Battle of Plassey
The Plassey War was a conclusive victory over the Nawab of Bengal and his French allies by the British East India Company on 23 June 1757.
The fighting took place on the banks of the Bhagirathi River at Plashi (Anglicized version: Plassey), about 150 kilometers north of Calcutta and south of Murshidabad, then the capital of Bengal.
The warring parties included Nawab Siraj-Ud-Daulah, Bengal’s last sovereign Nawab, and the British East India Company.
By the time Alivardi Khan died in 1756, Siraj-Ud-Daulah became Bengal’s Nawab.
His aunt Ghasiti Begum and his cousin Shaukat Jang who was governor of Purnea opposed the succession of Siraj-Ud-Daulah.
There was a powerful party in the court of the Nawab which included Jagat Seth, Umichand, Raj Ballabh, Mir Jafar and others who also opposed Siraj-Ud-Daulah.
The English Company at Calcutta had given refuge against the will of the Nawab to Krishna Das son of Raj Ballabh who had fled with huge treasures.
The problem of Fort William’s fortification at Calcutta without permission from the Nawab has aggravated the relationship between the Nawab and the Company.
Nawab asked the English to avoid their fortification expanding.
Robert Clive bribed the commander-in-chief of the Nawab’s army, Mir Jafar, and also vowed to make him Bengal’s Nawab, invading Calcutta.
In 1757 Robert Clive defeated the Nawab at Plassey, taking Calcutta.
The war was followed by Nawab Siraj-Ud-Daulah’s assault on British-controlled Calcutta, and the incident of the Black Hole.
Under Colonel Robert Clive and Admiral Charles Watson, the British sent reinforcements from Madras to Bengal and recaptured Calcutta.
Clive then took the initiative to seize the Chandernagar French Castle.
Fight of Plassey resulted in tensions and suspicions between Siraj-Ud-Daulah and the British.
Siraj-Ud-Daulah had superior numerical strength and made his stand at Plassey.
The British, worried about being outnumbered, formed a conspiracy with the demoted Mir Jafar, Rai Durlabh, and Yar Lutuf Khan from Siraj-Ud-Daulah thus gathered their troops near the battlefield but did not make any attempt to enter the battle.
Col. Robert Clive’s 3,000 soldiers defeated Siraj-Ud-Daulah’s army, with 18,000 soldiers.
The war finished in 40 minutes.
It is one of the most important wars being fought by colonial powers to conquer the Indian subcontinent.
The British now exercised immense control over the Nawab and thereby gained substantial quantities of compensation for past defeats and trade revenue.
The British have used this revenue to raise their military strength and drive out of South Asia the other European imperial forces including the Netherlands and the French, extending the British Empire in Asia.
The French were no longer a major force in Bengal as a result of the battle of Plassey.
The British defeated a greater French garrison at Masulipatam in 1759, capturing the Northern Circars.
Mir Jafar started by urging the Dutch to advance against the British and expel them from Bengal.
Then the British overthrew Mir Jafar and installed Mir Qasim as Bengal’s Nawab.
Now the British became Bengal’s dominant European power.
If owing to ill-health, Robert Clive returned to England, he was rewarded with an Irish peerage as Lord Clive, Baron of Plassey, and even received a seat in the British House of Commons.
The fighting continued in the Deccan and Hyderabad districts, such as Arcot, Wandiwash, Tanjore, and Cuddalore.
The French were returned by way of the Treaty of Paris to Pondicherry in 1763 but never again recovered their former status in India.
In subsequent years the British emerged as rulers of the subcontinent.
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