Second Carnatic War: Treaty of Pondicherry, Battle of Ambur | Second Carnatic War UPSC

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

Second Carnatic War (1749–54) was a struggle for control between several claimants for the posts of Nizam of Hyderabad and Nawab of the Carnatic, with support from the British or the French for each. Although the two European powers engaged in direct combat during the First Carnatic War and during the 2nd Carnatic War, both of them openly supported rivalling local claims in Hyderabad and the Carnatic. From 1749 until 1754, the English and French were at war in what is known as the 2nd Carnatic War.

These fights took place in the Indian backdrop of the Austrian war of succession, which had engulfed practically all of Europe. The article discusses the various important aspects of the Second Carnatic War, including its causes, results and the Treaty of Pondicherry signed after that. The topic is relevant from the UPSC Exam perspective and is covered in the history segment.

Second Carnatic War

India’s rivalries served as the Second Carnatic War‘s setting. To defeat the English, Dupleix, the French governor who had led his country’s soldiers to victory in the First Carnatic War, sought to increase his power and political clout in southern India.

  • The chance came about as a result of the passing of Nizam-ul-Mulk, the independent ruler of Hyderabad, in 1748, and the Marathas’ release of Chanda Sahib, Dost Ali’s son-in-law and Nawab of Carnatic, in the same year.
  • The Nizam’s grandson Muzaffar Jung ousted Nasir Jung, the Nizam’s son, from the throne of Hyderabad by asserting that the Mughal Emperor had appointed him Hyderabad’s governor.
  • Anwaruddin Khan’s selection as the Carnatic Nawab infuriated Chanda Sahib.
  • While the English supported Nasir Jang and Anwaruddin, the French supported Muzaffar Jang and Chanda Sahib in their pretension to the Deccan and the Carnatic, respectively.

Course and Causes of the 2nd Carnatic War

Even though Europe was not in a state of war, the proxy conflict persisted in India. Fighting for the position of Nawab of Arcot were Chanda Sahib and Muzaffar Jung, supported by the French, and Nasir Jung, the Nizam, and his protege Muhammad Ali, supported by the British. As a result of Nasir Jung’s eventual demise, Muzaffar Jung seized control of Hyderabad while Chanda Sahib and Muzaffar Jung managed to capture Arcot. Muzaffar’s tenure was brief because he was assassinated soon after, and Salabat Jung took over as Nizam.

But in 1751, Robert Clive led British forces to seize and successfully defend Arcot. The Treaty of Pondicherry, which was signed in 1754 and recognized Muhammad Ali Khan Walajah as the Nawab of the Carnatic, put an end to the Second Carnatic War. Dupleix was replaced by Charles Godeheu. The course of the Second Carnatic War is discussed below:

  • Anwaruddin was defeated and killed by the combined forces of Muzaffar Jang, Chanda Sahib, and the French at the Battle of Ambur (near Vellore) in 1749.
  • Dupleix was named governor of all Mughal lands south of the Krishna River, while Muzaffar Jang was named subahdar of Deccan.
  • A French army under the command of Bussy was stationed in Hyderabad to defend French interests there.
  • The French also received certain areas along the coast of Odisha and territories bordering Pondicherry (including Masulipatnam).
  • Robert Clive, the agent for the English firm, suggested launching a distraction attack against Saunders, the governor of Madras, after failing to back Muhammad Ali meaningfully at Trichinopoly.
  • To relieve Trichinopoly’s siege, he suggested launching a surprise attack on Arcot, the Carnatic capital. He reasoned Chanda Sahib would hasten to save his capital in such a scenario.
  • As a result, Robert Clive invaded and captured Arcot in August 1751 with just 210 men.
  • 4,000 Trichinopoly warriors joined Chanda Sahib as he hurried to his city, but amid a 53-day siege, he could not recover the fort.
  • The Maratha leader, Morari Rao, Mysore, Tanjore, and Stringer Lawrence were now assisting Trichinopoly, Clive, and Stringer Lawrence.
  • Although Chanda Sahib and General Law of France were still detained on the island of Srirangam, Trichinopoly was the first to be freed from its siege.
  • The British were forced to capitulate when Muhammad Ali assassinated Chanda Sahib in June 1752, and they chose not to step in.
  • The Treaty of Pondicherry put an end to the Battle in 1754.

Second Carnatic War: Treaty of Pondicherry

The Second Carnatic War ended in 1754 with the signing of the Treaty of Pondicherry. Puducherry, a French outpost in French India, served as the location of the agreement’s signing.

  • The favoured British candidate, Mohamed Ali Khan Walajan, was appointed Nawab of the Carnatic.
  • Charles Robert Godeheu succeeded Dupleix as French Governor-General in India.
  • Godeheu adopted a conciliatory policy with the English, with whom he signed the Treaty of Pondicherry, in which the English and French agreed not to interfere in the internal conflicts of native rulers.
  • The Third Carnatic War broke out just two years later, in 1756, even though the treaty was meant to be a long-term solution.

Effects of the Second Carnatic War

The Second Carnatic War fought between the British East India Company and the French East India Company from 1749 to 1754, had significant effects on the political and colonial landscape of South India. The war ended with the Treaty of Pondicherry, which led to territorial changes, shifts in alliances, and consolidation of British influence in the region. Following are the effects of the 2nd Carnatic War:

  • Although the French won the Northern Sircars, Dupleix received criticism from the French government since the French firm suffered significant losses.
  • Dupleix was requested to return to France. Charles-Robert Godeheu, who executed the Treaty of Pondicherry, took his place.
  • The pact stipulated that the English and the French were to engage exclusively in business endeavours in India and refrain from meddling in the political affairs of the subcontinent.

Result of the Second Carnatic War

To increase their political authority and sphere of influence, the English and the French meddled in the politics of the native kings, which led to the Second Carnatic War. The results of the war were:

  • Infuriated by the enormous financial losses caused by Dupleix’s program, the French government decided to recall him in 1754.
  • Godeheu took over for Dupleix as the French governor-general in India. The English agreed to a contract with Godeheu after he engaged in diplomatic negotiations with them.
  • The French and the English agreed to refrain from interfering in the disputes of the native kings.
  • Additionally, the areas that each side had controlled at the time of the accord were retained.
  • Historians claim that the French temporarily halted warfare in India out of concern for terrible consequences in America.
  • It soon became apparent that European achievement was no longer dependent on Indian authority’s blessing; rather, Indian leadership was becoming increasingly dependent on European support.
  • Instead of being patrons, Salabat Jang in Hyderabad and Muhammad Ali in the Carnatic became clients.

Carnatic Wars

The Carnatic Wars were a string of military battles in Hyderabad State, India’s coastal Carnatic area, in the middle of the 18th century. Between 1746 and 1763, there were three Carnatic Wars. The wars involved a large number of ostensibly autonomous kings and their vassals, battles for territory and succession, as well as a diplomatic and military conflict between the French and British East India Companies.

First Carnatic War (1746-1748)

  • Barnett’s English navy seized a few French ships. In 1746, the first Carnatic War started when Dupleix, the French governor of Pondicherry, attacked the English as revenge.
  • English requested protection from the Nawab of Carnatic.
  • Mahfuz Khan, the leader of Anwar-Uddin (the Nawab of Carnatic), and the French engaged in combat at the Battle of St. Thome. The French prevailed in this conflict.
  • The Aix-La-Chappelle Treaty also ended the initial Anglo-French hostilities in India. While the French received their properties in North America, the English colonies in India were given back.
  • Louisburg in North America was given to France in exchange for the return of Madras to the English East India Company.
  • The First Carnatic War served as another example of the value of naval power.

Second Carnatic War (1749-1754)

  • Despite having ended in Europe, the Anglo-French competition persisted in India.
  • A conflict of succession broke out after the death of Nizam-ul-Mulk Asaf Jah in 1748 in Hyderabad. French Governor supported Muzaffar Jang, a candidate for the Nizam of Hyderabad, and Chanda Sahib, a contender for the crown of Arcot.
  • Chanda Sahib, the Nawab of Muhammad Ali (son of Anwar Uddin), was aided by the British and retreated to Tiruchirappalli after the British gained victory in the Battle of Ambur in 1749, replaced Muzaffar Jung as the Nizam.
  • Arcot, the Carnatic region’s capital, was taken by British commander Robert Clive in 1751.
  • The Raja of Tanjore treacherously killed Chanda Sahib. Dupleix was subsequently recalled.
  • The Treaty of Pondicherry, signed in 1754, ended the Second Carnatic War.

Third Carnatic War (1757-1763)

  • The Third Carnatic War began when the Seven Years’ War (1756–1763) broke out in Europe.
  • At Wandiwash in 1760, the French commander, Count de Lally, was defeated by British General Sir Eyre Coote. The Battle of Wandiwash ended a nearly century-long struggle for dominance in India and gave the British East India Company a significant advantage over other European traders.
  • The Treaty of Paris, which stopped the Seven Years’ War in 1763, also brought the Third Carnatic War to a conclusion. The French were granted Pondicherry, Karaikkal, Mahe, and Yenam with the stipulation that they never are fortified.

Second Carnatic War UPSC

The 2nd Carnatic War was one of the Anglo-French wars in India. The Second Carnatic War was fought between 1749-54 and is relevant in Modern Indian History. To prepare for the topic, UPSC aspirants can refer to the Modern History Notes for UPSC. Moreover, several questions have been asked about the topic at different levels of the UPSC Exam.

Second Carnatic War UPSC Questions

Question: The Second Carnatic War was fought between? (A) 1749-1752, (B) 1749-1754, (C) 1749-1753, (D) 1749-1755

Answer: (B) 1749-1754

Question: Consider the following statements about the Second Carnatic War: (1) While Nasir Jung & the Nizam were supported by the English, Chanda Sahib and Muzaffar Jung were supported by the French. (2) In 1749, the combined forces of Anwar-Uddin and the British defeated and killed Chanda Sahib.

Which of the above statements is/are correct? (A) 1 only, (B) 2 only, (C) Both 1 and 2, (D) Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: (C) Both 1 and 2

Question for UPSC Mains: Discuss the causes and consequences of the Second Carnatic War. How did the war impact the balance of power between the British East India Company and the French East India Company in South India?

Question for UPSC Mains: Analyze the role of key military and political leaders during the Second Carnatic War. How did the strategies and actions of Robert Clive and Joseph François Dupleix shape the outcome of the war?

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