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The Battle of Plassey : A year after the infamous ‘Black hole of Calcutta’, Robert Clive was sent to exact retribution.
The Battle of Plassey

Following the infamous ‘Black hole of Calcutta’ in 1756, Robert Clive was sent to exact retribution (and compensation) from the Nawab of Bengal. In doing so, he cemented the British East India Company’s place as the dominant European trading partner among Indian princes, at the expense of Dutch and French rivals.

Bay of Bengal

India (modern borders) with the approximate regions of the Kingdoms of Travancore and of Bengal highlighted, along with some of the places mentioned in this story.

A map showing places mentioned in this story (click to enlarge).

DEFEAT at the hands of the Kingdom of Travancore in 1741 was a body blow to the Dutch in India. And to the disappointment of the French, Robert Clive’s victory at Arcot in 1751 ensured that Britain’s friend, Mohammed Ali Khan Wallajah, became Nawab of the Carnatic in the south.*

But in the northeast, the Nawab of Bengal, Siraj ud-Daulah, remained hostile, so when his men crammed over a hundred civilians from a British trading-post in Calcutta into a single prison cell one sweltering June night in 1756, causing dozens of deaths, Clive was despatched to teach the Nawab a lesson.*

He took Calcutta in February 1757, and soundly defeated Siraj’s far larger army (with artillery manned by the French) at Plassey on 23rd June.

Mir Jafar Ali Khan, who had arranged to defect to the British mid-battle, was duly crowned Nawab of Bengal. And such was Britain’s prestige and power, that it was Robert Clive who conducted him to his throne.

See The Siege of Arcot and posts tagged Robert Clive (5).

See The ‘Black Hole’ of Calcutta.

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Modern History (138) History of British India (22) Georgian Era (111) British Empire (33) Robert Clive (4) History (405)

Picture: © Banibrata-Mandal, Wikimedia Commons. Licence: CC-BY-SA 3.0. View original
The Hazarduari Palace in Murshidabad, West Bengal, India. It was begun on August 9, 1829, during the reign of Nawab Nazim Humayun Jah. Exhibits in the museum today include the sword of Sajid ud-Daulah and the dagger with which he was assassinated by Muhammad i-Beg, as well as the Dutch-made cannon that exploded in the Battle of Plassey and killed Sajid’s right-hand-man, Mir Madan.

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