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Kanhoji Angre

(1669 – 1729) – (Maharashtra)

Kanhoji Angre born on 1669, the commander of the Maratha Navy, is renowned for his opposition against the seafaring colonial powers that were attempting to establish their presence in India during the early 18th century. His military prowess led him to become the unchallenged ruler of the sea on the western coast of India, extending from Surat to Vengurla. Shivaji established the Maratha navy that Kanhoji Angre led.

Kanhoji utilized his naval fleet to safeguard Maratha traders from pirates in Malabar and to maintain the sovereignty of the sea for the Maratha state. However, his actions brought him into conflict with the colonial powers, namely the English in Bombay, the Portuguese in Goa, and the Dutch in Vengurla. The English declared open hostilities against Kanhoji in 1718, sending several expeditions to Kolaba, but all were unsuccessful.

In December 1721, the English and the Portuguese united their forces and launched an attack against him, yet Kanhoji emerged victorious through his military tactics and diplomacy. He not only protected his fort and other inland stations but also managed to receive assistance from the Maratha army under Pilaji Jadhav.

During 1723, Governor Boone returned to Great Britain. After Boone’s departure, relative calm prevailed between the British and Angre, until Angre’s death in 1729. In honor of his achievements, the shore-based logistics and administrative support establishment of the Western Naval Command in Mumbai was named INS Angre on September 15, 1951, as a tribute to this Indian hero.