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Imperial Gazetteer of India, v. 2, p. 470.

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THE political history of the British in India begins in the
eighteenth century with the French Wars in the Carnatic.
Southern After the death of Aurangzeb in I707, the whole of Southern
India after India became practically independent of Delhi. In the
'707. Deccan proper the Nizam-ul-Mulk founded an hereditary
dynasty, with Hyderab&d for its capital, which exercised a
nominal authority over the entire South. The Carnatic, or the
lowland tract between the central plateau and the eastern
sea, was ruled by a deputy of the Nizam, known as the Nawab
of Arcot. Farther south, Trichinopoly was the capital of a
Hindu RMj4; Tanjore formed another Hindu kingdom under
a degenerate descendant of Sivaji. Inland, Mysore was
gradually growing into a third Hindu State; while everywhere
local chieftains, called poliZgars or naiks, were in semi-
independent possession of citadels or hill-forts. These re-
presented the deputies of the ancient Hindu kingdom of
Vijayanagar, and many of them had maintained a practical
independence since its fall in I565.
The The first European nation to intervene in the politics of
French in
Indian Southern India was the French. Until after the death of
Aurangzeb, all the Europeans confined themselves strictly to
their commerce, and as traders were ready to obey the ruling
chief in their neighbourhood, of whatever race or religion he
Dumas, might be. Benoit Dumas, who became Governor of Pondi-
1735-41. cherry in 1735, a post which conferred supremacy over all the
other French Settlements in India, adopted a different attitude.
He had been Governor of the Mauritius, and from personal
experience did not believe in the utility of wasting money on
developing trade with Madagascar. He held that there was
more scope in India, and took up his office at Pondicherry
with the idea of making use of the disturbed condition of
Southern India, and the growing weakness of the Mughal
empire, for the advantage of France. He first intervened in
a contest for the succession to the sovereignty of Tanjore;
and in I739 Karikal, a town on the Coromandel coast near

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