For learning. For inspiration. For plain speaking.
King George I (1714-1727) to King George II (1727-1760)
Clive of India (1) : Robert Clive helped to establish a lasting bond between India and Britain, laying the foundations of modern India.
Clive of India
Part one

Robert Clive was a brilliant and courageous officer in the private army of the British East India Company. More than anyone else, he ensured that India’s princes and people became partners with Britain rather than Dutch or French possessions, so shaping the character of India’s democratic, legal and economic institutions to this day.

IN 1744, eighteen-year-old Robert Clive went out to India as a lowly clerk, bearing a reputation for indiscipline. But after enlisting in the militia of the British East India Company, which was vying with the French government for the control of trade with India, Clive proved to be a resourceful and daring leader.*

Trapped in a fort at Arcot, and unimpressed with his gunners, Clive manned the artillery himself, lifting the siege and losing only five or six of his own men.* He married and returned to England to build himself a second career in Parliament, only to be urgently recalled to a restless Bengal in 1756. It was Clive who liberated Calcutta after the infamous ‘Black Hole’ incident the following year.*

The culmination of Clive’s Indian career was the Battle of Plassey in 1757, which cemented Britain as India’s almost exclusive partner in business and in government.* The relationships which Clive secured became the foundation of the British Raj, and of modern India.

* The British East India Company was founded in 1600 to open up trade with Asia. The Dutch founded their own in 1602, and the French (at this time still a monarchy) in 1664. Austria, Denmark, Portugal and Sweden also had East India Companies, albeit briefly. Indian princes allied with one colonial power or another, and played them off against each other, while the colonial powers sought to frustrate their European rivals. The stakes were high, not only because of the available wealth but also because their Governments were often at war in Europe, chiefly as a consequence of the political ambitions of Spain and France. This should be borne in mind when assessing the career of figures such as Clive.

* See The Siege of Arcot.

* See The ‘Black Hole’ of Calcutta.

* See The Battle of Plassey.

More like this

Modern History (138) History of British India (22) Georgian Era (111) British Empire (33) Robert Clive (4) History (406)

Picture: © Peter Trimming, Geograph. Licence: CC-BY-SA 2.0. View original
A statue of Robert Clive, overlooking St James’s Park in London. © Peter Trimming, Geograph. Licence: CC-BY-SA 2.0.

Amazon Books

Featured Music

Letters Game

Make words from two or more of the tiles below. What is the highest-scoring word you can make?

Press enter or type a space to see feedback on your word.

More like this: High Tiles Games with Words

Numbers Game

Make the total shown using two or more of the numbers underneath it. You can add, subtract, divide and multiply. Use any number once only.

More like this: Target Number (Mental Arithmetic Game) Mental Arithmetic

Selected Stories
By Elfric of Eynsham
Abbot Elfric unpacks the meaning of the gifts of the Three Wise Men.
Based on the play by William Shakespeare
The Prince of Denmark is bound to avenge his father’s murder.
The legend of how Rome was settled gave rise to the March festival of Roman motherhood.
The people of Rome suddenly turned their back on centuries of ‘sport’ - all because of one harmless old man.
By Samuel Smiles
Intellectual learning is to be respected, but it should never be confused with good character.
By Percy Bysshe Shelley
Poet Percy Shelley calls on November’s sister months to watch by the graveside of the dead Year.