HINDUISM AND SANATAN DHARMA

Hinduism,Cosmos ,Sanatan Dharma.Ancient Hinduism science.

Battle of Colachel- King Marthand Verma

HistoryFacts : “The Dutch Invasion”

The following chapter hasbeen taken from the historical accounts of :
▪︎The Lannoy’s research text from the University of Leiden in Netherlands
▪︎A. P. Ibrahim Kunju (1975). T. K. Ravindran (ed.). “The Battle of Kuḷaccal (1741) and the defeat of Dutch on the Malabar Coast”. Journal of Kerala Studies. University of Kerala. 2 (3): 375–386.
▪︎M. O. Koshy (1989). The Dutch Power in Kerala, 1729-1758. Mittal Publications. ISBN 978-81-7099-136-6.
▪︎Thiruvananthapuram at the Encyclopædia Britannica
▪︎Ministry of Defence, Newsletter “Sainik Samachar”, 15 April 2004
▪︎Aiya, V. Naga (1906). Travancore Manual
▪︎Edwin, W.,Chithaivugal (Tamil), Kanyakumari Academy of Arts and Science, Nagercoil, 2004,p.12

● On 10 August,1741 ‘The Battle of #Colachel’, also known as ‘The Battle of Kulachal’ was fought between the Indian Kingdom of Travancore & the Dutch Kingdom of Holland (The Dutch East India Company of the Dutch Colonial Empire), during the Dutch naval invasion of the Indian Subcontinent.
In the Travancore-Dutch War, King Marthanda Varma’s forces defeated the Dutch East India Company’s forces led by Admiral Eustachius De Lannoy on 10 August 1741. The Dutch never recovered from the defeat & no longer posed a large colonial threat to India.

● #MarthandaVarma or Anizham Thirunal Marthanda Varma (1706–1758), also known as the “Maker of Modern Travancore”, was ruler of the Kingdom of Travancore (previously Venadu) in the Southern region of the Indian Subcontinent. He was succeeded by Rama Varma (“Dharma Raja”) (1758–98).
Travancore under Marthanda Varma made a deliberate attempt to consolidate its power by the use of #IndianOcean Trade. It was the policy of Marthanda Varma to offer assistance to Syrian Christian traders (as a means of limiting European involvement in ocean trade). The principal merchandise was black pepper, but other goods also came to be defined as royal monopoly items (requiring a license for trade) between the 1740s and the 1780s. Eventually, Travancore challenged & broke the Dutch blockade of the Kerala coast. Trivandrum became a prominent city in Kerala under Marthanda Varma. He undertook many irrigational works, built roads and canals for communication & gave active encouragement to foreign trade. In January, 1750, Marthanda Varma decided to “donate” his kingdom to Sri Padmanabha (Vishnu) & thereafter rule as the deity’s “vice-regent” (Sri Padmanabha Dasa). Marthanda Varma’s policies were continued in large measure by his successor, Rama Varma.
Following the expulsion of the Dutch in 1741, Marthanda Varma now turned his attention once again towards Kayamkulam (which continued to seek help from the Dutch Company). In 1742, Travancore forces attacked Kayamkulam possessions at Kollam and fought the Kayamkulam army led by Achuta Warrier and chiefs from Valiya Kakkanadu Madhom. Although Travancore was defeated in this battle, Marthanada Varma reinforced his army with cavalry brought in from Tirunelveli before mounting an attack on Kayamkulam, which led to the final defeat of the chiefdom. A treaty known as the Treaty of Mannar (1742) was signed, under which Kayamkulam became a tributary state of Travancore.
However, by 1746, the Kayamkulam chief once again showed signs of rebellion and when his “conspiracies” with the northern chiefdoms such as Kottayam, Changanassery, Kochi and Ambalapuzha came to the attention of Marthanda Varma, Kayamkulam was annexed by a final battle in which the chief fled to Kochi and a branch of the family settled near Charamood known as “Moothantedom”. Travancore now extended from Kanyakumari to Kayamkulam in the north. Following this, Ambalapuzha, Kottayam & Changanassery were also annexed to Travancore by 1753. The principality of Meenachil was also annexed.
In 1753, the tributary states of Kochi collectively known as Karappuram and Alangad were ceded to Travancore. In 1755, the ruler of Kozhikode was also defeated at a battle in Purakkad. He was supported by the armies of some other local chiefs.
The ascent of Travancore seems to have been particularly rapid after about 1749. Marthanda Varma had declared a state monopoly on pepper in Travancore in 1743, thereby delivering a serious blow to the commerce of the Dutch. A treaty (the Treaty of Mavelikkara) was concluded between Marthanda Varma and the Dutch East India Company. It was signed at Mavelikkara on 15 August 1753. Thereafter, the Dutch Company officials report that “considerable spice producing lands came under direct royal control, while those merchants participating in illegal trade in spices stood in danger of being executed”.

● The Battle:
After the successful invation of Sri Lanka in 1641, the #Dutch forces started making naval strategies to invade further deep into the Indian Subcontinent. On 26 November,1740 the Dutch sent two large ships and three sloops to Colachel, bombarding the coast. The Dutch soldiers fortified a place near the port with wooden posts and garrisoned a portion of the Dutch force in it. The rest proceeded and attacked the Travancore out-posts on the coast, such as Thengapattanam, Midalam, Kadiapattinam and advanced to Eraniel. On 29 November,1740 the Dutch commander van Gollenesse announced a complete blockade of the Travancore coast around Colachel, directing his forces to seize all ships bound for the coast, with the exception of the English ships carrying goods to Edava.
On 13 January,1741 the Dutch ship Maarseveen was sent southwards, to be anchored between Thengapattanam & Colachel. On 10 February,1741 another Dutch expedition comprising seven large ships and several smaller vessels landed just north of Colachel. According to some accounts the local mukkuvar population lined up at the shore with oars on their shoulders. From a distance it appeared as if these people were armed and dangerous. The fishermen managed to check the Dutch advance temporarily. However the Dutch succeeded in taking Colachel forcing the fishing population to flee inland. After occupying Colachel, the Dutch set up stockades and stationed troops there. Subsequently, the Dutch forces started capturing the nearby villages, and marched towards Eraniel. They plundered and devastated the region between Colachel and Kottar, with van Gollenesse favouring the occupation of the entire region between Colachel and Kanyakumari. To effectively control the newly-conquered territories, the Dutch were expecting reinforcements to arrive from Ceylon and Batavia, but the Company Government at Batavia could not spare any reserve forces because of the Java War. Faced with an acute shortage of Dutch soldiers in Malabar, Van Gollenesse requested at least 300-400 men from the Dutch Ceylon, and meanwhile, sent a section of the Dutch army to Kanyakumari to attack Travancore army from there.[18]Marthand Varma, who was then at Trivandrum, hastened to the south with all the force at his command, and directed Ramayyan Dalawa, who was then engaged in the north, to march with a sufficient force to Colachel.
When Marthanda Varma reached Kalkulam, he adopted measures to arrest the progress of the Dutch who being, at the time, in possession of almost all the villages between Colachel and Kottar, and are intended to attack Padmanabhapuram, the capital of Travancore. The Raja raised raised a levy of 2000 Nairs, and reinforced the regular infantry already in service in that part of the country. Marthanda Varma strongly remonstrated with the Dutch Governor of Cochin and wrote to the Government in Batavia a letter of remonstrance & complaint. Ramayyan Dalawah reached Kalkulam from the north, with a large reinforcement, consisting of infantry, cavalry and artillery, and the king, in consultation with the Dalawa planned an attack upon the Dutch. A number of native boats, properly manned, with a mixed force of trained sepoys and militia of the Kingdom, and a full complement of Mukkuvar seamen as rowers, organized for the purpose of watching the movements of the Dutch ship which landed the detachment, was kept in readiness at sea. Ramayya marched his troops & stationed them between Nagercoil and Eraniel. Each Army was commanded by trained officers, and the Dalawa, as the chief in command, placed himself in the centre. All these arrangements were completed in the course of a few months and the battle lasted for months. Travancore’s patrol boats cut off supplies to the Dutch garrison from the sea, and his forces also imposed a blockade on the landside. On 27 May, he worshipped at the Adikesava Perumal Temple at Thiruvattar, consecrated his sword there, and marched to Colachel. The Travancore army did not have any siege equipment, and therefore, Marthanda Varma intended to simply starve the Dutch garrison out. His army, which largely outnumbered the Dutch force at Colachel, encircled the Dutch entrenchments from all sides. The Dutch troops at Colachel numbered around 400 (of which only around 150 were European), while the Travancore army had 12,000-15,000 soldiers. Although Marthanda Varma suffered loss of men and money, he did not withdraw the siege. Besides the blockade imposed by the Travancore forces, the adverse wind, floods and rough sea also prevented the Dutch from supplying ammunition & provisions to Colachel. The heavy rains made it hard for them to keep their gunpowder dry, and made their weapons unusable. According to a 31 July report of the English factory at Anchuthengu noted that two Dutch sloops had been trying to land at Colachel for several days, but had failed to do so because of continuous firing from the Travancore forces.
The personal diary of a man named Theuniz, which he had found among the Dutch East India records. Theuniz, who was on the Dutch ship called Porca, watched as the Travancore army, armed with the new Indo-British weapons then stationed in Anchuthengu (near Attingal), bombarded the makeshift tent near the shore where the Dutch had gathered all their ammunition. That one big explosion ended the war on 10 August.
Finally the Dutch forces surrendered on 10 August 1741. The court chronicle (Rajyakaryam Churuna) of Marthanda Varma simply states the date as Āḍi 916 ME, without mentioning any specific day. Later Historian A. P. Ibrahim Kunju & K. M. Panikkar claimed the date ‘7-10 August 1741 CE’ to be correct.
The Travancore forces captured a large number of muskets and some cannons from the Dutch garrison at Colachel. They imprisoned 24 Top Dutch Naval Officers & imprisoned them at the Udayagiri Fort in Puliyoorkurichi.
Now, there hasbeen seen a dispute in the historical accounts, which can be seperated in two distinct segments. The 1st segment (European Records) states that later, Marthanda Varma gave the PoW their weapons back & asked them to join the Travancore Army, which was accepted by everal European prisoners, including Eustachius De Lannoy & Duyvenschot. Whereas the 2nd segment (Asian Records) clearly states that When King Marthanda Varma decided to return back the PoWs to the Dutch Govt. of Holland, Eustachius De Lannoy requested King Varma to not send him away from the Indian Subcontinent & aslo promised him to provide Military service under the Travancore Kingdom.
However, it was the first time in Indian history that an Asian country defeated a European naval force. The defeat of the Dutch in Colachael was the turning point of the Travancore-Dutch War. D’lennoy went on to serve the Travancore kingdom for the next two decades and was promoted to the post of the Valiya kappithan (Senior Admiral) of the Travancore forces. Under the supervision of Rama Varma, he built the Nedumkottai, a line of fortifications in the north of the kingdom, which held up the invading army of Tipu Sultan in 1789, during his invasion of Travancore. After his death, D’lennoy was buried with complete military honour in the Udayagiri Fort, also known as Dillanai kottai (D’lennoy’s fort).

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