Tipu Sultan was born on November 20, 1750, to military officer Hyder Ali of the Kingdom of Mysore and his wife, Fatima Fakhr-un-Nisa. They named him Fath Ali but also called him Tipu Sultan after a local Muslim saint, Tipu Mastan Aulia.
Tipu Sultan is remembered in India as a warrior-king who fought brilliantly for his country’s independence from Britain.
In 1766 when Tipu Sultan was just 15 years old, he got the chance to apply his military training in the battle for the first time when he accompanied his father on an invasion of Malabar. The youngster took charge of a force of 2,000-3,000 and cleverly managed to capture the Malabar chief’s family, which had taken refuge in a fort under heavy guard. Fearful for his family, the chief surrendered, and other local leaders soon followed his example.
Hyder Ali was so proud of his son that he gave him command of 500 cavalries and assigned him to rule five districts within Mysore. It was the start of an illustrious military career for the young man.
First Anglo-Mysore War
The First Anglo-Mysore War (1767–69) saw Hyder Ali enjoy some measure of success against the British, almost capturing Madras. The British convinced the Nizam of Hyderabad to attack Hyder. That was temporary, however, and the Nizam signed a new treaty with the British in February 1768. Hyder Ali had to contend with a British Bombay army attacking the west and a Madras army attacking from the northeast. However, Hyder’s attack on Madras resulted in the Madras government suing for peace, and the resultant.
Second Anglo-Mysore War
Tipu defeated Baillie at the Battle of Pollilur in Sept. 1780, and Braithwaite at Kumbakonam in Feb. 1782, both of whom were taken prisoner to Seringapatam. This war saw the comeback of Sir Eyre Coote, the British commander who defeated Hyder Ali at the Battle of Porto Novo and Arni. Tipu continued the war following his father’s death. Finally, the war ended with the signing of a treaty on 11 March 1784, the Treaty of Mangalore, which restored the status quo ante Bellum. The Treaty of Gajendragad in April 1787 ended the conflict with the Marathas.
Third Anglo-Mysore War
Tipu Sultan, the ruler of Mysore and an ally of France, invaded the nearby state of Travancore in 1789 which was a British ally. British forces were commanded by Governor-General Cornwallis himself. The resultant war lasted three years and was a resounding defeat for Mysore. The war ended after the 1792 Siege of Seringapatam and the signing of the Treaty of Seringapatam, according to which Tipu had to surrender half of his kingdom to the British East India Company and its allies.
Fourth Anglo-Mysore War
Tipu was killed during the defense of the city. Much of the remaining Mysorean territory was annexed by the British, the Nizam, and the Marathas. The remaining core, around Mysore and Seringapatam, was restored to the Indian prince belonging to the Wodeyar dynasty, whose forefathers had been the actual rulers before Hyder Ali became the de facto ruler. The Wodeyars ruled the remnant state of Mysore until 1947 when it joined the Union of India.
With Tipu Sultan’s death, Mysore became another princely state under the jurisdiction of the British Raj. His sons were sent into exile, and a different family became puppet rulers of Mysore under the British. In fact, Tipu Sultan’s family was reduced to poverty as a deliberate policy and was only restored to princely status in 2009.
Tipu Sultan fought long and hard, although ultimately unsuccessfully, to preserve his country’s independence. Today, Tipu is remembered by many in India and Pakistan as a brilliant freedom fighter and as an able peacetime ruler.