Tipu was born at Devanhalli, the son of Haidar Ali. Himself illiterate, Haidar was very particular in giving his eldest son a prince’s education and a very early exposure to military and political affairs. From the age of 17 Tipu was given independent charge of important diplomatic and military missions. He was his father’s right arm in the wars from which Haidar emerged as the most powerful ruler of southern India.In 1782, when Haidar died during the Second Anglo-Mysore War, Tipu was very effective in bringing the west coast under his control. After his accession, he continued the war until the English were forced to make peace with him. Tipu was instructed in military tactics by French officers in the employ of his father, Hyder Ali, who was the Muslim ruler of Mysore. In 1767 Tipu commanded a corps of cavalry against the Marathas in the Carnatic (Karnataka) region of western India, and he fought against the Marathas on several occasions between 1775 and 1779. During the second Mysore War he defeated Col. John Brathwaite on the banks of the Kollidam (Coleroon) River. He succeeded his father in December 1782 and in 1784 concluded peace with the British and assumed the title of sultan of Mysore. In 1789, however, he provoked British invasion by attacking their ally, the raja of Travancore. He held the British at bay for more than two years, but by the Treaty of Seringapatam (March 1792) he had to cede half his dominions. He remained restless and unwisely allowed his negotiations with Revolutionary France to become known to the British. On that pretext the governor-general, Lord Mornington (later the marquess of Wellesley), launched the fourth Mysore War. Seringapatam (now Shrirangapattana), Tipu’s capital, was stormed by British-led forces on 1799, and Tipu died leading his troops in the breach. Tipu’s power rested not only on his large, excellent army but on the great prosperity of the state he developed through humane and systematic agrarian and mercantilistic policies. Fearing God, exerting himself for his subjects, and indulgently forgiving transgressions, he firmly wiped out all stubborn disloyalty to the state without partiality to caste or creed.
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