The Hybrid Military Establishment of the East India Company in South Asia: 1750–1849

Journal article

Roy, Kaushik (2011) The Hybrid Military Establishment of the East India Company in South Asia: 1750–1849, Journal of Global History 6 (2): 195–218.

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During the seventeenth century, the East India Company (EIC) was a minor power in South Asia, repeatedly defeated in battle. However, this changed rapidly, beginning in the 1750s, as the EIC started projecting power from its coastal enclaves into the interior. One after other, the indigenous powers were defeated and destroyed. This article argues that the EIC’s military success was not merely the result of importing the military institutions that emerged in western Europe: there was no military revolution in early modern South Asia. Rather, the EIC blended imported British military institutions and techniques with South Asia’s indigenous military traditions, creating a hybrid military establishment in which South Asian manpower, animals, and economic resources were crucial. The article focuses on the construction of the EIC’s military establishment by concentrating on three spheres: military technology, manpower management, and logistics.

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