CONQUEST OF MAHARASHTRA
First Anglo- Maratha War
Peshwa Madhav Rao which succeed his father Peshwa Balaji Rao in 1761 and who ranks among the great Peshwa who maintained unity among Marathas chief and nobles. He very soon recovered the power and prestige of the Marathas which they lost in the third Battle of Panipat. He came into contact with the English and was conscious of their military efficiency, but he didn’t attach much value to them and regarded them as an insignificant factor in the Indian policies. The British became conscious of the Marathas in the fulfillment of their ambition of building an empire in India and therefore were keen to weaken their power at the earliest opportunity. They got their opportunity very soon after the death and the Peshwa Madhav Rao in 1772. Their attempt to repeat the exploits of their countrymen in Madras and Bengal involved them in a long war with the Marathas from 1775 to 1782, known as the First Anglo-MarathaWar.
What is Treaty of Salbai ?
After first Anglo-MarathaWar, peace was finally concluded in 1782 by the treaty of Salbai. According to the treaty,
(a) Both parties agreed to return each other's territory conquered during the course of the war.
(b) The English gave up the cause of Raghunath Rao who was to be given a pension by the Treaty of Salbai. This war though it didn’t end in victory of either side , gave the British 20 years of peace with the Marathas, the strongest Indian power of the day. The treaty enabled the British to exert the pressure on Mysore as the Marathas promised to help them in recovering their territories from Hyder Ali .
Thus the British, by the war and the treaty, on the one hand , saved themselves from the combined opposition of Indian Powers, and on the other , succeeded in deviding the Indian powers .
The Treaty was in fact a successful stroke of diplomacy on the part of Warren Hastings.
SECOND ANGLO-MARATHA WAR
After the creation of Madras presidency in 1801, the only major Indian power left outside the sphere of British control were the Marathas , whose internal affairs further deteriorated within a span of 20 years after the first the First Anglo-MarathaWar. The internal squabbles of the Marathas led to a new round of hostilities between the English and the Marathas. This resulted in the Second Anglo-MarathaWar (1803-05). Wellesley's aggressive policy of interference in the internal affairs of the Marathas was an important factor.
Wellesly ,who became the Governor - General in 1798, felt it imperative to bring as many Kndian states as possible under British control.
One of the important methods which he used to achieve his political aims was the Subsidiary Alliance. Under this system :
- They ( Indian states ruler) were compelled to accept the permanent stationing of a British force within his territory and also to pay a subsidy for its maintainance.
- A British resident was posted at the court.
- Indian ruler could not employ any European in his service without the approval of British .
- He could not negotiate with any other Indian ruler without consulting the Governor -General.
- The British undertook to defend the rulers from his enemies and
Also promised non- interference in internal affairs of all the allied state.
Among the last capable Marathas chiefs were Mahadji Sindhia, Ahilya bai Holkar, Tukoji Holkar and Peshwa Madhav Rao II who died in 1794, 1795, 1797 and 1796 respectively. Nana phadnis, the chief minister to the peshwa , served the Maratha state zealously after the murder of Peshwa Narayan Rao, but later his ambition to keep the power of the state to himself harmed the interest of the Marathas.
Third Anglo- Maratha War
The second Anglo-MarathaWar had no doubt shattered the power of the Maratha chiefs but not their spirit. The English had to fight another war known as the Third Anglo -Maratha War (1817-1818).
Lord Hastings struck back with characteristic vigor . He compelled Scindhia to accept British suzerainty, and defeated the armies of Peshwa , Bhonsle and Holkar. The consequence of this war sealed the fate of Marathas once for all. He ( The Peshwa) was dethroned and pensioned off at Bithur near kanpur. His territories were annexed and the enlarge presidency of Bombay was brought into existence. However in order to satisfy Maratha pride, the small kingdom of Satara was created out of the Peshwa's land and given to the descendent of Chhatrapati Shivaji who ruled it as a complete dependent of the British.