Carnatic Sultanate

The Carnatic Sultanate was a kingdom in South India between about 1690 and 1855, and was under the legal purview of the Nizam of Hyderabad, until their demise.[1][2] They initially had their capital at Arcot in the present-day Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Their rule is an important period in the history of the Carnatic and Coromandel Coast regions, in which the Mughal Empire gave way to the rising influence of the Maratha Empire, and later the emergence of the British Raj.

Nawab of the Carnatic
Nawab of Arcot
Nawabate of Arcot, on the Bay of Bengal, marked as "Carnatic" at its height of power.
StatusDependency of the Mughal Empire (1692–1710)
De jure Mughal

Independent (1710–1801)

Princely State under the paramountcy of the British East India Company (1801–1855)
CapitalGingee (1692–1710),
Arcot (1710–1768),
Chepauk (1768–1855)
Common languagesTamil, Urdu, Persian
Historical eraMughal rule in India
Company rule in India
 Progenitor of family appointed governor
23 September – 14 November 1751
 Carnatic Treaty
26 July 1801
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Madurai Nayak
Company rule in India
Today part ofIndia
Nawab of Carnatic Azim-ud-Daula on the left, signed the Carnatic Treaty ceding tax rights to the British.


The old province known as the Carnatic, in which Madras (Chennai) was situated, extended from the Krishna river to the Kaveri river, and was bounded on the West by Mysore kingdom and Dindigul, (which formed part of the Sultanate of Mysore). The Northern portion was known as the 'Mughal Carnatic', the Southern the 'Maratha Carnatic' with the Maratha fortresses of Gingee and Ranjankudi. Carnatic thus was the name commonly given to the region of Southern India that stretches from the East Godavari of Andhra Pradesh in the North, to the Maratha fort of Ranjangudi in the south (including the Kaveri River delta) and Coromandal Coast in the east to Western Ghats in the west.


With the decline of Vijayanagara Empire in 1646, the Hindu viceroys Nayaks, established in Madurai, Tanjore and Kanchi made themselves independent, only in their turn to become tributary to the kings of Golconda and Bijapur, who divided the Carnatic between them. Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb in 1692 appointed Zulfikhar Ali Khan as the first subahdar of the Carnatic with his seat at Arcot as a reward for his victory over the Marathas led by Rajaram.[3]

With the decline of the Mughal empire, Carnatic subah became an independent sultanate. The Carnatic Sultanate controlled a vast territory south of the Krishna river. The Nawab Saadatullah Khan I (1710–1732) moved his court from Gingee to Arcot. His successor Dost Ali (1732–1740) conquered and annexed Madurai in 1736. In 1740, the Maratha forces descended on Arcot. They attacked the Nawab, Dost Ali Khan, in the pass of Damalcherry. In the war that followed, Dost Ali, one of his sons Hasan Ali, and a number of prominent persons lost their lives. This initial success at once enhanced Maratha prestige in the south. From Damalcherry the Marathas proceeded to Arcot, which surrendered to them without much resistance. Chanda Sahib and his son were arrested and sent to Nagpur. The Nawabs of the Carnatic were the Rowthers.[4]

Muhammad Ali Khan Wallajah (1749–1795) became the ruler in 1765.

The growing influences of the English and the French and their colonial wars had a huge impact on the Carnatic. Wallajah supported the English against the French and Hyder Ali, placing him heavily in debt. As a result, he had to surrender much of his territory to the East India Company. Paul Benfield, an English business man, made one of his major loans to the Nawab for the purpose of enabling him, who with the aid of the English, had invaded and conquered the Maratha state of Tanjore.

The thirteenth Nawab, Ghulam Muhammad Ghouse Khan (1825–1855), died without issue, and the British annexed the Carnatic Nawabdom, applying the doctrine of lapse. Ghouse Khan's uncle Azim Jah was created the first Prince of Arcot (Amir-e-Arcot) in 1867 by Queen Victoria, and was given a tax free-pension in perpetuity.

List of rulers

Mughal Subedar of the Carnatic

Name Reign began Reign ended Notes
1 Zulfiqar Khan Nusrat Jung 1692 1703 Son of Asad Khan, a renowned nobleman in the court of Emperor Aurangzeb
2 Daud Khan Panni 1703 1710 Before he was made Nawab, the Emperor Aurangazeb appointed him as a leading commander of the Mughal Army.
3 Sa'adatullah Khan I 1710 1732 He was the last Mughal governor who was appointed as Nawab of Carnatic. Belonging to a Navaiyit family,[5] he had no children and so he adopted his brother Ghulam Ali Khan's son Dost Ali Khan as his own and nominated him as successor.

Independent Nawabs of Carnatic

1 Sa'adatullah Khan I 1710 1732 He was the last Mughal governor who was appointed as Nawab of Carnatic. Having no children, he adopted his brother Ghulam Ali Khan's son Dost Ali Khan as his own and nominated him as successor.
2 Dost Ali Khan 1732 1740 Nephew of Sa'adatullah Khan I
3 Safdar Ali Khan 1740 1742 Son of Dost Ali Khan
De facto Nawab Muruza Ali Khan November 1742 December 1742 Cousin and Brother-in-Law of Safdar Ali Khan
4 Sa'adatullah Khan II 1742 1744 Son of Safdar Ali Khan. He was murdered in July 1744 at Arcot. So, with him, the first dynasty of the Nawabs of Arcot came to an end.
5 Anwaruddin Khan 1744 3 August 1749 He was the 1st Nawab of Arcot of the second dynasty. He was of Qannauji Sheikh origin.[6]

Nawabs of Carnatic under European influence

Names Reign began Reign ended Notes
1 Chanda Shahib 1749 1752 Son-in-law of the Dost Ali Khan,[7] under whom he worked as a Dewan. Supported the French in Carnatic Wars.
2 Muhammad Ali Khan Wala-Jah 3 August 1749 16 October 1795 Son of Anwaruddin Khan. Supported the British in Carnatic Wars. Moved the capital from Arcot to Chepauk
3 Umdat ul-Umara 1795 1801 Son of Muhammad Ali Khan Wala-Jah
4 Azim-ud-Daula* 1801 1819 Signed the Carnatic Treaty, ceding tax rights to the British

Nawabs of Carnatic as a British Protectorate

1 Azim-ud-Daula* 1801 1819 Nephew of Umdat ul-Umara
2 Azam Jah 1819 1825 Son of Azim-ud-Daula
3 Ghulam Muhammad Ghouse Khan 1825 1855 Son of Azam Jah.

He died in 1855 at the age of 31. He did not leave behind any male heir.

Princes of Arcot

Amir Reign Notes
Azim Jah1867–1874 younger son of Azim-ud-Daula

The Chepauk Palace, the official residence of the princes of the Carnatic had been taken over by the British in 1859.

He constructed a new residence, the Amir Mahal, in Royapettah.

Sir Zahir-ud-Daula Bahadur1874–1879 Son of Azim Jah
Intizam-ul-Mulk Muazzal ud-Daula Bahadur1879–1889 younger son of Azim Jah
Sir Muhammad Munawar Khan Bahadur1889–1903 nephew of Intizam-ul-Mulk
Sir Ghulam Muhammad Ali Khan Bahadur1903–1952 Son of Muhammad Munawar Khan
Ghulam Mohiuddin Khan Bahadur1952–1969 younger son of Muhammad Munawar Khan
Ghulam Mohammed Abdul Khader1969–1993 Son of Ghulam Mohiuddin Khan
Muhammed Abdul Ali1993– Son of Ghulam Mohammed Abdul Khader

See also


  1. Kenneth Pletcher, ed. (1 April 2010). The History of India. Britannica Educational Publishing. p. 219. ISBN 9781615302017.
  2. Ramaswami, N. S. (1 January 1984). Political History of Carnatic Under the Nawabs. Abhinav Publications. p. 104. ISBN 9780836412628.
  3. "Mughal Empire 1526-1707 by Sanderson Beck". Retrieved 4 March 2012.
  4. Tschacher, Torsten (2001). Islam in Tamilnadu : varia. Halle (Saale): Institut für Indologie und Südasienwissenschaften der Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg. pp. 94, 95. ISBN 3-86010-627-9. OCLC 50208020.
  5. Markovits, Claude (1 February 2004). A History of Modern India, 1480-1950. Anthem Press. ISBN 978-1-84331-004-4.
  6. Uttar Pradesh District Gazetteers: Muzaffarnagar. Government of Uttar Pradesh. 1988. p. 42.
  7. Naravane, M.S. (2014). Battles of the Honourable East India Company. A.P.H. Publishing Corporation. pp. 151, 154–158. ISBN 9788131300343.
  8. Terence R. Blackburn. A miscellany of mutinies and massacres in India.

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