The famous pirate of Kanhoji Angria.


Who was Kanhoji Angria?

One of the most successful pirates of the seventeenth or eighteenth centuries was Kanhoji Angria, pronounced Conajee Angria. Angria was a Maratha Indian pirate who had been a Maratha naval leader in the 1690s. When he became a pirate at around this time, the British East India Company ordered him to resign his post as naval leader and he left the island of Severndroog where his island fortress had been stationed.

His first mission was to sail the coast and attack ships along the way, particularly those belonging to the English East India Company. Angria used Bombay’s port as he attacked almost every ship that he came across and took money from them. But staying true to a ransom deal that he had made with the East India Company’s governor in 1712, he did not attack any British ships for four years.

Over the next few years, he became more powerful and he had accumulated more than twenty camps. In 1716, the new governor of Britain started to attack his camps and he then started to fight back by beginning to attack British ships. Word of the fighting had spread and hundreds of pirates had come to help Angria fight off the British ships.

Angria died in 1729 and he left his pirate kingdom to his two sons Sumbhaji and Mannaji. At first Sumbhaji had most of the control and the two continued their father’s success despite the British ships that continued to attack.

In 1743, Sumbhaji’s half-brother, Toolaji took over the business and Toolaji became more aggressive in his attacks. But in the end, the British won when they too, increased their armies and arranged an alliance with the Hindu Maratha tribes. Every camp once commanded by Angria and later, his sons, had been taken over by the British. Toolaji became a British prisoner and all the wealth he had ever gained was sent to Bombay.

Because he proved so successful in his resistance to British command, Kanhoji Angria is still remembered fondly as a national figure.

Kanhoji Angria.

 The famous pirate of Kanhoji Angria.

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