Battle of Wandiwash

  • The Battle of Wandiwash was a battle in India between the French and the British in 1760. The battle was part of the Third Carnatic War fought between the French and British colonial empires, which itself was a part of the global Seven Years’ War.
  • It took place at Vandavasi (Wandiwash being the Anglicised pronunciation) in Tamil Nadu.
  • The French, commanded by the Comte de Lally, were burdened by a lack of naval support and funds, and therefore attempted to regain the fort of Vandavasi, now in Tamil Nadu. While attempting to do so, they were attacked by British forces commanded by Sir Eyre Coote, and in the ensuing battle, the French were decisively defeated.

Aftermath of Battle of Wandiwash

  • The Battle of Wandiwash resulted in the British capture of Chetpattu (Chetpet), Tirunomalai (Thiruvannaamalai), Tindivanam and Perumukkal.
  •  As a consequence of the engagement, the French in South India, under the command of general Marquis de Bussy-Castelnau, were then restricted to Pondichéry, where they surrendered on 22 January 1761.
  • The collapse of the French position in India was one of the events that compelled France to sign the Treaty of Paris, reducing the French to little more than traders in India, and effectively ending further French imperial ambitions in that country. Britain, on the other hand, established its supremacy in India over other European powers after this battle.

The course of the Third Carnatic War

  • In 1756, the Seven Year’s War broke out in Europe and once again England and France were pitted against one another. No major engagements would take place between the two in the Indian Subcontinent until 1757.
  • After the Battle of Plassey in 1757, the British forces wrested Chandannagar (in Bengal) from the French.
  • The French, under Count de Lally, captured Fort St. George and attacked the English to acquire Madras.
  • But he was defeated by English forces under Sir Eyre Coote in the Battle of Wandiwash in 1760.
  • The French lost their Indian possessions including Pondicherry, Mahe, Gingee and Karaikal to the British.
  • The war ended with the Treaty of Paris in 1763.
  • As per the Treaty, Chandannagar and Pondicherry were returned to France but they were barred from fortifying them or having troops in them. They could only have trading activities.

Causes for the English Success and the French Failure

  • Lesser Governmental Control Over British: The English company was a private enterprise. This created a sense of enthusiasm and self-confidence among the people. With less governmental control over it, this company could take instant decisions when needed without waiting for the approval of the government. The French company, on the other hand, was a State concern. It was controlled and regulated by the French government and was hemmed in by government policies and delays in decision-making.
  • Superior British Navy and Bigger Cities Under Control: The English navy was superior to the French navy; it helped to cut off the vital sea link between the French possessions in India and France. The English held three important places, namely, Calcutta, Bombay and Madras whereas the French had only Pondicherry.
  • British were Strong with Funds: The French subordinated their commercial interest to territorial ambition, which made the French company short of funds. In spite of their imperialistic motives, the British never neglected their commercial interests. The British always had the funds and the consequent sound financial condition to help them significantly in the wars against their rivals.
  • Superior British Commanders: A major factor in the success of the English in India was the superiority of the commanders in the British camp. In comparison to the long list of leaders on the English side – Sir Eyre Coote, Major Stringer Lawrence, Robert Clive and many others, there was only Dupleix on the French side.

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