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Second Anglo-Maratha War

Second Anglo-Maratha War
Part of the Napoleonic Wars
The Battle of Assaye, a painting by J.C. Stadler
LocationCentral India

British victory

23x15px East India Company 23x15px Maratha Empire
23x15px France
Commanders and leaders
23x15px Gerard Lake
23x15px Arthur Wellesley
23x15px James Stevenson
23x15pxDaulatrao Sindhia
23x15pxRaghoji II Bhonsle
23x15pxYashwantrao Holkar
23x15px Pierre Cuillier-Perron
Units involved

Lake & Wellesley:[1]

  • 4 regiments European cavalry
  • 8 regiments Native cavalry
  • 2 regiments British infantry
  • 17 sepoy battalions
  • Artillery
Shock Infantry forces

Lake, Wellesley, & Stevenson:[1]

27,313 (not including artillery lascars & Madras Pioneers)

The Second Anglo-Maratha War (1803–1805) was the second conflict between the British East India Company and the Maratha Empire in India.


The overarching ambition of Raghunathrao, Peshwa Baji Rao II's father, and the latter's own incompetence since coming into his inheritance, had long caused much internecine intrigue within the Maratha confederacy; Peshwa Baji Rao II no longer commanded the deference his predecessors had.

In October 1802, Peshwa Baji Rao II was defeated by Yashwantrao Holkar, ruler of Indore, at the Battle of Poona. He fled to British protection, and in December the same year concluded the Treaty of Bassein with the British East India Company, ceding territory for the maintenance of a subsidiary force and agreeing to treaty with no other power. The British also had to check the French influence in India.

The Marathas were the only major power left outside British control. With the fall of Mysore as a serious threat to British expansion in the south, Major-general Arthur Wellesley turned attention towards the Marathas. The Maratha empire at that time consisted of a confederacy of five major chiefs: the Peshwa at Poona, Gaekwad of Baroda, Scindia of Gwalior, Holkar of Indore, and Bhonsale of Nagpur. The Maratha chiefs were engaged in internal quarrels among themselves. Wellesley had repeatedly offered a subsidiary treaty to the Peshwa and Sindhia but Nana Fadnavis refused strongly. However in 1802 when Holkar defeated the combined armies of Peshwa and Scindia, Peshwa Baji Rao II signed the Subsidiary treaty at Bassein in 1802.


This act on the part of the Peshwa, their nominal overlord, horrified and disgusted the Maratha chieftains; in particular, the Scindia rulers of Gwalior and the Bhonsale rulers of Nagpur and Berar contested the agreement.

In September 1803, Scindia forces lost to Lord Gerard Lake at Delhi and to Lord Arthur Wellesley at Assaye. British artillery pounded ancient ruins used by Scindia forces as forward operating bases, eroding their control. A few months later in November, Lake defeated another Scindia force at Laswari, followed by Wellesley's victory over Bhonsale forces at Argaon (now Adgaon) on 29 November 1803.[2] The Holkar rulers of Indore belatedly joined the fray and compelled the British to make peace. Wellesley, who went on to defeat Napoleon at Waterloo, would later remark that Assaye was tougher than Waterloo.[2]


On December 17 1803, Raghoji II Bhonsale of Nagpur signed the Treaty of Deogaon in Odisha with the British after the Battle of Argaon and gave up the province of Cuttack (which included Mughalbandi/the coastal part of Odisha, Garjat/the princely states of Odisha, Balasore Port, parts of Midnapore district of West Bengal).

On 30 December 1803, the Daulat Scindia signed the Treaty of Surji-Anjangaon with the British after the Battle of Assaye and Battle of Laswari and ceded to the British Rohtak, Gurgaon, Ganges-Jumna Doab, the Delhi-Agra region, parts of Bundelkhand, Broach, some districts of Gujarat, fort of Ahmmadnagar.

Yashwantrao Holkar, however began hostilities with the British by securing the alliance of the Raja of Bharatpur. By the Treaty of Rajghat on 24 December 1805, Holkar got back most of his territories. The Holkar Maharajas retained control and overlordship over much of Rajasthan.


Henty, G. A. (1902). At the Point of the Bayonet: A Tale of the Mahratta War. London.  - historical fiction describing the war

See also


  1. ^ a b Cooper, pp. 315–8.
  2. ^ a b Wolpert, Stanley (2009). A New History of India (8th ed.). New York, NY: Oxford UP. pp. 410–1. ISBN 978-0-19-533756-3. 


External links

Preceded by
First Anglo-Maratha War
Anglo-Maratha Wars Succeeded by
Third Anglo-Maratha War
Preceded by
Fourth Anglo-Mysore War
Indo-British conflicts Succeeded by
Third Anglo-Maratha War