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The Anglo-Maratha Wars

The Anglo-Maratha Wars

(a) The First Anglo Maratha War (1775-1782)

  • Madhav Rao Narayan was an infant Peshwa under the regency of Nana Fadnavis.
  • The usurping of power by Ragunath Rao, uncle of the former Peshwa Madhava Rao I, provided the scope for the Company administration to fish in the troubled waters.
  • The Company administration in Bombay supported Ragunath Rao in return for getting Salsette and Bassein.
  • As Mahadaji Scindia and the Bhonsle of Nagpur turned pro-British, the Marathas had to concede Thane and Salsette to the latter.
  • By the treaty of Salbai, in 1782, Ragunath Rao was pensioned off.
  • Following this, peace prevailed between the Company and the Marathas for about two decades.

(b) The Second Anglo-Maratha War (1803-1806)

  • The death of Nana Fadnavis resulted in a scramble for his huge possessions.
  • Peshwa Baji Rao II was dethroned.
  • In the then trying circumstances, he had to accept the help of the British.
  • Wellesley, the then Governor General, forced the Subsidiary Alliance on the Peshwa.
  • The treaty of Bassein was signed in 1802.
  • According to the treaty the territory to be ceaded should fetch an income of Rs. 26 Lakhs.
  • The leading Maratha States regarded the treaty as humiliating and hence decided to defy it.
  • So the second AngloMaratha war broke out.
  • In spite of the brave resistance put up by the Marathas, the Maratha leaders were completely routed.
  • The Subsidiary Alliance was accepted.
  • The British got Doab, Ahmednagar, Broach and all of the hilly regions.

(c) The Third Anglo-Maratha War (1817-1818)

  • Peshwa Baji Rao II became anti-British, as the prime minister of the Gaikwar (ruler) of Baroda Gangadhar Sastri was killed by Trimbakji, a favourite of Peshwa.
  • At the instance of the Resident at Poona, Mountstuart Elphinstone, Trimabakji was imprisoned.
  • The murderer however managed to escape from the prison with the assistance of the Peshwa. Peshwa was also charged with creating the Maratha confederacy and plotting with Scindia, Bhonsle and Holkar against the British.
  • So, the British forced the Peshwa to sign a new treaty at Poona in 1817. Accordingly,
    • The Peshwa resigned the headship of the Maratha confederacy.
    • Ceded Konkan to the British and recognised the independence of the Gaikwar.
  • Baji Rao was not reconciled to this humiliation.
  • So when the British were busily engaged in the suppression of the Pindaris, Baji Rao II burnt down the Poona Residency.
  • General Smith rushed to Poona and captured it, with the Peshwa fleeing to Satara, which was also captured by General Smith.
  • Baji Rao fled from place to place.
  • General Smith defeated his forces at Ashta, Kirkee and Korgaon.
  • Finally, Baji Rao surrendered to Elphinstone in 1818.

Outcome of the Third AngloMaratha War

  • The British abolished the Peshwai (office of the Peshwa) and annexed all the Peshwa’s dominions. But the jagirs of the fief holders were restored.
  • Until his death in 1851 Baji Rao II remained a prisoner with an annual pension.
  • Pratap Singh, a descendent of Shivaji, was made the king of a small kingdom carved around Satara.
  • The Maratha Confederacy organised by Baji Rao I comprising Bhonsle, Holkar and Scindia was dissolved.
  • Mountstuart Elphinstone, who had been Resident at Poona, became Governor of Bombay.

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