Third Carnatic War: Causes, Battles and Impact

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Third Carnatic War 1757 to 1763
Third Carnatic War 1757 to 1763

The Third Carnatic War (1756-1763) was a decisive victory for the British over the French in India. It marked the beginning of the British East India Company’s dominance over the subcontinent. The Third Carnatic War fought in the mid-18th century, was more than just a war; it was a clash of empires and a precursor to significant changes in the Indian subcontinent. In this blog, we’ll delve into the intricacies of the Third Carnatic War, exploring its causes, battles, and the lasting impact the war had on the region.

Important Details of the Third Carnatic War

Here is a quick overview of some important details about the Third Carnatic War:

Name of the WarThird Carnatic War or the Battle of Wandiwash
War Fought Between British and French  
Generals InvolvedBritish General Sir Eyre Coote and French General Count de Lally
Years of the War1757 to 1763
Location of the WarCarnatic, South India
Result of the WarBritish Victory
Overview of the Third Carnatic War

Also Read: Second Carnatic War: The Clash of Empires in 18th Century India

What are the Causes of the Third Carnatic War?

The main causes of the Third Carnatic War are as follows:

1. European Rivalry: The backdrop of the Third Carnatic War was the fierce rivalry between European colonial powers for dominance in India. The British East India Company and the French East India Company were at the forefront of this rivalry, both vying for supremacy.

2. Local Alliances: The war was marked by complex alliances. Moreover, the French allied with local rulers, including Chanda Sahib and the Marathas, while the British had the support of Mohammed Ali, the Nawab of Arcot, and the influential Nizam of Hyderabad.

3. Territorial Ambitions: The dispute over control of key South Indian territories, particularly the Coromandel Coast, was a major trigger for the conflict. Both sides sought to expand their territorial holdings.

4. Seven-Year War: In 1756, Europe witnessed the commencement of the Seven Years’ War, reigniting hostilities between England and France. It was not until 1757 that significant conflicts unfolded between the two nations in the Indian Subcontinent.

A painting depicting the Alliance between the British and the Indian Rulers
A painting depicting the Alliance between the British and the Indian Rulers

Battles and Key Events

In addition, the Battles and Key Events of the Third Carnatic War were:

1. Battle of Adyar (1746):  This early battle set the stage for the conflict. The French, led by Dupleix, defeated the British and their ally Mohammed Ali. This victory bolstered French influence in the Carnatic region.

2. Siege of Trichinopoly (1751-1752): This prolonged siege was a turning point. The British, under Robert Clive, managed to break the siege and secure Trichinopoly, a critical city in the Carnatic.

3. The Treaty of Pondicherry (1754): Temporary peace was brokered, but hostilities soon resumed. This treaty defined the spheres of influence for the British and the French in India.

4. Battle of Plassey (1757): While not directly related to the Carnatic, the outcome of this Battle in Bengal significantly weakened the French position in India, indirectly affecting the Carnatic War.

Pondicherry Attacked by the British Fleet
Pondicherry Attacked by the British Fleet

The Battle of Wandiwash

The Battle of Wandiwash included the following events:

  • The Battle of Wandiwash was a famous war fought during the Third Carnatic War.
  • It is considered the decisive battle that ultimately marked the end of this long struggle between the British and the French.
  • The Battle happened in 1760 in Vandavasi, Tamil Nadu.
  • Furthermore, after gaining an upper edge in Bengal and Hyderabad, the British forces started making advances to defeat France in Wandiwash. 
  • During that time, France was led by Comte de Lally. Moreover, France’s lack of naval support and finances also contributed to their failure to recapture Vandavasi.
  • Additionally, during France’s numerous attempts they were attacked by British forces led by Sir Eyre Coote.
  • At the end of the seven-year-long struggle between both forces, the British emerged as the ultimate winner by defeating the French forces on the 22nd of January, 1760. 

Also Read: Carnatic War Chronicles

The Treaty of Paris

The Treaty of Paris had the following events:

  • The Treaty of Paris or the Treaty of 1763 was signed between Great Britain, Portugal, France, and Spain. 
  • In addition, it finally concluded the battle between France and the United Kingdom and fostered the superiority of the British forces. 
  • On the other hand, France had authority over its factories in India but limited its business to relatively small enclaves. 

Also Read: First Carnatic War: History, Significance

Impact and Legacy of The Third Carnatic War

The Impact and Legacy of the Third Carnatic War are as follows:

1. British Ascendancy: The Third Carnatic War contributed to the British East India Company’s rise as the dominant colonial power in India. Their victory led to the establishment of British supremacy in the Carnatic region.

2. End of French Influence: Furthermore, the war marked the decline of French influence in India. The French gradually withdrew from many of their Indian possessions.

3. Native States: The conflict had a profound impact on local rulers, as they became pawns in the hands of European powers. This set the stage for further struggles and changes in Indian governance.

Also Read: Battle of Tarain

Why did France Lose the War?

In addition, France lost the Third Carnatic War due to the following reasons:

  • Navy force: One of the most essential factors contributing to the win of British forces was their robust and unbeatable naval strength. This made it easier for the forces to order troops from Europe and get timely supplies from Bengal. On the other hand, the French had no such easy accessibility.
  • Army: The British levied use of around 80-85 European horses, 250 Native horses, and more than 2000 sepoys. On the other hand, France had to fight this massive army with 1300 sepoys, 300 European Cavalry, and 3000 Mahrattas. Thus, this gave the former an upper edge while the latter struggled to combat brutal attacks. 
  • British Influence in India: While the British forces had complete control and authority over three important regions of Calcutta, Bombay, and Madras, the French had only Pondicherry under their control. This means that if anyone managed to capture this sole base, they could easily defy the French forces. 

However, the Third Carnatic War may not be as well-known as some other historical conflicts, but its significance in shaping India’s colonial history cannot be understated. Moreover, the clash of empires, the intricate alliances, and the impact on the course of Indian history make it a subject worth exploring. 


What were the main causes of the Third Carnatic War?

The Third Carnatic War (1757-1763) was primarily caused by territorial disputes and colonial rivalry between the British East India Company and the French East India Company in southern India.

Who were the key figures involved in the Third Carnatic War?

Major players included Robert Clive for the British and Count de Lally for the French. Native rulers like Chanda Sahib and Muhammad Ali also played significant roles.

What were the outcomes of the Third Carnatic War?

The Treaty of Paris in 1763 ended the war, resulting in British dominance in southern India. The French lost their major Indian possessions, strengthening British influence in the region.

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That’s all about the Third Carnatic War! We hope you liked what you read. If you want to read more articles like this you can visit our general knowledge page on Indian History!

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