Tipu Sultan

Tipu Sultan (November 1750 – 4 May 1799), also known as the Tiger of Mysore, was the ruler of the Sultanate of Mysore from 1782 to 1799. He was the son of Hyder Ali, at that time an officer in the Mysorean army, and his second wife, Fatima or Fakhr-un-Nissa. He was given a number of honorific titles, and was referred to as Sultan Fateh Ali Khan Shahab, Tipu Saheb, Bahadur Khan Tipu Sultan or Fatih Ali Khan Tipu Sultan Bahadur.

During Tipu's childhood, his father rose to take power in Mysore, and Tipu took over rule of the kingdom upon his father's death in 1782. In addition to his role as ruler, he was a scholar, soldier, and poet. He was a devout Muslim but the majority of his subjects were Hindus. At the request of the French, he built a church, the first in Mysore. He was proficient in many languages. In alliance with the French in their struggle with the British, and in Mysore's struggles with other surrounding powers, both Tipu Sultan and Hyder Ali used their French trained army against the Marathas, Sira, rulers of Malabar, Coorg, Bednur, Carnatic, and Travancore. He won important victories against the British in the Second Anglo-Mysore War, and negotiated the 1784 Treaty of Mangalore with them after his father died the previous year.

He engaged in expansionist attacks against his neighbours, and harshly put down rebellions within his territories, deporting whole populations into confinement in Seringapatam. He remained an implacable enemy of the British, bringing them into renewed conflict with an attack on British-allied Travancore in 1789. In the Third Anglo-Mysore War Tipu was forced into a humiliating peace, losing a number of previously conquered territories, such as Malabar and Mangalore. He sent embassies to foreign states, including the Ottoman Empire and France, in an attempt to rally opposition to the British. In the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War the combined forces of the British East India Company and the Nizam of Hyderabad defeated Tipu and he was killed on 4 May 1799, defending the fort of Seringapatam.

Tipu's treatment of conquered subjects, non-Muslims (such as Hindus) and prisoners of war was controversial. He introduced a number of administrative and military innovations to Mysore (including the expansion of rocket technology), and introduced and promoted a more widespread use of Persian and Urdu languages in southern India.

Although I never supposed that he (Napoleon) possessed, allowing for some difference of education, the liberality of conduct and political views which were sometimes exhibited by old Hyder Ali, yet I did think he might have shown the same resolved and dogged spirit of resolution which induced Tipu Sahib to die manfully upon the breach of his capital city with his sabre clenched in his hand.

—Sir Walter Scott, commenting on the abdication of Napoleon Bonaparte in 1814

Read more about Tipu SultanRuler of Mysore, Leadership, Policy, and Innovations, Legacy

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