First Carnatic War 1746-48

First Carnatic War

In 1720 France nationalized the French East India Company and began using it to expand its imperial interests.

This became a source of conflict with the British in India with the entry of Britain into the War of the Austrian Succession in 1744.

Hostilities in India began with a British naval attack on a French fleet.

This led the French Governor-General Dupleix to request additional forces.

This resulted in the despatch of a fleet under La Bourdonnais that arrived in 1746.

In July 1746 La Bourdonnais and British Admiral Edward Peyton fought an indecisive action off Negapatam, after which La Bourdonnais put in at Pondicherry for repairs and strategizing with Dupleix.

The fleets met again on 19 August, but Peyton refused battle and retreated to Bengal.

On 4 September 1746, La Bourdonnais led an attack on Madras.

After several days of bombardment, the British surrendered and the French entered the city.

The British leadership was taken prisoner and sent to Pondicherry.

It was originally agreed that the town would be restored to the British after negotiation but this was opposed by Dupleix, who sought to annex Madras to French holdings.

Dupleix, in the meantime, had before the assault promised to turn over Fort St. George to the Nawab of the Carnatic Anwaruddin Muhammed Khan, but refused to do so.

Anwaruddin responded by sending a 10,000 man army to take the fort from Dupleix by force.

Dupleix, who had lost the support of La Bourdonnais over the status of Madras, had only 300 French troops.

In the Battle of Adyar, this small force successfully repulsed the attacks of Anwaruddin’s army.


In 1748 Major Stringer Lawrence arrived to take command of the British troops at Fort St. David.

The British besieged Pondicherry in late 1748.

Robert Clive successfully defended a trench against a French sortie.

The siege was lifted in October 1748.

The war ended with the treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle (1748) in Europe.

Under this treaty, the English got back Madras and the French the Louisburg region in North America.


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