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HYDRA

government, and to enrol some thirty sailors of different European nations as gunners, and is thus credited with having been “the first Indian who formed a corps of sepoys armed with firelocks and bayonets, and who had a train of artillery served by Europeans.” At the siege of Devanhalli (1749) Hyder’s services attracted the attention of Nanjiraj, the minister of the raja of Mysore, and he at once received an independent command; within the next twelve years his energy and ability had made him completely master of minister and raja alike, and in everything but in name he was ruler of the kingdom. In 1763 the conquest of Kanara gave him possession of the treasures of Bednor, which he resolved to make the most splendid capital in India, under his own name, thenceforth changed from Hyder Naik into Hyder Ali Khan Bahadur; and in 1765 he retrieved previous defeat at the hands of the Mahrattas by the destruction of the Nairs or military caste of the Malabar coast, and the conquest of Calicut. Hyder Ali now began to occupy the serious attention of the Madras government, which in 1766 entered into an agreement with the nizam to furnish him with troops to be used against the common foe. But hardly had this alliance been formed when a secret arrangement was come to between the two Indian powers, the result of which was that Colonel Smith’s small force was met with a united army of 80,000 men and 100 guns. British dash and sepoy fidelity, however, prevailed, first in the battle of Chengam (September 3rd, 1767), and again still more remarkably in that of Tiruvannamalai (Trinomalai). On the loss of his recently made fleet and forts on the western coast, Hyder Ali now offered overtures for peace; on the rejection of these, bringing all his resources and strategy into play, he forced Colonel Smith to raise the siege of Bangalore, and brought his army within 5 m. of Madras. The result was the treaty of April 1769, providing for the mutual restitution of all conquests, and for mutual aid and alliance in defensive war; it was followed by a commercial treaty in 1770 with the authorities of Bombay. Under these arrangements Hyder Ali, when defeated by the Mahrattas in 1772, claimed British assistance, but in vain; this breach of faith stung him to fury, and thenceforward he and his son did not cease to thirst for vengeance. His time came when in 1778 the British, on the declaration of war with France, resolved to drive the French out of India. The capture of Mahé on the coast of Malabar in 1779, followed by the annexation of lands belonging to a dependent of his own, gave him the needed pretext. Again master of all that the Mahrattas had taken from him, and with empire extended to the Kistna, he descended through the passes of the Ghats amid burning villages, reaching Conjeeveram, only 45 m. from Madras, unopposed. Not till the smoke was seen from St Thomas’s Mount, where Sir Hector Munro commanded some 5200 troops, was any movement made; then, however, the British general sought to effect a junction with a smaller body under Colonel Baillie recalled from Guntur. The incapacity of these officers, notwithstanding the splendid courage of their men, resulted in the total destruction of Baillie’s force of 2800 (September the 10th, 1780). Warren Hastings sent from Bengal Sir Eyre Coote, who, though repulsed at Chidambaram, defeated Hyder thrice successively in the battles of Porto Novo, Pollilur and Sholingarh, while Tippoo was forced to raise the siege of Wandiwash, and Vellore was provisioned. On the arrival of Lord Macartney as governor of Madras, the British fleet captured Negapatam, and forced Hyder Ali to confess that he could never ruin a power which had command of the sea. He had sent his son Tippoo to the west coast, to seek the assistance of the French fleet, when his death took place suddenly at Chittur in December 1782.

See L. B. Bowring, Haidar Ali and Tipu Sultan, “Rulers of India” series (1893). For the personal character and administration of Hyder Ali see the History of Hyder Naik, written by Mir Hussein Ali Khan Kirmani (translated from the Persian by Colonel Miles, and published by the Oriental Translation Fund), and the curious work written by M. Le Maître de La Tour, commandant of his artillery (Histoire d’Hayder-Ali Khan, Paris, 1783). For the whole life and times see Wilks, Historical Sketches of the South of India (1810–1817); Aitchison’s Treaties, vol. v. (2nd ed., 1876); and Pearson, Memoirs of Schwartz (1834).


HYDRA (or Sidra, Nidra, Idero, &c.; anc. Hydrea), an island of Greece, lying about 4 m. off the S.E. coast of Argolis in the Peloponnesus, and forming along with the neighbouring island of Dokos (Dhoko) the Bay of Hydra. Pop. about 6200. The greatest length from south-west to north-east is about 11 m., and the area is about 21 sq. m.; but it is little better than a rocky and treeless ridge with hardly a patch or two of arable soil. Hence the epigram of Antonios Kriezes to the queen of Greece: “The island produces prickly pears in abundance, splendid sea captains and excellent prime ministers.” The highest point, Mount Ere, so called (according to Miaoules) from the Albanian word for wind, is 1958 ft. high. The next in importance is known as the Prophet Elias, from the large convent of that name on its summit. It was there that the patriot Theodorus Kolokotrones was imprisoned, and a large pine tree is still called after him. The fact that in former times the island was richly clad with woods is indicated by the name still employed by the Turks, Tchamliza, the place of pines; but it is only in some favoured spots that a few trees are now to be found. Tradition also has it that it was once a well-watered island (hence the designation Hydrea), but the inhabitants are now wholly dependent on the rain supply, and they have sometimes had to bring water from the mainland. This lack of fountains is probably to be ascribed in part to the effect of earthquakes, which are not infrequent; that of 1769 continued for six whole days. Hydra, the chief town, is built near the middle of the northern coast, on a very irregular site, consisting of three hills and the intervening ravines. From the sea its white and handsome houses present a picturesque appearance, and its streets though narrow are clean and attractive. Besides the principal harbour, round which the town is built, there are three other ports on the north coast—Mandraki, Molo, Panagia, but none of them is sufficiently sheltered. Almost all the population of the island is collected in the chief town, which is the seat of a bishop, and has a local court, numerous churches and a high school. Cotton and silk weaving, tanning and shipbuilding are carried on, and there is a fairly active trade.

Hydra was of no importance in ancient times. The only fact in its history is that the people of Hermione (a city on the neighbouring mainland now known by the common name of Kastri) surrendered it to Samian refugees, and that from these the people of Troezen received it in trust. It appears to be completely ignored by the Byzantine chroniclers. In 1580 it was chosen as a refuge by a body of Albanians from Kokkinyas in Troezenia; and other emigrants followed in 1590, 1628, 1635, 1640, &c. At the close of the 17th century the Hydriotes took part in the reviving commerce of the Peloponnesus; and in course of time they extended their range. About 1716 they began to build sakturia (of from 10 to 15 tons burden), and to visit the islands of the Aegean; not long after they introduced the latinadika (40–50 tons), and sailed as far as Alexandria, Constantinople, Trieste and Venice; and by and by they ventured to France and even America. From the grain trade of south Russia more especially they derived great wealth. In 1813 there were about 22,000 people in the island, and of these 10,000 were seafarers. At the time of the outbreak of the war of Greek independence the total population was 28,190, of whom 16,460 were natives and the rest foreigners. One of their chief families, the Konduriotti, was worth £2,000,000. Into the struggle the Hydriotes flung themselves with rare enthusiasm and devotion, and the final deliverance of Greece was mainly due to the service rendered by their fleets.

See Pouqueville, Voy. de la Grèce, vol. vi.; Antonios Miaoules, Ὑπόμνημα περὶ τῆς νήσου Ὕδρας (Munich, 1834); Id. Συνοπτικὴ ἱστορία τῶν ναυμαχιῶν διὰ τῶν πλοίων τῶν τρίων νήσων, Ὕδρας, Πέτσων καὶ Ψαρῶν (Nauplia, 1833); Id. Ἱστορία τῆς νήσου Ὕδρας (Athens, 1874); G. D. Kriezes, Ἱστρία τῆς νήσου Ὕδρας (Patras, 1860).


HYDRA (watersnake), in Greek legend, the offspring of Typhon and Echidna, a gigantic monster with nine heads (the number is variously given), the centre one being immortal. Its haunt was a hill beneath a plane tree near the river Amymone, in the marshes of Lerna by Argos. The destruction of this Lernaean