India | Karnataka

Hyder Ali

Hyder Ali (1722-1782) was one of the most dreaded rivals of the British forces in India. He was the ruler of the princely state of Mysore in Karnataka. Born in 1722, Hyder Ali was the son of Fateh Mohammad, a Punjabi adventurer. At a young age, he helped his elder brother command a brigade in the Mysore Army. After learning the tactics of the French, he persuaded his brother to purchase artillery and small arms and to enroll some thirty sailors of different European nations as gunners. Thus, he became the first Indian to form a corps of soldiers armed with firelocks and bayonets, backed with artillery served by Europeans. In course of time, with skill and determination, he rose to power in the State of Mysore.

Hyder Ali was successful in a number of military campaigns. But he was defeated by the British. Following his defeat, he signed a treaty with the British for mutual assistance. In 1772, Hyder Ali was defeated by one of his sworn enemies, Marathas, the rulers of Maharashtra. He was betrayed by the British in this war, whose assistance he had expected. This breach of trust angered Hyder Ali, and he swore revenge at the British. He died during one of the military campaigns against the British in December 1782. His war against the British was continued by his illustrious son, Tipu Sultan.

Updated on 7th June, 2005

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