- Mysore emerged as a powerful state and opponent of British in the wake of decline of Mughals in South India. It was part of Mughal Sarkar of Sira. Wodeyars, the ruling dynasty, had rendered their allegiance to the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb.
- Haider Ali was the architect of the emergence of Mysore in 18th century. He started as a soldier and rose through the ranks.
- Haider Ali was witness to the prowess of European armies as he was closely involved in the First and Second Carnatic Wars in South India. Mysore sided with the French in the Carnatic Wars.
- Political consolidation: Conquered part of Malabar and consolidated his position by dominating a rebellion by Nayars in the region.
- Revenue Administration: To increase revenue administration, Haider imposed the land tax on peasants and did away with local hereditary power centres such as Deshmukh and palegars. Heap of produce was measured and divided equally between the state and farmer. (Motivation for Ryotwari Settlement later in the region). He resumed Jagirdari system. However, jagirdar’s responsibility of maintaining troops was done away with.
Military reforms by Haider Ali:
- Reforms in Army: He took the help of the French to modernise and organise his Arsenal, Artillery and Workshop. His army was a combination of mobile cavalry on Mughal patterns along with musket-using infantry. He raised a central army paid directly by the state. Earlier the army was constituted of contingents of varying sizes maintained by individual commanders. Army was organised into risalas – divisions of a fixed number of soldiers with a definite allotment of guns and transport, like the European armies.
- Reforms in Navy: To develop a Navy, Haider planned to conquer Malabar to gain control over shipbuilding yards. By 1765, Mysore Navy possessed 30 vessels of war and many transport ships commanded by European officers.
First Anglo-Mysore war (176-69):
- Nizam of Hyderabad, Marathas and English allied together against Mysore’s ruler Haider Ali. This ended with Haider Ali forcing the English to sign a humiliating treaty with him in 1769 called the Treaty of Madras.
Second Anglo-Mysore war (1780-84):
- This war was concluded with the Treaty of Mangalore, in 1784. Haider Ali died, and his son Tipu Sultan took his place.
- Tipu Sultan was the last Muslim ruler of the Kingdom of Mysore, before the taking over by Wodeyar Dynasty.
- Navy: Defeat in Third Anglo-Mysore War convinced Tipu to take measures to build a navy. He issued a Hukmnanah (ordinance) in 1796 for a strong naval force with 40 ships to be built at speed. The navy was put under command of 11 Mir Yam (Lords of Admiralty), with headquarters at Seringapatam. The naval divisions or Kachehris at Jamalabad (Mangalore), Wajidabad (Bascoraje) and Majidabad (Sadasheogarh). Timber for ships was to be procured from state forests.
- Ammunitions: Established munitions industry in Nagar, which were regarded as equal in quality to those produced in Europe.
- Rocket technology: Pioneer of rocket technology and expanded iron cased Mysorean rockets and commissioned a military manual Fathul Mujahidin.
- Economy: Attempted to revive commerce and forged commercial linkages with other parts of India and West Asia and build a public sector company with state finance. Introduced sericulture and was a member of the Jacobin club. He also planted a liberty tree at Seringapatam.
- Agriculture and Revenue Settlement: Tipu modified land revenue management. Rules were laid down for the distribution of arable land among old and new ryots, preference was given to hereditary ownership of land and rent was fixed. Tipu’s measures were the basis for Ryotwari Settlement introduced by East India Company in South India. Captain Alexander Read first introduced Ryotwari Settlement in Baramahal district surrendered by Tipu after his defeat in 1792.
- Introduced several administrative innovations such as a new coinage system and calendar and initiated the growth of the Mysore silk industry.
- Deployed rockets against advances of British forces and their allies during Anglo-Mysore Wars, including the Battle of Pollilur and Siege of Srirangapatna.
- Calendar: Introduced a new calendar in 1784. This calendar was known as Mauludi Era and had 354 days. It counted its first year from the year of birth of Prophet Muhammad. The calendar’s name was derived from Arabic phrase ‘Maulud-i-Muhammad’, Birth of Muhammad.
Third Anglo Mysore war:
- Tipu Sultan was defeated by EIC and the Treaty of Seringapatam was concluded. Under this treaty, Tipu lost half of Mysore’s territory.
Fourth Anglo-Mysore war (1799):
- This conclusive war led to falling of Seringapatam. English chose a Hindu boy from the earlier ruling royal family i.e., Wodeyars, as the Maharaja and imposed a subsidiary alliance on him.