What is the importance of the Battle of Plassey?

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estoverl eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Battle of Plassey is generally thought to signify the start of British rule in India. The victory was tainted by accusations that Robert Clive, leader of the forces of the East India Company, coerced and bribed the forces of the Nawab of Bengal to commit treason. These events surrounding his win are said to have left a negative mark on British rule in India ever since. 

The battle lasted only hours and could be labeled more a skirmish than a battle when the length of it is coupled with the amount of treason and surrender involved. The British had few soldiers, some 3,000, compared to the Bengal forces of 40,000. After an initial bout of cannon fire a storm began during which only the British covered their weapons. The Bengals assumed that the British weapons were malfunctioning from the storm as their own were. As they advanced however, the British bombarded them. It was at this point that the Bengal army retreated, surrendered or hid so that when Clive's forces entered, he could easily take over. This led to the establishment of British rule in India.

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Battle of Plassey was important because of the impact it had on who would control India.  Before this battle, the British East India Company, the French, and independent Indian rulers were all vying for control of various parts of the country.  In this battle, the British company (led by Robert Clive, who then became famous as "Clive of India) defeated the French and an independent Indian ruler, the Nawab of Bengal.  This battle gave the British control over much of Bengal and, by extension, helped them to become the dominant colonial power in India.