First Anglo-Maratha War
|First Anglo-Maratha War|
|Part of the Anglo-Maratha Wars|
A mural depicting the British surrender during the First Anglo-Maratha War. The mural is a part of the Victory Memorial (Vijay Stambh) located at Vadgaon Maval (Off NH-4, Malinagar, Vadgaon Maval, Pune)
|Commanders and leaders|
|Casualties and losses|
|~34,000 killed or wounded||~26,000 killed or wounded|
The First Anglo-Maratha War (1775–1782) was the first of three Anglo-Maratha wars fought between the British East India Company and Maratha Empire in India. The war began with the Treaty of Surat and ended with the Treaty of Salbai.
After the death of Madhavrao Peshwa in 1772, his brother Narayanrao became Peshwa of the Maratha Empire. Narayan Rao (10 August 1755 – 30 August 1773) was the fifth Peshwa or ruler of the Maratha Empire from November 1772 until his murder by his palace guards in August 1773. Narayanrao's widow, Gangabai, gave birth to a posthumous son, who was legal heir to the throne. The newborn infant was named 'Sawai' Madhavrao (Sawai means "One and a Quarter"). Twelve Maratha chiefs, led by Nana Phadnavis directed an effort to name the infant as the new Peshwa and rule under him as regents.
Raghunathrao, unwilling to give up his position of power, sought help from the British at Bombay and signed the Treaty of Surat on 6 March 1775. According to the treaty, Raghunathrao ceded the territories of Salsette and Bassein to the British, along with part of the revenues from Surat and Bharuch districts. In return, the British promised to provide Raghunathrao with 2,500 soldiers.
The British Calcutta Council condemned the Treaty of Surat, sending Colonel Upton to Pune to annul it and make a new treaty with the regency. The Treaty of Purandhar (1 March 1776) annulled that of Surat, Raghunathrao was pensioned and his cause abandoned, but the revenues of Salsette and Broach districts were retained by the British. The Bombay government rejected this new treaty and gave refuge to Raghunathrao. In 1777, Nana Phadnavis violated his treaty with the Calcutta Council by granting the French a port on West coast. The English retaliated by sending a force towards Pune.
Initial Stage and Treaty of Purandar (1775 - 1776)
British troops under the command of Colonel Keating, left Surat on March 15 1775 for Pune. But they were checked by Haripant Phadke at Adas and were totally defeated on May 18, 1775.:11 Casualties for Keating's force, accompanied by Raghunathrao, included 96 killed. The Marathas casualties in the Battle of Adas (Gujarat) included 150 killed.:53-56
Warren Hastings estimated that direct actions against Pune would be detrimental. Therefore, the Supreme Council of Bengal condemned the Treaty of Surat, sending Colonel Upton to Pune to annul it and make a new treaty with the regency. An agreement between Upton and the ministers of Pune called Treaty of Purandar was signed on March 1, 1776.
Following a treaty between France and the Poona Government in 1776, the Bombay Government decided to invade and reinstate Raghoba. They sent a force under Col. Egerton reached Khopoli and made its way through the Western Ghats at Bhor Ghat and onwards toward Karla, which was reached on 4 Jan. 1779 while under Maratha attacks. Finally the British were forced to retreat back to Wadgaon, but were soon surrounded. The British were forced to sign the Treaty of Wadgaon on 16 Jan. 1779, a victory for the Marathas.:56–58
Reinforcements from northern India, commanded by Colonel (later General) Thomas Wyndham Goddard, arrived too late to save the Bombay force. The British Governor-General in Bengal, Warren Hastings, rejected the treaty on the grounds that the Bombay officials had no legal power to sign it, and ordered Goddard to secure British interests in the area.
Goddard with 6,000 troops stormed Bhadra Fort and captured Ahmedabad on February 15, 1779. There was a garrison of 6,000 Arab and Sindhi infantry and 2,000 horses. Losses in the fight totalled 108, including two British. Goddard also captured Bassein on December 11, 1780. Another Bengal detachment led by Captain Popham captured Gwalior and assisted by the Rana of Gohad, captured Gwalior on August 4, 1780, before Mahadji Scindia could make preparations. Skirmishes took place between Mahadji Scindia and General Goddard in Gujarat, but indecisively. Hastings sent yet another force to harass Mahadji Shinde, commanded by Major Camac.
Central India and the Deccan
In February 1781 the British beat Shinde to the town of Sipri, but every move they made after that was shadowed by his much larger army, and their supplies were cut off, until they made a desperate night raid in late March, capturing not only supplies, but even guns and elephants. Thereafter, the military threat from Shinde's forces to the British was much reduced.
Colonel Murre arrived with fresh forces in April, 1781 to assist Popham and Camac. After his defeat at Sipri, Mahadji Shinde got alarmed. Finally, he decisively crushed the forces of Murre on July 1, 1781. Mahadji seemed to be too powerful to be defeated now.
Treaty of Salbai
This treaty, known as the Treaty of Salbai, was signed on 17 May 1782, and was ratified by Hastings in June 1782 and by Nana Phadnavis in February 1783. The treaty ended the First Anglo-Maratha War.:63 (Salbai is located 32 kilometres (20 mi) south-east to Gwalior city in Gwalior district, MP)
In popular culture
The 2013 Hollywood film titled The Lovers is based on the backdrop of this war.
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