What is the System of Subsidiary Alliance?

By Shivank Goel|Updated : September 5th, 2022

The subsidiary alliance was one of the political and diplomatic methods adopted by the East India Company. The East India Company adopted the system of subsidiary alliance in order to take control of Indian kingdoms. This system was first introduced by Lord Wellesley with the aim of bringing all the 'princely states' under the control of the Britishers.

The term 'Subsidiary Alliance' was brought into the system by French Governor DupleixIt and Lord Wellesley was the first to use it. The subsidiary alliance system proposed that the Indian rulers were not permitted to use their independent defense troops but had to maintain British troops in the kingdom and include a British resident in their courts.

The Subsidiary Alliance System

The Subsidiary Alliance System was introduced to the Indian system by Lord Wellesley. The East India Company adopted it to be able to rule and control the Indian kingdoms in a better way. The system forced the Indian rulers to have a British army to protect the rulers and their kingdoms, and they also had to pay for the maintenance of these subsidiaries.

If any Indian rulers failed to pay for the subsidiary forces, they had to give away one of their territories as a penalty.

In a similar case, the nawab of Awadh had to surrender more than half of his territory in 1801 as he failed to pay for the British subsidiary forces.

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  • The Nawab of Awadh in 1801 was forced to give away over half of his territory as a penalty as he could not pay for the British subsidiary forces.

  • The term  ‘Subsidiary Alliance’ was introduced by French Governor DupleixIt.

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