Causes of first Anglo-Maratha War
After Madhavrao Peshwa’s death in 1772, his brother Narayanrao became the Maratha Empire’s peshwa (ruler). In August 1773, Narayanrao was assassinated by his palace guards, and his uncle Raghunathrao (Raghoba) became Peshwa. However, Narayanrao’s wife, Gangabai, gave birth to a lawful heir to the throne after his death. ‘Sawai’ Madhavrao was the name given to the newborn baby (Sawai means “One and a Quarter”). The Baarbhai, a group of twelve Maratha rulers led by Nana Phadnavis, led an endeavor to install the newborn as the new Peshwa and rule in his name as regents.
Unwilling to relinquish his position of power, Raghunathrao sought assistance from the British in Bombay and signed the Treaty of Surat on March 6, 1775. According to the contract, Raghunathrao gave the British the territories of Salsette and Bassein (Vasai), as well as a portion of the Surat and Bharuch districts’ earnings. In exchange, the British pledged to send 2,500 men to Raghunathrao.
Colonel Upton was dispatched to Pune by the British Calcutta Council to invalidate the Contract of Surat and negotiate a new treaty with the regency. The Treaty of Purandhar (1 March 1776) nullified the Treaty of Surat, Raghunathrao was pensioned and his cause abandoned, but the British maintained the revenues of the Salsette and Broach areas. Raghunathrao found refuge in Bombay after the Bombay administration rejected the new treaty. Nana Phadnavis broke his covenant with the Calcutta Council in 1777 by handing up a port on the West coast to the French. In retaliation, the English dispatched a force to Pune.
On March 15, 1775, British troops under the command of Colonel Keating departed Surat for Pune, and the Treaty of Purandar was signed. However, in Adas, they were checked by Haripant Phadke and defeated on May 18, 1775. Keating’s force, which was accompanied by Raghunathrao, suffered 11 casualties, including 96 dead. The Battle of Adas (Gujarat) resulted in 150 Marathas being killed.
Direct steps against Pune, according to Warren Hastings, would be counterproductive. As a result of the Supreme Council of Bengal’s condemnation of the Pact of Surat, Colonel Upton was dispatched to Pune to have it annulled and a new treaty with the regency negotiated. The Treaty of Purandar was signed on March 1, 1776, between Upton and the ministers of Pune.
The Treaty of Purandhar (1 March 1776) nullified the Treaty of Surat, Raghunath Rao was pensioned and his cause abandoned, but the British maintained the revenues of the Salsette and Broach areas.
Following a pact signed in 1776 between France and the Poona government, the Bombay government resolved to invade Raghoba and re-establish its rule. They dispatched a force led by Col. Egerton to Khopoli, which passed through the Western Ghats at Bhor Ghat and on to Karla, where they reached on January 4, 1779, while under Maratha attack. The British were eventually forced to retreat to Wadgaon, but they were quickly encircled. On January 16, 1779, the British surrendered and were forced to sign the Treaty of Wadgaon, a triumph for the Marathas.
Colonel (later General) Thomas Wyndham Goddard’s reinforcements from northern India arrived too late to save the Bombay force. Warren Hastings, the British Governor-General in Bengal, rejected the contract because Bombay officials lacked legal authority to sign it, and ordered Goddard to protect British interests in the region.
On February 15, 1779, Goddard assaulted Bhadra Fort and conquered Ahmedabad with 6,000 men. A garrison of 6,000 Arab and Sindhi infantry and 2,000 horses was stationed there. There were a total of 108 casualties in the battle, including two British soldiers. On December 11, 1780, Goddard also took Bassein. On August 4, 1780, a Bengal force led by Captain Popham and aided by the Rana of Gohad conquered Gwalior before Mahadji Scindia could prepare. In Gujarat, there were skirmishes between Mahadji Scindia and General Goddard, although they were indecisive. Hastings dispatched yet another troop, led by Major Camac, to harass Mahadji Shinde.
Effects of First Anglo-Maratha War
To celebrate the Maratha triumph against the British, a Vijay Stambh (Victory Pillar) was erected. The pillar is located near the city of Pune, India, in Vadgaon/Wadgaon Maval.
A plaque commemorating the Maratha victory over the British. The plaque is located near the city of Pune, India, in Vadgaon/Wadgaon Maval.
Goddard marched towards Pune after taking Bassein. Parshurambha, Haripant Phadke, and Tukoji Holkar defeated him in the Battle of Bhor Ghat in April 1781.
Mahadji stationed himself at Malwa in central India to attack Camac. Initially, Mahadji had the upper hand, and British forces under Camac were forced to retreat to Hadur after being harried and reduced.
The British beat Shinde to the town of Sipri in February 1781, but their every move after that was shadowed by his much bigger army, and their supplies were cut off, until they launched a desperate night raid in late March, taking not only supplies but also cannons and elephants.
The military threat posed by Shinde’s men to the British was much lessened after that.
The competition was now evenly balanced. Where Mahadji defeated Camac at Sironj, the latter avenged the defeat at the Battle of Durdah, which took place on March 24, 1781.
Colonel Murre arrived in April 1781 with new men to support Popham and Camac. Mahadji Shinde became concerned after his defeat at Sipri. Finally, on July 1, 1781, he completely defeated Murre’s forces. Mahadji appeared to be far too powerful to be beaten at this time.
Salbai Treaty (Salbai Treaty)
The Treaty of Salbai was signed on May 17, 1782, and Hastings ratified it in June 1782, and Nana Phadnavis ratified it in February 1783. The treaty brought an end to the First Anglo-Maratha War, restored the status quo, and created a 20-year period of peace between the two parties.
Results of First Anglo Maratha War
The meddling of the English government in the internal affairs of the Marathas was the fundamental cause of the first Maratha war. In 1772, Peshwa Madhav Rao died. Naryan Rao, his son, took over as his successor. Raghunath Rao, his uncle, assassinated him in August 1773 and went on to become the Peshawa. However, many Maratha nobility despised him and saw him as a usurper. Raghunath Rao was later found to be unquestionably guilty of his nephew’s murder. This incensed them, and in 1774, they proclaimed Madhav Rao Narayan, Narayan Rao’s posthumous kid, as the Peshawa.
For his protection, Raghunath Rao escaped to Surat and sought refuge with the British. On March 7, 1775, he signed the Surat Treaty with the English authorities in Bombay. In exchange for their expenditures, the British agreed to provide military assistance to Raghunath Rao and assist in the capture of Peshawa. Raghunath Rao also agreed to hand over the islands of Salsette and Bassein to the British in exchange for a pledge that the Marathas would not invade the Karnataka and Bengal provinces. The fight against the Marathas began as a result of this treaty.