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    “When Marathas defeated Portuguese : A forgotten story”

    Even before the English set foot on shores of India, Portugal had already established a colonial Empire in India. In the 16 th century, Portuguese first established their base in Goa after defeating Bijapur Sultans....


    “When Marathas defeated Portuguese : A forgotten story”

    May 16, 2020, 11:40 AM IST Pawan Kumar Pandey in Without Fear or Favour, India, TOI


    Pawan Kumar Pandey

    Pawan Pandey is an Educator based in Dehradun. He is an Engineer by training and a teacher by passion. He teaches for Civil Service Exams as well as for Common Law Admission T ... MORE

    Even before the English set foot on shores of India, Portugal had already established a colonial Empire in India. In the 16 th century, Portuguese first established their base in Goa after defeating Bijapur Sultans. During the course of 1530s, they acquired many territories in the northern Konkan. These included Daman, Diu, Salsette, Bombay, Vasai etc. which they acquired from Sultan of Gujarat. Almost all the areas of current Mumbai city were under their control. This was a sizable area which extended more than 100 km along the coast and probably 30-40 km inland. This was called the Northern Province of Portuguese India.

    On the high seas, the Portuguese reigned Supreme. Mughal shipping had to take permission from them for trade or even for visiting Mecca. They were infamous for enslaving people travelling in a ship that had not paid them. In their colonies themselves, situation was dire for non-Christians. In 1546, Inquisition was instituted in Portuguese India, on request of Jesuit Missionary Francis Xavier. Hindus, Muslims, Neo-Christians, Protestants, Parsis, Jews etc were persecuted. The Konkani language was outlawed, Hindu temples were destroyed and forced conversions were norm. Such was the legally instituted persecution that only Christian witnesses were admissible in a court of law. Tales of the cruelty perpetrated in the Inquisition reached even Europe and Voltaire wrote about it.

    The situation continued, with varying intensity, for the whole duration of Portuguese rule in India. During 17 th century, Portuguese power declined. English and French had also come into India and started military activities along with trading. Mughal Empire was at its peak. Still Portugal held on to Indian possessions. In 18 th century, the situation changed. Mughals were becoming weak and Marathas were rising in Deccan. They had a powerful Navy under Admiral Kanhoji Angre, who had gone against every colonial navy in India and came out undefeated.

    Portuguese made the mistake of insulting and angering Bajirao Pehwa. They had aided Siddis of Janjira in their struggle against Marathas. Peshwa decided to teach them a lesson. The Northern State was ruled from the strong fort of Vasai{Bassein/Bacaim}. In 1737, invited by the local populace and having their grouse against Portuguese, Marathas captured Thane and Salsette. Areas like Bandra, Mahim, Versova, Sanjan still remained with Portuguese along with Vasai. There was an interlude as Marathas became busy in the North against Nizam and Mughals. Having defeated the Mughals and Nizam at Bhopal, they turned attention again to Deccan. Portuguese had recaptured some of the forts. Marathas captured them again in first half od 1739. Finally in May 1739, Maratha General Chimnaji Appa, brother of Bajirao Peshwa I, laid siege to Vasai. The outposts around it, like Dharavi, were taken and overland supply lines cutoff. The sea was patrolled by Manaji Angre. The Portuguese decided to defend the castle.

    Vasai Fort was on land but surrounded from three sides by water. It is bounded on the west by Arabian Sea and on the South and East by Vasai Creek. Marathas attacked from their camp at Bhadrapur in North. Vasai Creek was blockaded and mines were laid under fort walls. The mines detonated and Marathas poured into the fort. Portuguese fought valiantly and had the advantage of better arms. Marathas died in large numbers but they made slow advance. It is recorded that when the tower of Saint Sebastian exploded, the Portuguese lost morale. They surrendered on 16 th of May. All the top generals of Portuguese were dead, so a captain signed instrument of surrender. Chimnaji gave eight days to the Portuguese to leave. Many Hindus who had been forcibly made Catholic were allowed to convert back. This victory was cherished by Marathas for a long time.

    The areas around Vasai were finally ceded to English after third Anglo-Maratha War. After independence Jawaharlal Nehru completed the work that Chimnaji had started and Goa was liberated in 1961. In our history, usually we talk about the defeats of Indian powers by colonial Europeans. The real history is complex. Indian powers defeated colonial powers many times in the eighteenth century. From victory of Travancore against Dutch, of Hyder Ali against British, of Marathas against British and Portuguese are some of these forgotten chapters. It is time we remember, recognize and honour them.



    Views expressed above are the author's own.



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    स्रोत : timesofindia.indiatimes.com

    Battle of Vasai

    Battle of Vasai

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Battle of Vasai

    The Portuguese fortresses of Chaul (above) and Bassein (below) in an 18th century print.

    Date 17 February 1739 – 16 May 1739

    (2 months, 4 weeks and 1 day)


    Vasai and surrounding area

    19°19′50.4″N 72°48′50.8″E / 19.330667°N 72.814111°E


    Maratha Empire victory

    Portuguese army and administration pulled out of Baçaim on 23 May 1739.

    Belligerents Maratha Empire Pindaris Portuguese Empire

    Commanders and leaders

    Chimaji Appa Malhar Rao Holkar

    Yesajirao Surve Shrungarpur

    Baji Bhivrao Rethrekar

    Girmaji Kanitkar Naro Shankar Dani Manaji Angre Ranojirao Shinde

    Khanderao Holkar Captain Caetano de Souza Pereira

    Captain João Xavier Pinto

    General Martinho da Silveira

    General Pedro de Melho

    Colonel João Malhão Strength Maratha Empire: 40,000 Infantry 25,000 Cavalry

    4,000 Soldiers trained in laying mines

    5,000 Camels 50 Elephants [1] Portuguese Empire: Unknown

    Casualties and losses

    21,000 Killed

    Unknown Wounded[2] 800 killed

    Unknown Wounded[3]

    The Battle of Vasai or the Battle of Bassein was fought between the Marathas and the Portuguese rulers of Vasai (Portuguese, ; English, ), a town lying near Mumbai (Bombay) in the Konkan region of present-day state of Maharashtra, India. The Marathas were led by Chimaji Appa, a brother of Peshwa Baji Rao I. [4]


    The (Province of the North) region ruled by the Portuguese included not just the town of Baçaim but also areas far away as Bombay, Thana, Kalyan, Chaul and Revdanda. Baçaim is located about 50 kilometers north of Bombay, on the Arabian Sea. Baçaim, was an important trading center, and its sources of wealth was trade in horses, fish, salt, timber, basalt and granite, as well as shipbuilding. The town was a significant trading center long before the Portuguese arrived. Ancient Sopara was an important port that traded with the Arabs and Greeks, Romans and Persians. It was also a wealthy agricultural region with rice, betel nut, cotton, and sugar-cane widely grown.[5][]

    In 1720, one of the ports of the Northern Province, Kalyan, was conquered by the Marathas and in 1737, they took possession of Thana including all the forts in Salsette island and the forts of Parsica, Trangipara, Saibana (Present-day Saivan, south bank of the Tansa river), Ilha das Vaccas (Island of Arnala), Manora (Manor), Sabajo (Sambayo/Shabaz near Belapur), the hills of Santa Cruz and Santa Maria.[6][] The only places in the Northern Province that now remained with the Portuguese were Chaul (Revdanda), Caranja, Bandra, Versova, Baçaim, Mahim, Quelme (Kelve/Mahim), Sirgão (Present day Shirgao), Dahanu Sao Gens (Sanjan), Asserim (Asheri/Asherigad), Tarapor (Tarapur) and Damão.[7][] By 1736, the Portuguese had been at work for 4 years constructing the fortress of Thana, and aside from the long delays, the workers were unpaid and unfed.[8] The locals who were tired of the oppression, finally invited the Marathas to take possession of the island of Salsette, preferring their rule to the oppression of the Portuguese.[] These were some of the factors that weakened Baçaim and set the stage for Maratha attacks.

    After the war of 1737- 39, Chimaji appa and his Maratha soldiers took the church bells from Vasai as memorabilia and installed them in various Hindu mandirs of Maharashtra, some of the bells they installed in Khandoba mandir, Tulja bhavani mandir of Jejuri and Osmanabad respectively . These church bells are still present in these mandirs.[9] The garrison of Baçaim, thanks to the reinforcements received from Goa, was of about 1,200 soldiers, among Portuguese and Indian auxiliaries.[10]

    Siege of Baçaim[edit]

    The siege of Baçaim began on 17 February 1739.[11] All the Portuguese outposts around the major fort at Baçaim had been taken. Their supply routes from the north and south had been blocked, and with the English manning the seas, even that route was unreliable. Chimaji Appa arrived at Bhadrapur near Baçaim in February 1739. According to a Portuguese account, his forces numbered 40,000 infantry, 25,000 cavalry, and around 4,000 soldiers trained in laying mines. Furthermore, he had 5,000 camels and 50 elephants. More joined from Salsette in the following days, increasing the total Maratha troops amassed to take Baçaim to close to 100,000. The Portuguese, alarmed at this threat, decided to vacate Bandra, Versova and Dongri so as to better defend Baçaim. As per orders of the Portuguese Viceroy, the Count of Sandomil, only Baçaim, Damão, Diu and Karanja (Uran) were to be defended. These were duly fortified. In March 1739, Manaji Angre attacked Uran and captured it from the Portuguese. This was followed by easy Maratha victories at Bandra, Versova and Dharavi which the Portuguese garrison had vacated. Manaji Angre joined Chimaji Appa at Vasai after this. Thus by April 1739, the noose around Baçaim had further tightened.

    स्रोत : en.wikipedia.org

    Choose the correct alternative and rewrite the statement. Marathas defeated the Portuguese during the siege of ______.

    Choose the correct alternative and rewrite the statement. Marathas defeated the Portuguese during the siege of ______.

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    Concept: Colonialism Vs. the Maratha Empire - Portuguese and Maratha Empire

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    Chapter 4: Colonialism and the Marathas - MCQ

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    SCERT Maharashtra Question Bank 12th Standard HSC History Maharashtra State Board 2022

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    MCQ | Q 1. A] 3.

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    स्रोत : www.shaalaa.com

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