What was the position of Vijayanagar Kingdom after Ramadeva?

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The younger brother of the traitor Jaggaraya kept on the struggle for the throne for sometime but after the death of the putative son of Venkata II in 1619, he made overtures for peace and married his daughter to Ramadeva.

But his also led to hostility between him and the party led by Yachana. The nayakas of Madura and Jinji asserted their independence while the Sultan of Bijapur annexed Kurnool. Ramadeva died at the age of 25 probably without any issue and was succeeded by Peda Venkata, grandson of Rama Raya.

Peda Venkata was able to win over the allegiance of the chiefs of Madura, Mysore and Kalahasti. He was, however, confronted with the Sultans of Golkonda and Bijapur, both of whom tried to extend their dominions at the cost of the Vijayanagar kingdom.

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He could only save his territories by paying huge amount of money to Adil Shah and some territory to Qutb Shah. He made the grant of Kowl to English factories in 1639 with permission to build a fort at Madraspatnam.

It was later on developed and came to be known as Fort St. George. Venkata passed away on 10 October, 1642 and was succeeded by his nephew Sri Ranga, the last ruler of the Vijayanagar Empire.

Sri Ranga, the last of the Vijayanagar rulers had to face internal and external foes. Sultans of Golkonda and Bijapur were determined to extinguish the last vestiges of the Hindu rule in the South. Sri Ranga did not command the support and help of even nobles and provincial governors.

His efforts to discipline the nayakas of Madura, Tanjore and Jinji ended in failure. The nayaka of Tanjore did support him for sometimes and he was able to push back Abdullah Qutb Shah of Golkonda who had been invited by Tirumala of Tanjore and recovered Udayagiri.

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In the second invasion, the Golkonda forces were again routed in 1644. In 1645, however, the three nayaks joined hands together and defeated Sri Ranga. It encouraged Bijapure and Golkonda who invaded Vijayanagar.

Sri Ranga had to sue for peace and pay huge indemnity. The nayaks now realized the consequences of their selfish policy and resolved to help their sovereign to maintain the independence of their land. But the Tirumala Nayaka of Madura broke his pledged word and invited Sultan of Bijapur to help him in the conquest of Jinji.

To his utter dismay, both the Sultans of Goldkonda and Bijapur came to an understanding by which Jinji was annexed by Bijapur in 1649. “This folly ultimately paved the way for the complete ruin of Vijayanagar Empire and the impositon of foreign domination over the sourth”.

After taking over Jinji, the Muslim armies captured most part of South India, deprived Sri Ranga of his small possessions and imposed heavy fines on the two nayaks. But Sri Ranga still did not lose heart and waited for a suitable opportunity to recover the lost territories.

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The departure of Mir Jumla from the South to take up service with the Mughal Emperor provided him with an opportunity. With the cooperation of the chiefs of Mysore and Ikkeri, he captured most part of Karnatak, but the traitor Tirumala Nayaka could not stand the revival of the Vijayanagar Empire.

He again appealed to Sultans of Bijapur and Golkonda who despatched their armies and recaptured Karnatak. Sri Ranga retired to Belur where he seemed to have retained some semblance of authority till 1678.

Thus the great Vijayanagar Empire met its doom due to the intrigues and selfish designs of her own sons. Its disintegration led to scramble for power by the various chiefs. They carried on wars with each other which ended in their own ruin. The ruler of Ikkeri invaded Mysore (1661), the latter in turn attacked Madura (1670), and annexed some parts of its territory, and Madura occupied a part of Tanjore.

These internal strifes only hastened the disintegration and subjugation of the southern Hindu states by their powerful neighbours- the Adil Shahi and the Qutb Shahis-which too ultimately fell a prey to the mighty Mughal Empire. Ekoji, a brother of Shivaji, who was in the service of Adil Shah expelled the officers of Madura from Tanjore and established the Maratha dynasty.

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Shivaji also conquered some parts of Karnatak then under the occupation of Bijapur and appointed his vicerory with headquarters at Jinji to administer them. By 1686-87, Aurangzeb was able to conquer the Adil Shahis and Qutb Shahi states of Deccan and was, therefore, anxious to annex their dominions which were held by various rajas.

Raja Ram, the second son of Shivaji, had established himself at Jinji. He tried to organize a confederacy of the Hindu rajas to oppose this attempt but their internal feuds foiled his attempts and finally he had to leave Jinji and his friend and ally the Raja of Tanjore accepted Mughal suzerainty.

The Mughals appointed a viceroy known as ‘Nawab of Arcot’ to administer Karnatak. Some years later ‘Chanda Sahib’, a general of the Nawab occupied Trichinopoly and Madura. Only Mysore managed to survive “after passing through various vicissitudes of fortune.” as a relic of the once glorious empire of Vijayanagar till its merger in the Indian Union.

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