Flag of Arcot State 1692 AD/CE to 1855 AD/CE

Capitals: Gingee, Arcot, Chepauk


Continent: Asia

Official Languages: Tamil, Urdu

Established: 1692 AD/CE

Disestablished: 1855 AD/CE


The Nawabs of the Carnatic trace their origin back to second Caliph Umar ibn al-Khattab. The Nawab of the Carnatic was established by the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, who in 1692 appointed Zulfikhar Ali Khan as the first Nawab of the Carnatic, with his seat at Arcot as a reward for his victory over the Marathas led by Rajaram. With the decline of Vijayanagara Empire in 1646, the Hindu viceroys Nayaks, established in Madurai, Tanjore and Kanchi made themselves independent, only in their turn to become tributary to the kings of Golconda and Bijapur, who divided the Carnatic between them. The Nawabdom of the Carnatic controlled a vast territory south of the Krishna river. The Nawab Saadatullah Khan I (1710–1732) moved his court from Gingee to Arcot. His successor Dost Ali (1732–1740) conquered and annexed Madurai in 1736. In 1740, the Maratha forces descended on Arcot. They attacked the Nawab, Dost Ali Khan, in the pass of Damalcherry. In the war that followed, Dost Ali, one of his sons Hasan Ali, and a number of prominent persons lost their lives. This initial success at once enhanced Maratha prestige in the south. From Damalcherry the Marathas proceeded to Arcot, which surrendered to them without much resistance. Chanda Sahib 69 and his son were arrested and sent to Niggpur.

Muhammad Ali Khan Wallajah (1749–1795) became the ruler in 1765.

The growing influences of the English and the French and their colonial wars had a huge impact on the Carnatic. Wallajah supported the English against the French and Hyder Ali, placing him heavily in debt. As a result, he had to surrender much of his territory to the East India Company. Paul Benfield, an English business man, made one of his mayor loans to the Nawab for the purpose of enabling him, who with the aid of the English, had invaded and conquered the Mahratta state of Tanjore.

The thirteenth Nawab, Ghulam Muhammad Ghouse Khan (1825–1855), died without issue, and the British annexed the Carnatic Nawabdom, applying the doctrine of lapse. Ghouse Khan's uncle Azim Jah was created the first Prince of Arcot (Amir-e-Arcot) in 1867 by Queen Victoria, and was given a tax free-pension in perpetuity.

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