1746–1748).
  • The French army under Dupleix defeated the English and captured Madras.
  • Following that, in the year 1748 A.D., the peace treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle was ratified, returning Madras to the British and enabling the release of war prisoners

War of Austrian Succession

The dispute over Maria Theresa’s right to the Austrian Habsburg throne erupted between 1740 and 1748, including the majority of Europe’s leading countries.

All of Europe was involved in the conflict, with Austria and Britain facing off against France, Prussia, Spain, Bavaria, and Saxony.

  • The First Silesian War and the Second Silesian War were the first two series of hostilities, and they were mostly fought between Austria and Prussia.
  • The third war was primarily focused on the ongoing dispute between France and Britain over colonial holdings in North America and India. British soldiers showed their military prowess throughout the conflict.
  • In a conflict over Maria Theresa’s accession to the Austrian Habsburg throne that lasted from 1740 to 1748, the majority of Europe’s most powerful nations were involved.
  • With Austria and Britain opposing France, Prussia, Spain, Bavaria, and Saxony, the struggle enveloped the entire region.
  • The first two series of conflicts, the First Silesian War and the Second Silesian War, were focused on Prussia and Austria.
  • The ongoing rivalry between France and Britain over colonial acquisitions in North America and India served as the focal point of the third war.
  • Throughout the fight, British forces demonstrated their ability as soldiers.

Battle of St. Thome

The second victory out of the two victories by the little French soldiers over the larger army led by the Carnatic Nawab in three days came at the battle of St. Thome on November 4, 1746. ( First Carnatic War ).

  • Two things happened in the fight. In the immediate term, Dupleix proclaimed Madras French by conquest rights and appointed Paradis to rule the city.
  • At the end of the war, Madras was given back to the British, who then gave Louisburg to the French. Madras had been in French hands up until that point.
  • The longer-term effect was that British and French commanders actually realised they now possessed a weapon capable of annihilating the sizable Indian military forces that had frightened them in the past – the rapid fire of structured troops was now able to defeat Indian troops, especially the highly esteemed troops.
  • The power balance in India would swiftly change as a result of this discovery.
  • During the conflict, the English pleaded with Anwar-ud-Din for assistance. Dupleix calmed him somewhat, though, by offering to give him control of Madras once it was taken.
  • When the Madras was conquered in 1746, Dupleix and La Bourdonnais got into a fight. While La Bourdonnais sought to return Madras to the English in exchange for a ransom, Dupleix preferred to hand it over to the Nawab.
  • The Nawab finally dispatched a force to seize Madras. Thus started the Battle of St. Thomas, in which a small French army headed by Captain Paradise combated a huge Indian army headed by Mahfuz Khan.


Joseph Francois Dupleix started to harbour aspirations of establishing a French Empire in India in 1741, but he failed to convince his authorities to agree with the idea. Quarrels sprang out as a result of the conflict between the British and French in India.

  • In 1744, Robert Clive arrived in India. Dupleix’s plans to establish a French colony in India were foiled by this rogue British commander.
  • Since the British took Pondicherry in 1761, the French territories in India have been neglected.
  • The examination of the first two Carnatic Wars shows Dupleix’s diplomatic skill as a strategist who foresaw the direction of the European invasion of India.
  • In order to keep the English from battling in his domain, Dupleix used the Raja of Carnatic. This allowed the French colonists in Pondicherry to be safeguarded until the French forces were strong enough.
  • The Nawab was offered Madras as payment for defeating the English.
  • The first European to interfere with the rulers of India at home was Dupleix.

Facts Related to Carnatic Wars

In cumulative there were three Carnatic wars fought in the history of India. Following are some of the important facts related to the Carnatic Wars.

  • In 1744, the first Carnatic war broke out as a result of the dominating consequences of the Australian succession. It happened in the years 1744 and 1748, the Carnatic Wars took place. The Deccan region was the scene of the Anglo-French conflict during the time.
  • The British government initially hesitated to acknowledge this crucial historical event because the nations now known as French and Dutch originally derived from the civilian administration of the European region.
  • One of the historically essential conflicts in Indian history was first designated as the decisive conflict between the French and the formidable British authority. This particular conflict occurred between the French and British governments in the 17th century.
  • From 1757 until 1763, the third Carnatic war was fought. The third Carnatic War, which continued for seven years, began in 1758 when the Australian nation sought to reclaim the country of Silesia.
  • At first, both the French and British governments wanted to monopolise the traditional Indian trades.
  • The monarch of the European region was chiefly responsible for the military and political shortcomings.
  • The French and English governments originally engaged in commercial competition.

Significance of the Carnatic Wars

The British government frequently meddles in the domestic and private affairs of the governments of France and India. The government and the British parliament have traditionally clashed over the ongoing meddling in procedural duties. The significance of the Carnatic wars has been illustrated here.

  • This may also be the driving force behind the prevailing civil conflict. The actual cause of the second Carnatic war was “Nizam-ul-Mulk,” the founder of the independent kingdom known as Hyderabad, who passed away.
  • This conflict was initially started as a result of the French and English governments actually interfering with the native ruler’s attempts to strengthen their political position. The struggle between the two local kings, who at first engaged in conflict to support the foreign power, was the second Carnatic war.
  • The Indian War opened the eyes of the Europeans to the fact that a much smaller, well-trained force could easily defeat a much larger Indian army.
  • Additionally, this fight effectively highlighted the value of naval force in the Deccan Anglo-French conflict.

Carnatic Wars UPSC

The Carnatic wars topic is studied in the modern Indian history syllabus of the UPSC exam. Wars in Indian history are important to learn. For the best preparation of Indian history, you can download the NCERT books for UPSC and other side books for the history subjects. Also, you can download the previous years question papers for reference of types and patterns of questions being asked in the exam. The candidates must be well-versed in the complete details of the Carnatic wars, history, significance, and other details pertaining to the wars.

Carnatic Wars Questions

The Carnatic wars and other important wars in the history of India are important to learn for the UPSC exam. Following are sample questions provided that appeared in 2003 and 2006 for reference to understand the type of questions being asked in the exam.

Q1. With reference to the entry of European powers into India which one of the following statements is not correct?[Prelims 2003]

  1. The Portuguese captured Goa in 1499
  2. The English opened their first factory in South India at MasuliPatnam
  3. In Eastern India the English company opened its first factory in Orissa in 1633
  4. Under the leadership of Dupleix the French occupied Madras in 1746

Answer– Option A

Q2. In the year 1613 where was the English East India Company given permission to set up of factory for trading post?[Prelims 2006]

  1. Bangalore
  2. Madras
  3. Masulipatnam
  4. Surat

Answer– Option D

UPSC Notes
Anglo-Maratha war Anglo-Mysore war
World War 1 Kalinga war
Cold War Second Anglo-Maratha war
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