Home > General Knowledge, History > 65/365 – Battle of Plassey

65/365 – Battle of Plassey

The Battle of Plassey, 23 June 1757, was a decisive British East India Company victory over the Nawab of Bengal and his French allies, establishing Company rule in South Asia which expanded over much of the Indies for the next hundred years.

 

 

The battle took place at Palashi, Bengal (Plassey is the anglicised version of Palashi), on the river banks of the Bhagirathi River, about 150 km north of Calcutta, near Murshidabad, then capital of undivided Bengal. The belligerents were Siraj-ud-daulah, the last independent Nawab of Bengal, and the British East India Company.

The battle was preceded by the attack and plunder of Calcutta by Siraj-ud-daulah and the Black Hole tragedy. The British sent reinforcements under Colonel Robert Clive and Admiral Charles Watson from Madras to Bengal, and recaptured Calcutta.

Clive then seized the initiative to capture the French fort of Chandernagar. Tensions and suspicions between Siraj-ud-daulah and the British culminated in the Battle of Plassey. The battle was waged during the Seven Years’ War (1756–63) and, in a mirror of their European rivalry, the French East India Company sent a small contingent to fight against the British.

Siraj-ud-Daulah had a numerically superior force and made his stand at Plassey. The British, worried about being outnumbered, formed a conspiracy with Siraj-ud-Daulah’s demoted army chief Mir Jafar, along with others such as Yar Lutuf Khan, Jagat Seths (Mahtab Chand and Swarup Chand), Omichund and Rai Durlabh. Mir Jafar, Rai Durlabh and Yar Lutuf Khan thus assembled their troops near the battlefield but made no move to actually join the battle.

Siraj-ud-Daulah’s army was defeated by roughly 3,000 soldiers of Col. Robert Clive, owing to the flight of Siraj-ud-daulah from the battlefield and the inactivity of the conspirators.

This is judged to be one of the pivotal battles in the control of South Asia by the colonial powers. The British now wielded enormous influence over the Nawab and consequently acquired large amounts of concession for previous losses and revenue from trade.

The British further used this revenue to increase their military might and push the other European colonial powers such as the Dutch and the French out of South Asia, thus expanding the British Empire in Asia.

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Categories: General Knowledge, History
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