Young World

Peshwa defeated

Fight for power: Marathas vs. the English.  

The three wars between the British East India Company and the Maratha Empire are referred to as the great Maratha Wars or the Anglo-Maratha Wars. The British wanted control of the southern territories dominated by Maratha chieftains. The three wars covered a span of almost four decades. On June 3, 1818, the East India Company emerged victorious and the death knell of the Maratha Empire was sounded.

The Third Anglo-Maratha War (1817-1818) came about because of conflict between the British and the Pindaris. The British suspected that the Marathas were providing help to the Pindaris, who were mercenaries fighting for the Marathas.

Strict decisions

In a bid to increase revenue, Peshwa Baji Rao introduced certain stringent measures. The British accused him of maladministration. There was a lot of interference from the British Residents in the internal affairs, particularly regarding succession. Soon, the real intention of the British was revealed. The Marathas decided to go to war to retain their freedom. The British had posted large number of troops near the Maratha kingdom, supposedly to suppress the Pindaris.

In 1813, Lord Hastings, Governor General forced several imposing measures against the Marathas. A year later, the Peshwa tried to form a confederacy of the Maratha chiefs against the English. He roped in the support of the Pathan chief Amir Khan and the Pindaris. The British continued to foist one humiliating treaty after another on the Marathas. Finally, with his patience at an end, the Peshwa sacked and burnt the British Residency at Poona. British forces were attacked in Khirki too.

Peshwa Baji Rao II’s forces, supported by those of Mudhoji II Bhonsle of Nagpur and Malharrao Holkar III of Indore, rose against the East India Company. Pressure and diplomacy convinced the fourth major Maratha leader, Daulatrao Shinde of Gwalior, to remain neutral even though he lost control of Rajasthan.

British victory resulted in the break up of the Maratha Empire. On June 3, 1818, the Peshwa surrendered and was captured and placed in a small estate at Bithur, near Kanpur. Most of his territory was annexed and became a part of the Bombay Presidency. All the Maratha powers had surrendered.

Under the auspices of the British East India Company, the British now had control of almost all of present day India, south of the Sutlej. The Peshwa’s territories were absorbed into the Bombay Presidency and the territories seized from the Pindaris became the Central Provinces of British India.

Related Topics
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Apr 6, 2021 12:11:57 AM |

Next Story