Drawings of Trees and Plants on the Malabar Coast
Scope and Contents
- 18th century
Language of Materials
Conditions Governing Access
Biographical / Historical
The defeat of the Portuguese in India by the East India Company in 1612 had won it trading concessions from the Mughal Empire. It then acted as an agent of British imperialism in India from the early 18th century to the mid-19th century.
While in his mid-teens, in 1780, Alexander Walker (born 12 May 1764) was appointed as a cadet in the service of the East India Company. In 1782 he became an ensign and in the same year took part in campaigns against the forts of Haidar Ali Khan (also spelled Hayder Ali, the father of Tipu Sahib, or Tippoo) on the Malabar Coast. Walker was also present at Mangalore during the siege by Tipu and its subsequent surrender in January 1784. In 1788, after a period in enemy hands, and after taking part in an expedition to the north-west coast of America undertaken by the Bombay government, he was made a lieutenant and was sent with the expedition to relieve the Rajah of Travancore in 1790. In 1791, he was an adjutant.
On the conclusion of this stage of the war against Tipu, a commission was nominated to regulate the affairs of Malabar, and Walker was appointed as an assistant. On the arrival in Malabar of General James Stuart (d. 1793), commander-in-chief of the army in Bombay, he became his military secretary. In 1797, Walker was made captain, and the same year he became quartermaster-general of the Bombay army with the rank of major. In 1799, he took part in the last war against Tipu and was present at the fighting at Seedaseer and at the siege of Seringapatam (also spelled Srirangapatan, and also known as Shrirangapattana) during which Tipu Sahib was killed.
In 1800, Walker was sent to the Mahratta states with the intention of pacifying and reforming the region and the Mahratta confederacy. Discontent in Baroda culminated in the insurrection of Mulhar Rao in 1801, though this was put down by 1802. In June 1803, Walker was appointed political resident at Baroda and he succeeded in establishing an orderly administration there. His career continued in India, and he attained the rank of lieutenant-general in 1808. In 1810 he returned to Britain, doubtless to his estate of Bowland in Edinburgh and Selkirk, and he retired from service in 1812. Ten years later in 1822 he was called back from his retirement to the government of St. Helena which was under the administration of the East India Company. There he had the rank of brigadier-general. While in St. Helena, he improved the island's agriculture and horticulture. Brigadier-General Alexander Walker died in Edinburgh on 5 March 1831.
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Immediate Source of Acquisition
- Drawings of Trees and Plants on the Malabar Coast