Foundation and early modern history

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Foundation and early modern history
Image Courtesy: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bangalore_palace_side_view.jpg

Image Courtesy: Ayush Singh

Modern Bangalore was begun in 1537 by a vassal of the Vijayanagara Empire, Kempe Gowda I, who aligned with the Vijayanagara empire to campaign against Gangaraja (whom he defeated and expelled to Kanchi), and who built a mud-brick fort for the people at the site that would become the central part of modern Bangalore.

Kempe Gowda was restricted by rules made by Achuta Deva Raya, who feared the potential power of Kempe Gowda and did not allow a formidable stone fort. Kempe Gowda referred to the new town as his “gandubhūmi” or “Land of Heroes”. Within the fort, the town was divided into smaller divisions—each called a “pete”. The town had two main streets—Chikkapeté Street, which ran east–west, and Doddapeté Street, which ran north–south.

Their intersection formed the Doddapeté Square—the heart of Bangalore. Kempe Gowda I’s successor, Kempe Gowda II, built four towers that marked Bangalore’s boundary. During the Vijayanagara rule, many saints and poets referred to Bangalore as “Devarāyanagara” and “Kalyānapura” or “Kalyānapuri” (“Auspicious City”).

After the fall of the Vijayanagara Empire in 1565 in the Battle of Talikota, Bangalore’s rule changed hands several times. Kempe Gowda declared independence, then in 1638, a large Adil Shahi Bijapur army led by Ranadulla Khan and accompanied by his second in command Shāhji Bhōnslé defeated Kempe Gowda III, and Bangalore was given to Shāhji as a jagir (feudal estate).

In 1687, the Mughal general Kasim Khan, under orders from Aurangzeb, defeated Ekoji I, son of Shāhji, and sold Bangalore to Chikkadevaraja Wodeyar (1673–1704), the then ruler of the Kingdom of Mysore for three lakh rupees. After the death of Krishnaraja Wodeyar II in 1759, Hyder Ali, Commander-in-Chief of the Mysore Army, proclaimed himself the de facto ruler of the Kingdom of Mysore. Hyder Ali is credited with building the Delhi and Mysore gates at the northern and southern ends of the city in 1760. 

The kingdom later passed to Hyder Ali’s son Tipu Sultan. Hyder and Tipu contributed towards the beautification of the city by building Lal Bagh Botanical Gardens in 1760. Under them, Bangalore developed into a commercial and military centre of strategic importance.   

The Bangalore fort was captured by the British armies under Lord Cornwallis on 21 March 1791 during the Third Anglo-Mysore War and formed a centre for British resistance against Tipu Sultan. Following Tipu’s death in the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War (1799), the British returned administrative control of the Bangalore “pētē” to the Maharaja of Mysore and was incorporated into the Princely State of Mysore, which existed as a nominally sovereign entity of the British Raj. The old city (“pētē”) developed in the dominions of the Maharaja of Mysore.

The Residency of Mysore State was first established in Mysore City in 1799 and later shifted to Bangalore in 1804. It was abolished in 1843 only to be revived in 1881 at Bangalore and to be closed down permanently in 1947, with Indian independence. The British found Bangalore to be a pleasant and appropriate place to station their garrison and therefore moved their cantonment to Bangalore from Seringapatam in 1809 near Ulsoor, about 6 kilometres (4 mi) north-east of the city. A town grew up around the cantonment, by absorbing several villages in the area.

The new centre had its own municipal and administrative apparatus, though technically it was a British enclave within the territory of the Wodeyar Kings of the Princely State of Mysore. Two important developments which contributed to the rapid growth of the city, include the introduction of telegraph connections to all major Indian cities in 1853 and a rail connection to Madras, in 1864.