Modern History

Vellore Mutiny – The First Sepoy Mutiny (Causes, Outbreak & Impact) [Modern Indian History For UPSC] l


The Vellore Mutiny predated the Indian Revolt of 1857 by about 50 years. It erupted on 10th July 1806 in Vellore, present-day Tamil Nadu, and lasted only for a day, but it was brutal and shook the British East India Company. It was the first major mutiny by the Indian sepoys in the East India Company. This article talks about Vellore Mutiny, 1806.

This topic is an important part of the NCERT notes relevant for the IAS aspirants. These notes will also be useful for other competitive exams like banking PO, SSC, state civil services exams and so on.

Download Vellore Mutiny notes PDF from the link provided below.

Vellore Mutiny-1806 (UPSC Notes):- Download PDF Here

Brief Overview of the Vellore Mutiny

The Vellore mutiny on 10 July 1806 was the first instance of a large-scale and violent mutiny by Indian sepoys against the East India Company, predating the Indian Rebellion of 1857 by half a century. The revolt, which took place in the South Indian city of Vellore, lasted one full day, during which mutineers seized the Vellore Fort and killed or wounded many British troops. The mutiny was subdued by cavalry and artillery from Arcot.

Vellore Mutiny Causes

The major causes for the Vellore mutiny are stated below:

  • The English disregard to the religious sensitivities of the Hindu and Muslim Indian sepoys.
  • Sir John Craddock, the Commander-in-Chief of the Madras Army had issued orders prohibiting soldiers from wearing religious marks on their foreheads and also to trim their moustaches and shave off their beards. This offended both Hindu and Muslim soldiers.
  • They were also asked to wear new round hats instead of the traditional headgear that they were used to. This led to suspicion among the sepoys that they were being converted to Christianity.
  • Craddock was acting against warning from the military board not to bring about changes in the military uniform without taking into consideration all required precautions of Indian sensibilities.
  • A few sepoys who had protested against these new orders were taken to Fort St. George and punished severely. They were given heavy flogging.
  • Also present in the Vellore Fort were the wife and children of Tipu Sultan (who was killed in the Battle of Seringapatam in 1799) who were housed in a palace within the fort. Tipu Sultan’s sons also instigated the rebellion.

Course of events of the Vellore Mutiny

  • On 10th July 1806, the sepoys who had gathered killed 14 British officers and 115 Englishmen of the 69th Regiment.
  • The mutiny started during midnight and by dawn, the fort had been captured by them.
  • They raised the flag of the Mysore Sultanate over the fort. They also declared Tipu Sultan’s son Fateh Hyder as the king.
  • But a British officer who had escaped the fort alerted the British force present at Arcot.
  • From Arcot, British troops arrived led by Sir Rollo Gillespie. He was able to quell the rebellion.
  • About 100 Indian soldiers were brought out of the palace where they had sought refuge. They were then ordered to stand against a wall and shot dead.
  • In all, 350 Indian soldiers were killed and 350 wounded.

Significance of Vellore Mutiny

The major impact of the Vellore mutiny are given below:

  • All three Madras regiments involved in the Vellore Mutiny were disbanded.
  • After a trial, sepoys involved in the mutiny were punished by death (blown away from canons, hanging and firing squads) and by penal transportation.
  • John Craddock and other senior British officers responsible for the new dress regulations were recalled to Britain.
  • The new dress regulations were abolished.
  • Flogging for Indian soldiers was abolished.
  • Tipu Sultan’s family were moved to Calcutta.
  • It is believed that the brutal and swift suppressing of the Vellore Mutiny is partly responsible for the Southern sepoys not taking part in the Indian Revolt of 1857.

As per certain theories, The Vellore mutiny has a major similarity with the revolt of 1857. The Revolt of 1857 was aimed at the removal of British rule and re-establishment of Mughal rule under the hierarchy of Bahadur Shah Zafar whereas the Vellore mutiny outbroke to establish the rule of Tipu Sultan successors.

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