Second Anglo-Maratha War (1803–1805)

second anglo-maratha war

Fought between 1803-1805, the Second Anglo Maratha War was a part of the three Anglo-Maratha Wars and was the second conflict between the British East India Company and the Maratha Empire in India. As claimed by Britannica, the war was caused by the defeat of Pehwa Baji Rao II by Holkars and his acceptance of British protection by the Treaty of Bassein in December 1802. This war resulted into British gaining Orissa, and the territories north of the Yamuna River including Delhi and Agra, as claimed by an NCERT book.

Insights of this blog are:-

  • Background Of The Story
  • Causes Of Second Anglo Maratha War: How And Why Did It All Start?
  • The Events Of The Second Anglo-Maratha War
  • The Aftermath/Results Of The Second Anglo-Maratha War

Background of The Story

  • After the British captured Tipu Sultan’s Mysore in 1799, the Marathas were the only major Indian Power left outside the British Domination.
  • At that time, the Maratha Empire consisted of a confederacy of five major chiefs:- the Peshwa (Prime Minister) at the Capital City of Poona, the Gaekwad Chief of Baroda, the Scindia Chief of Gwalior, the Holkar Chief of Indore and the Bhonsale Chief of Nagpur.
  • Despite being a major Indian Power, the Maratha Chiefs were engaged in internal quarrels among themselves.
  • Lord Mornington, the Governor-General Of British India had offered a subsidiary treaty to the Peshwa and Scindia several times, but Nana Fadnavis refused strongly.

Causes of the Second Anglo Maratha War: How And Why Did It All Start?

  • Supported by British during the First Anglo Maratha War, Peshwa Raghunathrao continued to cause much internecine intrigue within the Maratha Confederacy along with his fugitive, incompetent son Baji Rao II.
  • He became the Peshwa after the death of Madhavrao II and as a consequence of his overreaching ambition soon provoked the enmity of Yashwant Rao Holkar.
  • In October 1802, Yashwant Rao Holkar, the ruler of Indore defeated the combined armies of Peshwa Baji Rao II and Scindia at the Battle of Poona. As a result, Baji Rao II fled to British for protection and in December signed the Treaty of Bassein with the British India Company.
  • As per this treaty, Baji Rao II handed over the territory to the British and also agreed for the maintenance of British troops there, without the involvement of any other power.
  • However, the Scindia rulers of Gwalior and the Bhonsale rulers of Nagpur and Berar did not agree to this treaty. They were horrified and disgusted at the same time on the act of the Peshwa and contested the agreement. This marked the beginning of the Second Anglo-Maratha War between the British East India Company and the Maratha in Central India.

The Events of The Second Anglo-Maratha War

When the Second Anglo – Maratha War began, the British had over 53,000 men who they thought would help them accomplish their goals. Their planning and strategy revolved around the thought that Wellesley would secure the Deccan Plateau, Lake would take Doab and then Delhi, Powell would enter Bundelkhand, Murray would take Badoch, and Harcourt would neutralize Bihar.

  • In September 1803, the Scindia forces were defeated by Lord Gerard Lake at Delhi and by Lord Arthur Wellesley at Assaye.
  • On the 18th of October, the British forces took the pettah of Asirgarh Fort. Eventually, the fort’s garrison surrendered on 21st of October and British used their artillery to ruin Scindia’s forward operating bases, eroding their control.
  • In November, Lake defeated another Scindia force at Laswari which was followed by a defeat of Bhonsale forces at Argaon on 29th November at the hands of Wellesley.
  • The Holkar rulers of Indore also joined the battle against the British but at a later stage and compelled them to make a peaceful way.

The Aftermath/Results of The Second Anglo-Maratha War

The Second Anglo-Maratha War resulted in the defeat of all the Maratha forces at the hands of the British.

  • On December 17, 1803, Raghoji II Bhonsle of Nagpur signed the Treaty of Deogaon  in Odisha with the British after the Battle of Laswari and gave up much of the province of Cuttack which included Mughalbandi which was also known as the coastal part of Odisha, Garjat which was known as princely states of Odisha, the Balasore Port, parts of Midnapore district of West Bengal etc.
  • On 30th December 1803, Daulat Scindia signed the Treaty of Surji-Anjangaon with the British after the Battle of Assaye and the Battle of Laswari and ceded Rohtak, Gurgaon, Ganges-Jumna Doab, the Delhi-Agra region, parts of Bundelkhand, Broach, some districts of Gujarat and the fort of Ahmmadnagar to the British.

Briefing Up

Although Yashwant Rao Holkar began hostilities with the British, by securing an alliance with the Raja of Bharatpur, he had to sign the Treaty of Rajghat on 24th December 1805, by which he got back most of his territories after ceding Tonk, Bundi and Rampura to the British. In spite of this, the Second Anglo-Maratha War helped British gain control over large parts of Central India.

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