Tipu Sultan was born in Devanhalli, Karnataka, on
10 December 1750. His parents were Hyder Ali and his second wife, Fatima.
His father had usurped the throne of the royal Wadiyar
family of Mysore in 1761 and had declared himself sultan of Mysore,
completely controlling the kingdom.
Tipu was trained to be a warrior from his
early teens, and he accompanied his father on campaigns against
rivals such as the British East India Company, the Marathas, and the Nizam of Hyderabad.
Tipu was a man of learning and was
proficient in multiple
languages. He was also a proficient war strategist as is evident
from his early victories in battle.
His primary rivals continued to be the British.
He fought several
successful wars against the East India Company, starting in 1766
when he participated in a campaign
at the age of fifteen, accompanying his father.
Another war in 1779 saw Tipu dispatched by Hyder to fight the British
after their capture of the French fort of Mahe, which was under the protection
In 1780, Tipu defeated Colonel Baille of
the East India
Company at the Battle of Pollilur. The following year he seized Chittur from the
British, and in 1782 he defeated Colonel Braithwaite at the Battle of Annagudi,
Tipu was able to force forced the Treaty of Mangalore on the British
in 1784, with the help of the French. The French were also able to convert Tipu's
army into a modern fighting force, equipped with artillery and rockets. To his
enemies, Tipu Sultan was a ruthless foe, but to his loyalists and
subjects he was a benevolent king.
Tipu also introduced a new coinage, a new calendar,
and a new system of
weights and measures based on the French methods. After the death of
his father in 1782, Tipu became sultan of Mysore.
In 1789, Tipu
invaded Travancore, an ally of the British. They had taken
over two forts belonging to the king of Cochin who was a vassal
of Mysore. This final act, which was a defeat, resulted in an alliance
between all of his old rivals; the British, the Marathas,
and the Nizam of Hyderabad, whose collective strength inflicted a
crushing defeat on Tipu. His allies, the French, failed to support
him in his hour of need, distracted as they were by the
pre-Revolutionary crisis at home in the same year.
Tipu's mausoleum is an excellent example of Islamic architecture