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The Imperial Maratha Conquests (c. 1659–1761) were a series of conquests in the Indian subcontinent which led to the building of the Maratha Empire. These conquests were started by Shivaji Maharaj in 1659 from the victory at the Battle of Pratapgad. The conquests ended with the eventual fall of the Maratha empire after the second and the third Anglo-Maratha Wars.

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Maratha Empire in orange (Political Map of South Asia around 1758 AD).


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Shivaji, founder of the Maratha Empire.

After a lifetime of guerrilla warfare with Adilshah of Bijapur and Mughal emperor Aurangzeb, Shivaji founded an independent Hindu Maratha kingdom in 1674 with Raigad as its capital. Shivaji died in 1680, leaving behind a large, but vulnerable kingdom. The Mughals invaded, fighting an unsuccessful War of 27 years from 1681 to 1707. Shahu, a grandson of Shivaji, ruled as emperor until 1749. During his reign, Shahu appointed the first Peshwa as head of the government, under certain conditions. After the death of Shahu, the Peshwas became the de facto leaders of the Empire from 1749 to 1761, while Shivaji's successors continued as nominal rulers from their base in Satara. Covering a large part of the subcontinent, the Maratha Empire kept the British forces at bay during the 18th century, until internal relations between the Peshwas and their sardars (army commanders) deteriorated, provoking its gradual downfall.

The Maratha Empire was at its height in the 18th century under Shahu and the Peshwa Baji Rao I. Losses at the Third Battle of Panipat in 1761 suspended further expansion of the empire in the North-west and reduced the power of the Peshwas. In 1761, after severe losses in the Panipat war, the Peshwas slowly started losing the control of the kingdom. Many military chiefs of the Maratha Empire like Shinde, Holkar, Gaikwad, PantPratinidhi, Bhosale of Nagpur, Pandit of Bhor, Patwardhan, and Newalkar started to work towards their ambition of becoming kings in their respective regions. However, under Madhavrao Peshwa, Maratha authority in North India was restored, 10 years after the battle of Panipat. After the death of Madhavrao, the empire gave way to a loose Confederacy, with political power resting in a 'pentarchy' of five mostly Maratha dynasties: the Peshwas of Pune; the Sindhias (originally "Shindes") of Malwa and Gwalior; the Holkars of Indore; the Bhonsles of Nagpur; and the Gaekwads of Baroda. A rivalry between the Sindhia and Holkar dominated the confederation's affairs into the early 19th century, as did the clashes with the British and the British East India Company in the three Anglo-Maratha Wars. In the Third Anglo-Maratha War, the last Peshwa, Baji Rao II, was defeated by the British in 1818. Most of the former Maratha Empire was absorbed by British India, although some of the Maratha states persisted as quasi-independent princely states until India became independent in 1947.

Conquests of Shivaji

Battle of Pratapgad

The battle of Pratapgad was the first Maratha conquest. Shivaji vanquished Afzal Khan in the battle of Pratapgad which was fought on 30 November 1659. This feat made Shivaji the hero of Maratha folklore and legend. All contemporary powers of the Indian subcontinent were shocked to see the outcome of the battle. Afzal Khan was a fearless and distinguished commander who had even caught hold of Aurangzeb in one siege. The Maratha's victory ride started with this extraordinary victory.

Battle of Kolhapur

The second Maratha victory came on the battle of Kolhapur fought on 28 December 1659. After the demise of Afzal Khan, another army of over 10,000 was sent against Shivaji, commanded by Bijapuri general Rustemjaman. Shivaji with 5000 cavalry attacked near Kolhapur. In a swift movement, Shivaji attacked the centre of the enemy while his wings attacked from the flanks. In a pitched battle,the enemy was crushed and Rustemjaman fled.

Battle of Pavan Khind

Adil Shah sent an Abyssinian general of repute, Siddi Jauhar in 1660. Shivaji took up a position at Panhala fort, near present-day Kolhapur, on the borders of his dominion. The Mughals also sent contingents under the celebrated Shaista Khan, who camped at Pune. Shivaji in a brilliant move decided to break the siege of the fort, so that the enemy would scatter. Then war would be fought on a vast territory with amazing speed. In a rear-guard defense Baji Prabhu Deshpande held the enemy in the battle of Pavan Khind and Shivaji pierced through the enemy, relaunched an attack and won a victory in the battle of Vishalgad. However Panhala was surrendered to Siddi Jauhar.

Conquest of Konkan

An Uzbek general, Kartalab Khan, was sent on a mission to attack and reduce Shivaji's forts in the Konkan on 3 February 1661. He left Pune with 30,000 troops. This time the Mughals did not march openly, since they wanted to surprise Shivaji. But Shivaji took them by surprise at a pass known as 'Umber Khind', near present-day Penn,disambiguation needed and attacked them from all sides. Shivaji himself took the forward position with chosen cavalry. The other three sides were blocked with light infantry. In a movement of light infantry and cavalry, Shivaji prevailed over them. Within four hours the enemy accepted defeat. They surrendered with their baggage and arms. The Mughal army suffered huge casualties. The defeated army was allowed a safe passage. A lady commander Raibagan who fought from the Mughal side was released with honour true to Shivaji's policy towards women.

Sacking of Surat

In the Battle of Surat, Shivaji challenged Mughal Fauzdar of Surat who avoided the battle. Instead of battle, he sent an emissary who tried to assassinate Shivaji. As a result, the town was attacked and put under sack for nearly 3 weeks, in which the Maratha army looted all possible wealth from Mughal and Portuguese trading centers. However, no men or women were molested or taken as slave as was the Maratha practise. The poor were spared.

Battle of Sinhagad

One fort on the outskirts of Pune, Kondana, was still under the control of a Mughal general. On 4 February 1670 Shivaji deputed one of his most senior and trusted generals, Tanaji Malusare, to head a mission to capture Kondana. Tanaji Malusare was already busy with his son's marriage. But for him duty came first, and he chose to go on the mission although Shivaji tried to convince him to attend his son's marriage and then take the mission. In the Battle of Sinhagad, the fort was scaled during the dead of the night, but victory was secured with loss of Tanaji. This battle is quite popular in folklore. When Shivaji learned that he has lost his loyal and trusted friend, he said "Gad ala pan sinh gela", meaning We have won the fort, but lost the Lion.

Battle of Salher

The fort of Salher dominated the route between Surat and the realms of Shivaji. There was a fierce battle between the Marathas and the Mughal army. The Mughals were completely routed. The Marathas also seized their arms and ammunitions, camels, horses and elephants. It was one of the earliest face to face battles fought by Marathas against the Mughals, instead of their famous guerrilla tactics. This proved that Marathas could fight an open battle against larger and better equipped armies like the Mughal army. The decisive Mughal defeat at Salher shook Aurangzeb.[1][2]

Battle of Nesari

Balol Khan was sent by Adil Shah to get rid of Shivaji. So, Shivaji sent Prataprao Gujar (the then Commander-in-chief of the Maratha forces) to take care of him. This was late 1673 or 1674. Bahlol Khan was defeated. But instead of capturing or killing him, Prataprao Gujar simply looted his army and set him free! Shivaji was very angry at this, and forbade Prataprao Gujar from seeing him on Raigad till this Bahlol Khan was taken care off. That included the coronation.

Prataprao decided to make a stand against Bahlol Khan at Nesari near Kolhapur. Gujar with 1200 troops versus Khan with 15000. So, Prataprao reasoned that there was no point in taking 1200 men to suicide with him. So he left alone, without asking his cavalry to charge. It was his personal honour at stake, not his army. On seeing their leader head to certain death, six other Maratha sardars joined him in the charge. Anandrao and Hansaji Mohite, though, stayed back . The seven Marathas were Prataprao Gujar, Visaji Ballal, Dipoji Rautrao, Vithal Pilaji, Atre, Krishnaji Bhaskar, Siddi Hilal and Vithoji Shinde. Anandrao and Hansaji Mohite managed to take the army to safer areas. Hansaji Mohite became Hambirrao Mohite, the new Sarnaubat (Commander-in-chief of the Maratha forces).

Southern Conquest

At the end of 1676, Shivaji launched a wave of conquests in southern India with a massive force of 50,000 (30,000 cavalry & 20,000 infantry). He defeated and captured the forts at Vellore and Jinji in modern-day Tamil Nadu. He also signed a friendship treaty with the Kutubshah of Golconda. These victories proved quite crucial during future wars. Jinjee served as Maratha capital for 9 years during 27 years of war.

Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj lead the Marathas in War of 27 years for the first nine years.

Conquests after Shivaji

War of 27 Years

War of 27 years was a series of battles fought between Marathas and Mughals from 1681 to 1707 in the Indian subcontinent. It was the longest fought war in the history of Indian subcontinent in which the Marathas emerged victorious.

Conquests of the Peshwa

The Peshwas controlled the Maratha army and they later became the hereditary rulers of the Maratha Empire from 1749 to 1818. During their rein, the Maratha empire reached its zenith ruling most of the Indian Subcontinent. Prior to 1700 one Peshwa received the status of king for eight or nine years. They oversaw the greatest expansion of the Maratha Empire around 1760 with the help of Sardars (Generals) like Holkar, Scindia, Bhosale, Pantpratinidhi, Gaekwad (Dhane), Panse, Vinchurkar, Pethe, Raste, Phadke, Patwardhan, Pawar, Pandit and Purandare, and also its eventual annexation by the British East India Company in 1818.

Peshwa Bajirao I

Peshwa Bajirao fought over 41 battles and is reputed to have never lost one.

Battle of Palkhed

Battle of Palkhed was a land battle that took place on 28 February 1728 at the village of Palkhed, near the city of Nashik, Maharashtra, India between the Maratha Peshwa, Baji Rao I and the Nizam-ul-Mulk of Hyderabad. The Marathas defeated the Nizam. The battle is considered an example of brilliant execution of military strategy.

Engraving of a Maratha Soldier by James Forbes 1813.

Battle of Mandsaur

The Battle of Mandsaur took place in Mandsaur, modern day Madhya Pradesh between Marathas, commanded by Malharrao Holkar, and Jai Singh of Rajputs, in which Jai Singh was defeated in February, 1733. Malhar Rao Holkar then conquered Bundelkhand and Bundi.[3]

Battle of Vasai

The Battle of Vasai was fought between the Marathas and the Portuguese rulers of Vasai, a village lying near Bombay in the present-day state of Maharashtra, India. The Marathas were led by Chimaji Appa, a brother of Peshwa Baji Rao I. Maratha victory in this war was a major achievement of Baji Rao I reign.

Battle of Delhi, 1737

The First Battle of Delhi took place on 28 March 1737 between Maratha Empire and the Mughals in Delhi, the Mughal capital. The Marathas were victorious in the battle and the Mughal emperor was forced to sign a treaty promising Malwa province, tributes of the region between Narmada and Chambal and 50 lakh rupees as war expenses to the Marathas.

Battle of Bhopal

The Battle of Bhopal was fought between the Mughal and Maratha empires near Bhopal in India in December 1737, and was arguably the largest pitched battle fought in India in the 18th century. The battle resulted in decisive Maratha victory mainly through the swift tactics of Maratha Peshwa Baji Rao. The Mughal Empire was left in a wrecked position and was unable to face the later invasion of Nadir Shah.

Raghuji Bhonsle

Battle of Trichinopolly

Raghuji Bhonsle, Maharaja of Nagpur kingdom of the Maratha Empire, was required to undertake an expedition to Karnataka at the order of Chhatrapati Shahu. It was mainly intended to punish Chanda Saheb who had usurped the kingdom of Trichinopoly by deceiving its Rani Minakshi, and was casting his eyes on the Maratha principality of Tanjore. Raja Pratapsingh of Thanjavur, Shahu's cousin, appealed to him for help when harassed by Chanda Saheb. Chhatrapati Shahu dispatched a large force under Raghuji and Fatesingh Bhonsle of Akkalkot in 1739.

In 1740, the Maratha forces came down upon Arcot. They attacked the Nawab, Dost Ali in the pass of Damalcherry. In the war that followed, Dost Ali, one of his sons Hasan Ali, and a number of prominent persons lost their lives. This initial success at once enhanced Maratha prestige in the south. From Damalcherry the Marathas proceeded to Arcot. It surrendered to them without much resistance. Then, Raghuji invested Trichinopoly in December 1740. Unable to resist, Chanda Saheb delivered the fort to Raghuji on 14 March 1741, on the auspicious day of Ram Navami. Chanda Saheb and his son were arrested and sent to Nagpur.

Expeditions in Bengal

After the successful campaign of Karnatak and Battle of Trichinopolly, Raghuji returned from Karnatak. He undertook six expeditions in Bengal from 1741-1748. Raghuji was able to annex Orissa to his kingdom permanently as he successfully exploited the chaotic conditions prevailing in Bengal, Bihar and Orissa after the death of their Governor Murshid Quli Khan in 1727.

Constantly harassed by the Bhonsles, Orissa or Katak, Bengal and parts of Bihar were economically ruined. Alivardi Khan made peace with Raghuji in 1751 ceding in perpetuity Katak up to the river Suvarnarekha, and agreeing to pay Rs.12 lakh annually in lieu of the Chauth of Bengal and Bihar. The smaller States of Raipur, Ratanpur, Bilaspur and Sambalpur belonging to Chhattisgad territory were conquered by Bhaskar Ram, and were placed in charge of Mohansingh, an illegitimate son of Raghuji. Towards the end of his career, Raghuji had conquered the whole of Berar; the Gond kingdoms of Devgad including Nagpur, Gadha-Mandla and Chandrapur; the Subha of Cuttack; and the smaller states spreading between Nagpur and Cuttack.

Battle of Udgir

The Battle of Udgir was fought between the Marathas under Sadashivrao Bhau and Nizam of Hyderabad in Udgirin 1760. The battle was waged by the Nizam, who wanted to take back his lost territories in Deccan. However, he completely failed in his objective and was decisively defeated. As a result of defeat, he was forced to sign a treaty with Marathas which promised to cede the Marathas the forts of Daulatabad, Sewenree, Bijapur, a part of Bidar and the subah of Aurangabad except the main city and two of its parghanas, Sittara and Harole. The territories which were to be given to Marathas yielded an annual income of 62 lakh rupees.

Holkars and Shindes

Ranoji Shinde (founder of princely Gwalior State of Shindes) had conquered territories in the Malwa and Gird regions from the Mughals, eventually establishing a state which was initially based at Ujjain, but was named after the strategic fortress of Gwalior.

Kumher fort under Maharaja Suraj Mal of Bharatpur was attacked by the Marathas on 20 January 1754 AD. They besieged the Fort till 18 May 1754. The war continued for about four months. The fort which was about to be conquered by the Marathas was saved due to the diplomatic efforts of Maharani Kishori who tried to take advantage of the internal differences between Holkars and Shindes. Diwan Roop Ram Katara was a friend of Jayappa Sindhia. Maharani Kishori requested Diwan Roop Ram Katara to take a letter from Maharaja Suraj Mal proposing a treaty. Jayappa Sindhia assured Suraj Mal of assistance and contacted Raghunathrao. Raghunathrao in turn advised Holkar to sign a treaty with Suraj Mal. Malhar Rao Holkar assessed the situation and consented for the treaty due to possibility of isolation. This led to a treaty between both rulers on 18 May 1754.

In 1740, the Marathas were successful in defeating the Nizam of Hyderabad. Mahadji Scindia (who was then aged 10) accompanied Dattajirao Shinde and Trimbak Kinnad on this campaign. In 1742, the Marathas were attacked by the Nizam of Hyderabad at Berar and Belur. Mahadji accompanied the forces sent by Peshwa Balaji Baji Rao who drove away the invaders. Between 1745 and 1761, Mahadji fought in around 50 wars, including those in Malwa, Rajputana, Bundelkhand, Brij, Doab, Rohilkhand, Delhi, Kunjpur, and in the Battle of Panipat. Among the campaigns which Mahadji assisted, the notable ones include the ones at Chandravati Ganj (1746), Fatehabad (1746), Badi Sadri (1747), Marwar (1747), and Himat Nagar (1748).

The army of Malharrao Holkar joined the Shinde army to bring all the Rajput states under Maratha control and force them to accept Maratha suzerainty, as directed by the Peshwa. Under this campaign, several city states were added to the Maratha Empire such as Medtya, Ratangarh, Lalgarh, Bikaner, Laswari, Lachhmangarh, Kumher and Deeg and the states with territory of Jaipur and Jodhpur agreed to become vassals of the Maratha Empire. All the Jat states except Bharatpur and Vijaynagar too were conquered. Mathura which was under Mughal rule was conquered by Mahadji in 1755. When the Maratha army crossed the Narmada in February 1770, the Jat king Nawal Singh of Bharatpur opposed them. However, in the battle on 6 April 1770 Mahadji defeated him and Maratha supremacy over the North was re-established. In 1777, Mahadji provided military assistance to the Peshwas against the Maratha army of Kolhapur. Mahadji besieged and attacked the town of Karvir in Kolhapur.

Capture of Delhi, 1757

After a victorious Battle of Narela on 16 January 1757 Maratha Army lead by Antaji Mankeshwar and an advance column of Ahmad Shah Abdali's army,[4] the Battle of Delhi was a battle fought on 11 August 1757 between Maratha Empire under the command of Raghunath Rao and Rohilla Afghans under Najib-ud-Daula. The battle was waged by the Marathas for the control of Delhi, the former Mughal capital which was now under the control of Rohilla chief Najib-ud-Daula, as a consequence of fourth invasion of Ahmad Shah Abdali. The Marathas were victorious in the battle, the Mughal capital Delhi came under Maratha control.

Maratha conquest of Northwest India

Malharrao Holkar, Raghunathrao, Shamsher Bahadur, Gangadhar Tatya, Sakharambapu, Naroshankar and Maujiram Bania attacked Delhi on 11 August 1757 and defeated Najib Khan and Ahmed Khan became the Mir Bakshi in his place. In March, 1758, they conquered Sarhind. On 20 April 1758, Malharrao Holkar and Raghunathrao attacked and conquered Lahore. Tukojirao Holkar conquered Attock and Peshawar. In Lahore, as in Delhi, the Marathas were now major players. The Maratha Empire had reached its peak, the empire's territories covered much of South Asia. By 1760, with defeat of the Nizam in the Deccan, Maratha power under Chhatrapati Shahu reached its zenith with a territory of over 2,800,000 km2.

This was followed by the third battle of Panipat. Losses at the Third Battle of Panipat in 1761 suspended further expansion of the empire in the North-west of India and reduced the power of the Peshwas.

Third Battle of Panipat

Maratha Light Horseman

The Third Battle of Panipat took place on 14 January 1761 at Panipat (Haryana State, India), about 60 miles (95.5 km) north of Delhi. The battle pitted the French-supplied artillery of the Marathas against the heavy cavalry of the Afghans led by Ahmad Shah Durrani, an ethnic Pashtun, also known as Ahmad Shah Abdali. The battle is considered one of the largest battles fought in the 18th century. Marathas were defeated with heavy casualties on both sides and retreat of Maratha army and civilians from Punjab to Delhi.

Peshwa Madhavrao

Restoration of Maratha suzerainty in the North

Under Madhavrao Peshwa, Maratha authority in North India (including Delhi) was restored ten years after the battle of Panipat. The Rohillas were defeated and were forced to pay a heavy war indemnity. Delhi was captured by Mahadji Scindia in late 1770 and restored Mughal emperor Shah Alam to the throne of Delhi in 1772.

Clash with the Nizam

Raghunathrao allied with the Nizam due to mutual disrust and differences with Madhavrao. Accordingly, the Nizam marched towards Pune. However, the Nizam was defeated and was forced to sign a treaty. Madhavrao acquired all the territories occupied by him.

Battle of Rakshasbhuvan

The Battle of Rakshasbhuvan was fought on 10 August 1763.[5] After the defeat of the Marathas at the Battle of Panipat, their rivals started seizing the opportunity to recover their losses in the past at the hands of Marathas. Particularly, the Nizam of Hyderabad wanted to recover territory he had lost at the battle of Udgir where all of his dukes and earls were killed. He decided to launch a war on the Marathas. However, the Nizam was severely defeated in the battle. After the outcome, he had to flee from the battlefield to save his life.

Clash with Hyder Ali

Then Hyder Ali of Mysore tried to conquer the Maratha dominions in Karnataka. To frustrate Hyder's attempts, Madhavrao fought three wars against Hyder Ali between 1764–1772, in which the Marathas won.

After the death of Madhavrao, the empire gave way to a loose Confederacy, with political power resting in a 'pentarchy' of five mostly Maratha dynasties: the Peshwas of Pune; the Sindhias (originally "Shindes") of Malwa and Gwalior; the Holkars of Indore; the Bhonsles of Nagpur; and the Gaekwads of Baroda.


First Anglo Maratha War (1775 - 1783)

Battle of Wadgaon

The East India Company's force from Bombay consisted of about 3,900 men (about 600 Europeans, the rest Asian) accompanied by many thousands of servants and specialist workers. They were joined on the way by Raghunath's forces, adding several thousand more soldiers, and more artillery. The Maratha army included forces contributed by all the partners in the federation, tens of thousands in all, commanded by Tukojirao Holkar and General Mahadji Shinde (also known as Mahadji Sindia). Mahadji slowed down the British march and sent forces west to cut off its supply lines. When they found out about this, the British halted at Talegaon, a few hours' brisk march from Pune, but days away for the thousands of support staff with their ox-drawn carts. Now the Maratha cavalry harassed the enemy from all sides. The Marathas also utilized a scorched earth policy, burning farmland and poisoning wells. The British began to withdraw from Talegaon in the middle of the night, but the Marathas attacked, forcing them to halt in the village of Wadgaon (now called Vadgaon or Vadgaon Maval), where the British force was surrounded on 12 January 1779. By the end of the next day, the British were ready to discuss surrender terms, and on 16 January signed the Treaty of Wadgaon that forced the Bombay government to relinquish all territories acquired by the Bombay office of the East India Company since 1773.[6]

Clash with Tipu Sultan

The Battle of Gajendragad was fought between the Marathas under the command of Tukojirao Holkar (the adopted son of Malharrao Holkar) and Tipu Sultan from March 1786 to March 1787 in which Tipu Sultan was defeated by the Marathas. By the victory in this battle, the border of the Maratha territory extended till Tungabhadra river.

Battle of Patan

The Battle of Patan was fought on June 20, 1790 between the Maratha Empire and the Rajputs of Jaipur and their Mughal allies. Many Rajput kingdoms like those of Jaipur and Malwa were threatened by the Marathas. In early 1790, hoping to completely rid the Rajputana off Maratha interference, Rajput nobility allied with Mughal general Ismail Beg. Marathas crushed the allied Rajput-Mughal army. The European armed and trained Marathas conquered the Rajput states one after the other. Marathas managed to conquer Ajmer and Malwa from Rajputs. Marathas recovered over 105 pieces of artillery from the enemy, along with 21 elephants, 1300 camels and 300 horses. Rajputs lost over 5 battalions and 3000 Rathore horsemen.

Capture of Shimoga

The Capture of Shimoga, a town and fortress held by forces of the Kingdom of Mysore, occurred on 3 January 1792 after a preliminary battle with the attacking forces of the British East India Company and the Marathas not far from the town on 29 December had scattered much of its defending army. The defenders surrendered after the fort's walls were breached. The battle was part of a campaign during the Third Anglo-Mysore War by Maratha leader Purseram Bhow to recover Maratha territories taken by Hyder Ali in an earlier conflict between Mysore and the Marathas. By the end of the siege Reza Sahib a leading Mysore commander was among the captured.

Battle of Kharda

The Battle of Kharda took place in February 1795 between the Nizam of Hyderabad, Asaf Jah II and Peshwa Madhavrao II, in which Nizam was badly defeated. Governor General John Shore followed the policy of non-intervention despite that Nizam was under his protection. So this led to the loss of trust with British and rout of the Hyderabad army. This was the last battle fought together by all Maratha warlords.

Second Anglo Maratha War (1803 - 1805)

Battle of Delhi, 1803

The Battle of Delhi took place on 11 September 1803 during the Second Anglo-Maratha War, between British troops under General Lake, and Marathas of Scindia's army under French General Louis Bourquin. The battle was fought at Patparganj, right across Yamuna River from Humayun's Tomb, also giving the battle its local name.

The Marathas occupied a strong position with the Jumna in their rear, and Lake, feigning a retreat, drew them from their lines, and then turning upon them drove them with the bayonet into the river, inflicting more losses upon them. The city of Delhi surrendered three days later. A monument was later erected at the site in Patparganj, marked out by a surrounding ditch, commemorating Cornet Sanguine and British soldiers who fell during the battle.

Yashwantrao Holkar

Maharaja Yashwantrao Holkar defeated the British army, led by Colonel Fawcett, at Kunch, in Bundelkhand. On 8 June 1804, the Governor General, in a letter to Lord Lake, wrote that the defeat caused a great insult to the British prestige in India. On 8 July 1804, Maharaja Yashwantrao Holkar defeated the army of Colonel Manson and Leukan at Mukundare and Kota. Bapuji Scindia surrendered before Maharaja Yashwantrao Holkar. From June till September 1804, he defeated the British at different battles. On 8 October 1804, Maharaja Yashwantrao Holkar attacked Delhi to free Mughal Emperor Shah Alam II, who was imprisoned by the British. He attacked the army of Colonel Actorloni and Berne. The battle lasted for a week, but Yashwantrao Holkar could not succeed as Lord Lake came to help Colonel Actorloni.

On 16 November 1804, Maharaja Yashwantrao Holkar reached Deeg by defeating the army of Major Frazer. After the death of Major Frazer, Manson took the charge of the British army. In Farrukhabad, Lord Lake was a mute spectator, watching Yashwantrao Holkar proceeding towards Deeg; he didn't attack Maharaja Yashwantrao Holkar. Lord Lake attacked Deeg on 13 December 1804 (see- Battle of Bharatpur); the army of Holkar and Jat resisted successfully and reached the Bharatpur Durg. Lord Lake attacked Bharatpur on 3 January 1805, along with General Manson, Colonel Marey, Colonel Don, Colonel Berne, Major General Jones, General Smith, Colonel Jetland, Setan, and others. However, Maharaja Yashwantrao Holkar had to leave Bharatpur as the Jat King Ranjit Singh of Bharatpur signed a treaty with the British on 17 April 1805, when they had nearly won the war.

Covering a large part of the subcontinent, the Maratha Empire kept the British forces at bay during the 18th century, until dissension between the Peshwas and their sardars (army commanders) saw a gradual downfall of the empire with the eventual defeat in the third Anglo-Maratha war the First Anglo-Maratha War ended in a stalemate with both sides signing the treaty of Salbai. This led to a period of relative peace between the two powers till the decisive second Anglo-Maratha war took place.

Third Anglo-Maratha War

The Third Anglo-Maratha War (1817–1818) was the final and decisive conflict between the British East India Company and the Maratha Empire in India. The war left the Company in control of most of India. It began with an invasion of Maratha territory by 110,400 British East India Company troops, the largest such British controlled force amassed in India. The troops were led by the Governor General Hastings and he was supported by a force under General Thomas Hislop. It resulted in the formal end of the Maratha empire and firm establishment of the British East India Company in entire India.

See also


  1. Chhatrapati Shivaji by Bhawan Singh Rana, p.71
  2. Dictionary of Battles and Sieges P-Z, p.888
  3. P. K. Sethi, S. K. Bhatt, R. Holkar., A study of Holkar state coinage, page 32
  4. Jaswant Lal Mehta (2005). Advanced study in the history of modern India 1707-1813. Sterling Publishers Pvt. Ltd.. p. 225. ISBN 1-932705-54-6. 
  5. "History - Maratha Period". Nasik District Gazetteer. Retrieved 4 September 2010. 
  6. Beveridge, Henry A Comprehensive History of India, London, Blackie (1862), via Google Books, accessed 2008-01-27

Further reading

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