First Carnatic War

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First Carnatic War

In South India, Madras and Pondicherry were the centers of trade for the English and the French respectively. When a war between England and France broke out in Europe, the wave reached India and the two powers were engaged in parallel battles here also. The battles were centered round two fields Carnatic and Hyderabad. The battles are commonly known as Carnatic Wars.

The first struggle between the English and the French in India was a continuation of the war of Austrian succession which broke out in Europe in 1740. England and France were in opposite sides in that war and their hostilities in Europe spread in India as well. Trouble started in 1746 when an English fleet appeared at the Coromondal coast and threatened Pondicherry. Dupleix, the French Governor appealed to Anwaruddin, Nawab of Carnatic for help but the English did not pay heed to Anwaruddin’s warning. The situation changed when La Bourdonnais, the French governor of Mauritius attacked the English colonies and commercial centers in the south.

The English fled towards Hooghly leaving Madras at the mercy of the French. They also appealed to Anwaruddin for help. Anwaruddin warned Dupleix to raise the siege from Madras. Dupleix refused to obey it. At this Anwaruddin sent a vast army against the French army besieging Madras. The Nawab’s army was completely routed out by the French army in the Battle of Mailapur.

The victory of the French army exposed the military weakness of the Indian rulers on the one hand and proved the superiority of the well-disciplined and well-equipped European troops on the other. Dupleix realizing the political implication of this victory was encouraged to take part in Indian politics. The question of succession in Hyderabad and Carnatic gave him the opportunity.

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