The capture of Geriah, February 1756
Geriah was a stronghold of the notorious and formidable Maratha pirate Tulagee Angria. One of a family of Indian pirates plundering the trade carried in East India Company ships, he operated off India's Malabar coast between Bombay and Goa, known as the Pirate Coast. Angria had strongholds on the little island of Severndroog, which had been captured by Commodore James in 1755, south of Bankote, or Fort Victoria, and at Geriah, south of Ratnagiri. Late in 1755 an expedition consisting of Royal, Company and Mahrattan ships was organised to destroy it, together with a contingent of Company troops under Lieutenant Colonel Clive. The expedition was commanded by Rear-Admiral Watson with Rear-Admiral Pocock as his second in command. In anticipation of an attack, Angria made a deal with the Mahrattans to give them Geriah, if the attack was called off. Although they agreed, Watson was determined to destroy it, and carried out a bombardment on 12 February 1756. Although he silenced the defence batteries, it was necessary to open fire again on 13 February before the final surrender the next day. Apart from the destruction of Angria's arsenal and fleet, â”œÃ²â”œâ•‘130,000 of spices and valuables were found. Angria's wife and family were spared and Angira himself escaped and fled.
Dominic Serres, the Elder
- Image reference: BHC0377
- National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
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