Search for the name, locality, period or a feature of a locality. You'll then be taken to a map showing results.

Mr Robert Clive

Robert Clive, born on September 29, 1725, at Styche Hall in Shropshire, England, was a British military officer and colonial administrator known for his pivotal role in securing British control over India. His life was marked by remarkable military achievements, political acumen, and controversial actions in the context of British imperialism.

Clive's career took shape in the service of the British East India Company (EIC). He arrived in India in 1744 and quickly demonstrated his leadership skills and tactical brilliance during conflicts, including the Siege of Arcot (1751), the Battle of Calcutta (1757), and the Battle of Plassey (1757). Notably, in the Battle of Plassey in 1757, he decisively defeated the Nawab of Bengal, Siraj-ud-Daulah, with a smaller force, significantly strengthening the EIC's influence in Bengal.

This victory at Plassey, often criticized for alleged manipulation and betrayal of local allies, allowed Clive to consolidate British control over Bengal, a region known for its economic significance within the Indian subcontinent.

He returned to England in 1760 and stayed for five years, investing some of his new fortune in the rebuilding of Styche Hall between 1760 and 1764. In 1765 he returned to India, and had great bearing on the establishment of British political control, and did considerable work in reforming governmental administration in the colony.

His subsequent tenure as the Governor of Bengal from 1757 to 1760 and from 1765 to 1767 saw substantial reforms in administration and taxation. Clive implemented changes aimed at stabilizing the Company's rule and maximizing revenues, but some of his policies, including the dual administration system, faced criticism for favoring British interests over local governance.

Returning to England, Clive faced intense scrutiny and parliamentary investigations due to allegations of corruption and misuse of power during his time in India. However, he defended his actions eloquently, and while facing criticism, he was not found guilty of significant wrongdoing.

In 1769, he acquired the house and gardens at Claremont, near Esher, Surrey, and commissioned Capability Brown to remodel the garden and rebuild the house.

Despite the controversies, Clive remained influential in British politics and continued his service to the EIC. He was re-elected to Parliament multiple times and held various public offices.

Unfortunately, Robert Clive battled personal demons throughout his life, experiencing mental health issues and facing immense pressure and criticism for his actions in India. He succumbed to these struggles and took his own life on November 22, 1774, in London, at the age of 49.

Clive's legacy is complex. He is remembered for expanding British influence in India, paving the way for the eventual British Raj, but also criticized for the methods employed to achieve these goals, which led to exploitation and suffering among the indigenous population.


  1. Bayly, C. A. (1998). "Indian Society and the Making of the British Empire."
  2. Marshall, P. J. (1998). "The Making and Unmaking of Empires: Britain, India, and America c.1750-1783."
  3. Robins, N. A. (1979). "Clive of India."

Associated Places