Modern India

Anglo Maratha Wars

War With Marathas

First Anglo Maratha War (1775-82)

The internal problems of the Marathas and the growing ambition of the English brought the beginning of the Anglo-Maratha struggle. The primary cause of the first Maratha war was the interference of the English government at Bombay in the internal affairs of the Marathas.Peshwa Madhav Rao died in 1772 and was succeeded by his younger brother Narain Rao.His uncle Raghoba wanted to become the Peshwa and got him murdered. The Maratha chiefs took up the cause of Madhav Rao Narain the son of Narain Rao.Ragobha approached British for help and signed the treaty of Surat hopping to gain the coveted Gaddi with the help of English subsidiary troops. By this treaty he also promised to cede Salsette and Bassein and refrain from entering into alliance with the enemies of the company.

In the war that followed nobody gained any success and two parties realized the futility of the struggle by concluding the Treaty of Salbai (1782). By the Treaty of Salbai, status quo was maintained which gave the British 20 years of peace with the Marathas. The treaty also enabled the British to exert pressure on Mysore with the help of the Marathas in recovering their territories from Haider Ali.

Second Anglo- Maratha War (1803-1806)

Second Anglo- Maratha War (1803-1806) The second Maratha war was fought at the time of Lord Wellesley who wanted the Marathas to accept his Subsidiary Alliance system. The Marathas refused to accept it but were tricked by Wellesley due to their own internal differences. The Treaty of Bassein made conflict with the Marathas inevitable. The main provisions of the treated were the recognition of Peshwa’s claim in Poona acceptance of Subsidiary Alliance by Baji Rao II and relinquishing of all rights of Surat by Baji Rao to the British.

For Marathas Treaty of Bassein was loss of national honor.Holkar and Scindia stopped fighting .Scindia and Bhonsle combined but Holkar and Gaikwad remained aloof.Scindia and Bhonsle were asked by the English to withdraw their troops to the north of the Narmada River but they refused and it led to war. Both Scindia and Peshwar had accepted the sovereignty of the English. British turned their attention towards Holkar but Yashwant Rao Holkar proved more than a match for the British. Wellesley was recalled from India and the Company made peace with the Holkar in January 1806 by the Treaty of Rajghat giving back to the latter the greater part of the territories.

Third Anglo-Maratha War (1817-1818)

Third Anglo-Maratha War (1817-1818) Maratha made a desperate last attempt to regain their independence and prestige in 1817.This led in organizing a united front of the Maratha Chiefs and was taken over by the Peshwa who was uneasy under the rigid control exercised by the British Resident. However once again the Marathas failed to evolve any plan of action. The Peshwa attacked the British Residency at Poona in 1817, Appa Saheb of Nagpur attacked the Residency at Nagpur and Madhav Rao Holkar made preparations for war.

The Maratha confederacy was altogether destroyed so many territories were taken from its various members that they were rendered powerless to do anything against the British. Thus the work was accomplished by Lord Hastings in 1818.Now the British Government became the supreme and paramount authority in India.

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