v Sarkhel Kanhoji Angre :

Kanhoji Angre

16?? - June 4, 1729

Shivaji raje , Khanhoji angre and other, verify our navy 

Place of birth

Alibag, India

Place of death

Present day Maharashtra, India


Maratha Navy

Years of service

1698 - 1729



v Kanhoji Angre or Conajee Angria or Sarkhel  Angre :

(16?? to June 4, 1729) was the first notable chief of the Maratha Navy in 18th century India. He fought successfully all his life against the British, Dutch and Portuguese naval interests in the Indian Ocean during the eighteenth century, and hence was alleged by them to be a pirate. Similar work was carried out against the colonial powers by the Kunjali Marakkars in the sixteenth century. Despite the attempts of the British and Portuguese to subdue Angre, he remained undefeated until his death.
v Origins :
Born in the town of Alibag, little is known about his early life except that he was involved in daring exploits at sea and that his father was Tanoji Angre, a commander under Maratha Chhatrapati (King) Shivaji. He spent much of his childhood in the fort at Suvarnadurg Fort, of which he would later become governor.
He was originally appointed as Darya-Saranga by the chief of Satara in 1698 . Under that authority, he was master of the Western coast of India from Bombay (now Mumbai) to Vingoria (now Vengurla) in present day state of Maharashtra, except for the property of the Muslim Siddis of Janjira who were affiliated with the powerful Mughal empire.

v Notoriety :
Kanhoji initially started by attacking merchant ships of the British East India Company and slowly gained notoriety and power. When Maratha Chattrapati Shahu ascended the leadership of the Maratha kingdom, he appointed Balaji Viswanath Bhatt as his Senakarta ('Commander'), and negotiated an agreement with Angre around 1707. This was partly to appease Angre who supported the other ruler who claimed the Maratha throne, Tarabai. Under the agreement, Angre became head of the Maratha navy.
Later, he continued his harassment of all vessels. He also played a role in the Maratha conflicts against Mughal emperor Aurangzeb, who was camped in the Deccan. kanhoji never broke away from the marthas, He just changed his king from Kolhapur to Satra for the wellbeing of maratha emperor.

v Bases
In 1698, Angre located his first base at the Maratha fort of Vijaydurg ('Victory Fort') (formerly Gheriah) located about 425km from Mumbai. The fort which was originally built by Maratha ruler, Shivaji is located on the coast, and has an entrance hollowed out in it to accommodate entry of a vessel from the sea.
Angre created a base on the Khanderi and Underi islands off the coast of Mumbai, and attempted to levy a tax on every merchant vessel entering the harbour.
Angre established a township called Alibag towards the end of the seventeenth century. The main village at that time, was today's Ramnath. Kanhoji even issued his own currency in the form of a silver coin called the Alibagi rupaiya.
Angre even established a base in the Andaman Islands, and is credited with attaching those islands to India.

v Campaigns
With official Maratha backing Kanhoji intensified the attacks on colonial naval powers like England and Portugal on the western coast of India. On November 4, 1712, his navy even succeeded in capturing the armed yacht Algerine of the British President of Bombay, Mr William Aislabie, killing the chief of their Karwar factory, Mr. Thomas Chown, and making his wife a prisoner. The yacht and the lady were released on 13 February 1713 for a ransom of 30,000 Rupees. He also signed a treaty with the President Aislabie to stop harassing the Company's fleet. Mr. Aislabie departed for England during October 1715.
After the arrival of Charles Boone as the new Governor of Bombay on 26 December 1715, Boone made several attempts to capture Angre. But instead in 1718 Angre captured three ships belonging to the British leaving them to claim that Kanhoji Angre was a pirate. Angre blockaded the port of Bombay, and extracted a ransom of 8,750 pounds from the East India Company.
The English launched a fresh campaign in 1720, when shells from floating batteries burst in vain against the rocks of Vijaydurg fort. The attempt to land inside the fort ended in disaster, and the English squadron soon retired to Bombay.
On 29 November 1721 a joint attempt by the Portuguese (Viceroy Francisco Jose de Sampaio e Castro) and the English (General Robert Cowan) to humble Kanhoji also failed miserably. This fleet consisted of 6,000 soldiers in no less than four Man of war ships led by Commander Thomas Matthews. Aided by Maratha warriors Mendhaji Bhatkar and Mainak Bhandari in his navy, he continued to harass and plunder the European ships. Commander Matthews returned to England, but was accused and convicted of trading with the pirates in December 1723. Also, during 1723, Governor Boone returned to England. After Boone's departure for a few years for some reason relative calm prevailed among the English and Angre, until his death.

v Battles
1702 - Seizes small vessel in Cochin with six Englishmen
1706 - Attacks and defeats the Siddhi of Janjira
1710 - Captures the Kennery (now Khanderi) islands near Bombay after fighting the English vessel, Godolphin for two days
1712 - Captured the yacht of the British President of Bombay, Mr. Aislabie, releasing it only after obtaining a hefty ransom of Rs. 30,000
1713 - Ten forts ceded to Angre by English
1717 - English ships bombard Kennery island and Angre signs treaty with Company paying Rs. 60,000
1718 - Blockaded Bombay port and extracted ransom
1720 - English attack Vijaydurg (Gheriah), unsuccessfully
1721 - English and Portuguese jointly attack Alibagh, but are defeated
1723 - Angre attacks two English vessels, Eagle and Hunter

v Death
By the time of his death on 4 June 1729, Kanhoji Angre had emerged as a master of the Arabian Sea from Surat to south Konkan. He left behind two legitimate sons, Sekhoji and Sambhaji; three illegitimate sons, Tulaji, Manaji, and Yeshaji.
After Kanhoji, his son Sekhoji continued Maratha exploits at sea till his death in 1733. After Sekhoji's death, the Angre might was split between two brothers, Sambhaji and Manaji, because of divisions in the family. With the Marathas neglecting the navy the British soon found it easier to defeat the remnants of the kingdom. The Angre reign over the Western coast ended with the capture of Tulaji in a joint English/ Peshwa attack on the fort of Gheriah (now Vijaydurg) in February 1756.

v Legacy
Kanhoji Angre stands alone in the Indian list of early freedom fighters as the one person who stood undefeated and inflicted many casualties on colonial powers. However, the English and other shipping powers who were heckled by Angre claimed that he was a privateer, forgetting that he was the appointed admiral of the Maratha Navy.
Kanhoji is also credited with the foresight that a Blue Water Navy's role is to keep the enemy engaged away from the shores of the land. At one time he was so successful that he even employed certain Europeans in his fleet, including making one Dutchman his Commodore. At the height of power, Kanhoji's commanded hundreds of warships and the British Navy could do little to combat the Maratha menace.
Kanhoji's harassment of British commercial interests (who hence called him a pirate) and the Battle of Swally led them to establish a small naval force that eventually became the modern Indian Navy.
Angre's tomb is situated at the city of Alibag, Maharashtra.


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