Rise of Independent States in the 18th Century

Rise of Independent States in the 18th century, on the debris of the Mughal Empire and its political system, arose a large number of independent and semi-independent powers such as the Bengal, Awadh, Hyderabad, Mysore, Sindh, and Punjab kingdoms.

During the 18th century, India witnessed the rise of various independent states that challenged the Mughal Empire’s authority. This was a time of significant political turmoil and societal changes in India.

rise of independent states in the 18th century in india


  • In 1724 Mughal Emperor appointed Chin Qulich Khan Asaf Jah, who was conferred with the title of Nizam-ul-Mulk (Administrator of the Realm).
    • Founder: Nizam-ul-Mulk Asaf Jah
    • Played a leading role in the overthrow of the Sayyid brothers and was rewarded with the viceroyalty of the Deccan.
  • 1722-1724: Asaf Jah was the Wazir of the Empire under Mughal rule. As he was unable to bring reform to the administration, he decided to move to Deccan and laid the foundation of Hyderabad.
  • He consolidated power by establishing an orderly administration in the Deccan based on the Jagirdari System of the Mughal pattern.
  • Followed a tolerant policy towards Hindus.
  • Nizam never openly declared independence from the center but acted as an independent ruler.
  • He made an attempt to rid the revenue system of its corruption and was unsuccessful.
  • Carnatic: One of the Subahs of Mughal and came under the Nizam authority momentarily. Later Nawab of Carnatic freed himself of the control.
  • The office was hereditary in nature.
  • Hyderabad signed a subsidiary alliance with Wellesley in 1798.
  • Descendants of Asaf Jah ruled Hyderabad as Nizams until India’s independence.


  • Founder: Saadat Khan Burhan-ul-Mulk who was appointed Governor of Awadh in 1722.
  • They refused to pay land tax and organized their private armies. He succeeded in suppressing the lawlessness and disciplining the big zamindars.
  • Levied equitable land revenue and protected the peasants from oppression by the big zamindars.
  • No discrimination between Hindus and Muslims.
  • Continued with Jagirdari system.
  • By the time of his death in 1739, he had become virtually independent and had made the province a hereditary possession; succeeded by his nephew Safdar Jang.
  • Safdar Jang allied with the Maratha sardars so that his dominion was saved from their incursions.
  • Signed an agreement with the Peshwa by which the Peshwa was to help the Mughal empire against Ahmad Shah Abdali and to protect it from such internal rebels as the Indian Pathans and the Rajput Rajas.
  • An equitable system of justice was also organized by Safdar Jang who adopted a “Policy of Impartiality” in the employment of Hindus & Muslims. A Hindu held the highest post in his government.
  • The Nawabs of Awadh were the faithful allies of the English. Dalhousie was determined to annex Awadh on whatever ground. At last towards the close of his rule, he brought serious charges against the ruling Nawab Wazid Ali that his administration had become a complete misrule. The Nawab was forced to vacate his throne and Dalhousie annexed Oudh in February 1856. This annexation of Oudh was an example of reckless imperialism.


  • The most important power which emerged in South India was Mysore, i.e. under Haidar Ali (1761).
  • The kingdom of Mysore had preserved its independence ever since the end of the Vijayanagar Empire and had been only nominally a part of the Mughal Empire.
  • He recognised the advantages of Western military training and applied it to the troops under his command.
  • With the help of the French, he established a modern arsenal in Dindigul in 1755.
  • A major reason for his occupation of Malabar was the desire to have access to the Indian Ocean.
  • Introduced the Mughal administrative and revenue system in his dominions.
  • Was engaged in wars with Maratha sardars, the Nizam, and the British.
  • Was succeeded by his son Tipu Sultan.
  • Tipu introduced a new calendar, a new system of coinage, and new scales of weights and measures.
  • He was interested in the French Revolution.
  • Planted a ‘Tree of Liberty’ at Seringapatam and he became a member of a Jacobin Club.
  • He tried to discard the custom of giving jagirs, and thus increased the state income.
  • He also tried to build a modern navy after 1796. For this purpose, he established two dockyards.
  • The British occupied the state of Mysore after defeating and killing Tipu in 1799; they were surprised to find that a Mysore peasant was much more prosperous than the peasant in British-occupied Madras.
  • He made a few attempts to introduce modern industries in India by importing foreign workers as experts and by extending state support to many industries. He sent emissaries to France, Turkey, Iran, and Myanmar to develop foreign trade. He also traded with China.

British conquest of Mysore:

First Anglo-Mysore War (1767-69):

  • Battlefield: Madras
  • It came to an end on 2 April 1769 with the Treaty of Madras between Mysore (Hyder Ali) and the British (Lord Verelst) East India Company.
  • Winner: Hyder Ali (Mysore)

The Second Anglo-Mysore War (1780-84):

  • Battlefield: Carnatic
  • Treaty of Mangalore (signed between Tipu Sultan and the British East India Company on 11 March 1784)
  • Winner: East India Company
  • Loser: Hyder Ali/ Tippu Sultan

The Third Anglo-Mysore War (1790-92):

  • Battlefield: Travancore
  • Treaty of Seringapatam
  • 8 March 1792, ended the Third Anglo-Mysore War. Its signatories included Lord Cornwallis on behalf of the British East India Company, representatives of the Nizam of Hyderabad and the Maratha Empire, and Tipu Sultan, the ruler of Mysore.

The Fourth Anglo-Mysore War (1799):

  • Name of the Battle: Fourth Anglo-Mysore War
  • Winner: British East India Company
  • Loser: Tipu Sultan, the King of Mysore: Tipu sultan was killed, and the British captured Mysore.


  • After the murder of the last Sikh guru, Guru Gobind Singh, Sikhs under Banda Bahadur revolted against the Mughals. In 1715, Banda Bahadur was defeated by Farrukhsiyar and put to death.
  • Invasion of the Ahmad Shah Abdali and the weakening of the Mughals helped organize the Khalsa to consolidate.
  • Ranjit Singh was appointed as Governor of Lahore in 1799 and captured Jammu & Amritsar in 1805. He soon brought all the Sikh Chiefs west of the Sutlej under his control and established his kingdom in Punjab. Later, he conquered Kashmir, Peshawar, and Multan.
  • He didn’t make any change in the system of land revenue promulgated earlier by the Mughals
  • Ranjit Singh built up a powerful and well-equipped army along European lines with the help of European instructors.
  • Sikh chiefs as much oppressed Sikh peasants as Hindu or Muslim peasants.
  • The British (Lord Minto) forbade Ranjit Singh in 1809 (Treaty of Amritsar) to cross the Sutlej and took the Sikh states east of the river under their protection. This was done in fear of the Russian and French alliance attempting to attack India from the Northwest.
  • First Anglo-Sikh War (1845 – 1846)
    • The Sikh forces crossed the Sutlej in December 1845 and took offensive positions against the English forces. Subsequently, battles were fought.
    • Treaty of Lahore, 1846 Maharaja Duleep Singh, who was the ruler of Punjab was to remain its ruler with his mother Jindan Kaur as Regent. The Sikhs had to cede the Jalandhar Doab to the British.
  • Second Anglo-Sikh war in 1848-49
    • Lord Dalhousie ended with the annexation of Punjab and the end of the Sikh Kingdom.
    • Sikhs were defeated. The whole of Punjab was annexed on 29 March 1849. Rani Jind Kaur was imprisoned, and the 11-year-old Maharaja Duleep Singh was put under their custody by the British. The Kohinoor diamond was also taken from him.


  • Before the rule of the Talpuras Amirs, Sindh was ruled by Kallora Chief Ghulam Shah. Ghulam signed a treaty with the English that excluded other Europeans from trading there up to 1775.
  • In the 1770s Baluch hill tribes called Talpuras settled in the plain of Sindh, they were excellent soldiers and in 1783 under Mir Fatah Ali khan established control over Sindh.
  • In 1800 Mir’s brothers called “Char Yar” divided the kingdom among themselves, calling themselves Amirs or Lords of Sindh. They all extended their dominion on all sides. They ordered the British to quit Sindh within 10 days against the backdrop of anti-British sentiments.
  • In 1807 alliance of Tilsit (Between Alexander I of Russia and Napoleon) for the invasion of India forced the British to sign a treaty with Amir to check their ambition. The British sent Nicholas Smith to conclude the defensive arrangement with Amirs.
  • The treaty was renewed in 1820.
  • Treaty of 1832: William Bentinck and Amirs of Sindh
    • Free passage through Sindh to English traders and use of the Indus for trading
    • No English merchant would be settling in Sindh
  • Lord Auckland and Sindh: Auckland looked at Sindh from the perspective of saving India from the Russian invasion. English got the opportunity when Ranjit Singh captured the frontier town of Sindh. The British offered protection to Amirs on the condition that company troops would be kept in the capital at Amir’s expense.
    • Sindh signed a subsidiary alliance in 1839.
    • First Anglo-Afghan War: 1839-42
  • Amirs were charged with treasonable activities by Ellenborough.
  • Outram was sent to Sindh to sign a new treaty in which Amirs were required to cede important provinces.
  • Amirs rose in revolt and were captured and banished.
  • In 1843 Sindh was merged with the British Empire.


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