What Was Subsidiary Alliance? Get Complete Results, Policies & Notes to Prepare

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Subsidiary Alliance

Subsidiary Alliance was a treaty used by Lord Wellesley the Governor General of India from 1798 to 1805 and signed between the British East Company and Indian Princely States Rulers. The main effect of this treaty was to take control of the Princely States as the Indian Kingdoms lost sovereignty to the British Company. 

Subsidiary Alliance was first introduced by French Governor French Governor-General Marquis Dupleix. Moreover, Nawab of Awadh was the first ruler to enter into a subsidiary alliance after losing the Battle of Buxar. The first well-framed version of the treaty was accepted by the Nizam of Hyderabad. This policy helped in the expansion of British Rule in India. 

Source: Wikipedia

Also Read: Revolt of 1857 : History, Causes, Effects, Summary & Fact

Stages of Subsidiary Alliance

This policy is something that keeps evolving to become more adaptable in the Indian context. It also became more and more beneficial for the Britishers helping them expand their rule in India. The various stages of the Subsidiary Alliance are mentioned below. 

  1. First Stage: It started with the promise of providing a set army in exchange for a fixed amount of money. 
  2. Second Stage: A promise to deploy a permanent military in exchange for annual compensation.
  3. Third Stage: The British promised to keep a permanent military force for an annual compensation of money within the border of the allies.   
  4. Final Stage: Lord Wellesley proposed to deploy a fixed subsidiary force within the ally’s territory in return for permanent access to a portion of their territory.
Source: IndiaNetzone.com

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

Terms & Features 

Here are the various terms and features of the Subsidiary Alliance. 

  • According to the subsidiary alliance agreement the ruler of the Allied Indian State had to allow a permanently stationed British Force and also pay for its subsidy. 
  • In order to allow the British army, the ruler had to disband their own forces in the area. 
  • If the ruler failed to pay for the maintenance of these troops, a section of their land would be taken and given to the British. 
  • The army would protect the king from any external attack as well as civil uprising.
  • The English promised to not interfere in the internal affairs of the Indian states. 
  • The ruler had to fire any existing military partnerships with other foreigners like the French and adhere to not using it in the future in order to gain support. 
  • The Indian states will not be allowed to undergo any political ties without a sanction from the British. 
  • A British resident was also stationed in the Indian courts and all the autonomy of the rulers was completely lost. 
Source: Elite IAS

Effects of the Subsidiary Alliance

The states lost their sovereignty as well as their right to self-defence, diplomatic contacts, solving issues with the neighbours, and employing foreign experts. Following are some of the other impacts of the subsidiary alliance. 

  • Indian armies were disbanded, leaving many Indians unemployed. 
  • Independence was gradually lost as the state policies started falling under British control. 
  • Lord Clive promised protection to Oudh from the Marathas and other enemies thereby signing the Treaty of Allahabad.   
  • It funded and replenished the British military forces through Indian states while the armies remained at the discretion of the British. 
  • Indian states lost land, power, resources, security, control, and eventually governance under this scheme.  

Also Read: Rani Lakshmi Bai: The Courage and Leadership of ‘Jhansi ki Rani’ 

Advantages of Subsidiary Alliance

  • The Subsidiary Alliance system brought numerous major states under the direct control of the British forces.
  • Natives of the Indian subcontinent experienced an increase in their dependence on Britishers.
  • Britishers were now able to maintain a vast army at the cost of the Indian rulers.
  • Due to the extensive expenses being incurred on the maintenance of the army, natives lost their land to the British forces. 
  • It became easier for the British East India Company to counteract the French forces since its troops were present in most states. 
  • The System also removed French forces from Indian states and removed French officials from their services.

Also Read – Poona Pact: A Historical Agreement

Disadvantages to the Native Rulers

  • Native rulers of the Indian subcontinent lost their fertile lands and important locations to British forces. 
  • Financial burdens pushed many people into the clutches of poverty.
  • Native rulers also lost their esteemed positions in the public eye who once saw them as their protector and ruler. 
  • Common people of the state could no longer remove incompetent rulers from the throne as the British forces protected them for their own benefit. 

Chronology of Indian States Under the Treaty

Here is a list of Indian states that agreed to follow the subsidiary alliance in the order in which they entered the treaty. 

1801Awadh (Oudh)


What was the subsidiary Alliance?

As mentioned above, the subsidiary alliance refers to an essential treaty between the Indian princely states and the British East India Company. According to this system, Indian rulers lost their sovereign status to the Britishers. 

Who introduced the subsidiary Alliance?

The Subsidiary Alliance system was introduced by Lord Wellesley.

Who refused Subsidiary Alliance?

Tipu Sultan refused the Subsidiary Alliance system which ultimately led to the beginning of a war.

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