|First Anglo-Mughal War|
|Part of Anglo-Indian Wars|
French illustration of an Englishman requesting pardon from the Islamic Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb.
|East India Company||Mughal Empire|
|Commanders and leaders|
|Sir Josiah Child, Bt||
308 at Kolkataunknown at Mumbai and Carnatic
|unknown but much larger than England|
|Casualties and losses|
|Heavy at Mumbai and Kolkata||Minimal|
The First Anglo-Mughal war, also called Child's war, was the first Anglo-Indian war that lasted from 1686 to 1690.
In 1685 the British East India Company refused to pay the local taxes to the Governor of the proto-industrialised Bengal Subah, Shaista Khan. A rebellion began and King James II of England sent warships to the company based in India, but the expedition failed. Mughal India's Emperor Aurangzeb seized all the factories of the company, while the British forces commanded by Sir Josiah Child, Bt captured several Mughal trading ships and set the houses on fire of many faujdars. Eventually the British East India Company was defeated by the army of the Mughal Empire and Child's apology was accepted by Emperor Aurangzeb.
In 1682 the English East India Company sent William Hedges to Shaista Khan, the Mughal governor of Bengal Subah, in order to obtain a firman: an imperial directive that would grant England regular trading privileges throughout the proto-industrialised Mughal Empire, the world's largest economy of that time. After the intervention of the company's governor in London, Sir Josiah Child, with Hedges's mission, causing Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb to break off the negotiations. After that Child started a war with the Mughals.
Admiral Nicholson was sent out in 1685 with twelve ships of war, carrying 200 pieces of cannon and a body of 600 men, to be reinforced by 400 from Madras. His instructions were to seize and fortify Chittagong, for which purpose 200 additional guns were placed on board, to demand the cession of the surrounding territory, to conciliate the Zamindars, to establish a mint, and to enter into a treaty with the ruler of Arakan. But the fleet was dispersed during the voyage, and several of the vessels, instead of steering for Chittagong, entered the Hooghly, and being joined by the Madras troops, anchored off the Company's factory.
The arrival of so formidable an expedition alarmed Shaista Khan, and he offered to compromise his differences with the English; but an unforeseen event brought the negotiation to an abrupt close. Three English soldiers, strolling through the marketplace of Hooghly, quarrelled with Mughal officials, and were severely beaten. After that the English admiral opened fire on the town and burnt down 500 houses.
In 1686, new negotiations started in Chuttanutty which the Mughals prolonged till their troops could be assembled to attack the English encampment, and English commander Job Charnock retired with his soldiers and establishments to the island of Ingelee, at the mouth of the Hooghly River. It was a low and deadly swamp, covered with long grass, without any fresh water. In three months one half of the English troops had died from disease.
In 1688, an English fleet was employed for blocking the Mughal harbours in the Arabian Sea on the western coast of India and ships with pilgrims to Mecca were captured. After that Emperor Aurangzeb Alamgir decided to resume negotiations with the English. However, the Company sent out reinforcements commanded by Captain Heath who on his arrival disallowed the treaty then pending and proceeded to Balasore which he bombarded and burnt. He then sailed to Chittagong; but finding the fortifications stronger than he had anticipated, landed at Madras.
After that Emperor Aurangzeb issued orders for the occupation of the British possessions all over the subcontinent, and the confiscation of their property. As a result, possessions of East India Company were reduced to the fortified towns of Madras and Bombay.
In 1689, the strong Mughal fleet from Janjira commanded by the Sidi Yaqub and manned by Mappila from Ethiopian Empire besieged the British fort of Bombay. After a year of resistance, a famine broke out which caused hundreds of deaths, the British surrendered, and in 1690 the company sent envoys to Aurangzeb's court to plea for a pardon and to renew the trade firman. The company's envoys had to prostrate themselves before the emperor, pay a large imperial fine of 1,50,000 rupees, and promise better behavior in the future. Emperor Aurangzeb then ordered Sidi Yaqub to lift the Siege of Bombay and the company subsequently re-established itself in Bombay and set up a new base in Calcutta.