UPSC Exam Preparation: This Day in History – Sep 03

03 Sep 1767

Battle of Chengam


What happened?

On 3rd September 1767, the combined forces of Mysore’s Hyder Ali and the Nizam of Hyderabad fought against the British East India Company at Chengam, in the present-day district of Tiruvannamalai in Tamil Nadu. It resulted in a British victory.

Background

  • The Battle of Chengam, also known as the Battle of Changama, was part of the First Anglo-Mysore War.
  • In May 1767, English army officer Colonel Joseph Smith found out that Hyder Ali and the Nizam of Hyderabad, Asaf Jah II had forged an alliance. Hyder Ali was to pay Rs. 18 lakhs to the Nizam for him to be able to pay off the Marathas who in turn would end their invasion of the southern regions, and the Nizam would recognise Hyder Ali’s son Tipu Sultan as the Nawab of the Carnatic after that territory had been annexed.
  • Despite the agreement, Mysore and Hyderabad did not show any mutual trust. Hyder Ali is said to have employed spies in the Nizam’s camp.
  • On 25th August 1767, the British troops were camped near Kaveripattinam. They were attacked by the combined forces of Hyder Ali and the Nizam. By 28th August, Kaveripattinam was taken by the Indian forces.
  • Colonel Smith’s men were marching towards Tiruvannamalai. On the 4th day of the march, i.e., 3rd September 1767, the Battle of Chengam took place in which the English forces were attacked by Hyder Ali’s forces along with the Hyderabad forces.
  • A fierce battle ensued in which the combined Indian forces lost up to 2000 men and the British losses were 170 men.
  • Even though the Indian forces were far greater in number (about 70,000 to the Company’s forces of 7000), the British were able to repulse the attack and make the Indian forces retreat.
  • Colonel Smith advanced to Tiruvannamalai where Hyder Ali’s troops attacked him again on 26th September 1767. This time, the British had an even more decisive win over Hyder Ali. This was called the Battle of Tiruvannamalai.
  • Hyder Ali and the Nizam continued their campaign for some more time but their failures coupled with the Nizam’s clandestine negotiations with the English led the alliance between Hyderabad and Mysore to split.
  • In 1768, Hyderabad formally entered into a treaty with the Company becoming their ally.
  • The First Anglo-Mysore War came to an end with the Treaty of Madras.

 

See previous ‘This Day in History’ here.

 

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