Put to the Sword

An Account of the Actions and Services of the British Army in India During the Anglo-Maratha Wars 1774-1819

David C.J. Howell

The Anglo-Maratha wars expanded the East India Company's dominion and territory in the sub-continent and finally removed a significant enemy to its continuing conquest of India.
Date Published :
May 2022
Publisher :
Helion and Company
Series :
From Reason to Revolution
Illustration :
37 b/w & color ills
No associated books available.


In 1774 the British East India Company engineered a war against one of India’s most challenging peoples, the Marathas, in order to strengthen the security of its existing dominions and to expand territory and influence. It was a mistake which caused the surrender, retreat and humiliation of a British army and left the Marathas in an improved position militarily. British forces during the First Anglo-Maratha War of 1774-1783, suffered at the hands of a much wilier Maratha foe than they had ever anticipated.

The Second Anglo-Maratha war was fought in two spheres of India, the Deccan and Hindustan, in order that the Company could replace the power vacuum left from the previous war 20 years before. During the second war the focus to a large extent has been on the successful battles and career of Arthur Wellesley during seven years in India, his victory at Assaye in, but disaster followed for other British armies in Hindustan with a calamitous retreat to Agra and a disastrous siege at Bhurtpore.

In 1817, for the third and final war against the Marathas, the British put their largest army yet into the field in a concerted effort to finally settle the issue of Maratha intransigence and opposition, together with the eradication of the criminal subculture of the Pindaris, hordes of bandit horsemen who wreaked havoc on British and the indigenous people of northwest India, and their Maratha sponsors. This was a relatively brief war but a single incident closed a general’s career and brought severe condemnation from parliament and later historians.

About The Author

David C. J. Howell was born at Earlham Hall, Norwich, in 1946 in what is now The School of Law at the University of East Anglia, the only time he spent in an institute for higher enlightenment. He completed his education, entirely to his own satisfaction, at King Edward VI Grammar School, Stafford and joined the Staffordshire Constabulary in 1965. After retiring in 1995 he continued with the Force as a staff support member until 2011. Married to Catharine, they have two daughters, four grandchildren, a dog called Jake and reside in Leicester.

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