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Three Anglo-Maratha Wars were fought between the British East India Company and the Maratha Confederacy in India between the late 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century. The First Anglo Maratha War started in 1775 with the Treaty of Surat and ended in 1782 with the Treaty of Salbai.
Although the British were in power their control wasn’t expanded somewhat into the South.

However, at the end of the Anglo-Maratha wars, the Marathas were no longer in power and the British were victorious with their authority at a vast scale in India. India came into the possession of the British who ruled it on their terms, in the Orientals style.


After the defeat in The Third Battle of Panipat, Balaji Baji Rao, the third Peshwa, died due to a sudden shock. After him, his son, Madhavrao took over. Since the war had led to a great territorial loss, as soon as Madhavrao come into power, he started to recover their lost lands. The English however were already alert of the expanding power of the Marathas. 

When Madhavrao died in 1772, his brother Narayanrao became the Peshwa, despite his uncle Raghunathrao’s wish to become the ruler. Therefore Raghunathrao had his nephew assassinated which eventually opened doors for him to become the next Peshwa though he was not the legal heir. Late Naranyanrao’s son, Sawai (One and a quarter) Madhavrao was born posthumously who was the legitimate successor of the crown.

Under the Maratha Minister, Nana Phadnavis, a twelve Maratha chiefs army was formed (known as Baarbhai), to lead the infant as the new Peshwa. On the other hand, Raghunathrao was reluctant to give up his position as the Peshwa, consequently, he appealed for help from the British. As a result of this, the Treaty of Surat (1775) was signed, according to which he gave up the territories of Salsette and Bassein for the deal of 2500 soldiers from the English. United, they attacked the Peshwa and won.

The Treaty of Purandar

Treaty of Purandar (1665) - Wikipedia

 On the other hand, the British Calcutta Council, under the orders of Colonel Keating, censured the Treaty of Surat and annulled it.  Colonel Upton was sent to sign a new treaty with the regency.

They left for Pune and were checked by Haripant Phadke at Adas, where they were completely defeated on May 18, 1775. Overall 96 men of the forces of Keatings and Raghunathrao died in this attack. On the other hand, 150 men from the Marathas army died in the Battle of Adas (Gujrat).

The Treaty of Purandhar was signed in 1776 between the Calcutta Council and Nana Padhnavis under Warren Hastings, resulting in the annulment of the Treaty of Surat. Raghunathrao was given pension only and the district of Salsette was reserved by the English, completely dissolving Raghunathrao’s cause. But the English government at Bombay denied this treaty and provided a safe place to Raghunathrao.

In 1777, Nana Padhnavis allocated the French a port on the West Coast, thus breaching his treaty with the Calcutta Council. The British counter-attacked by storming a force towards Pune.

Battle of Wadgaon: Victory of the Marathas

Battle of Wadgaon: A glorious moment in Maratha history


The British army of 39,000 soldiers (about 600 Europeans and the rest Asians) united with Raghunathrao’s army, who had allied with the British against Nana Phadnavis, thus adding to the number of soldiers.  The Marathas were led by Mahadji Scindia with a total army of 80,000 soldiers. Both the armies met at the border of Pune while Pune fought for its existence.

The most significant aspect of the entire campaign was the way Mahadji had beguiled the British army into the valleys at Talegaon and had cut them off. As the British were held captive, the troopers persecuted the enemies from all sides.

They also invaded the British supply at Khopoli. The Marathas also took advantage of the scorched earth policy by burning farmlands and poisoning the wells. As the British began to retreat from Talegaon, the Marathas attacked in the middle of the night, causing them to stop in the village of Wadgaon where they were surrounded by the Marathas on 16 January 1779.

The British finally surrendered and signed the Treaty of Wadgaon which made the Bombay government cede all the territories which had been captured by the British since 1775.

The same was discussed by the Ace Assignment in their research papers.

Mahadaji Shinde - Wikipedia

The British Response

The British Governor-General, Warren Hastings, opposed the treaty on the basis that the Bombay government had no legal authority to sign it and direct Goddard to ensure the rights of the English in the area.

Goddard attacked Bhadra Fort with 6000 soldiers and occupied Ahmedabad on February 15, 1979. The fight led to a loss of 108 lives, including two British.

On December 11, 1780, Bassein was captured. Gwalior was also captured by Captain Popham on August 4, 1780, who was helped by Rana of Gohad, before Mahadji Scindia could make any arrangements. Many unsettled clashes also took place between Mahadji Scindia and General Goddard in Gujrat.

Under the orders of Major Camac, Hastings sent another force after Mahadji Scindia. However, Scindia had a much larger army, which was a threat to the English. Hence they made a night raid in which they took over their provisions, even guns, and elephants. Finally, the British under the dominance of General Camac, defeated Scindia in February 1781, at Sipri.

The fight was balanced now on both sides. Mahadji secured a glorious victory against Camac at Sironj, while Camac retaliated through the Battle of Durdah, on March 24, 1781.

Since the battle of Wadgaon, Mahadji had proved himself to be the one with ability, competence, and dignity. Even when Colonel Murre came with his forces in April 1781, to assist Camac and Popham, Mahadji conclusively overpowered their forces on July 1, 1781. Mahadji’s strategy and bravery had made him unbeatable!

Treaty of Salbai

The Treaty of Salbai was proposed by Scindia between the Peshwa and the British, to get the young Madhavrao his recognition as the Peshwa. It was signed in May 1782 and was approved by Hastings in June 1782 and by Nana Phadnavis in February 1783. 

The Treaty put an end to the Anglo-Maratha war, resulting in both parties returning all the territories they had conquered during the war. British returned all the Maratha territories, except Salsette, west of the Yamuna to Scindia.

Significance of this Battle in Indian History

The British already had the Mughal Empire under their control but they wanted to dominate the Maratha Chieftains. Their interference in all internal and external matters gave way to the Anglo-Maratha Wars. 

The main reason behind the Maratha’s victory in the First Anglo-Maratha War was Mahadji Scindia, who acted as a shield against any attack on the Marathas. His unmatchable and unshakeable valor made his people fearless enough to face the British and defeat them.

Within ten years after his death, the British were able to take their place through the East India Company into India’s heartland.



1. “Anglo Maratha Wars.” NewWorldEncyclopedia, 26 Oct. 2020, 

2. Athale, Anil A. Struggle for Empire: Anglo-Maratha Wars, 1679-1818. E-book, Reliance Publishing House, 2002.

3. Beveridge, Henry.  A Comprehensive History of India. Civil, Military, and Social. E-book, Intl Book Distributors, 1973.

4.  “Maratha Wars.” Britannica, 25 Oct.  2020,

Author Bio 

Gloria Kopp is currently working as a History Teacher at EssaysnAssignments, a leading writing services provider. She has graduated from the University of Wyoming and started a career as a creative writer.  With her vast knowledge, passion, and love for history, she has gained recognition worldwide.