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Sarkhel Kanhoji Angre : The Admiral of the Great Maratha Navy

Kanhoji Angre (1667–1729), was the first notable chief of the Maratha Navy and popularly known as Samudratla Shivaji” (Shivaji of Indian ocean).

Kanhoji Angre occupies a unique position in the history of Bharat and in the annals of  Indian ocean history. For four decades a terror to the maritime powers of the western coast, he led his sailors from victory to victory and raised the naval prestige of Maharashtra to an unprecedented height. Today largely forgotten, Angria founded a dynasty in the late 1690s that became the main obstacle to the rise of the English East India Company (EIC) as a hegemonic power in the Bombay region.  The Company tried to suppress the maritime depredations of the powerful Angrias for more than fifty years, yet to no avail.

The Marathas were said to be "the first and perhaps the only to employ a navy; indeed, as the saying still goes that Shivaji Maharaj carried the capital of his empire on the high seas.

Kanhoji Angre’s name struck the terror in the hearts of all the European Trading Companies which were active in India in the 17th and 18th centuries. The fishermen community on the western coast who knew the sea-coast like the palms of their hands and who were born seamen provided excellent material for the Maratha navy.

Angria stands as a prominent figure that fought successfully against three European and several indigenous powers for over half a century. As a result Angria has become a defender of indigenous sovereignty and been adopted as an early figure of resistance to colonial incursion. Click here to read more.

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