Cotiote War

Cotiote War

A series of wars were fought between the Kottayam Kingdom, led by Kerala Simham Pazhassi Raja, and the British East India Company, led by Arthur Wellesley, the first Duke of Wellington. The battle was fought in and around Wayand's mountainous terrain.

The British termed this 13-year-long war which was fought between 1793-1806 as the Cotiote War (Kottayathu War) and British called Pazhassi Raja as Cotiote Raja (Kottayathu Raja).

From 1793 till his death, Pazhassi Raja continuously waged wars with the British. His initial battles were aimed towards liberating Kottayam. Since 1800, it has been over the issue of authority over Wayanad.

It is considered as the longest battle fought by the East India Company on the Indian subcontinent.

It was also one of the bloodiest wars in which the East India Company suffered many losses in both the manpower and the resources under the guerilla tactics of Pazhassi Raja using the dense forest cover of the region.

Basic Facts

  • Location – Wayanad.
  • Duration – 17931-1806.
  • Between – Pazhassi Raja & British East Company.
  • Major Leaders – 
    • Pazhassi Raja – 
      • Kaitheri Ambu 
      • Edachena Kunkan.
      • Kannavath Sankaran Nambiar.
      • British – 
        • Arthur Wellesley.
    • Result – British Victory.
    • Aftermath – Annexation of Kottayam Kingdom into the Madras Presidency.
    The Duke of Wellington regarded Pazhassi Raja as a one-man army, and the British understood the conflict would not finish unless he was killed. They also recognized that without internal strife, they would be unable to assassinate Pazhassi Raja.

    They formed the "Kolkars," a group of local Indian collaborators, for this aim (traitors, if one might say that) under the leadership of Collector of Thalassery, T.H. Baber

    What the mighty Duke of Wellington couldn't achieve, Kolkars, with the help of a spy, accomplished in a matter of months.

    With the death of Pazhassi Raja on November 30, 1805, the driving force behind the war came to an end and it died down within a year. The Kottayam kingdom was incorporated into the province of Malabar under the Madras Presidency as a result of the battle.

    📝SideNotes:
    • Author of the historical novel 'Keralasimham' – K. M. Panikkar.
    • First Biopic about Pazhassi Raja in Malayalam Cinema – Pazhassi Raja (1969; director: Kunchacko; Kottarakkara Sreedharan Nair in Lead role).
    • Director of 2009 Malayalam film 'Kerala Varma Pazhassi Raja' – Hariharan.
      • Writer – M. T. Vasudevan Nair.
    • Pazhassi Dam – Kannur.
    • Pazhassi Cave – Malappuram (Nilambur).
    • Pazhassi College – Wayanad (Pulpally).
    • Pazhassi Museum – Kozhikode (East Hill).
    • Pazhassi Memorial – Wayanad (Mananthavady).

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