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#KanhojiAngre – The Undisputed and Undefeated Sea Hawk.

We have missed an important part of our Naval History of Bharat, for years we were made to believe, Europeans were undefeatable in Naval Warfare.

Remembering #Kanhoji_Angre on his Punyatithi, the Admiral of Maratha Navy.
In the 1700s, one man antagonized the European powers, and insisted on the Maratha Empire’s rights to taxation and sovereignty over Maharashtra’s coast. He was Kanhoji Angre, the head of the Maratha navy.

The first important naval figure in modern Bharat, Angre managed to
maintain an unquestionable hold over a heavily disputed stretch of coastline throughout the early decades of the 18th century. At its peak in 1729, Angre’s Maratha fleet held a mere 80 ships, many of them little more than overgrown fishing boats engineered by the local kolis
who populated his domain. Yet with the combination of that modest fleet and an unsurpassed strategic mind, Angre established a fearsome authority in the name of the Maratha Emperors over a vast swath of Bharat’s west coast. The competition was fierce and came from some of the
greatest powers of the day – the Portuguese, the British, and the Mughals in the form of their coastal vassals, the Siddis.
Infact he was often classified as a pirate by frustrated Europeans vying for total mercantile control over trade routes into and out of India’s west coast.
Angre’s family were from Poona, Shivaji had installed Kanhoji’s father as commander at the coastal fort of Suvarnadurg. Kanhoji most likely received a traditional Brahmin upbringing before entering the fledgling Maratha navy around the age of 15.

Inheriting around 10 ships
Angre used what resources he had at his disposal – namely teak forests and a humble seafaring population of fishermen – to develop a unique fleet and military techniques to match it. With smaller ships, simpler technologies, and no experience in classical maritime warfare.
Kanhoji, says Cmdr. Narayan, “realized he could never fight an overt war with the Europeans, so he started [using] guerilla warfare. He knew his coast; he knew what the advantages of fighting near the coast were.” These guerilla techniques transformed Angre into the most dreaded
figure in the Konkan.
(Commander Mohan Narayan, serves as the Curator of the Maritime History Society in Mumbai)

Kanhoji started his career by attacking Merchant Navy Ships of British East India Company, and later extended his attacks against all European Occupiers.
Since his appointment in 1698 till his death 31 years later, Kanhoji remained undefeated.
In 1698, Kanhoji made Vijaydurg as his first base, than made Kolaba as operating base.
Today's #Alibaug is a township founded by him.
Kanhoji built a port at Purnagad.
These bases were used
for military and also for commercial purposes wherein he took taxes for ships which sailed through these regions.
East India Company President begged him to spare British ships and eventually a short lived treaty was signed.

Remember my tweet about #ManoharMalgaonkar, in
his book Chhatrapatis of Kohlapur, Malgonkar notes, “Since the Portuguese and the British resented Angre’s control of the sea, they were in a constant state of conflict with him” (110). Angre’s interference with trade, which was indeed considerable from a purely practical
standpoint, had less to do with European antipathy toward him than his audacity in claiming that he or any local power could claim equal political rights along the coast. Had the Portuguese and English accepted Maratha sovereignty in the Konkan, they may never have faced any
serious interference from Angre’s guerilla navy.

By the time of his death on 4 July 1729, Kanhoji Angre had emerged as a master of the Arabian Sea from Surat to south Konkan. He left behind two sons, Sekhoji and Sambhaji.
Angre's Samadhi is situated at Shivaji Chowk, Alibag.
After Kanhoji, his son Sekhoji continued Maratha exploits at sea till his death in 1733. After Sekhoji's death, Angre's holdings were split between two brothers, Sambhaji and Manaji, because of divisions in the family. With the Marathas neglecting naval concerns, the British
soon found it easier to defeat the remnants of the kingdom.
Thus Ended Maratha Power As Well.

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