This Day in History (4-May-1783) – Tipu Sultan was enthroned as the ruler of Mysore

Tipu Sultan was enthroned as the ruler of Mysore after the death of Haider Ali in a simple ceremony at Bednur.  Tipu Sultan, the Tiger of Mysore, or Tippoo Sahib as the British called him, was the Indian ruler who resisted the East India Company’s conquest of southern India. Tipu was vigorous, forceful, brave, warlike and cruel and a devout Muslim. He used to say it was better to live for two days like a tiger than drag out an existence like a sheep for two hundred years. He had a special reverence for tigers. He kept six in his fortress-city of Sriringapatna, 200 miles west of Madras, where his throne was shaped and striped like a tiger. His elite troops wore tiger badges, the hilt of his sword was in the form of a snarling tiger, and his favourite toy was a mechanical tiger straddling a British officer while the victim squealed in terror (it is now in the Victoria & Albert Museum). He was greatly respected by his people and earned the trust of various international allies such as the French, the Amir of Afghanistan and the Sultan of Turkey, to assist him in his fight against the British. Tipu visualized the forthcoming danger of the expanding British’s East India Company. Tipu and his father Haidar Ali proved successful in defeating the British in the First Mysore War in 1766 and in the Second Mysore War of 1782, thus negotiating the Treaty of Mangalore with them.

While the British became aware of Tipu’s growing strength, they made alliances with the neighboring Nizam of Hyderabad and the Marathas, leading to the Third Anglo-Mysore war in 1790. Despite signing the Treaty of Versailles, the French however deserted Tipu and the combined forces proved immense for Tipu, and he was defeated in this war at his capital of Seringapatam, thus forcing him to sign a treaty in 1792 that witnessed half of his kingdom being confiscated along with a huge war indemnity. After the British broke allegiance with the Nawab, eventually defeating him in 1795, they once again sought to attack Mysore, leading to the Fourth Anglo-Mysore war in 1798. Fighting with all his valor, Tipu Sultan eventually died defending his capital Srirangapattana on 4th May, 1799.



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