This article may require cleanup to meet Wikipedia's quality standards. (November 2008) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Throughout the medieval period in India, mercenary work became an important source of income for some communities.
India, also known as the Republic of India, is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh largest country by area and with more than 1.3 billion people, it is the second most populous country as well as the most populous democracy in the world. Bounded by the Indian Ocean on the south, the Arabian Sea on the southwest, and the Bay of Bengal on the southeast, it shares land borders with Pakistan to the west; China, Nepal, and Bhutan to the northeast; and Bangladesh and Myanmar to the east. In the Indian Ocean, India is in the vicinity of Sri Lanka and the Maldives, while its Andaman and Nicobar Islands share a maritime border with Thailand and Indonesia.
A mercenary, sometimes known as a soldier of fortune, is an individual who takes part in military conflict for personal profit, is otherwise an outsider to the conflict, and is not a member of any other official military. Mercenaries fight for money or other forms of payment rather than for political interests. In the last century, mercenaries have increasingly come to be seen as less entitled to protections by rules of war than non-mercenaries. Indeed, the Geneva Conventions declare that mercenaries are not recognized as legitimate combatants and do not have to be granted the same legal protections as captured soldiers of a regular army. In practice, whether or not a person is a mercenary may be a matter of degree, as financial and political interests may overlap, as was often the case among Italian condottieri.
During the 16th and 17th centuries, a number of mercenaries, arriving from several countries found employment in India. Some of the mercenaries emerged to become independent or independent rulers.
In the medieval period, Purbiya mercenaries from Bihar and Eastern Uttar Pradesh were a common feature in Kingdoms in Western and Northern India. They were also later recruited by the Marathas and the British.They also played a prominent role in the Indian Rebellion of 1857.
Purbiya was a common term used in medieval India for Rajput-led mercenaries and soldiers from the eastern Gangetic Plain - areas corresponding to present-day western Bihar and eastern Uttar Pradesh. Purbiya Rajputs translates as Eastern Rajputs. In contrast, the Rajputs living in Rajasthan were historically referred to as "Western Rajputs".
Bihar is a state in eastern India. It is the thirteenth-largest Indian state, with an area of 94,163 km2 (36,357 sq mi). The third-largest state by population, it is contiguous with Uttar Pradesh to its west, Nepal to the north, the northern part of West Bengal to the east, with Jharkhand to the south. The Bihar plain is split by the river Ganges, which flows from west to east. Three main regions converge in the state: Magadh, Mithila, and Bhojpur.
The Maratha Empire or the Maratha Confederacy was an Indian power that dominated large portion of Indian subcontinent in the 18th century. The empire formally existed from 1674 with the coronation of Chhatrapati Shivaji and ended in 1818 with the defeat of Puppet Peshwa Bajirao 2 installed by Maratha nobles under Monarch Chhatrapati Pratapsingh. The Marathas are credited to a large extent for ending Mughal rule in India.
Thousands of Europeans took up service at the courts of rulers all over India.These mercenaries for the most part came from the margins of their respective societies. During the first war between Bahamani Sultanate and Vijayanagara Empire, launched in 1365 by Muhammad Shah I, both sides imported their artillery guns and employed Turkish and European gunners to man them.
The Vijayanagara Empire was based in the Deccan Plateau region in South India. It was established in 1336 by Harihara I and his brother Bukka Raya I of Sangama Dynasty. The empire rose to prominence as a culmination of attempts by the southern powers to ward off Islamic invasions by the end of the 13th century. It lasted until 1646, although its power declined after a major military defeat in the Battle of Talikota in 1565 by the combined armies of the Deccan sultanates. The empire is named after its capital city of Vijayanagara, whose ruins surround present day Hampi, now a World Heritage Site in Karnataka, India. The writings of medieval European travelers such as Domingo Paes, Fernão Nunes, and Niccolò Da Conti, and the literature in local languages provide crucial information about its history. Archaeological excavations at Vijayanagara have revealed the empire's power and wealth.
Muhammad Shah I, born Tatar Khan, was a ruler of the Muzaffarid dynasty, who reigned over the Gujarat Sultanate briefly from 1403 to 1404 disposing his father Muzaffar Shah I.
European mercenaries served in the courts of Indian rulers for 300 years, beginning with the large-scale defections of Portuguese soldiers from Goa in the 16th century, followed by a series of defections of British soldiers and laymen from the British East India Company bridgehead at Surat in the 17th century.During Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama's first historic journey to India in 1498, he observed that there were Italian mercenaries in the employ of various Rajahs on the Malabar coast. Two of da Gama's own crewmen had left him to join the Italians in the service of a Malabar Rajah for higher wages.
Goa is a state on the southwestern coast of India within the region known as the Konkan, separated from the Deccan highlands of the state of Karnataka by the Western Ghats. It is bounded by Maharashtra to the north and Karnataka to the east and south, with the Arabian Sea forming its western coast. It is India's smallest state by area and the fourth-smallest by population. Goa has the highest GDP per capita among all Indian states, two and a half times that of the country. It was ranked the best-placed state by the Eleventh Finance Commission for its infrastructure and ranked on top for the best quality of life in India by the National Commission on Population based on the 12 Indicators.
Surat is a city in the Indian state of Gujarat. It used to be a large seaport and is now a center for diamond cutting and polishing. It is the eighth largest city and ninth largest urban agglomeration in India. It is the administrative capital of the Surat district. The city is located 284 kilometres (176 mi) south of the state capital, Gandhinagar; 265 kilometres (165 mi) south of Ahmedabad; and 289 kilometres (180 mi) north of Mumbai. The city centre is located on the Tapti River, close to Arabian Sea.
Vasco da Gama, 1st Count of Vidigueira, was a Portuguese explorer and the first European to reach India by sea. His initial voyage to India (1497–1499) was the first to link Europe and Asia by an ocean route, connecting the Atlantic and the Indian oceans and therefore, the West and the Orient.
Portuguese historian João de Barros stated that there were at least 2,000 Portuguese fighting in the armies of various Indian princes in 1565.Among these mercenaries included the indigenous Goan Catholic and East Indian soldiers and sailors. The Maratha Emperor Shivaji employed many Portuguese and hundreds of Goan Catholics and East Indians in his navy, until they were persuaded by the colonial authorities in Goa to desert. They were generally sought after as artillery experts by the Mughals and Marathas. When the Mughals complained to the Portuguese Viceroy António de Melo e Castro about the Portuguese soldiers serving under the Marathas, the latter was forced to respond with a letter stating that he had no control over the Portuguese and native Christian officers in Shivaji's army, just as he had no control over the mercenaries serving in the Mughal and other armies.
João de Barros, called the Portuguese Livy, is one of the first great Portuguese historians, most famous for his Décadas da Ásia, a history of the Portuguese in India, Asia, and southeast Africa.
Goan Catholics are an ethno-religious community of Roman Catholics from the state of Goa on the west coast of India who speak Konkani as well as English. Portuguese seafarers arrived in Goa in 1510, and Catholic missionary activities soon followed, as Pope Nicholas V had enacted the Papal bull Romanus Pontifex in 1455 which granted the patronage of the propagation of the Christian faith in Asia to the Portuguese.
East Indians or East Indian Catholics, are an ethno-religious Indian Christian community who are members of the Catholic Church. They live primarily in the city of Mumbai, with smaller populations in portions of Palghar and Thane districts in the Indian state of Maharashtra.
During the reign of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, so many Europeans took up service at the Mughal Army that a distinct suburb was built for them outside Delhi named Firingipura (Foreigners' Town).Its inhabitants included Portuguese, French and English mercenaries, many of whom had converted to Islam. These mercenaries formed a special Firingi (Foreigners') regiment, under the command of a Frenchman named Farrashish Khan. Shah Alam II gave the German mercenary Walter Reinhardt Sombre a large estate in the Doab, north of Delhi. Sombre settled in the estate with his wife Farzana Zeb un-Nissa (also known as Begum Samru), and made the village of Sardhana his capital. The ruling class of this principality was drawn from an assortment of Mughal noblemen and 200 French and Central European mercenaries, many of whom had converted to Islam. Sombre was succeeded after his death by his wife who took command of his mercenary troops and became the ruler of Sardhana, earning the distinction of being the only Roman Catholic ruler in India. Among these mercenaries was John-Augustus Gottlieb Cohen, a German-Jewish mercenary who was the father of Urdu poet, Farasu.
There were many mercenaries working in the armies of the Deccan sultanates that controlled much of central and southern India.One of the most prominent mercenaries in the Adil Shahi court was Gonçalo Vaz Coutinho, a Portuguese former landowner in Goa, who was imprisoned there on a murder charge before escaping to Bijapur in 1542. There he converted to Islam with his wife and children, and was given lands with great revenues by Ibrahim Adil Shah I. A Portuguese-Jewish gunner Sancho Pires defected in similar circumstances to the Ahmadnagar Sultanate in 1530. Pires converted to Islam and took the name Firanghi Khan; acquiring a position of great influence in the Nizam Shahi court.
Many British renegades defected to the service of the Mughals and Deccan sultanates during the 17th century, as in the case of Joshua Blackwell, a British East India Company official who in 1649 converted to Islam and took up service in the Mughal army.Most of these renegades, like the trumpeter Robert Trulleye, however, went into the service of the Deccan sultanates of Bijapur and Golconda. In 1654, 23 British East India Company servants deserted Surat in a single mass break-out. In the 1670s, the British authorities uncovered an active network of covert recruiting agents in Bombay. By the 1680s, the increasing defections of British soldiers and East India Company servants led Charles II to issue an order calling back all Englishmen in the employ of Indian princes.
During the Indian Rebellion of 1857, a British convert to Islam named Abdullah Beg was one of the most active insurgents in Delhi against British rule.Beg was a former Company soldier, who upon the arrival of the mutineer sepoys on 11 May, self-identified with them and virtually became a leader and advisor to the rebel forces in Delhi. He was last seen manning the rebel artillery along with another British defector and Muslim convert, Sergeant-Major Gordon. On account of his faith, Gordon was spared during the massacre of Christians at the outbreak of the uprising. In due course Gordon was taken to Delhi, where he manned the guns on the northern side of the city walls.
|Anthony Pohlmann||Hanoverian who served in the armies of the Daulat Scindia and British East India Company|
|Benoît de Boigne||French military adventurer who made his fortune and name in India.|
|Fernão Lopes||16th century Portuguese soldier who defected to the Adil Shahi general, Rasul Khan.|
|Claude Martin||French army officer in India|
|Jean-Philippe de Bourbon-Navarre||French mercenary and progenitor of the Bourbon lineage in Bhopal|
|Pierre Cuillier-Perron||French military adventurer in India|
|Michel Joachim Marie Raymond||French General in Nizam's military and the founder of Gunfoundry Hyderabad, Hyderabad State.|
|Walter Reinhardt Sombre||French mercenary and husband of Begum Samru, ruler of Sardhana, a principality near Meerut|
|George Thomas||Irish mercenary who was active in India during the 18th century|
|Jean-Baptiste Ventura||Italian mercenary and adventurer who served the Sikh Empire in the Punjab|
|Jean-François Allard||served in the Sikh Armies & Maharaja Ranjit Singh|
|John Holmes||served in the Sikh Armies & Maharaja Ranjit Singh|
|Ahmad Baksh Khan||Bukharan mercenary who founded the Princely State of Loharu|
|Dost Mohammed Khan||Afghan mercenary and founder of the Princely State of Bhopal|
Sambhaji was the second ruler of the Maratha kingdom. He was the eldest son of Shivaji, the founder of the Maratha Empire and his first wife Saibai. He was successor of the realm after his father's death, and ruled it for nine years. Sambhaji's rule was largely shaped by the ongoing wars between the Maratha kingdom and Mughal Empire as well as other neighbouring powers such as the Siddis, Mysore and the Portuguese in Goa. In 1689, Sambhaji was captured, tortured and executed by the Mughals, and succeeded by his brother Rajaram I.
Beginning in the 13th century, several Islamic states were established in the Indian subcontinent in the course of a gradual Muslim conquest in the Indian subcontinent. This process culminated in the Mughal Empire, which ruled most of India during the mid-16th to early-18th centuries. The Islamic rule gradually declined due to the dominance of Maratha Empire and several other rebellions. The eventual end of the period of Islamic rule of India is marked by the two main events Indian Rebellion of 1857 and the beginning of British rule, although Islamic rule persisted in Hyderabad State and other minor princely states until Union of India in 1948. However, most Islamic rules had started to wane in the 17th and 18th century before that.
The Mughal Emperors, Great Moghul, from the early 16th century to the mid 19th century, built and ruled the Mughal Empire on the Indian subcontinent, mainly corresponding to the modern countries of India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. The Mughals were a branch of the Timurid dynasty of Turco-Mongol origin from Central Asia. Their power rapidly dwindled during the 18th century and the last emperor was deposed in 1857, with the establishment of the British Raj. Mughal emperors were of direct descent from Timur, and also affiliated with Genghis Khan, because of Tamerlane’s marriage with a Genghisid princess.
The Deccan Plateau is a large plateau in western and southern India. It rises to 100 metres (330 ft) in the north, and to more than 1,000 metres (3,300 ft) in the south, forming a raised triangle within the South-pointing triangle of the Indian subcontinent's coastline.
The history of South India covers a span of over four thousand years during which the region saw the rise and fall of a number of dynasties and empires. The period of known history of the region begins with the Iron age period until the 14th century CE. Dynasties of Satavahana, Chola, Chera, Pandyan, Chalukya, Pallava, Rashtrakuta, Kakatiya, Seuna (Yadava) dynasty and Hoysala were at their peak during various periods of history. These Dynasties constantly fought amongst each other and against external forces when Muslim armies invaded south India. Vijayanagara empire rose in response to the Muslim intervention and covered the most of south India and acted as a bulwark against Mughal expansion into the south. When the European powers arrived during the 16th century CE, the southern kingdoms resisted the new threats, and many parts eventually succumbed to British occupation. The British created the Madras Presidency which covered most of south India directly administered by the British Raj, and divided the rest into a number of dependent princely states. After Indian independence South India was linguistically divided into the states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
The Deccan Sultanates were five Muslim dynasties that ruled several late medieval Indian kingdoms, namely Bijapur, Golkonda, Ahmadnagar, Bidar, and Berar in south-western India. The Deccan sultanates were located on the Deccan Plateau, between the Krishna River and the Vindhya Range. These kingdoms became independent during the break-up of the Bahmani Sultanate. They were noted for the destruction of temples and general economic misery. In 1490, Ahmadnagar declared independence, followed by Bijapur and Berar in the same year. Golkonda became independent in 1518 and Bidar in 1528.
The Pindaris were irregular military plunderers and foragers of Muslim religion in 17th- through early 19th-century Indian subcontinent who accompanied initially the Muslim army, later the Maratha army, and finally on their own before being eliminated in 1817-18 Pindari War. They were unpaid and their compensation was entirely the loot they plundered during the war. They were horsemen, foot brigades and partially armed, creating chaos and delivering intelligence about the enemy positions to benefit the army they accompanied. The earliest mention of them is found during Aurangzeb's campaign in the Deccan, but their role expanded with the Maratha armed campaign against the Mughal empire. They were highly effective against the enemies given their rapid and chaotic thrust into enemy territories, but also caused serious abuses against allies such as the Pindari raid on Sringeri Sharada Peetham in 1791. After several cases of abuse where the Pindaris plundered the territories of Maratha allies, the Maratha rulers such as Shivaji issued extensive regulations upon the Pindari contingent seeking to carefully limit their predatory actions.
Indo-Persian culture refers to those Persian aspects that have been integrated into or absorbed into the cultures of the Indian subcontinent.
Shahaji was the son of Raja of Verul and a general in the court of Adilshah, sultan of Bijapur. The eldest son of Maloji Bhosle, Raja of Verul, Shahaji inherited the Pune and Supe jagirs, under the Ahmadnagar Sultanate. During the Mughal invasion of Deccan, he joined the Mughal forces and served Emperor Shah Jahan for a brief period. After being deprived of his jagirs, he defected to the Bijapur Sultanate in 1632 and regained control over Pune and Supe. In 1638, he also received the jagir of Bangalore, after Bijapur's invasion of Kempe Gowda III's territories. He eventually became the chief general of Bijapur and oversaw its expansion.
Muslim conquests in the Indian subcontinent mainly took place from the 12th to the 16th centuries, though earlier Muslim conquests made limited inroads into modern Afghanistan and Pakistan as early as the time of the Rajput kingdoms in the 8th century. With the establishment of the Delhi Sultanate, Islam spread across large parts of the subcontinent. In 1204, Bakhtiyar Khalji led the Muslim conquest of Bengal, marking the eastern-most expansion of Islam at the time.
Malik Ambar was an Ethiopian military leader in the Deccan region of India.
Joanna Nobilis Sombre, a convert Catholic Christian, popularly known as Begum Samru and also, as Begum Sumru, started her career as a Nautch (dancing) girl in 18th century India, and eventually became the ruler of Sardhana, a small principality near Meerut. She was the head of a professionally trained mercenary army, inherited from her European mercenary husband, Walter Reinhardt Sombre. This mercenary army consisted of Europeans and Indians. She is also regarded as the only Catholic ruler in India, as she ruled the Principality of Sardhana in 18th- and 19th-century India.
The Mughal–Maratha Wars, also called the Maratha War of Independence, were fought between the Maratha Empire and the Mughal Empire from 1680 to 1707. The Deccan Wars started in 1680 with the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb’s invasion of the Maratha enclave in Bijapur established by Chatrapati Shivaji. Marathas Won This War And After the death of Aurangzeb, Marathas defeated the Mughals in Delhi and Bhopal, and extended their empire as far as Peshawar by 1758.
Murud is a taluka city and a municipal council in Raigad district in the Indian state of Maharashtra. Situated at a distance of 42 km (26 mi) from Alibag, Murud is a tourist destination. The Palace of Nawab is located in Murud. The palace was built in 1885 for administration purposes. The palace is still owned by the descendants of the Nawab and is a private property.
The Maratha Conquests were a series of conquests in the Indian subcontinent which led to the building of the Maratha Empire. These conquests were started by Shivaji in 1659 from the victory at the Battle of Pratapgad against Bijapur. The empire was interrupted by the Mughal conquests of south India by Emperor Aurangzeb and lost its independence as well as execution of their kings which continued until the death of Bahadur Shah I in 1712.
Chand Bibi, was an Indian Muslim regent and warrior. She acted as the Regent of Bijapur (1580–90) and Regent of Ahmednagar (1596–99). Chand Bibi is best known for defending Ahmednagar against the Mughal forces of Emperor Akbar in 1595.
The Battle of Raichur was a battle fought between the Vijayanagar Empire and the Sultanate of Bijapur in 1520 CE in the town of Raichur, India. It resulted in a decisive victory for Vijayanagar forces, and the Bijapur ruler was defeated and pushed across the river Krishna. This battle had far-reaching effects. It weakened the power and prestige of the Adil Shah and got the ruler to make alliances with other Deccan sultanates to take on the Vijayanagara Empire; this culminated in the defeat of the Vijayanagara Empire at the Battle of Talikota.
The Ahmadnagar Sultanate was a late medieval Indian kingdom, located in the northwestern Deccan, between the sultanates of Gujarat and Bijapur. Malik Ahmad, the Bahmani governor of Junnar after defeating the Bahmani army led by general Jahangir Khan on 28 May 1490 declared independence and established the Nizam Shahi dynasty rule over the sultanate of Ahmednagar. Initially his capital was in the town of Junnar with its fort, later renamed Shivneri. In 1494, the foundation was laid for the new capital Ahmadnagar. In 1636 Aurangzeb, then Mugal viceroy of Deccan finally annexed the sultanate to the Mughal empire.
The military history of Bassein encompasses the period from 1526, when the Portuguese established their first factory at Bassein, until 1818, when Bassein lost its strategic importance following the defeat of the Marathas by the British.