The Second Anglo-Maratha War had shattered the power of the Maratha chiefs but not their spirit. They made a desperate last attempt to regain their independence and old prestige in 1817.

The lead in organising a united front of the Maratha chiefs was taken by the Peshwa who was smarting under the rigid control exercised by the British Resident.

The Peshwa attacked the British Residency at Poona in November 1817. Appa Sahib of Nagpur attacked the Residency at Nagpur, and Madhav Rao Holkar made preparations for war.

The Governor-General, Lord Hastings, struck back with characteristic vigour. He compelled Sindhia to accept British suzerainty, and defeated the armies of the Peshwa, Bhonsle and Holkar. The Peshwa was dethroned and pensioned off at Bithur near Kanpur.


His territories were annexed and the enlarged Presidency of Bombay brought into existence. Holkar and Bhonsle accepted Subsidiary forces.

To satisfy Maratha pride, the small Kingdom of Satara was founded out of the Peshwa’s lands and given to the descendant of Chatrapati Shivaji who ruled it as a complete dependent of the British. Like other rulers of Indian states, the Maratha chiefs too existed from now on at the mercy of British power.

The Rajputana states had been dominated for several decades by Sindhia and Holkar. After the downfall of the Marathas, they lacked the energy to reassert their independence and readily accepted British supremacy.

Thus by 1818, the entire Indian subcontinent excepting the Punjab and Sindh had been brought under British control. Part of it as ruled directly by the British and the rest by a host of Indian rulers over whom the British exercised paramount power.


These states had virtually no armed forces of their own, nor did they have any independent foreign relations. They paid heavily for the British forces stationed in their territories to control them.

They were autonomous in their internal affairs, but even in this respect they acknowledged British authority wielded through a Resident. They were on perpetual probation.