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Anglo Maratha Wars

Updated on February 7, 2018

The British and Marathas fought three wars from 1775 to 1818. The British conquest of Marathas was completed with the final battle eventually. The glory of Marathas has come to an end in the year 1761 with the third battle of Panipat in between Marathas and Afghans. The fruits of the Victory were enjoyed by the British.

After the battle with Afghans, the Marathas again became powerful with the advent of Madava Rao I as its ruler. He revived the glory of Marathas. He fought several battles and was successful everywhere. Hyder Ali was defeated. Nizam was defeated and Jats were defeated too. He defeated Rajputs also. Madavo Rao I died at the age of 27 years.

In 1772, Narayana Rao came to the power. He faced opposition from Raghunatha Rao. Narayana Rao was expelled from Poona and was assassinated in 1773. Subsequently Raghunatha Rao was expelled from the country and Modhava Rao II was brought to the power in 1773. Raghunatha Rao created conflicts between the British and Marathas and finally that lead to the Anglo- Maratha wars.

In 1755, Raghunatha Rao concluded a treaty with the British. It was concluded at Surat with the following provisions;

  • The English East India Company shall give its support to Raghunatha Rao to capture the throne of Maratha.
  • Raghunatha Rao shall bear the entire cost of the war.
  • Salsethy and Bassein shall be ceded to the British after Raghunatha Rao captures power.

Three Anglo Maratha Wars

  • Anglo Maratha War I - 1777 to 1783.

  • Anglo Maratha War II - 1803 to 1806.

  • Anglo Maratha War III - 1817 to 1818.

Anglo Maratha War I

It was the immediate effect of the 1755 treaty concluded in between the British and Raghunatha Rao. The British troops were lead by Warren Hastings. A series of Battle were fought from 1777 to 1783. Initially Marathas were victorious against the British. However, ultimately the British emerged victorious.

Mahadaji Sindhia of Marathas concluded the treaty of Salabe with the British in the year 1783. The treaty was to maintain Status quo. The treaty also includes the provisions; Restitution of conquered territories and exchange of prisoners.

Anglo Maratha War II

It was fought from 1803 to 1806. Son of Raghunatha Rao, Baji Rao II came to the power in 1796. In 1802, Baji Rao II was into a conflict with Yashwanth Rao. A conspiracy was done by Baji Rao II and Yaswantha Rao`s brother was assassinated subsequently Yaswantha Rao in retaliation captured Poona and expelled Baji Rao.

Baji Rao II approached the British for help and concluded a treaty with them at Bassein in December 1802. The provisions of the treaty of Bassein were as follows;

  • The treaty was a kind of subsidiary Alliance. British troops were going to station at Poona.
  • The entire cost of the war shall be paid by Baji Rao. He ceded the territories in Gujrat, Tungabadra region, Narmada – Tapti region to the British, which earned him an income of 26 lakhs.
  • Surat was surrendered by the Baji Rao.
  • Marathas shall not collect chanth from Nizam territories. (Chanth was a source of revenue to Marathas, it was 25%).
  • Marathas shall not allow any other European powers into their territories except British.
  • No wars shall be fought and no treaties shall be made, the external affairs of the province shall be surrendered to the British.
  • A British Resident will reside in the Headquarters, Poona.

As the treaty was concluded, the British helped Baji Rao. In 1803, Baji Rao captured the power at Poona.

Lord Wellesly in his letter to British authorities in 1804 stated the following;

β€œIt’s a very favorable opportunity for establishing in the most complete manner the interest of the British power in the Maratha Empire.”

The consequences of the treaty of Bassein lead to the Anglo-Maratha War II. Through the treaty, the British became powerful in Deccan. The British resident in Poona involved in all the matters of the Marathas. Huge revenue was drained from the Maratha Kingdom.

All the pressures over the Marathas turned into a revolt and second Anglo Maratha war was fought. All the Marathas were suppressed except the Holkars. Later, a treaty was concluded with Holkars at Raighat. All the other Maratha states signed the subsidiary Alliance.

Anglo Maratha War III

There was a conflict in Poona in between the British and the Marathas. The British Resident in Poona demanded the Marathas to surrender their Prime Minister to them. In consequence, Baji Rao attacked the residences of the British in poona and this ultimately lead to the third Anglo- Maratha War. The British aimed to suppress all the Marathas and mainly pindaris (a bandit community under the leadership of Wasil Khan and others).

In 1818, the entire Maratha kingdom was annexed by the British. Peshwa became a Pensioner, he was sent to Bithur near Kanpur. A small state Satara was created in the same year and it was given to a distant relative of Shivaji.


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