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HISTORY OF BRITISH INDIA.
A SUMMARY OF THE PRINCIPAL EVENTS FROM THE FOUNDATION OF THE EAST INDIA COMPANY TO ITS DISSOLUTION IN 1858.
Foundation of the East India Company, 1600.-The empire of British India was founded by a body of merchants, afterwards known as the East India Company. It received its charter under Queen Elizabeth in 1600, and this was frequently renewed in successive reigns. In 1698 a rival company was chartered by William III.; but the two were afterwards united. The first English factories were established in 1612 at Surat in Bombay.
Formation of Presidencies, 1652-1773. Madras was made a presidency in 1652. In 1662, Charles II. received Bombay from the Portuguese, who had held it since 1530, as the marriage portion of Catherine of Braganza. He subsequently ceded it to the East India Company, and it became a presidency in 1708. Bengal (Calcutta) became a presidency in 1701, and was made chief presidency in 1773. French East India Company, 1664. - A French company was established in 1664. Their head-quarters were Chandernagore, on the Hooghly, and Pondicherry, on the coast of the Carnatic.
War Between the French and English, 1746-1754.-In 1746 the English town of Madras was taken by the French. It was restored to the English at the peace of Aix-la-Chapelle. The French, under Dupleix, however, continued to annoy the English till the taking of Arcot, 1751, and other successes of Clive, caused a temporary cessation of hostilities.
Black Hole of Calcutta, 1756.—In this year Surajah Dowlah, Nabob of Bengal, made a successful attack upon Fort William (the stronghold of Calcutta) and thrust 146 of the English into the 'Black Hole,' a loathsome dungeon, about eighteen feet square. 123 of their number died before morning. In the January following Clive regained Calcutta, and took Chandernagore from the French. Battle of Plassey, 1757.-Bengal was wholly subjugated by
Clive's defeat of the Surajah at Plassey. In this engagement the English numbered 3,000 against 50,000.
War with the French, 1758-1760. Lally Tollendal, the French Governor-General, having captured Fort St. David, and made an unsuccessful attack on Madras in 1758, was defeated by Sir Eyre Coote at Wandewash (1760). This victory secured the Carnatic.
Wars and Treaties with the Native Chiefs, 1764-1782.— Sir Hector Monro defeated the Nabob of Oude at the battle of Buxar (1764), and in 1765 a treaty was concluded with Shah Alum, Emperor of Delhi, by which the Company obtained the sovereignty of Bengal, Bahar, and Orissa. In 1767 Hyder Ali, King of Mysore, joined the Mahratta chiefs against the English and ravaged the Carnatic. Peace was concluded in 1769. In 1780 he again overran the same district, and succeeded in taking Arcot. He was repulsed by Sir E. Coote in 1781, and in 1782 (the French having become his allies) was finally overthrown. The Carnatic was saved by the battles of Porto Novo, Pollilore, and Arnee. Hyder Ali died in 1782, and was succeeded by his son Tippoo Sahib.
Mutiny of the Army, 1765.-During the period that Warren Hastings held office as first Governor-General of India several disturbances took place; and when, in 1765, Lord Clive endeavoured to establish order by forbidding the bribes which had been offered by the native princes to the Company's officers, mutiny was the result. Upon this, Lord Clive, who had secured to himself the appointment of Governor of Bengal, promptly cashiered Sir Robert Fletcher, the second in command, and sent the ringleaders to Calcutta for trial.
Famine in Bengal, 1770.—This famine is computed to have destroyed one-third of the inhabitants of Bengal.
War with the French, 1778.-During the War of American Independence Chandernagore and Pondicherry were taken, mainly through the skill of Warren Hastings. On August 4, 1778, the fortress of Gwalior was successfully stormed by Major Popham. Pondicherry and Chandernagore were restored to the French in 1783.
Pitt's Bill, 1784.-This bill greatly improved the government of India by the creation of the Board of Control at home, consisting of commissioners who were invested with supreme power over the civil and military government of the East India Company.
Wars with Tippoo Sahib, 1783-1799.-Tippoo lost no time in trying to avenge his father's defeat at Arnee. He took Bednore, and, after a temporary truce, was defeated by Lord Cornwallis at Arikera (1791). The taking of Bangalore by Lord Cornwallis
followed. This fortress was, however, restored to Tippoo in the following year, when a treaty of peace was entered into. In 1799, Tippoo again becoming insubordinate, his capital, Seringapatam, was successfully stormed by General Baird, who lost his life in the attempt. Tippoo also was slain, and Mysore became a dependent State.
Mahratta War, 1802-1805.-The French having aided three Mahratta chiefs, Holkar, Scindiah, and the Rajah of Berar, in rebelling against their sovereign the Peiswah, Sir A. Wellesley (afterwards the Duke of Wellington) and General Lake were despatched to subdue them. Wellesley defeated the two latter chiefs at the battles of Assaye and Argaum (1803), while General Lake took Alighur, Delhi, and Agra. In 1805 Bhurtpore was taken from Holkar, and the war ended.
War with Nepaul, 1814-1816.-This war terminated by treaty in April 1815, but was renewed in 1816, when, after several defeats, the Nepaulese agreed to the treaty which had been made the year before.
Pindaree War, 1817-1818.-At the battle of Kirkee the Pindarees were defeated by the Marquis of Hastings (1817).
First Burmese War, 1824-1826.-Rangoon was taken by the English in May 1824, and the fort of Syriam in the following year. General Campbell subsequently defeated the enemy at Proome, and Lord Combermere reduced the fortress of Bhurtpore. By a treaty of peace in February 1826 the war was concluded, and Assam, Aracan, and Tenasserim added to the British possessions.
Afghan War, 1838-1842.-The British, having joined Shah Soojah against Dost Mohammed, who had made himself sovereign of the Cabul district of Afghanistan, declared war in October 1838. In August 1839 Cabul was captured under Sir John Keane, and, Shah Soojah being established on his throne, Sir W. M'Naghten and Sir A. Burnes remained in Cabul as envoys, with a number of British troops. In November and December (1841) the envoys and other officers were murdered, and the British quitted the city. In their retreat through the mountain passes nearly the whole of their number (21,000 men, women, and children) were either murdered by the Afghans or perished from fatigue. During the following year Cabul was re-conquered by Generals Pollock and Nott, and the country evacuated.
War with Scinde, 1843.-During this war Sir Charles Napier gained a victory over 30,000 of the enemy at Meanee. After the battle of Dubba (Hyderabad) the whole of Scinde was annexed to