18th Century Independent States

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map of Awadh Empier

Awadh Empier

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Pre 1772: Sa'adat Khan

  • He was the Subedar of Awadh, declared himself independent in 1722.

  • He took the title of Sa'adat Khan Burhan-i-Mulk.

  • In September, 1722, he was made the governor of Awadh.

  • In 1723, he started a new revenue settlement.

  • He built residential quarters popularly known as Bangala-i-Faizabad.

  • He reorganised the military and finance department

  • The Sindagh regiment called after the initial letters of his name, was one of the best equipped forces in the country.

  • He instigated Nadir Shah to invade Delhi.

  • Nadir Shah entered the imperial city, appointed him as Vakil-i-Mutlaq.

  • He was poisoned to death on 19th March, 1739.

Safdarjang (1739-1754)

  • His original name was Mirza Md. Muqim or Abul Mansur Khan.

  • He was the nephew of Sa'adat Khan.

  • Md. Shah issued a letter of patent formally appointing Abul Mansur as the Subedar of Awadh. He was given the tide of Safdarjang.

  • In March 1744, he was appointed as Mir Atish.

  • In September, 1744, he was appointed as the Subedar of Kashmir in addition to Awadh.

  • In 1748, he was appointed as the Wazir to the emperor and he had to face the opposition of Nizam-uI-MuIk's son and Javed Khan.

  • He died in October, 1754.

Shuja-Ud-DaulIah (1754)

  • He formed a triple alliance with Shah Alam n and Mir Qasim.

  • Between 1758-59, he encouraged Shah Alam to invade Bihar, which failed.

  • He made an alliance with Ahmad Shah Abdali against Marathas.

  • He alongwifh Shah Alam and Mir Qasim fought the battle of Buxar in which the combined forces were defeated.

  • On 7th September,1773, the treaty of Banaras was signed between the English and Shuja.

  • In 1775, he died. He was succeeded by his son Asaf-ud-Daullah.

Post 1772 Asaf -Ud-DaulIah

  • In 1797, Asaf-ud-Daullah died. The English under Shore appointed Mirza Ali Wazir Ah as the successor.

  • Wazir Ali was soon deposed and Sadat Ali became the Nawab.

  • He gave 76 lakh Rs. to the British and handed over the fort of Allahabad.

  • In 1799, Wazir Ali conspired with Zaman Shah against the company.

  • Wazir ali was arrested and sent to Fort William, where he died in 1817.

  • Nasir-ud-Din, who had succeeded Sadat Ali died on 7th July, 1837.

  • There started a war of succession between Ghazi-ud-Din and the begum of Nasir.

  • Due to the timely intervention of British, Ghazi-ud-Din was recognised as the ruler.

  • Lord Hardinge, the then Governor General adopted a policy of intervention.

  • Soon, Wazid Ali became the Nawab and signed a subsidiary alliance.

  • The administration of Wazid Ali was deteriorating. In the alligation of misrule Awadh was annexed under the Doctrine of Lapse in 1856.


Murshid Quli Khan (1700-1727)

  • After the death of Aurangzeb under Murshid Quli Khan, Bengal assumed independence.

  • Murshid Quli Khan shifted his revenue office from Dhakha to Maqsudabad (situated on the banks of river Bhagiradii) which later came to be known as Murshidabad.

  • Murshid Quli Khan made direct collection of revenue from the ryots through his agent called Ijaradars or Contractors.

  • In 1707, he was made the Naib Nizam or Deputy Governor or Revenue Chief of Bengal and Subahdar of Orissa.

  • In 1708, he was transferred from Bengal and was made the Diwan of Deccan. In 1710, he returned to Bengal.

  • In 1711, he was made the Faujdar of Midnapur and Hooghly post.

  • During Bahadur Shah's reign he was the virtual ruler of Bengal.

  • Farukhsiyar tried to replace him by Rashid Khan .

  • But Murshid Quli Khan repulsed the Mughal attack and killed Rashid Khan.

  • Farukhsiyar soon reconciled and appointed him the deputy Subahdar of Bengal in 1713.

  • Subahdari of Orissa was conferred to him in 1714.

  • In 1717, he was made the full Subahdar of Bengal. Administration:

  • Land revenue from Khalsa was increased by 13.5%.

  • His revenue system has two features:

    • open imposition of Abwab or additional imposts; -introduction of revenue farming onlarge scale was objectionable.

    • He regulated prices of the articles.

European Traders and Murshid Quli Khan

  • He sought to bring every trader on equal footing.

  • In 1718, he asked the English not to establish fortifications in Calcutta.

  • English enjoyed exemption from trade duties by paying a sum of Rs. 3000 a year on the strength of Shah Shuja's Nishan of 1656. Murshid Quli opposed this.

  • Under John Surman the English were successful in obtaining concession of exemption in payment of taxes in return for a sum of Rs. 3000, from the Mughal.

  • Although Murshid Quli Khan had no objection to the clause of the Firman but he did not allow the English to enjoy other privileges renting 38 villages in the neighbourhood of Calcutta; -free use of the mint at Murshidabad for 3 days in a week to coin their bullion.


  • He received the title of Mutaman-ul-Mulk-Shuja-ud-daulah Asad Jung.

  • His advisors were:

    • Alamchand (financier),

    • Jagat Seth Fateh Chand (banker),

    • Alivardi Khan

    • Haji Ahmad.

  • Administration was parcelled out in four divisions:

    • Central Division: Western, central and portions of northern Bengal.

    • Dacca Division: Eastern and southern Bengal, a small portion of northern Bengal -Sylhet and Chittagong.

    • Bihar Division and

    • Orissa Division.

  • The nawab directly controlled the central division directly and the rest of the divisions were put under the charge of a Naib Nazim or a Deputy Governor, Alivardi who was the Faujdar of Akbar Nagar since 1728.

  • He practiced revenue farming

Relations of Shuja with the Europeans

  • He has been described by the Europeans as rash.

  • The English in 1753 tried to wrest concessions. But it proved to be of no avail.


  • On 13th March, 1739, entitled Alauddaulah Haidar Jung and ascended the masnad of Bengal.

  • He was inefficient and Hazi Ahmad, Alivardi, Alamchand and Jagat Seth hatched a conspiracy to take away the masnad of Bengal. Alivardi proceeded from Patna and marched into Bengal. He overpowered the Nawab's army at the fortress of Teliagarhi.

  • Sarfaraz had no knowledge of Alivardi's movement and enterd into a crafty negotiation hatched by Alivardi.

Battle of Gheria: 10th April, 1740

  • Sarfaraz was killed and Alivardi emerged victorious.

Alivardi Khan: (1740-56)

  • He ascended the masnad of Bengal in Chihil Sultan.

  • He reduced to submission the zamindars of Bihar.

  • In 1745, issued a farman ordering English, French and Dutch to observe strict neutrality within his dominions from Point Palmyras on the coast of Bay of Bengal, to the south of Balasore.

  • Alivardi died on 10th April, 1756.

Siraj -Ud-Daullah (1756-57)

  • He was declared as a successor by Alivardi.

  • There were other contenders to the throne like:-Shaukat Jung (Nawab of Purnea); Ghasiti Begum (Aunt of Siraj) and Mir JafarAli Khan (the C-n-C).

  • Siraj replaced Mir Jafar by Mir Madan. Mohan Lai was made the Peshkar of Diwan Khana.

  • The Nawab left Murshidabad for Purnea on 16th May, 1756 asking the English and French to pull down the fortification.

  • Confrontation started with the British over the use misuse of Dastak.

Causes for the Confrontation with the British

  • English had built strong fortification;

  • Abuse of the privilege of their Dastaks;

  • Having given shelter to the rebels.

  • On 4th June, 1756, the English factory at Qasimbazar was seized.

  • On 20th June, Calcutta was captured by Nawab's forces.

  • The prisoners were kept in jail and Governer Drake fled.

Black Hole

  • Information about this event is given by Holwell.

  • J.H. Little has considered this event to be a Gigantic Hoax.

  • 165 prisoners were locked in a room sized 18 ft. / 14 ft. 10 inches. When the room was opened in me morning only 16 were alive, the rest died due to suffocation.

  • With the capture of Qasimbazar factory Peter Army-chief at Lakhimpur and Thomas Boddom-chief at Balasore escaped and joined Drake at Falta.

  • The English could retain the only the factory at Balramgarhi at the mouth of Balasore river.

  • Soon the influential men like Manichand, Khwaja Wajid, Jagat Seth and Durlabhram were busy plotting against the Nawab.

  • On 24th September., 1756, Siraj was instigated by his ministers, especially Mir Jafar in the Battle of Manihari on 16th October., 1756.

  • Madras Council sent Adam Watson and Col. Clive. They recovered Calcutta in February., 1757 and Siraj was forced to sign the Treaty of Alinagar on 9th February., 1757

  • On 23rd March, 1757,the British captured Chander-nagore factory of the French.

  • The capture of Chander-nagore by the English resulted in a crushing defeat on the French.

  • They destroyed of a possible Franco-Muslim alliance.

  • The Nawab asked Jean Law, the chief of Qasimbazar factory and other fugitives to leave Bengal. They promptly did so.

  • This proved fatal for Siraj. Conspirators :

    1. Mir Jafar (C-n-C)

    2. Rai Durlabh (capitalist)

    3. Jagat Seth ( capitalist)

    4. Omi Chand (middleman)

    5. Manikchand (businessman)

    6. Amirchand (businessman);

  • On hearing about the conspiracy Siraj visited Mir Jafar

  • on 15th June, 1757. Mir Jafar promised fidelity.

  • On 13th June, 1757, Col. Clive marched forward to fight against the Nawab. He headed an army of 3000 men. The pretext used by him was the alleged violation of the Treaty between them.

  • He soon passed Katwa and reached Plassey on 22nd June, 1757. The war began on 23rd June.

  • On the advise of Rai . Durlabh, Siraj fled to Murshidabad. Mir Jafar appeared before Clive and was greeted as Subedar of Bihar, Bengal and Orissa.

  • While Siraj was fleeing Murshidabad, Siraj was recognised by a muslim faqir-Dana Shah, at Rajmahal, on 30th June.

  • He informed the brother of Mir Jafar-Faujdar of Rajmahal. Siraj was arrested and was killed by Mir Jafar's son Miran.

Result of Plassey

  • It made British the Masters of Bengal province.

  • It laid before them the vast wealth of 3 provinces.

Mir Jafar (1757-60)

  • He is called the Jackal of Col. Clive.

  • He gave the following privileges to the English:

  • Free trade in Bengal, Bihar and Orissa.

  • Zamindari of 24 Parag-anas.

  • 50,00,00 pounds to the soldiers.

  • All the French settlements were given to the British.

  • Mir Jafar received the title of Omrah.

  • The pressure of British demands was increasing on Mir Jafar. The British thus hatched a conspiracy with Mir Qasim.

  • Mir Jafar was deposed and Mir Qasim was installed.

Mir Qasim:(1760-64)

  • On 27th September 1760,

  • A treaty was signed between Mir Qasim and British Clauses:

  • Mir Qasim gave Midnapore, Burdwan and Chittagong to East India Company.

  • The East India Company to be given half of the revenue of Sylhet and 50 lakh rupees for it's expedition in the south.

Administration of Mir Qasim

  • Taking the advantage of the liberal attitude of the British official Vensittart, Mir Qasim transferred his capital to Monghyr from Murshidabad.

  • He started reinforcing his army, under the Armenian commander Gurgin Khan.

  • The Nawab appointed Europeans into his army.

  • By the end of 1761 he tried to establish himself as the sovereign ruler.

  • From 1762, he tried to stop the British from misusing the Dastak .

  • Vensittart visited Monghyr and agreement was reached between them and the Nawab agreed not to levy tariff exceeding 9% on the English merchants.

  • The Indian merchants were paying 25% as customs.

  • By June 1763, his relations with the British had strained.

  • In 21st June 1763, the English commander Ellice captured Patna.

  • On 9th July 1763, Nawab's army were defeated at Katwah.

Battle of Buxar: (1764)

  • The Nawab fled to Avadh. He was assured of help from the Nawab Shuja-ud-Daulah.

  • He entered into a triple alliance with Shuja and the Mughal emperor Shah Alam. Mir Qasim gave the Rs.10 and 17 lakhs to them respectively.

  • The Allied troops marched into Bihar in April 1764.

  • The allied forces were defeated in Buxar.


  • Mir Jafar was recalled who confirmed the cessation of Midnapore, Burdwan and Chittagong.

  • The companies servants were exempted from the payment of taxes.

  • Rs. 30,00,000 was to be given to the British in Feb.,1765, Mir Zafar died.

Treaty of Allahabad (16th Aug.,1765)

  • It was signed between the British and Shah Alam (Mughal emperor).

  • Clauses:

    • Allahabad and Kara were given to Shah Alam.

    • Shah Alam granted the Diwani of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa to the English.

    • Awadh was restored to Shuja-ud-daullah.

    • Rs.50 lakh were to be given to the Company in instalments.

    • The Company was to receive Rs.26 lakh as the revenue of Bengal.

  • Thus it was a defensive alliance with the British.