East India Company Acquires Bengal
The 16th of August 1765 AD
The East India Company achieved supremacy in India not in a dashing military campaign but piecemeal, often able to exploit the political confusion and corruption in the many states within the sub-continent. The Treaty of Allahabad signed on August 16 1765 is a prime example of such circumstances, Mughal Emperor Shah Alam II signing over to Robert Clive the right to collect taxes and other revenues in a vast swathe of Indian territory, primarily Bengal, Bihar and Orissa. In return Shah Alam received an annual payment that would allow him to live in luxury in his Allahabad court.
Clive had been sent back to India by Parliament in 1764 to resolve the increasingly confused situation in Bengal; he soon did so.
In October 1764 Shah Alam and his allies including Mir Qasim were defeated by the British at the Battle of Buxar, where Clive fought in support of Mir Jafar, Nawab of Bengal, nominally subservient to Shah Alam.
Mir Jafar had years previously bribed Clive and other senior officials, in 1757 conspiring with them to procure a British victory at Plassey, but he did not buy their loyalty: he was replaced as Nawab for a time by his son-in-law Mir Qasim who eventually allied himself with Shah Alam against the British; when the British returned Mir Jafar to power it was as a puppet. Mir Jafar died in February 1765, but Shah Alam was powerless in his own capital of Delhi, where his Wazir was in control. The Emperor was reliant on the British, duly signing over to them revenue rights over his territories.
More famous dates here
6346 views since 10th February 2011
On this day: