Conajee Angria and Sumbhajee Angria

Conajee Angria was commander of the Maratha Rajah's fleet in 1698, but became a pirate and sailed mainly along a 240 mile stretch of coastline between Bombay and Vengurla. In 1704, Angria was ordered by the East India Company to cease his activities, his reply was that he'd seize their ships wherever he found them and for 25 years Angria he was very successful. In 1710 he captured the Karanja and Kolaba islands near Bombay. He looted the Indian and European ships and collected protection money. Angria amasted a very impressive fleet which included warships with up to 40 guns. Not caring much for the British, he held them (in particular) as slaves until a ransom was paid for their return.
In 1712, Angria's fleet captured two British ships near Karwar. One of these was the armed yacht belonging to the East India Company's governor of Bombay. The company paid £ 3,750 for his release as well as a ceasefire on British shipping. Instead, Angria turned his attention toward Indian merchantmen trading with Bombay. In January 1716, Charles Boone was made governor of Bombay. His orders were to end the activities of pirates. Over the five years, Boone sent large fleets to attack Angria's strongholds to no avail. During this time Angria was again plundering the British, capturing two British ships as well as several Indian ships inder the East India Companies protection. Boone again sent out the fleet in an attempt to regain their ships but were defeated once more. Angria blocked Bombay's harbor in retaliation. Out of desperation, the East India Company paid Angria £8,750 which was for a so-called peace treaty, but it didn't last more than a few months before Angria was on their trail again defeating the companies specially built gunships near Gheriah and Deoghur, while trying to retreat, they ran into John Taylor.
England dispatched four Man-of-War's in 1721 under the command of Commodore Thomas Matthews along with 6,000 soldiers who located Angria at Kolaba and even with the combined forces of both the British and Portuguese, Angria's forces drove off their attack, with such a fury and so humilating that the British gave up trying. In January 1722, Governor Boone left his post and returned to England.
In December 1723 Commodore Matthews returned to England. He was accused and convicted of trading with Indian pirates. In his brilliant manner Angria continued to harass British shipping until his death in 1729, whereupon his son Sumbhajee Angria took over his position in the business of piracy.

After Conajee Angria died, his vast piratical empire was left to his two sons, Manajee and Sumbhajee.
Sumbhajee managed to gain control of most of his fathers empire by 1735. His brother, Manajee was left with a small territory around Kolaba, south of Bombay, which he ruled.
Sumbhajee carried on in his father's footsteps, attacking both Indian merchants and defeating larger European ships as well. In 1738 he held off an attack by a Dutch fleet which included 7 Man-of-War's. In January, 1736 Sumhajee captured the Derby which was owned by the East India Company. The Derby was headed for Bombay with a year's supply of gold. Sumhajee deployed nine of his ships to attack from the rear, thereby eliminating the possibility of the larger British ship bringing its guns to bear.
Sumbhajee was greedy for even more power. In 1740 with 2,000 men and between 40 and 50 ships he attempted to seize his brother's territory, but, the East India Company, terrified what total control would mean sent a fleet to counter his attack. Consequently Sumbhajee had to settle for the territory he already had, however, Sumbhajee did remain a powerful force in the Indian Ocean until he died in 1746.

Posted by Under The Black Flag on 4:53 π.μ.. Filed under , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0

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