Third Maratha War (1817-1819)
But soon the Peshwa undid this treaty with the British and on 5 November 1817 attacked the British Residency. He was defeated at a place called Kirkee. Similarly, the Bhonsle chief, Appa Sahib also refused to abide by the Treaty of Nagpur, which he had signed with the British on 17 May 1816. According to this treaty, Nagpur came under the control of the Company. He fought with the British in the Battle of Sitabaldi in November 1817, but was defeated. The Peshwa now turned to Holkar for help, but Holkar too was defeated by the British on 21 December 1817 at Baroda. Therefore, by December 1817 the dream of a Mighty Maratha Confederacy was finally shattered.
In 1818, Scindia was also forced to sign a new treaty with the British on the basis of which Ajmer was given to the Nawab of Bhopal, who also accepted the British suzerainty. The Gaekwar of Baroda, while accepting the Subsidiary Alliance, agreed to hand over certain areas of Ahmedabad to the British. The Rajput states which were under the Pindaris were freed after the latter's suppression.
The year 1818 was a significant year on account of major political achievements for the British. The Maratha dream of establishing themselves as the paramount power in India was completely destroyed. Thus, the last hurdle in the way of British paramountcy was removed.
There were several reasons for the defeat of the Marathas in the Anglo-Maratha Wars. The main reasons were:
Lack of capable leadership
Military weakness of the Marathas.
The major drawback of the Maratha power was mutual bitterness and lack of cooperation amongst themselves.
The Marathas hardly left any positive impact on the conquered territories.
The Marathas did not have cordial relations with other princes and Nawabs of India.
The Marathas failed to estimate correctly the political and diplomatic strength of the British.
The Governor-Generalship of Lord Hastings witnessed not only territorial expansion but also the progress of administration. He approved the Ryotwari system of land revenue introduced in the Madras Presidency by Sir Thomas Munroe. In the sphere of judiciary, the Cornwallis Code was improved. The Police system of Bengal was extended to other regions. The importance of Indian Munsiffs had increased during his administration. The separation of judicial and revenue departments was not rigidly followed. Instead, the District Collector acted as Magistrate.
Hastings had also encouraged the foundation of vernacular schools by missionaries and others. In 1817, the Hindu College was established at Calcutta by the public for the teaching of English and western science. Hastings was the Patron of this college. He encouraged the freedom of the Press and abolished the censorship introduced in 1799. The Bengali Weekly, Samachar Darpan was started in 1818 by Marshman, a Serampore missionary.
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