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Expansion of British Empire (In the context of Bengal, Mysore, Punjab etc.)


  • Murshid Quli Khan (1717-27): In 1717, Murshid Quli Khan was appointed as Bengal’s Subedar i.e. governor by Mughal emperor Farrukh Siyar. He transferred the capital of Bengal from Dacca to Murshidabad.
  • Shujauddin (1727-39): He was son-in-law of Murshid Quli Khan. He was granted the governorship of Bihar by Mughal Emperor Muhammad Shah ‘Rangeela’ in 1733.
  • Sarfaraj Khan (1739-40): He was the son of Shujauddin and was murdered by Alivardi Khan, the Deputy Governor of Bihar, in 1740.
  • Alivardi Khan (1740-56): Legalised his usurpation by receiving a Farman from Mughal emperor Muhammad Shah ‘Rangeela’ after paying him 2crores. He prevented the English and the French from fortifying their factories at Calcutta and Chandranagore respectively.

Sirajuddaula (1756-57)

  • Alivardi khan was succeeded by his grandson Sirajuddaula.
  • He seized the English factory at Kasimbazar and on 20th June 1756, Fort Williams surrendered but Robert Clive recovered Calcutta.
  • On 2nd Jan, 1757, Treaty of Alinagar was signed, where Sirajuddaula conceded practically all the demands. British then captured Chandranagore, the French settlement, on March 1757.
  • Battle of Plassey was fought on 23June 1757.owing to the conspiracy, the Nawab was defeated and the people who betrayed the Nawab were:
  • Mir Jafar:Mir Bakshi
  • Manikchand:Officer in charge of Calcutta
  • Amichand:Rich Sikh Merchant
  • Jagat Seth: Biggest Banker of Bengal
  • Khadim khan: Commanded a large number of Nawab’s troops.

Mir Jafar(1757-60):

  • The company was granted undisputed rights to free trade in Bengal, Bihar, and Orrisa.it received the zamindari of 24 parganas.
  • Mir Jafar fell into arrears and was forced to abdicate in favour of his son-in-law Mir Qasim.

Mir Qasim(1760-64):

  • He succeeded Burdwan, Midnapore and Chittagong.
  • He shifted his capital from Murshidabad to Munger.
  • Mir Qasim soon revolted as he was angry with the British for misusing the Dastak(free duty passes).However, having been defeated by the british,he fled to Awadh, where he formed a confederacy with Awadh ruler Shujaauddaula and Mughal emperor Shah Alam II.
  • The Battle of Buxar (1764), Mir Qasim, Shujaauddaula and Shah Alam II were defeated by Munro.
  • Mir Jafar again placed on the throne
  • Successors of Mir Qasim were Mir Jafar (1764-65), Nazmuddaulah (1765-66), Saifuddaula (1766-70), and Mubaraquddaula (1770-72).
  • Clive concluded two separate treaties of Allahabad with Shah Alam II (12Aug, 1765) and Shujaauddaula (16 Aug1765).


  • After annexation of Bengal, the English never looked back. Now, they turned their eye on Mysore.
  • Mutual conflict between the regional powers of Mysore, Nizam and Marathas gave the English an opportunity to interfere and extend their political dominance. This motive of the English resulted into four wars between the English and the Mysore Kingdom known as Anglo-Mysore Wars.
  • In the First Anglo-Mysore war (1767-69), Mysore under Haider Ali gained some success against the Britishers.
  • The Second Anglo-Mysore war (1780-1784) proved indecisive and ended with the Treaty of Mangalore.
  • In the Third Anglo–Mysore War (1789–1792), Tipu Sultan, invaded the nearby state of Travancore, which was a British ally. The war ended with the defeat of Tipu Sultan and the signing of the Treaty of Seringapatam. According to the treaty, Tipu had to surrender half of his kingdom to the British East India Company and its allies.
  • In Fourth Anglo–Mysore War (1799), the British defeated Tipu Sultan. Tipu died while defending his capital. Nearly half of Mysore territory was divided between the British and the Nizam.


  • Conquest of Maratha Empire was done through a series of wars between the English and the Maratha Empire.
  • In First Anglo Maratha War (1775–1782),   the British were defeated and the Treaty of Salbai was signed.
  • In the Second Anglo-Maratha War (1803-1806) and the Third Anglo-Maratha War (1817-1818), the British stood victorious.
  • The main reason behind the defeat of Maratha Chiefs was their mutual conflict. The British took advantage of this disunity and extended their dominance in western part of India.   

Annexation of Awadh (1856)

  • The kingdom of Awadh was annexed by the British on account of ‘misgovernance’.
  • Nawab Wajid Ali Shah, the Nawab of Awadh was accused by the British of having misgoverned his state. His state was therefore annexed in 1856 by Lord Dalhousie.
  • Awadh was the only Indian state whose ruler Nawab Wajid Ali Shah was dispossessed on the ground of “misgovernance”.


  • After the death of Ranjit Singh in 1839, there was a state of anarchy in Punjab.
  • Conquest of Punjab was completed in 1849.
  • British efforts to control Punjab resulted into two wars.
  • In the First Anglo-Sikh War (1845–1846), the British defeated Sikh troops and the Treaty of Lahore was signed.
  • By the Treaty of Lahore (1846) the Sikhs ceded the Jalandhar Doab, Kashmir and its dependencies to the English. A British Resident and a powerful British force were posted in Lahore. Kashmir was sold to Gulab Singh, a Dogra chief.
  • By a supplementary treaty it was decided that the Sikh state was to be ruled by a Council under the control of the British Resident. Rani Jindan was removed from her post.
  • To avenge the defeat in the First Anglo-Sikh war, Sikh troops started a number of revolts leading to the Second Anglo-Sikh War (1848-1849). 
  • British control over the Punjab aroused a lot of resentment among the Sikhs. In 1848 a number of revolts against the British broke out in the Punjab.
  • The Governor-General, Lord Dalhousie, declared war. The Sikh army which had been reduced by the Treaty of Lahore was completely crushed.
  • By a proclamation in 1849, Lord Dalhousie annexed the whole of the Punjab to the British Empire. Dalip Singh was pensioned off.
  • The war ended with whole up Punjab under British control.

Extent of British Empire