Subsidiary alliance facts for kids

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Subsidiary Alliance is a system of ruling a dominated nation. Lord Richard Wellesley introduced it in India in the 19th century. At that time, there were local rulers in India. The system worked as follows: The (ruling) British would enter into a contract with a local ruler. This ruler had to accept many conditions; among them was that he would only deal with the British, and no other European forces, that he must allow British forces in the territory he ruled, and that he would not declare war without asking the British first.

The main principles of a subsidiary alliance were:

  • An Indian ruler entering into a subsidiary alliance with the British had to accept British forces in his  territory and also agreed to pay for their maintenance.
  • The ruler would accept a British people in his state.
  • Such a ruler would not form an alliance with any  other power, nor would he declare war against any power without the permission of the British.
  • The ruler would not employ any Europeans other than the British, and if he were already doing so, he would dismiss them.
  • In case of a conflict with any other state, the British would decide what to do, and he would accept their solution.
  • The ruler would acknowledge the East India Company as the power in India.
  • In return for the ruler accepting its conditions, the Company undertook to protect the state from external dangers and internal disorders.
  • If the Indian rulers failed to make the payments required by the alliance, then part of their territory was to be taken away as a penalty.

Under this doctrine, Indian rulers under British protection surrendered the control of their foreign affairs to the British. Most disbanded their native armies, instead maintaining British troops within their states to protect them from attack. As British power grew, in most parts of India this became increasingly unlikely.

  • The system also allowed the British to maintain large army at expenses of local ruler

Subsidiary alliance Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.