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Battle of Vasai
Date 1739
Location Vasai, India
Result Decisive Maratha victory
Belligerents
Flag of the Maratha Empire.svg Maratha Empire Flag Portugal (1707).svg Portuguese Empire
Commanders and leaders
Chimaji Appa Captain John Xavier Pinto
Martino De Sylveina
Casualties and losses
500 800

The Battle of Vasai was fought between the Marathas and the Portuguese rulers of Vasai, a village lying near Mumbai (Bombay) in the present-day state of Maharashtra, India. The Marathas were led by Chimaji Appa, a brother of Peshwa Baji Rao I. Maratha victory in this war was a major achievement of Baji Rao I's reign.[1]

1737–1738 – Marathas march towards Bacaim[edit]

They seized Arnala to drive out the Portuguese. General Shankarji Pant Phadke informed Chimaji that Arnala fort is a strategic fort for the naval forces that were on route from north west coast to attack the Portuguese. Chimaji approved the assault on the fort. Shankarji Pant consulted and sought assistance of the local people to attack the Arnala fort; among them were Govindji Kasar and Gavraji Patil from Bolinj. Shankarji sent Sardar Gangaji Naik Anjurkar, Bajirao Belose and Rayajirao Surve to lead a battalion of 400 soldiers to lead the attack on Arnala fort. This attack was coordinated along with naval force commanded by Daryasarang i.e. Admiral Manaji Agre.

On March 28, 1737 Maratha forces attacked the fort and surprised the Portuguese who were caught with their guard down. The Portuguese retreated and gave up the fort. The Maratha victory was commemorated with a plaque installed on the northern wall of the fort and is still visible today. Soon after the Maratha victory, Shankarji Pant began reconstruction of the fort. By January of 1738 three bastions were completed. The three bastions were named Bhairav, Bhavani and Bava. The construction was completed by March 1738. Later Marathas occupied Versova and Dharavi.

1739 – Siege of Bacaim begins[edit]

Bassein Fort's Facade

The Siege of Bacaim began on 17 February 1739 under able leadership of Bajirao's brother Chimaji Appa. Marathas exhibited force, besieging skill, courage and perseverance, and thus Portuguese lose their commander Silveira de Menezes. The Portuguese garrison defended with courage and constancy using hand grenades, musketry and mortars. Using their technically advanced weapons and artillery, the Portuguese inflicted high casualties on the Marathas. Angre's fleet played a brave role and on 16 May 1739 the Marathas defeated Portuguese. Naro Shankar Dani's cavalry and infantry exhibited bravery and loyalty along with artillery, which played an important role, with Chimajiappa himself igniting the first shot from a cannon. Artillery's Lieutenant in command Girmaji Kanitkar wreaked havoc by consistently bombarding the fort with his artillery. This with Manaji Angre's seaborne musketeers' accurate shooting forced the Portuguese to surrender. Portuguese offered to capitulate, but requested to allow marching out with honors which Marathas accepted, as a mark of humane protocol to the defeated army.

1739 – Bacaim was named as Bajipur after the Peshwa Bajirao. To restore the Hindu culture and resettle the unconverted natives they incurred upon by the Portuguese rule, Peshwas brought a group of well trained, well learned Hindu priests to 'purify' the native converts willing to reconvert to their original Hindu fold.

Chimaji Appa restored the Nageshwar Mandir near Naga Kunda, built Hanuman Mandir over a church which might have been built on a mosque or temple foundation in the Fort. The oldest Trivikram Mandir in fort over St. Anthony Church and Vamana Mandir of Aggasi are said to have been established by Shri Vamadev Tirtha Swami. In 388 B.C. built Bhavani Shankara Mandir of Aggasi over our lady of light church, Papdy Kshetrapaleshwar Mandir which was built over our lady of Fatima.

Also rebuilt and restored was Jagadguru Shankaracharya Mandir at Nirmal. The Padmanabha Tirtha Swami Samadhi Ruins on the outskirts which were destroyed by Portuguese were re-established. Shankarji Keshav, the Subhedaar of Vasai led all these activities. When going back to Pune, Chimaji took beautiful church Bell's, which was cast in Europe and was in use of church services in the Fort. These bells were so beautiful that, Chimaji couldn't resist to take it along with him in his backward journey. One of the beautiful bell among them is installed at Mahabaleshwar Mandir, Satara. One can see it even today. Inscribed on the Bell Ave Maria. Another Church bell was taken away by Naro Shankar & placed on the bank of river Godavari in Nasik city. Chimaji allowed all Portuguese people to leave unharmed with their belongings.also the brave support of aan and mann thakur brothers of dombivali who helped chimaji peshwe to built explosives at vasai fort by giving their valuable lives.

References[edit]


Coordinates: 19°28′N 72°48′E / 19.467°N 72.800°E / 19.467; 72.800


Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Vasai — Please support Wikipedia.
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