Mysorean invasion

After the disintegration of the Vijayanagara Empire, the Wodeyar Dynasty of Mysore became a prominent kingdom with Srirangapatanam as its capital. The last King of the dynasty, Krishna Raya, was overthrown by Hyder Ali Khan, his army chief who was stationed in Dindigal. Hyder imprisoned the Royal Family members in the Capital and declared himself, the Sultan of Mysore. Hyder Ali was a Muslim fanatic and had expansionist designs. He was then, waiting for an opportunity to invade Malabar.

The Zamorin had annexed Palghat in 1756-57. The Raja of Palghat invited Hyder Ali Khan to help recover his lost possessions. However, the Zamorin settled the issue temporarily, by paying a large sum as indemnity to Hyder Ali Khan.

In 1766, Hyder Ali Khan occupied North Malabar. North Malabar consisted of small kingdoms belonging to the Kottayam Pazhassi Raja, the Kolathiri Chirakkal Raja and the Kadathanad Raja. The Zamorin dominated South Malabar. Under the Kolathiri Raja was a Muslim ruler, known as Ali Raja, who belonged to the Arackal Muslim Family. This family, though of the Islamic faith, followed matrilineal traditions. Ali Raja collaborated with Hyder and made the task of taking control over initially, the North and eventually the South, Malabar, relatively easy. The Muslim atrocities committed under Hyder Ali Khan have been documented in a diary kept by an officer of the Mysore army. The eleventh and only surviving son of Tippu Sultan, Prince Ghulam Mohammed is said to have edited the diary. [Ref : Tippu Sultan, As Known In Kerala - Ravi Varma.]

Although, initially, Hyder showed some sympathy towards Cochin, in due course, Cochin was forced to become a tributary of Mysore. The Dutch in Cochin tried to negotiate with Hyder but no pragmatic policy was developed and the Dutch remained uninvolved for the remainder of their time in Malabar. Commensurate details have been provided by Achyutha Menon in his authoritative book, Cochin State Manual. For brevity’s sake, I go back to the book and V.K.R.Menon’s summation : 'Tippu Sultan succeeded his father in December 1782. Tippu’s whole ambition was to invade and conquer Travancore, which was where, many minor chieftains had, by that time, fled to avoid proselytization at the hands of the bigoted invader. Travancore played a noble role and gave free asylum to them, as well as, thousands of other refugees. During that period, Travancore stood out as the only bulwark against the complete annihilation of the Hindu Raj on the West Coast. Tippu turned hostile to Cochin when it became clear that the latter would not join forces with him against Travancore. Tippu left his monsoon quarters at Coimbatore in October 1789 and entered Cochin territory. His slow march at the head of 30,000 infantry and 5,000 cavalry with 20 field guns was a memorable event in the history of Cochin. On the way, he camped for a while at Trichur, making the famous Vadakkunnathan Temple, his army quarters. After a historic defense, 'the Travancore lines' was breached and Tippu advanced as far as Alwaye on the banks of the Periyar River. The burst of the monsoons stopped Tippu’s immediate progress. Then, he had to hasten back to Mysore because of the declaration of war by the British. Tippu was not destined to return to Kerala again. Cochin backed away from it's allegiance to the Mysore Ruler, and on the 6th of January, 1791, the first treaty between Cochin and the Honourable East India Company was signed.'   In 1795, Napoleon conquered Holland. The chief Stratholder, Prince Orange, went into exile in Britain. By proclamation, he decreed the British to take possession of all the Dutch holdings to avoid French control. Though the Dutch Governor in Cochin initially refused to surrender, after a short siege, the Dutch surrendered on the 19th of October, 1795.