George Thomas (soldier)

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George Thomas (c. 1756 in Roscrea, Tipperary – 22 August 1802 in Berhampur, Odisha, India) was an Irish mercenary and later a Raja who was active in 18th-century India. From 1798 to 1801, he ruled a small kingdom in India, which he carved out of Hisar and Rohtak districts of Haryana.

Biography[edit]

His father was a poor Catholic tenant farmer near Roscrea who died when George was a child. Originally forced to press-gang at Youghal, where he worked as a labourer on the docks, Thomas deserted from the British Navy at the age of 25 in Madras in 1781. Still illiterate at the age of 32, he led a group of Pindaris north to Delhi by 1787, where he took service under Begum Samru of Sardhana. Supplanted in her favour by a Frenchman, he transferred his allegiance to Appa Rao, a Mahratta chieftain.[1] He carved out an independent kingdom in the districts of Rohtak and Hisar and made Hansi as his capital.[2] During his short period of rule, he established a mint in Hansi and released rupees of his own kingdom. His area of control included area from Ghaggar river in the north to Beri in south and from Meham in the east to Bhadra in west. He rebuilt the Asigarh Fort at Hansi, which was in ruined state and built defensive walls and fortifications.[2] He divided his area of control into 14 paraganas.[2]

Between 1798 - 1801, he built Jahaj Kothi and Jahaj Pul at Hisar, Haryana which was his residence, which was also used by James Skinner after George's defeat. He ruled the area independently up to 1801, when he was driven out by Sikh-Maratha-French confederacy.[2] He was finally defeated and captured by Daulat Rao Sindhia's army under General Pierre Cuillier-Perron. He died on his way down the Ganges river on 22 August 1802.[1]

Areas under the East India company's control, 1765-1805

Legacy[edit]

The Jahaj Kothi Museum and Jahaj Pul suburb in Hisar of Haryana state in India are named after him.[2][3]

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Hennessy, MN "George Thomas - the Rajah from Tipperary", London, Sidgwick and Jackson, 1971. ISBN 0-283-48492-6
  • "George Thomas - the Rajah from Tipperary", The Calcutta Review, No. CXL (1880) (reprint of H. G. Keene, George Thomas – An episode from the Great Anarchy)
  • Bidwell, Shelford, Swords for hire: European Mercenaries in Eighteenth Century India (1971). John Murray.
  • Haefs, Gisbert, Raja (2000), btb Verlag, a historical novel in German

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Chisholm 1911.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Haryana District Gazetteers" (PDF). Gazetteer of India, Haryana. Haryana Gazetteers organisation, Revenue Department, Haryana. Retrieved 8 August 2015. 
  3. ^ "Hisar jano" (PDF). Jambh Shakti Trust. Retrieved 23 May 2012. [permanent dead link]
Attribution

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Thomas, George". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. ; Endnotes:

  • Francklin, Military Memoirs of Mr George Thomas (1803)
  • Compton, Military Adventurers of Hindustan (1892).