English Language and History .com is a collection of two-minute tales drawn from history, myth and fiction. Each tale is accompanied by word games testing grammar and expression, based on textbooks used in British schools from the 1920s to the 1960s.

Latest
Mir Kasim
two-part story
Music: William Herschel
The East India Company installed Mir Kasim as Nawab of Bengal, only to find that he had a mind of his own.

AFTER the Battle of Plassey in 1757, the East India Company rewarded Mir Jafar for his betrayal of Siraj-ud-Daulah by creating him Nawab of Bengal in Siraj’s place.* Jafar, however, failed to fulfil his promises of large payments from his Treasury once in power, and when his son-in-law Kasim offered to do better, the Company gave him Jafar’s throne.

Continue reading ›
Six Posts
Victoria and the Munshi
Music: Edward Elgar
Abdul Karim’s rapid rise in Victoria’s household made him enemies.

ABDUL Karim arrived in England in June 1887, as a waiter in the Queen’s household for her Golden Jubilee year. It was a rapid promotion for a clerk to the jail in Agra.

Continue reading ›
Hyder Ali and Tipu
two-part story
Music: Johann Christian Bach
The British encountered no stouter resistance in India than Mysore’s gifted commmander Hyder Ali and his son, Tipu.

IN 1778, King Louis XVI of France declared war on Britain, and London responded by driving the colonial French out of the port of Mahé in Mysore, a kingdom in southwest India dating back to the turn of the fifteenth century.

This trespass incensed Hyder Ali, Mysore’s brilliant military commander whose hero status had already relegated King Krishnaraja Wodeyar II to a mere figurehead.

Continue reading ›
The Massacre at Amritsar
Music: Frederic Hymen Cowen
After one of the worst outrages in modern British history, Winston Churchill made sure there was no cover-up.

ON 13th April 1919, thousands of Sikhs crowded into the Jallianwala Bagh [i.e. garden, park] in Amritsar, Punjab, on their harvest festival.

The Punjab had become a restless province during the Great War, and London, warned of terrorist ties to Germany and Russian revolutionaries, had imposed a crack-down.

Continue reading ›
The ‘Black Hole’ of Calcutta
Music: George Frideric Handel
The inhuman cruelty of the Nawab of Bengal’s men brought swift retribution on their master.

CALCUTTA in 1756 was an uneasy trading centre within Bengal, home to French, Dutch and English merchants; but it was wealthy, growing, and tended not to pay its exorbitant taxes, and the young Nawab of Bengal, Siraj ud-Daulah, saw it as a threat.

Continue reading ›
The Battle of Plassey
Music: George Frideric Handel
A year after the infamous ‘Black hole of Calcutta’, Robert Clive was sent to exact retribution.

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.

Continue reading ›
The Siege of Arcot
Music: Francesco Geminiani
A young Robert Clive’s extraordinary daring helped to prevent India falling into the hands of the French King.
By Thomas Babington Macaulay
(1800-1859)

WHEN the alarm came, he was instantly at his post. From here, Clive could see the enemy’s advance, driving before them elephants armed with iron plates on their foreheads, to break down the gates of the fort.

Continue reading ›
All Posts
Tagged History of British India (17 posts)
page 1
1 Mir Kasim
The East India Company installed Mir Kasim as Nawab of Bengal, only to find that he had a mind of his own.
2 ‘The Overland Mail’
By Rudyard Kipling
(1865-1936)
A tribute to the postal workers of British India, and to the kind of empire they helped to build.
3 Hyder Ali and Tipu
The British encountered no stouter resistance in India than Mysore’s gifted commmander Hyder Ali and his son, Tipu.
4 Mysore’s Golden Age
The Princely State of Mysore (today in Karnataka) was hailed as an example of good governance to all the world.
5 India’s First Railway
The opening of the Bombay to Thane line was the real beginning of British India.
6 Britain’s Best Gift to India
By Samuel Smiles
(1812-1904)
Samuel Smiles reminds us that until we brought the railways to India, we had little to boast about as an imperial power.
page 2
7 Ranji
A young Indian student from Cambridge was selected for England’s cricket team after public pressure.
8 Wellington’s Secret
By Samuel Smiles
(1812-1904)
The future hero of Waterloo dealt with political ambush as comfortably as he dealt with the military kind.
9 The Battle of Plassey
A year after the infamous ‘Black hole of Calcutta’, Robert Clive was sent to exact retribution.
10 Victoria and the Munshi
Abdul Karim’s rapid rise in Victoria’s household made him enemies.
11 The ‘Black Hole’ of Calcutta
The inhuman cruelty of the Nawab of Bengal’s men brought swift retribution on their master.
12 Courage Under Fire
Robert Clive turned seven hundred frightened recruits into crack troops by sheer force of personality.
page 3
13 The Massacre at Amritsar
After one of the worst outrages in modern British history, Winston Churchill made sure there was no cover-up.
14 The Indian Mutiny
Army unrest spread throughout northeast India, and brought direct rule from London.
15 Clive of India
Robert Clive helped to establish a lasting bond between India and Britain, laying the foundations of modern India.
16 The Siege of Arcot
By Thomas Babington Macaulay
(1800-1859)
A young Robert Clive’s extraordinary daring helped to prevent India falling into the hands of the French King.
17 The Man Who Would Be King
Based on the short story by Rudyard Kipling
(1865-1936)
Two rascally former British soldiers in India set off to become kings of Kafiristan.
Authors
Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)
1 post
Samuel Smiles (1812-1904)
2 posts

Word Play: Confusables

Compose your own sentences to show the difference between these words:

Bar. Bare. Barre.

New Stories
The only truly global conflict in history began when German troops crossed into Poland in September 1939.
By Richard Cobden
(1804-1865)
Richard Cobden questioned both the wisdom and the motives of politicians who intervene on foreign soil.
To the poor of England, the Worcestershire man gave affordable pots and pans, and to all the world he gave the industrial revolution.
After Louis XIV’s grandson Philip inherited the throne of Spain, the ‘Sun King’ began to entertain dreams of Europe-wide dominion.
New Puzzles
Make as many words as you can from the letters of a nine-letter word.
Make as many words as you can from the letters of a nine-letter word.
Try writing complete sentences using these nouns as either the subject or the object of a verb.
Try writing complete sentences using these verbs in either the active or the passive voice.
Polyword ‘Lace’
Make as many words as you can with the letters below. All your words must be at least four letters long, and must also include the highlighted letter. What’s the nine-letter word?

SEE how many words you can make using the letters below. All your words must be at least 4 letters long, and must include the letter (change).

We found commonly used words, plus one 9-letter word. Can you do better?

Use each letter only once. But if there are e.g. two As, you can used them both.

Don’t count proper nouns such as April, Zeus, or Newcastle (pretty much anything that has to be spelled with a capital letter at the start), or acronyms like HMRC.

Don’t just add -S for plurals or third person singular verbs, e.g. CAT → CATS or SPEAK → SPEAKS.

Note: You can find more Polywords and other games on our Nine Lives puzzle page, and most of our stories are accompanied by games with words, grammar and numbers.

More Puzzles
Do you know ‘a river, part of the Bristol-London waterway’ (6 letters), and ‘e.g. D minor’ (3 letters)?
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.
Change ROCK into SALT, one letter at a time.
Do you know ‘conclusive evidence’ (5 letters), and ‘perceptive realisation’ (6 letters)?
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with FLAG and finish with POLE.
See if you can guess these words letter-by-letter.
top topics
History (359)
Fiction (77)

letters game

What is the longest word you can make using these letters?

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

More like this: ‘Countdown’ letters game 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: Maths Gym Mental arithmetic