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Schwartzberg Atlas, v. , p. 212.

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premacy in Bengal. In 1765 their position in that region was further strengthened by the Mughal emperor's conferring the dīwānī of Bengal (the right to collect revenue and conduct civil justice) on the Company. In the same year the British assumed a virtual protectorate over the territories of the nawab of the Carnatic, and in the following year received from the Nizam the large territory of the Northern Circars in return for a military alliance against the still-strong Marathas. Thus British hegemony was extended over virtually the entire eastern coast of India, and with a large and productive base from which to operate the stage was set for the next dramatic phase of their expansion.

A similar example of European expansion, though on a much more modest scale, occurred in Ceylon. There Dutch encoun- ters with the Kingdom of Kandy led to the latter's surrender to them of all remaining coastal areas in 1766.

Sources (in addition to those in the General Bibliography)


L. S. de la Rochette (1788); T. Jefferys (1768); J. Rennell (1782); J. Rennell and T. Jefferys (1795).

Other Works

R. O. Cambridge (1761); S. Chandra (1959); V. G. Dighe (1944); B. K. Gupta (1962); C. Hayavadana Rao (1943–46); W. Hough (1853); Y. H. Khan (1963); C. A. Kincaid and D. B. Parasnis (1931); L. Lockhart (1938), (1958); R. Orme (1803); L. Petech (1950); K. R. Qanungo (1925); M. G. Ranade (1900); B. C. Ray (1960); A. C. Roy (1968); J. Sarkar (1925), (1932–50); T. S. Shejwalkar (1946); C. K. Srinivasan (1944); A. L. Srivastava (1945); M. Wilks (1930).

VII.A.2. The Expansion of British Power, 1766–1819; Misls of the Sikh Confederacy, Late 18th Century; the Expansion and Partition of Mysore, 1749–99; Gurkha Expansion and the Anglo-Nepali War, 1760–1816; Stages in the Expansion of British Power to 1819

In 1776 the British East India Company was one of several competing powers in South Asia; by 1819 it had become domi- nant. Its impressive expansion was neither automatic nor in- evitable. Indian states were often formidable powers, and in England the Company directors, if not actually opposed to a policy of conquest or territorial expansion, were reluctant to give it their approval because of the policy of neutrality laid down in Pitt's India Act of 1784. Yet, except for one brief period (1782–89), war followed on war and the progress of British arms, despite occasional setbacks, carried them to all but the northwestern limits of the subcontinent. Some of the major battles in which the British participated (particularly those that had important territorial consequences), as well as major battles between indigenous powers, are indicated in a listing to the right of map (a) and keyed to the map; a similar keyed listing to the left shows the treaties by which territorial transfers to the British were effected. Map (e) synthesizes much of the information of map (a) and of plate VII.A.1 by showing the four stages in the expansion of British power to 1819. In light of the complexity of the period, it must be noted that the stages indicated are largely arbitrary, selected more with an eye to the territorial pattern they would reveal than by any judgment as to the historical significance of the dates by which the stages are set apart.

Conflicts within and among the indigenous powers prevented their taking a united stand against the British. The strength of the Maratha Confederacy in particular was diminished by in- creasing fragmentation among five warring houses. In the south the Peshwa, the Nizam, and the ruler of Mysore al- ternately allied with and fought each other. The Peshwa's pre- occupation with southern affairs helped pave the way for the ascendancy within the confederation, in fact, if not in theory, of the Sindhias, who for a time allied themselves with the British (by the Treaty of Salbai, 1782) and who, from 1771 to 1803, dominated the politics of north central India, even holding the regency of the crumbling Mughal Empire from 1783 till the British assumed the role of Mughal protectors in 1803.

The multipartite strife in southern India interfered with trade and frequently threatened company territory. The dis- orders also deepened British fears of French intervention and so invited "pacification" by the Company's forces. Among the states where the French were particularly active was Mysore (see map (c)), whose ambitious rulers made it a power of no small consequence for several decades from 1761 till their final defeat by British forces in 1799. In a treaty with the British in 1798 the Nizam agreed to disband the French bat- talions then in his service, to take no other Europeans into service without British consent, and to accept a British subsidi- ary force for whose maintenance he would thenceforth be re- sponsible. The British force was augmented in 1800 as "pay- ment" for the cession to the British of territories that had just been won from Mysore and turned over to the Nizam. These treaties of "subsidiary alliance," as they were called, set a pat- tern for British diplomacy vis-à-vis princely states, and subse- quent British annexation of large territories in lieu of payment for the Company's protection became a not uncommon prac- tice. Map (a) details the specific dates by which the princely states of India entered into alliances with the British as well as the dates of territorial cessions to the British, whatever the cause may have been.

Concurrently with their subjugation of the South, the British, through a combination of skillful diplomacy and armed strength, extended their control westward from Bengal and by 1801 reached almost to the gates of Delhi. In the process they established their protectorate over the rich kingdom of Oudh, subdued the Afghan princes of Rohilkhand, and annexed large portions of the Gangetic Plain. By these bold thrusts they forged a wedge to the north of the Marathas, which added to their holdings in the east and south and substantially enhanced their strategic position in the event of future Anglo-Maratha conflict. The casus belli was soon provided. In 1802 the Peshwa, having taken flight from Poona during a three-way struggle with Sindhia and Holkar for Maratha supremacy, entered, into a subsidiary alliance with the British through the Treaty of Bassein, in return for which the British agreed to restore him to his capital. This they did in 1803. A short-lived war with Sindhia, who was aided by Bhonsle, ensued, at the conclusion of which extensive Maratha territories were ceded to the Brit- ish, and the protection of the fictive emperor in Delhi passed from Sindhia's hands to the Company.

The vicissitudes of subsequent Anglo-Maratha intercourse are far too complex to be detailed in this brief text. Their ter- ritorial aspect, however, may largely be determined from a study of map (a). Suffice it to say that after a final war, fought in 1817–18, the remaining power of the Peshwa, the pivot of the Maratha Confederacy, of Bhonsle, and of Holkar was crushed; the institution of the Peshwa was abolished and most of the lands belonging to the Peshwa annexed, only the small state of Satara being made over to a descent of Shivājī, founder of the Maratha state; Bhonsle and Holkar also ceded much territory to the British and concluded subsidiary alliances with them; and the British assumed protectorates over the principal states of Rajputana, which Sindhia and Holkar had formerly shared. Sindhia was allowed to retain a de jure inde- pendence but, completely surrounded by the might of the new masters of India, knew that it meant little. Peace in peninsular India, however, required one more feat of arms, the suppres- sion of the wide-ranging bands of marauding "Pindaris," who owed allegiance to no state and preyed on whom they could. The final encounter with these irregulars occurred in 1818.

As the British were extending and consolidating their hold over the greater part of India, new powers were rising on the periphery. To the northeast, in Burma (treated in some detail on plate VII.A.3), a new dynasty, founded by Alaungpaya in 1752, embarked on a campaign of conquest that carried the limits of the state to their greatest extent in history. To the north, Nepal (map (d)), after the Gurkha conquest of the Vale of Katmandu, grew from an insignificant mountain king- dom into a sizable state that was willing to match arms with both China and the British, only to be defeated by both. To the northwest, the Sikh chief Ranjit Singh, appointed governor of the Afghan province of Lahore, asserted his independence, unified the factious misls (clan territories), and embarked on his own career of expansion. For the Afghans, however, the period 1766–1819 was generally one of internecine strife and political decline.

In the far South of India, the British took over a number of the coastal factories of the Dutch and in Ceylon completely stripped them of their territorial holdings in 1795. The island's interior, the Kingdom of Kandy, was annexed by the British in 1815.

Before we conclude our discussion of plate VII.A.2 a word about its representation of boundaries is in order. If one com- pares those boundaries with the boundaries depicted on plate VII.A.1, one will see that they are often drawn with much greater precision, in some cases (e.g. Mysore) closely ap- proximating the boundaries found on 20th-century maps. It should not be supposed, however, that the British, the principal architects of those boundaries, knew exactly where they would lie on the ground at the time when the basis for their delimita- tion was established. Typically that basis was a treaty stipulat- ing, often in great detail, that certain groups of villages, chief- doms, jagirs, or other territorial designations were to be turned over by state X to state Y (Y usually being the British them- selves) by virtue of X's defeat in combat or X's failure to ful- fill some obligation to Y. Only some time afterward, as a rule, were the named territories surveyed and reasonably accurate boundaries placed on maps. Because of their relative ignorance of Indian conditions before 1766 the boundaries with which the British then had anything to do, as shown on map VII.A.1, are, like the relevant treaties, much more indefinite. Reverting to the 1766–1819 period, some of the boundaries that appear most complex—for example, those of Sindhia's domains, which we show in five distinct pieces—are in fact highly gener- alized. The internal politics of the Maratha Confederacy were such that lands assigned to the several major houses were often interdigitated in a highly complex fashion and the revenues de- rived from numerous areas were shared by more than one house. (Cf. the map note relating to Kathiawar.) A glance at the contemporary maps presented on plates VII.A.4 and 5 will be of some use in comprehending the nature of the problem. A look at the detailed map of internal boundaries in the area of Gujarat as of 1950 (plate IX.A.2) will also be helpful; even though the map relates to the modern period, most of the boundaries shown are legacies of the British determination of the legitimate claims of the Gaikwar and his and other tributary chiefs in the period shortly after the imposition of Company supremacy.

Sources (in addition to those in the General Bibliography)


A. Arrowsmith (1804); G. and J. Cary (1824); L. S. de la Rochette (1788); A. Finley (1828); J. Rennell (1782/1793), (1786), (1788); J. Rennell and T. Jefferys (1795); Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge (1831–35).

Other Works

A. C. Banerjee (1951); R. G. Burton (1910); N. G. Chaudhuri (1964); H. W. Codrington (1947/1952); J. D. Cunningham (1849), (1955); M. Elphinstone (1815); H. Furber (1948); H. R. Gupta (1952); M. Hasan (1971); C. Hayavadana Rao (1943–46); W. Hough (1853); C. A. Kincaid and D. B. Paras- nis (1931); J. Malcolm (1832); G. B. Malleson (1893/1909); R. Orme (1803); K. R. Qanungo (1925); M. G. Ranade (1900); B. C. Ray (1960); J. Rennell (1781, listed under Atlases); B. D. Sanwal (1965); K. Singh (1963–66); N. K. Sinha (1959); P. M. Sykes (1940); M. Wilks (1930).

VII.A.3 The Expansion of British Power, 1819–57; Burmese Expansion and Decline, c. 1750–1857; Events in Punjab, Kashmir, and Afghanistan, 1819–57; Stages in the Expansion of British Power, 1819–57

From 1819 to 1857 British energy was directed toward im- posing orderly administration on their newly won domains; toward integrating within those domains substantial new areas acquired from their protected princely states, many of which were wholly annexed; toward eliminating vestigial enclaves of independent territory, most notably Gwalior (Sindhia's do- minions); and toward extending their territories and influence to the northwest and the east and reducing external threats sensed in those quarters. A synoptic overview of the territorial changes effected during the period, by stage, is presented in map (d).

Within India the system of district administration was ex- tended throughout the British provinces (see plate VII.B.1), and in 1833 the North-Western Provinces was excised from the overextended Bengal Presidency. Other provinces—not- ably Punjab, formerly the kingdom of the Sikhs, and Oudh, a confiscated princely state—were created in 1849 and 1856 respectively. Although direct administration by the British was not normally applied to the princely states, the supervision of the conduct of affairs within them was assumed by the British and entrusted to "political officers," known either as "residents" in the larger states or "agents" in smaller states or groups of states. The dates of establishment of the more important agen- cies are indicated on map (a).

By various devices, numerous territories were transferred to the British provinces in India from the areas of the native states. Among these devices was the "principle of lapse," whereby a state was taken over by the Raj when a reigning prince died without male issue. Thus Satara (in 1843), Sam- balpur (1849), Jhansi (1853), and the large state of Nagpur, the remaining domains of the Bhonsle rajas (1853), all passed into British hands. Other states were confiscated for misgovern- ment, real or alleged; these included, as already noted, the im- portant nawabate of Oudh, as well as Mysore and Coorg. In the case of Mysore, however, the direct rule imposed by the British was not intended to be permanent. A third way the British obtained substantial new territories was to take them over in lieu of payment of debts owed them by the ruling princes, typically for the upkeep of subsidiary military con- tingents. The most notable such acquisition was that of the "Hyderabad Assigned Districts," which the Nizam surrendered in 1853. Finally, minor territorial gains resulted from boundary adjustments in which small areas were exchanged between British provinces and princely states; on balance, such adjust- ments were usually in favor of the British.

Occasionally, areas that had been regarded as British terri- tory at one period of time were later recognized as legitimate princely states. These were generally in regions whose nature and polity were little known to the British when they were first acquired. Only as the British became familiar with the area could they decide on the legitimacy of the claims of certain princes to rule in their own right rather than as vassals of those princes who assigned their territories to them in the first in- stances. Alternatively, the areas may have been recognized as vassals of a given state only so long as that state remained out- side British India, but came to be regarded as princely states

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