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Empire by TreatyNegotiating European Expansion, 1600-1900$
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Saliha Belmessous

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199391783

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199391783.001.0001

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A British Empire by Treaty in Eighteenth-Century India

A British Empire by Treaty in Eighteenth-Century India

(p.132) 6 A British Empire by Treaty in Eighteenth-Century India
Empire by Treaty

Robert Travers

Oxford University Press

From the middle of the eighteenth century the British in India used treaties with South Asian rulers to give legal form and sanction to their growing military and territorial power. While the British East India Company used treaties to subordinate or ally with other Indian regional states, British critics of the Company’s military conquests questioned the legitimacy of its diplomatic activities and accused the Company of violating the principles of the law of nations. Thus treaty making became a critical site for generating new imperial imaginaries in Britain, as well as for extending British power in South Asia. By the end of the eighteenth century British officials were using increasingly unequal treaties with Indian states, justified by pervasive stereotypes of “faithless” and despotic Indian rulers, to assert their imperial hegemony.

Keywords:   treaties, South Asia, East India Company, British Empire, Mughal Empire, Treaty of Allahabad, Robert Clive, diwani, Warren Hastings, Edmund Burke

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