First Rohilla War

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The First Rohilla War of 1773–1774 was a punitive campaign by Shuja-ud-Daula, Nawab of Awadh, against the Rohillas, Afghan highlanders settled in Rohilkhand, northern India. The Nawab was supported by troops of the British East India Company, in a successful campaign brought about by the Rohillas reneging on a debt to the Nawab.


Having been driven into the mountains by the Marathas, a few years earlier, the Rohillas had appealed for aid to Shuja-ud-Daulah, at that time an ally of the British. He promised to assist them in return for a sum of money; but when the Marathas were driven off the Rohilla chiefs refused to pay. The Nawab then decided to annex their country, and appealed to Warren Hastings for assistance, which was given in return for a sum of forty lakhs of rupees.[1]

Hastings justified his action on the ground that the Rohillas were a danger to the British as uncovering the flank of Awadh.[1]

Course of the war[edit]

The Rohillas under Hafiz Rahmat Ali Khan [2] were defeated by Colonel Alexander Champion on 23 April 1774 at the Battle of Miranpur Katra. The decisive battle, in which Hafiz Rahmat Khan died, caused the Rohillas to flee to the mountains near Loll Dong.[3]


Rohilkhand fell to Awadh, was plundered and occupied. The majority of the Rohillas left. They fled across the Ganges in numbers, to start a guerilla war; or emigrated. A Rohilla state under British protection was set up in Rampur.

There was a Second Rohilla War, in 1794.

Warren Hastings[edit]

The war became a matter of Westminster politics during the Impeachment of Warren Hastings. Charges of destroying a nation were brought against Hastings by Edmund Burke and later Thomas Macaulay.[1]



  1. ^ a b c  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Rohilla". Encyclopædia Britannica. 23 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 461.
  2. ^ Introduction to the Eleven Illustrations of Ghulam Yahya
  3. ^ Miranpur Katra in India

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