India–#AtoZChallenge “I”

Welcome to “I” in the A to Z Challenge 2017. The 1st Duke of Wellington is my theme for this year’s Challenge.

Arthur Wellesley was floundering in life after attending Eton, but then he went to a French military academy since his mother was living in Brussels. There he actually studied French and did better than expected, so his family connections helped him get a commission in the army. After a time in the Netherlands where he gained experience, as well as becoming a member of the House of Commons in Ireland, Wellesley was sent to India. Around this time he had met Kitty Pakenham, an Irish earl’s daughter. He wanted her hand in marriage, but his family deemed him unworthy.

In India, Wellesley was ordered to capture Seringapatam, where the Tipu Sultan of Mysore ruled (to help the empire by benefitting the British East India Company). Wellesley was very conscientious and made extensive plans on how to defeat the Tipu Sultan, which served him very well in defeating the Indian sultan and later served him well against Napoleon. He made improvements in hygiene and supplies, which helped his men prevail.

–Tipu Sultan (from British Library)

Seringapatem was a huge fortress and during the Battle of Seringapatam the Tipu was killed. Wellesley was promoted to Major-General after this huge defeat. Another Indian faction was placed in power, but the British really ruled. Wellesley was also named governor of the region. He made many needed improvements to the region as governor. Later, Wellesley was promoted to Brigadier-General. He fought and led a few more battles in India, namely the Battle of Assaye. During this time in India, Wellesley came into his own. He learned that an army’s drills and discipline made a difference and led to victory on the battlefield, and he developed his own leadership style. When he was finally called back to England, he was only in his 30’s and he was a different man.

The Storming of Seringapatam, engraving, circa 1802, British Library

A large number of articles exist today on whether the Tipu Sultan was vilified unjustly by Wellesley and the British to promote the causes of the British East India Company. Also, many articles refer to the Tipu’s Muslim versus Hindu massacres and if the Tipu was trying to protect his people as any good leader would do or if the man was truly evil. The Tipu and his subjects were very advanced in some areas and many believe he is unjustly portrayed in history.

Note: a more exciting and interesting account of the Battle of Seringapatam can be read by obtaining Bernard Cornwell’s novel, Sharpe’s Tiger. Also, the Battle of Assaye is presented by Cornwell in Sharpe’s Triumph. Richard Sharpe, Cornwell’s main character, is a commoner enlisted in the army who seems to be present in the Duke’s most famous military events. Cornwell’s books and the videos of the later series are what piqued my first interest in Wellington.

Previous A to Z Challenge 2017 posts:

Apsley House



Douro, Marquess of

Eton College

Fraser, Hugh

Harriet Arbuthnot

  10 comments for “India–#AtoZChallenge “I”

  1. April 11, 2017 at 7:05 AM

    Another good one! Love Sean Bean as Sharpe . . . theme music gets on my son’s last nerve, “No electric guitars in the 1800s!”

    • April 11, 2017 at 7:43 AM

      I love the electric guitar in the Sharpe music–it makes it! Yes, I have the CD. Thanks, D

  2. hilarymb
    April 11, 2017 at 8:55 AM

    Hi Denise – I really should read up more on this part of history … and Cornwell’s books seem an easy way in … Wellesley (the Iron Duke) … I’d forgotten he’d spent time in India … cheers Hilary

    • April 11, 2017 at 9:13 AM

      Yes, historical fiction IS the easy way in! Wellesley was in India for about 8 years–quite a long time. I really downplayed those battles–he learned much and became a real leader from his India experience.

  3. April 11, 2017 at 9:51 AM

    How cool. I loved the story and spent some time just looking at the detail of that engraving. The Tipu Sultan is such an intriguing figure. Glad I found you through the A to Z Challenge!
    I is for Ice Cream

    • April 11, 2017 at 9:55 AM

      Thanks, Eli! Yes, the engraving is unreal when enlarged on a bigger screen. I do want to learn more about the Tipu! Cheers, Denise

  4. Jack Daddyo
    April 11, 2017 at 10:23 AM

    Nice segway into the Sharpe series. Well done. I also think Mysore is a yoga “destination”, or maybe a guru lives there.

    • April 11, 2017 at 10:27 AM

      It is not all about the TV series, @jackdaddyo. It is more about the books where you can really learn what was going on in history. Mysore was once the name of the state in this particular part of India. The state has been renamed but there is still a city name Mysore.

      Thanks for visiting and commenting, Jack!

  5. May 8, 2017 at 11:56 AM

    Interesting post……I took a side trip on your link to the East India Trading Company…..something I have been meaning to catch up on for a long time!

    • May 8, 2017 at 2:23 PM

      It’s so easy to go off on those tangents, Zulu! 🙂

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