Within almost ten years of the treaty of peace (1805) by which the second Anglo-Maratha War was concluded, the relation between Maratha power and the Britishers deteriorated again. The Marathas once again failed uneasily and were in no mood to serve as a subordinate power to the British. The sentiments of the Marathas rose to the highest point under Peshwa Baji Rao ll. He was able to mobilize all-important Maratha clans to fight the Britishers. A series of battles ensued, which is called Third Anglo Maratha War. However, the fortunes favoured the foreign forces, and in the battle of Mahidpur (1817) the supremacy of Maratha was fatally damaged.
Baji Rao ll
Baji Rao ll was an intriguing and restless man all his life. He had secured the throne as Peshwa by serving himself from other Mahratta chieftains and forming a subsidiary alliance with the British at the time of Lord Wellesley, and he struggled to throw off the yoke which he had thus imposed on himself. At last in November 1817, he threw off all disguise and attacked the British force at Khirki. This was his first and last battle with the British. His attack was repulsed, and he then fled from Poona, and for six months continued his fight and escaped his pursuers.
The other Maratha powers made common cause with the Peshwa. The Maratha general of Nagpur attacked the British force at Sitabadli but was repulsed and fled. Holkar’s troops also shared the feeling of hostility against the British power. They beheaded their queen. Tulasi Bai, who was willing to come to terms, and attacked the British army. They were routed by Sir John Malcolm in the battle of Mahidpur.
- The Treaty of Gwalior was signed in 1817 between Shinde and the British, even though he had not been involved in the war. As per this treaty, Shinde gave up Rajasthan to the British. The Rajas of Rajputana remained the Princely States till 1947 after accepting British sovereignty.
- The Treaty of Mandasor was signed between the British and the Holkar chief in 1818. An infant was placed on the throne under British guardianship.
- The Peshwa surrendered in 1818. He was dethroned and pensioned off to a small estate in Bithur (near Kanpur). Most parts of his territory became part of the Bombay Presidency.
- His adopted son, Nana Saheb became one of the leaders of the Revolt of 1857 at Kanpur.
- The territories annexed from the Pindaris became the Central Provinces under British India.
- This war led to the end of the Maratha Empire. All the Maratha powers surrendered to the British.
- An obscure descendant of Chhatrapati Shivaji was placed as the ceremonial head of the Maratha Confederacy at Satara.
- This was one of the last major wars fought and won by the British. With this, the British controlled most parts of India barring Punjab and Sindh directly or indirectly.