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How Trade Led to Battles

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How Trade Led to Battles - Lesson Summary

Many battles were fought between the Nawabs of Bengal and the Company, before it could establish its rule over the province of Bengal. The Battle of Plassey fought in 1757 was the first major victory for the East India Company and marked the start of its rule in India.

After the death of Aurangzeb, the Mughal Empire disintegrated and strong nawabs like Murshid Quli Khan, Alivardi Khan and Sirajuddaulah came to power one after another. The Company wanted to trade duty free whereas the nawabs were trying to levy more duties.

The Company however, wanted puppet rulers who would agree to all its demands like privileges and concessions to expand their trade.

Sirajuddaulah was a powerful leader who became the nawab of Bengal in 1756 and was dead against the Company. The Company tried to make one of Sirajuddaula’s rivals, the Nawab of Bengal. This infuriated Sirajuddaulah and led to him capturing the English Factory at Kassimbazar, followed by the fort at Calcutta.

The Company enraged with this, retaliated by waging a war against Sirajuddaulah at Plassey in 1757 under the command of Robert Clive. Sirajuddaulah was defeated and later assassinated.
This was the Company’s first major victory in India. The Company appointed Mir Jafar as the Nawab of Bengal. The Company was still unwilling to take over the control of the administration wished for puppet rulers who would grant privileges and concessions for trade expansion.

When Mir Jafar protested he was deposed and Mir Qasim was made the nawab. Howeverm when he too protested, he was defeated in the battle at Buxar and Mir Jafar was brought back.

Finally, in 1765, after the death of Mir Jafar, the Company steered towards becoming Nawabs themselves. On 12 August 1765, the Company was appointed the Diwan of Bengal by Mughal Emperor Shah Alam II.

A diwan had the power to administer territories under its control and collect revenues. This could comfortably finance the Company’s trade expenses. The original Nawabs of Bengal were forced to part with their land and give huge sums of money to the Company officials.


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