Friday, April 29, 2016


The seven islandsAfter Reclamation

The Hornby Vellard


Early efforts at land reclamation concentrated on the small creeks crossing the northern Flats of Bombay island. Several of these were dammed or filled in during the eighteenth century. As a result, the areas north and east of Umarkhadi and Mazagaon were slowly settled in this period. However, the next major reclamation was due to the closure of the Great Breach north of Cumballa Hill in 1784 by the building of a sea-wall called the Hornby Vellard..

Image result for HORNBY VELLARD ROAD
The seven islandsAfter Reclamation

Sunday, April 10, 2016



Is Malabar Hills of Mumbai anyhow related to Malabar of ...
To quote from Malabar Hill and the Pirates of Malabar "The original name of the ... from a place near Thalassery in Malabar ( Northern Kerala) had owned land ..
2 Answers

Madhuri Sen
Madhuri Sen, Born, bred...and buttered in the dream city - my forever fav place in the wor...
Yes it is. The relation is not clear but it's in connection with the Zamorin pirates of Malabar who ruled the waters and had been known to attack Mumbai as well. To quote from Malabar Hill and the Pirates of Malabar "The original name of the Malabar hill, point area was Shrigundi. The story is described thus: Shri-Gundi is called Malabar Point after the pirates of Dharmapatan (That is near Tellichery – Curious!), Kotta, and Porka on the Malabar Coast, who, at the beginning of British rule in Bombay, used to lie in wait for the northern fleet in the still water in the sea of the north end of Back Bay."Written Apr 24, 2014View Upvotes

  malabar hill 1850 showing Tower of Silence
Probably the earliest depiction of Canonore town , from 1572 Date: first Latin edition of volume I was published in 1572. After: an unidentified Portuguese manuscript."

[An early woodcut bird-eye's view of the town of Calicut. India] Plant et Figure de la riche cit� de Calecut en la premiere Inde.
Author: Belleforest, F. de.
PlaceAndYear: Paris, 1575.
Description: Francois de Belleforest (1530-1583). Edited a French edition of Sebastian M�nster's 'Cosmography', named 'La Cosmographie universelle', 1575. An early woodcut bird-eye's view of the town of Calicut as seen from the sea, with ships in the foreground and right a ship's yard.

See also

these two  Indian naval chiefs were called pirates by colonial rulers from portugal and england


Indian Pirates: From the Earliest Times to the Present Day
Rajaram Narayan Saletore - 1978 - ‎India
It was realised that, if their piracy was not checked and those ships not ... all the pirate chieftains of the South were the Malabar pirates of the Kunhali family, ... a place on the Kerala coast, two miles north of Trikkodi, in the Meladi Amsam, .


Pirates in the History of Calicut - Calicut Heritage
Apr 27, 2009 - A Source book on early medieval Kerala History. We are proud to announce ... Calicut's association with piracy on the high seas is as old as piracy itself. Piracy was .... But, who were the 'Malabar pirates'? Is it a reference to ...
April 2016

Popular Posts

Monday, April 27, 2009

Pirates in the History of Calicut

Calicut pops up in the most unlikely stories. Business Standard reports that many of the victims of the Somalian piracy now raging in the Gulf of Aden are seamen from Calicut!

 Incredibly, India is reportedly the biggest trading partner of the lawless Somalia, supplying it with essential commodities like rice, pulses, wheat, flour and sugar and helping transport the country's only significant export - goats. The trade is undertaken in large dhows, many of them made in Beypore. And the brave seamen who undertake the trade come from Mumbai, Kutch, Mangalore and - Calicut. 

And while high profile attacks on Russian and US ships and tankers get world attention and swift naval action, these anonymous victims are often at the mercy of the dhow owners and small time traders of Dubai who would rather cut their losses than spend more money as ransom.

Calicut's association with piracy on the high seas is as old as piracy itself. Piracy was recognised as one of the occupational hazards of seafaring. As Biddulph explained, 'There was no peace in the ocean. The sea was a vast No Man's domain where every man might take his prey'. 

As trade flourished so did piracy. The Indian trade with the Red Sea was paid for in gold and silver and, therefore, ships sailing from Jeddah - which carried pilgrims from Mecca, apart from the treasure - were prime targets. Many of these vessels were bound for Calicut.

British government took several measures to contain piracy on the Indian seas. Countries were required to issue passes and East India Company Commissioners were authorised to seize pirate ships and hold them till the King's pleasure.

But all these measures did not diminish the threat from pirates, and ships bound for the Malabar coast -extending from bet Dwarka in Gujarat to Anjengo in Travancore - were  plagued by frequent  and violent attacks by buccaneers. A specimen of the viciousness of such attacks is provided in the following narration of what happened off the coast of Calicut during such a raid:

 23rd november 1696

On this morning a ship under English colours stood into Calicut, and when alongside ship struck the English and hoisted Danish colours, fired a broadside, boarded and took her. Her boats then took three other ships. The Governor then came to us with threats and ordered us forthwith to send off to her and ask who they were, whereupon we sent Captain Mason, who returned saying that they were soldiers of fortune and that if the ships were not ransomed for Pounds 10,000 they and the rest of the shipping should be burned. We were well guarded all that night by the Governor's people.

24th November 1696

This morning the pirate was found to have moved her prizes to deeper water. The Governor ordered us to send off to know if they could lessen their demands. Captain Mason was accordingly sent off with a flag of truce and remonstrated civilly but to no purpose. They said he was no countryman of theirs, that they would not abate of 40,000 dollars ransom, and that unless it was sent off by noon one of the ships would be fired. Captain Mason again went off and offered 20,000 dollars, but they were deaf to it, and at four o'clock set one ship on fire. 

 It was clear by now that the local Governor (presumably representing the Zamorin) was buying time with the English pirates while arranging for an assault by 'Malabar pirates'. The assault started in the night of 25th November.  By the evening of 26th November the English pirates had been driven away and the Malabar pirates also managed to rescue Captain Mason, who had been held hostage by the pirates. 

27th November 1696

Captain Mason returned, having been put in a boat by the English pirate which was captured by the Malabar pirates, whereby he was obliged to jump overboard and swim ashore. He brought news that the pirate would cruise for Persia and Bussors ships. He reported her to be of about 300 tons, 20 guns and 100 men, her captain a Dutchman of New York, and that she daily expected a consort of about the same strength under one Hore. They offered him command of the ship if he would join them. He gathered that most of the pirates were fitted out from New York and returned thither to share the plunder with the Governor's connivance. One pirate had presented the Governor with his ship.

War with France was raging and there was no way the English naval force could come to the rescue of its merchant fleet. It was thus that some influential persons in London including the Chancellor, Lord Somers, Lord Orford and Lord Bellomont (who had been designated the Governor of New York)formed a syndicate and obtained a letter of marque for privateering to tackle the menace of piracy. It was rumoured that King William himself had a ten per cent share in the syndicate.

They obtained a commission for Captain William Kidd to act against the pirates with a reward of 50 pounds for every captured pirate. But soon it was revealed that Kidd had other ideas. From a tormentor of pirates he turned out to be the biggest pirate of them all, attacking English, French, Dutch and native ships without discrimination. His activities on the Malabar coast hurt English trade interests most and soon the entire 'syndicate' episode turned into a stinking political scandal.

Captain Kidd had visited Calicut in October 1697, apparently to seek replenishment of 'wood and water', but his reputation had preceded him and the Company authorities politely refused him, although he tried to browbeat them with authority of the King's Commission. Turned away from Calicut, Kidd sailed on towards the Laccadives. His last daring act was the capture of the ship Queddah Merchant.

Fate caught up with Kidd and he was arrested at the behest of his own mentor, Lord Bellomont who had by then taken over as the Governor of New York. The good Lord who had shared of Kidd's booty tried to distance himself from the pirate, claiming that 'I secured Captain Kidd last Thursday in the Gaol of this Town (Boston) with five or six of his men... It was true the King had allowed me a power to pardon pirates. But that I was so tender of using it (because I would bring no stain on my reputation) that I had set myself a rule never to pardon piracy without the King's express leave and command'.  This pompous statement came after Bellomont snatched from Kidd the only piece of evidence  (the French pass issued to Queddah Merchant) which could have saved Kidd's life! 

Perhaps Bellomont was hinting to the King that he could bail out his former business partner. But this did not happen and Kidd was tried, convicted and hanged at Execution Dock (on the Thames, at Wapping) on 23rd May 1701. If there was honour among thieves, it was only Kidd who demonstrated it - he did not disclose the names of his powerful patrons, despite close questioning!

While all this was happening, the Zamorin was the powerful Bharani Thirunal (1684-1705) who has been described as 'the terror of the Dutch'. He was perhaps still stationed in Ponnani and even found time to conduct two Mamankams in 1694 and again in 1695. 

The Governor mentioned in the narration of pirate attack must have been the Kozhikkode Thalachannavar who must have been the de facto Governor of Calicut. But, who were the 'Malabar pirates'? Is it a reference to some local naval force which must have been restructured after the cruel betrayal of Kunhali Marakkar? Or did the Shahbandar Koya have his own rapid action force?

1. Business Standard, 15 November 2008
2. Dictionary of Pirates - Jan Rogozinski
3. The Pirates of Malabar etc. - John Biddulph
4. The Zamorins of Calicut - K.V. Krishna Ayyar


Malabar Hill and the Pirates of Malabar
Mar 13, 2011 - They state thus - Bombay became the target of the sea pirates that also included the ones from Kerala's Malabar Coast. So, in order to ensure ...

Malabar Hill and the Pirates of Malabar

Maddy @ Sunday, March 13, 2011
A cursory look at the name of one of the costliest bits of real estate in Bombay (nowadays called Mumbai) signifies its relationship to the South West coastal area of Malabar. There is a reason to that, and I thought I would cover that interesting bit of history for the benefit of all, mainly to erase the typical distorted description provided in many a book and website.

They state thus - Bombay became the target of the sea pirates that also included the ones from Kerala’s Malabar Coast. So, in order to ensure the protection from any type of pirates attack near the hill, a lookout tower was founded. It was meant for keeping an eye on the pirates and the sea as well. Later this hill came to be known as ‘Malabar Hill’, which is very popular today.

The Raj Bhavan site says - In times past, the azure skies would forecast plunder as the sails of marauders appeared, the dreaded pirates of Malabar. They would ascend the pinnacle to plan their pillage. This summit by the shores heralded a view of the emerging city. Prophesying their recurring piracy, the peak came to be known as Malabar Point.

Was that right? To figure it out let us go back to the 16th century when the Portuguese attempts at colonizing India were at its peak. It was a period signified by systematic attempts at subduing the traders and trade that had been conducted from Malabar. Starting with Vasco Da Gama’s arrival at Calicut in 1498, the Portuguese strengthened their presence in Cochin, Goa, Surat and Bombay on the west coasts. The only resistance they faced initially was the sea based forays from the Kunhali Marakkar and his able seamen of South Malabar. The Marakkars had until then been running the Malabar trade (mainly food grains) with the blessings of the King of Cochin and the Zamorin of Calicut, but once their livelihood was threatened, they rose up in arms. I must hasten to add here that piracy indeed existed on the Malabar Coast and has many a time been attributed to moors, but it was sporadic, and not organized. Details of such old acts of piracy can be found in the accounts of many a travel writer, including Ibn Batuta and others.

Then again it is said that Malabar hill was where they conducted a pilgrimage to the Banaganga tank and Walkeshwar temple. Now that is an oddity by itself, the Moplah pirates praying to a heathen idol? That would not be quite right, isn’t it? A detailed study was needed, though the answer was apparent, that the term Malabar pirates was far-flung and widespread and applied to a wide variety of armed seafarers not quite pleased with the foreign usurpers making merry in the west coast towns, people who conducted much trade over sea routes and plying ships laden to the brim with the riches of India. Indeed the opportunist cum pirate decided to attack these slow moving and lightly armed ships. Who were they? Were they from Malabar-Kerala in the fist place?

While the Zamorin took on the Portuguese armies on land, the Kunhalis and their men engaged in sea based skirmishes with the Portuguese ships. The method of using many organized small boats to attack a flotilla soon became very effective and went on for a period of 70 years 1530 – 1600 till the Dutch came by and the Kunhale family was gone. The ships used by Kunhali’s men, the war-paroe, was a small craft manned by just 30-40 men each, and could be rowed through lagoons and narrow waters. Several of these crafts were deployed at strategic points in the Malabar coast and they would emerge from small creeks and inconspicuous estuaries, attack the Portuguese ships at will, inflict heavy damage and casualties by setting fire to their sails and get back into the safety of shallow waters. And thus people who were traders soon became attackers. So were they pirates, corsairs or privateers?  If you look at history books, the moors of Malabar, the Kunhali led seamen have been called Corsairs and pirates. Check out the definition towards the end of this article, and based on that I would take the direction towards privateers in this case for they had the blessings of the Zamorin in fighting the Portuguese.

So as you can see, they were an armed force at the command of the Zamorin’s admiral and thus were more privateers or corsairs, but not pirates. Now that the first point has been established, they were the earliest form of an Indian ‘regional’ navy fighting against the invading Portuguese, in hindsight. Later there were others involved in the fray notably Tanoji Angre, his son Kanhoji Angre (early 18th century) or Conajee Angria and his ships, which were included collectively in the term Malabar pirates.

What were the Kunhali’s of Malabar doing in the Bombay area? Logically, where they not restricted to the Malabar Coast by language, and the large distance of some 700-800 miles? Consider that the Marakkars used small pattemars or Malabar paros (small boats 10 paces long, rowed with oars of cane and had a mast of cane) for their warfare and sailing them to such distances was not routinely possible. Bigger dhows were indeed used for piracy, but the Marakkar ship would be too far from the home base and would never venture more than 70 miles of their Ponnani towns, from earlier descriptions. So one can safely assume that the Malabar pirates, termed so by the British, were closer in origin to Bombay.

Now with the Marakkar & Malabar seamen mostly out of the equation, let us get back to Bombay to find out who these pirates actually were, starting from the 1600’s. By 1600, the last of the Kunhali Marakkars were gone from Malabar. With it organized navies of Calicut virtually became defunct though some Moplah’s continued on, as locally based pirates sporadically attacking slow merchant ships.

Between 1534 and 1661, Bombay was under Portuguese occupation. By the middle of the 17th century the growing power of the Dutch Empire forced the British to acquire a station in western India. On 11 May 1661, the marriage treaty of Charles II of England and Catherine of Braganza, daughter of King John IV of Portugal, placed Bombay in possession of the British Empire, as part of dowry of Catherine to Charles. In 1661, Bombay was finally ceded to the British.

By the time Shivaji came on the scene against the British occupation, Bombay was already in the hands of the British. His navies came into picture by 1670 and were part of the collective called the Malabar pirates. Kanhoji Angre came a little later, towards 1700-1723 and his attacks or forays against British and Portuguese ships were directed all the way South to Cochin as well as Northwards to Bombay. Collectively there two and their navies were the major constituent’s of the so called ‘Malabar pirates’. Both these families are well covered in history texts, so I will let them lie in peace there for the time being, and get back to the high seas, back to when Kunhali the 4th was killed and Dom Pedro a.k.a Ali Marakkar took over until 1620. Thana was infested with pirates according to Marco Polo as early as 1290. In the 15th century it is mentioned in Nikitin’s travels that the pirates were mainly Hindu signifying the Marathas from Junnar. One such pirate chief was Shankar Rao of Vishalgarh. The main lot was a ragtag group of Guajarati corsairs, Moghul Seedees and Dutch sea thieves, until the 1600 period
But between 1600 and 1670, there were a number of attacks around Bombay, so who were these so called pirates? Upon perusing Salvatore’s Indian pirates, one is led to believe that the pirates termed Malabari pirates comprising various sorts (Guajarati – Cambay, Malabar and European) seized rich booty near Diu & Goa as well as Cochin in the 1600-1610 periods. This is perhaps Ali Marakkar’s doing. By this time English pirates had also entered the scene and Chaul in Konkan was their HQ. Pyrard Della Valle was the first to collectively call them Malabar pirates for according to him Malabar encompassed the coast line between Bombay to Cape Comorin. Later accounts by Mandelso also document that the Paroes of Malabar mainly attacked ships around the Cochin area and Cannanore. This signifies that Panthalayani kollam or Calicut port was by now dead. The rest of the period comprised only some rag tag piracy.

Polo, in the 13th century, said however that the pirates were a brotherhood ‘From this kingdom of Malabar, from the kingdom of Thana, and from another near it called Guzerat, there go forth every year more than a hundred corsair vessels on cruise. These pirates take with them their wives and children, and stay out the whole summer. Their method is to join in fleets of twenty or thirty of these pirate vessels together, and they then form what they call a sea cordon - that is, they drop off till there is an interval of five or six miles between ship and ship, so that they cover something like 100 miles of sea, and no merchant ships can escape them. For when any one corsair sights a vessel a signal is made by fire or smoke, and then the whole of them make for this, and seize the merchants and plunder them. But now the merchants are aware of this, and go so well manned and armed, and with such great ships, that they don't fear the corsairs. Still mishaps do befall them at times." "The people of Guzerat," says the same traveller, "are the most desperate pirates in existence, and one of their atrocious practices is this: when they have taken a merchant vessel they force the merchants to swallow a stuff called tamarind, mixed in sea-water, which produces a violent purging. This is done in case the merchants, on seeing their danger, should have swallowed their most valuable stones and pearls, and in this way they secure the whole." The sacred island of Beyt, in the Gulf of Cutch, off the north-west corner of the peninsula of Kattywar, was better known as "the Pirates' Isle," and the inhabitants of the Land's End of the peninsula were noted for their audacity as sea-rovers.

But by 1670 we see the Sajanian pirates of Kathiawar Gujarat followed by the Marathas. The leaders Shivaji and his progeny were organized in their fight against the Portuguese. But to lord them all later came the Maratha commodore of Shivaji’s fleet named Kanhoji Angre. He had a control over the seashore some 240 miles long between Bombay & Vengurla. By 1710-1729 he controlled the shores effectively ad humiliated the British at every given chance. He was succeeded by his son Sambhaji who continued in the same vein until 1734 and then it was Toolaji Angre. The British finally retaliated with might and by 1756; had finally destroyed most of the Angre holdings. It was thus Angre and his seamen who were the so called ‘Malabar pirates’ of the 18th century, while the British ruled Bombay.

So we saw the various types of Guajarati and Maratha privateers or pirates, whatever one may term them were harassing the British on the seas. But why did they venture onto the land? What is the connection with Malabar hill? It is said that they came to that side of the rocks, sheltered from the winds, waiting for commercial shipping to pass by after ascending the pinnacle to scan, watch the skyline and plan their pillage. This peak came to be known as Malabar Point and the hillock, Malabar hill. William hunter was another one to generalize the Malabar pirates into one group holding the sea coast from Bombay to Cape Comorin. He mentions about their plunders on shore while Pyrard mentions they would never attack anybody on shore.

As legends go, both Shivaji and Angre used to visit Banaganga for a holy dip and Walkeshwar for the festivals and prayers. But there were also Europeans amongst the Malabar pirates. As it is written “If the pirates were but Arabs or Malabars, matters had not been so bad; but European pirates were abroad, indulging in unheard-of excesses, seizing Mughal pilgrim ships (the Gunsway or Ganjasawai), and leading to the incarceration of our leaders and servants at Surat.”

The original name of the Malabar hill, point area was Shrigundi. The story is described thus: Shri-Gundi is called Malabar Point after the pirates of Dharmapatan (That is near Tellichery – Curious!), Kotta, and Porka on the Malabar Coast, who, at the beginning of British rule in Bombay, used to lie in wait for the northern fleet in the still water in the sea of the north end of Back Bay. The name Shri-Gundi apparently means the Lucky Stone. At the very extremity of Malabar Point is a cleft rock, a fancied yoni, to which numerous pilgrims resort for the purpose of regeneration by the efficacy of a passage through this sacred emblem. The yoni or hole is of considerable elevation among rocks of no easy access in the stormy season incessantly surf-buffeted. Women as well as men pass through the opening. You descend some steps on rugged rocks. Then thrusting your hands in front you ascend head first up the hole.

The Banaganga tank story has Lord Rama, after a long and thirsty trek in search of Sita, stopped at Sri Gundi and supposedly fired an arrow into ground to get water (somehow connected to Ganaga as well) , and so it ended up a sacred tank, after which he built a sand idol (Walk eashwar) to worship. The original temple built around this idol was destroyed by the Portuguese, but the temple was rebuilt again in 1715 by Rama Kamath.

Shivaji Maharaj when close to death is said to have landed at Malabar Point and passed through the rock, probably to free him from the haunting presence of the murdered Afzulkhan. Kanhoji Angria (1690-1730) is said to have visited Bombay by stealth to go through the hole at the Malabar Point. By 1670, the English built a government house in Malabar point, but the place was so poorly fortified that (it is said) the Malabar pirates often plundered the native villages and carried off the inhabitants as slaves. The English soon loaded the terraces with cannon and built ramparts over the bowers. There they housed two great guns to get the pirate ships.

As James Douglas rambles about the pilgrimage of the pirates

In the pre-Portuguese days the pilgrims, i.e., "the Malabars," would land at Mazagon, or at a small haven near our Castle which the English on their arrival called Sandy Bay, or, in the fair season, at what is our present Wood Wharf in Back Bay, convenient enough and right opposite the steep ascent.
Here buggalow and pattamar would discharge their cargo of "live lumber" or faithful devotees, as you are disposed to view them. Now they proceed to breast the “ Siri," halting, no doubt, at the Halfway House, where the Jogi would give them a drink from his holy well. Here they would have time to draw their breath, chew betelnut, or say their prayers. Thence, refreshed, to the summit, and now along a footpath studded with palmyra palms, sentinels by sea and land on the ridge, and very much on the track of the present carriage road, they make their way to those old pipal trees at our "Reversing Station," old enough in all conscience to have sheltered Gerald Aungier and the conscript fathers of the city from the heat of the noonday sun, and how much older we know not.
And now they descend the brow of the hill, pass the site of the present Walkeshwar temple, past the twisted trees in the Government House compound,—of the existence of which we have indubitable evidence as far back at least as 1750.

And here we may remark that the Malabar Hill of these days was much more wooded than at present. When land is left to itself, everything grows to wood. It is so in Europe, and it is so here, as we can see with our eyes in that magnificent belt of natural jungle which clothes the slopes down to the water's edge of Back Bay (and which reminds one of the Trossachs on an exceedingly small scale), where, among crags and huge boulders, the leafy mango and the feathery palm assert themselves out of a wild luxuriance of thick-set creepers glowing with flowers of many colours. The hare, the jungle fowl, and the monkey were doubtless no strangers to these bosky retreats. At length the temple, ornate with many a frieze and statue, bursts upon the view amid a mass of greenery. Black it is, for the Bombay trap becomes by exposure to innumerable monsoons like the Hindu pagodas among the orange groves of Poona. And now, the journey ended, the white-robed pilgrims, and some forsooth sky-clad in the garb of nature, bow their faces to the earth, amid jessamine flowers, in the old temple of Walkeshwar, on its storm-beaten promontory, with no sound on the ear save the cry of the sea-eagle, or the thud of the waves as they dash eternally on the beach.

Keyi’s and the ownership of Malabar Hill

Wikipedia makes an interesting mention of the Keyi’s of Malabar and connects it to Malabar hill. It is said that the Keyis had to sell Malabar Hill to the EIC to safeguard their business holdings. Quoting the entry - The well known and prominent Keyi family of North Malabar in Kerala was founded by Chovvakkaran Moosa in the early 18th Century. He was a strong force in trade and commerce during that time, having powerful links with rulers, kings and countries. He started off his business with the Portuguese, the French, and the British. He owned a large part of Bombay including the area currently known as Malabar Hill and many parts in Chowpatti Beach area. Even today the family has some old shops and buildings in that area. When the British East India Company started creating problems for their business, they had to call a truce with them in order to survive. The Keyis tried everything from funding Tipu Sultan and Pazhassi Raja in their war with the British at the time. When everything failed, they donated the entire area now known as Malabar Hill to the East India Company to maintain the Keyis' trading rights in the North Malabar area. Hence the name, Malabar Hill for this Western India prime property.

I certainly could not find any corroborating evidence for the above claim even after extensive research and after reading KKN Kurup’s complete work on the Keyi family. While they may have held land space around Malabar hill in the 18th century, the name Malabar hill goes back to 1673 when Fryer wrote first mentioned the place. Aluppi’s nephew Moosa kakka who built a bigger fortune and may have perhaps possessed land in Bombay, came to fame only by the early 18th century. So by conjuncture, Keyi’s do not appear to be the reason for the naming of Malabar Hill after Malabar.

In conclusion one could call this a somewhat indiscriminate use of the term Malabar as we know it today, though another who likes arguments would retort saying that Malabar itself is nebulous, it was first coined in antiquity by some Arab sailor for the coastal area of Western India between Surat and Cape Comorin. But then again we saw how the name of the hill eventually came about, even if by mistake and remained so, for it was finally a locale where the pirates stopped for a lookout or for good luck and to pray obeisance.

Indian Pirates RJ Salvatore
The pirates of Malabar   John Biddulph
Bombay and western India: a series of stray papers, Volume 2  James Douglas
The Great Pioneer in India, Ceylon, Bhutan & Tibet
Stirring stories of peace and war, by sea and land James Macaulay
A handbook for travelers in India, Burma and Ceylon   John Murray
Gazetteer of the Bombay Presidency, Volume 26, Part 3
Guide to Bombay: historical, statistical, and descriptive James Mackenzie Maclean
The Missionary herald, Volume 89 American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions
Keyis of Malabar – KKN Kurup

Corsaire is the term used by the French for what in English is a privateer. A Privateer was an armed ship under papers to a government or a company to perform specific tasks. The men who sailed on a privateer were also called privateers. Most importantly, the famous "Articles of Piracy" often did not apply to a ship of privateers. Often privateers were simple merchant marines who were engaged in acts of war for profit. Other time they were hired mercenaries. Privateers, unlike pirates were quite open about what they did and were typically considered heroes by their host nations. In the loosest terms, any of the above can be a pirate. If a privateer is fighting for another country, you would probably consider him a pirate. Anyone who robs at sea is and was a pirate. When privateers exceeded the bounds of their commission, they became pirates. By definition, a pirate is any person committing criminal acts against public authority, on the high seas outside the normal jurisdiction and laws of any state (country). By law, they can be arrested, prosecuted, and sentenced by any state that captures them. Also, by definition, the criminal act is of a private nature, that is personal gain, and not for political reasons.
The Pirates of Malabar,

and An Englishwoman in India Two Hundred Years Ago
by John Biddulph   (1907)
== *Introduction by FWP*
== *Views of the Malabar Coast*
== *Author's preface*
*Chapter I: The Rise of European Piracy in the East*
Portuguese pirates-- Vincente Sodre-- Dutch pirates-- Royal filibustering-- Endymion Porter's venture-- The Courten Association-- The Indian Red Sea fleet-- John Hand-- Odium excited against the English in Surat-- The Caesar attacked by French pirates-- Danish depredations-- West Indian pirates-- Ovington's narrative-- Interlopers and permission ships-- Embargo placed on English trade-- Rovers trapped at Mungrole-- John Steel-- Every seizes the Charles the Second and turns pirate-- His letter to English commanders-- The Madagascar settlements-- Libertatia-- Fate of Sawbridge-- Capture of the Gunj Suwaie-- Immense booty-- Danger of the English at Surat-- Bombay threatened-- Friendly behaviour of the Surat Governor-- Embargo on European trade-- Every sails for America-- His reputed end-- Great increase of piracy-- Mutiny of the Mocha and Josiah crews-- Culliford in the Resolution-- The London seized by Imaum of Muscat 
*Chapter II: Captain Kidd*
Measures to suppress piracy-- The Adventure fitted out-- Warren's squadron meets with Kidd-- His suspicious behaviour-- He threatens the Sidney-- Waylays the Red Sea fleet-- Captures the Mary-- Visits Carwar and Calicut-- His letter to the factory-- Chased by Portuguese men-of-war-- Chases the Sedgwick-- Chivers-- Action between Dorrill and Resolution-- Kidd captures the Quedah Merchant-- Dilemma of European traders at Surat-- Their agreements with the authorities-- Experience of the Benjamin-- News of Kidd's piracies reaches England-- Despatch of squadron under Warren-- Littleton at Madagascar-- Kidd sails for New York-- Arrested and tried-- His defence and execution-- Justice of his sentence-- His character-- Diminution of piracy-- Lowth in the Loyal Merchant-- Act for suppression of piracy-- Captain Millar
*Chapter III: The Rise of Conajee Angria*
Native piracy hereditary on the Malabar coast-- Marco Polo's account-- Fryer's narrative-- The Kempsant-- Arab and Sanganian pirates-- Attack on the President-- Loss of the Josiah-- Attack on the Phoenix-- The Thomas captured-- Depredations of the Gulf pirates-- Directors' views-- Conajee Angria-- Attacks English ships-- Destroys the Bombay-- Fortifies Kennery-- Becomes independent-- Captures the Governor's yacht-- Attacks the Somers and Grantham-- Makes peace with Bombay-- His navy-- Great increase of European and native piracy
*Chapter IV: An Active Governor*
Arrival of Mr. Boone as Governor-- He builds ships and improves defences of Bombay-- Desperate engagement of Morning Star with Sanganians-- Alexander Hamilton-- Expedition against Vingorla-- Its failure-- Hamilton made Commodore-- Expedition against Carwar-- Landing force defeated-- Successful skirmish-- Desertion of Goa recruits-- Reinforcements-- Landing force again defeated-- The Rajah makes peace-- Hamilton resigns Commodoreship-- A noseless company-- Angria recommences attacks-- Abortive expedition against Gheriah-- Downing's account of it-- Preparations to attack Kennery
*Chapter V: The Company's Servants*
The Company's civil servants-- Their comparison with English who went to America-- Their miserable salaries-- The Company's military servants-- Regarded with distrust-- Shaxton's mutiny-- Captain Keigwin-- Broken pledges and ill-treatment-- Directors' vacillating policy-- Military grievances-- Keigwin seizes the administration of Bombay-- His wise rule-- Makes his submission to the Crown-- Low status of Company's military officers-- Lord Egmont's speech-- Factors and writers as generals and colonels-- Bad quality of the common soldiers-- Their bad treatment-- Complaint against Midford-- Directors' parsimony
*Chapter VI: Expedition Against Kennery*
Sivajee's occupation of Kennery-- A naval action-- Minchin and Keigwin-- Bombay threatened-- The Seedee intervenes-- Conajee Angria occupies Kennery-- Boone sails with the expedition-- Manuel de Castro-- Futile proceedings-- Force landed and repulsed-- Second landing-- Manuel de Castro's treachery-- Gideon Russell-- Bad behaviour of two captains-- Defeat-- Attack abandoned-- The St. George-- The Phram-- Manuel de Castro punished-- Bombay wall completed-- Angria makes overtures for peace-- Boone outwitted
*Chapter VII: Expedition Against Gheriah*
Trouble with the Portuguese-- Madagascar pirates again-- Loss of the Cassandra-- Captain Macrae's brave defence-- The one-legged pirate-- Richard Lazenby-- Expedition against Gheriah-- Mr. Walter Brown-- His incompetency-- Gordon's landing-- Insubordination and drunkenness-- Arrival of the Phram-- General attack-- Failure-- The Kempsant's alliance-- Attack on Deoghur-- The Madagascar pirates, England and Taylor-- Ignominious flight-- Fate of the Phram-- Brown despatched south again-- The pirates at Cochin-- They take flight to Madagascar-- Their rage against Macrae and England-- England marooned-- Taylor takes Goa ship-- Rich prize-- Governor Macrae 
*Chapter VIII: Expedition Against Colaba*
Measures taken in England against pirates-- Woodes Rogers at the Bahamas-- Edward Teach-- Challoner Ogle-- Bartholomew Roberts killed-- Matthews sent to the East Indies-- Naval officers' duels-- Portuguese alliance-- Expedition against Colaba-- Assault-- Defeat-- A split in the alliance-- Plot against Boone-- His departure-- Matthews' schemes-- His insulting behaviour-- He quarrels with everybody-- Goes to Madagascar-- The King of Ranter Bay-- Matthews goes to Bengal
*Chapter IX: A Troubled Year in Bombay*
Loss of the Hunter galley-- Quarrel with Portuguese-- Alliance of Portuguese with Angria-- War with both-- A double triumph-- Portuguese make peace-- Angria cowed-- Matthews reappears-- Trouble caused by him-- He returns to England-- Court-martialled-- The last of Matthews 
*Chapter X: Twenty-six Years of Conflict*
The case of Mr. Curgenven-- Death of Conajee Angria-- Quarrels of his sons-- Portuguese intervention-- Sumbhajee Angria-- Political changes-- Disaster to Bombay and Bengal galleys-- The Ockham beats off Angria's fleet-- The Coolees-- Loss of the Derby-- Mahrattas expel Portuguese from Salsette-- Captain Inchbird-- Mannajee Angria gives trouble-- Dutch squadron repulsed from Gheriah-- Gallant action of the Harrington-- Sumbhajee attacks Colaba-- English assist Mannajee-- Loss of the Antelope-- Death of Sumbhajee Angria-- Toolajee Angria-- Capture of the Anson-- Toolajee takes the Restoration-- Power of Toolajee-- Lisle's squadron-- Building of the Protector and Guardian
*Chapter XI: The Downfall of Angria*
Toolajee fights successful action with the Dutch-- He tries to make peace with Bombay-- Alliance formed against him-- Commodore William James-- Slackness of the Peishwa's fleet-- Severndroog-- James's gallant attack-- Fall of Severndroog-- Council postpone attack on Gheriah-- Clive arrives from England-- Projects of the Directors-- Admiral Watson-- Preparations against Gheriah-- The Council's instructions-- Council of war about prize-money-- Double dealing of the Peishwa's officers-- Watson's hint-- Ships engage Gheriah-- Angrian fleet burnt-- Fall of Gheriah-- Clive occupies the fort-- The prize-money-- Dispute between Council and Poonah Durbar-- Extinction of coast piracy-- Severndroog tower
*An Englishwoman in India Two Hundred Years Ago*


Dec 25, 2014 - This is the story of a Kolathiri prince of Kannur in Northern Kerala becoming King in Travancore,and he in turn,appointing two brothers from the ...

 Arakkal Brothers as Naval Chiefs in Travancore

 This is the story of a Kolathiri prince of Kannur in Northern Kerala becoming King in Travancore,and he in turn,appointing two brothers from the Naval family of Arakkal in Kannur, as Naval Chiefs of Travancore- the first team to protect the waters of Travancore,much before Eustachius De Lannoy and Chempil Arayan.
The King was Adithya Varma,and the brothers,Mammali Kidavu and Kunjikoyamu.
Adithya Varma was adopted from the Kolathunad,along with his brother Rama Varma and two sisters, to the Attingal royal family,before the reigning King,Kottayam Kerala Varma,also from Kolathunad,was assassinated on 28,August,1696.Adithya Varma did the obsequies of Kerala Varma.
It was the time when Umayamma Rani of Attingal was ruling the Travancore Kingdom,though,Ravi Varma had taken over the elder's position(and so,the King) in 1685 itself.He was very weak,leading a sanyasin's life,till his death in 1704.Ravi Varma is considered by some as the son of Umayamma Rani.When Umayamma Rani died in July,1698,the Junior Rani,Pururuttathi Thirunal from Kolathu Nadu became the Queen of Attingal,since the elder sister had died within a year of the adoption.Marthanda Varma,is believed to be the her son.The attempt to make Adithya Varma or Rama Varma,the King ,was torpedoed by King of Nedumangad,Kerala Varma and some of the barons.The powerful Pillai barons,when the ship,Neptune,of East India Company wrecked in Manakkudi,near Kanyakumari,looted the entire cargo though the agreement between the Company and the Rani stipulated equal share of the cargo,in the event of a ship wreck.
When Ravi Varma died in 1704,the attempt of Adithya Varma to become the King was again thwarted by the barons,who anointed Nedumangad Kerala Varma as the King in February,1805.Though,Adithya Varma approached,the King of Karunagappaly,he was not in a position to help,because he had become an ally of the Kayamkulam King,who in turn,was an ally of the Dutch.But political pressures made the Karunagappaly King to return to his old position, and he adopted he Junior Rani and her son,Marthanda Varma from Attingal to Karunagapally.The Karunagappally King died in September,1707 and the Junior Rani,Pururuttathi Thirunal,became the Regent,making her brother,Adithya Varma,powerful.Since his family had close relationship with the Muslim Kingdom of Arakkal,he invited Mammali Kidavu and Kunjikoyamu in an effort to protect the commercial interests in the Travancore coast,and to post them,he established a Naval facility at Kadiapattanam,in Kanyakumari.

While the Arakkal brothers were busy organizing a naval force,Nedumangad Kerala Varma died and his successor declared himself King of Travancore.The Naicker of Madurai accepted him and the barons,with the support of Madurai Force,ousted Adithya Varma from Kalkulam.As a result,Mammali and Kunjikoyamu lost the Naval Chiefs post and they became pirates.Though the ships which had a Dutch pass,were not required to pay the tax,the brothers,seized ships from Kayamkulam and Purakkad,for not paying taxes.Adithya Varma became helpless,and the traders at Purakkad and Kayamkulam,who were furious that the Dutch pass is not valid in Travancore,snapped ties with Travancore and approached the British.Smelling trouble,the barons declared loyalty to Adithya Varma,promising money to pay the arrears of tribute to Madurai,and on their demand,Adihya Varma banished Mammali and Kunjikoyamu from Travancore,in 1708.They were captured by the Dutch at Cochin in December,but they managed to escape soon,with the help of the English,who gave residence to the brothers,at Anchuthengu Factory.
We see Mammali and Mani Kurukkal,not Kunjikoyamu,next, in 1714,three years after their one time mentor, Adithya Varma ascending the throne,after the death of Nedumangad King.The English,with  Varma's permission,shifted Mammali and Kurukkal to Thengapattanam.They looted ships and levied extra tax from ships carrying Dutch pass,and once,dared to loot the ship of the King.They disappear from history at this point.Varma died in 1721.
The Dutch priest,Jacobus Cantervisscher,in his Letters from Malabar,has recorded that the English had encouraged Muslim pirates to loot Dutch ships.

1.Venadinte Parinamam/K Sivasankaran Nair
2.Kulasekhara Perumals of Travancore/Mark De Lannoy
3.Letters from Malabar/Cantervisscher


Battle of Chaul

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Battle of Chaul (1508)
Part of Portuguese–Mamluk War
Portuguese ships 16th century Livro das Armadas.jpg
Portuguese ships, 16th century
Date March 1508
Location Chaul, India
Result Decisive Mamluk and Indian victory
Flag Portugal (1495).svg Portuguese Empire Mameluke Flag.svg Mamluk Sultanate
Flag of the Gujarat Sultanate.svg Gujarat Sultanate
Commanders and leaders
Lourenço de Almeida  Mameluke Flag.svg Amir Husain Al-Kurdi
Flag of the Gujarat Sultanate.svg Malik Ayyaz
3 ships and 5 caravels[1] 6 Turkish carracks and 6 great galleys, 1500 combatants[2]
40 Gujarat Sultanate galleys
Casualties and losses
6 ships[1]
140 men
The Battle of Chaul was a naval battle between the Portuguese and an Egyptian Mamluk fleet in 1508 in the harbour of Chaul in India. The battle ended in a Mamluk victory. It followed the Siege of Cannanore (1507) in which a Portuguese garrison successfully resisted an attack by Southern Indian rulers. This was the first Portuguese defeat at sea in the Indian Ocean.[1]



Previously, the Portuguese had been mainly active in Calicut, but the northern region of Gujarat was even more important for trade, and an essential intermediary in east–west trade: the Gujaratis were bringing spices from the Moluccas as well as silk from China, and then selling them to the Egyptians and Arabs.[3]
The Portuguese' monopolizing interventions were however seriously disrupting Indian Ocean trade, threatening Arab as well as Venetian interests, as it became possible for the Portuguese to undersell the Venetians in the spice trade in Europe. Venice broke diplomatic relations with Portugal and started to look at ways to counter its intervention in the Indian Ocean, sending an ambassador to the Egyptian court.[4] Venice negotiated for Egyptian tariffs to be lowered to facilitate competition with the Portuguese, and suggested that "rapid and secret remedies" be taken against the Portuguese.[4] The sovereign of Calicut, the Zamorin, had also sent an ambassador asking for help against the Portuguese.[5]
Since the Mamluks only had little in terms of naval power, timber had to be provided from the Black Sea in order to build the ships, about half of which was intercepted by the Hospitallers of St. John in Rhodes, so that only a fraction of the planned fleet could be assembled at Suez.[3] The timber was then brought overland on camel back, and assembled at Suez under the supervision of Venetian shipwrights.[5]


The Mamluk fleet finally left in February 1507 under Amir Husain Al-Kurdi in order to counter the expansion of the Portuguese in the Indian Ocean and arrived in the Indian port of Diu in 1508 after delays subduing the city of Jeddha.[3] It consisted of six round ships and six great galleys called galleasses.[3] 1500 combatants were on board, as well as the ambassador of the Zamorin ruler of Calicut, Mayimama Mārakkār.[5]
The fleet was to join with Malik Ayyaz, a former Russian slave, who was in the service of the Sultan of Cambay, who was naval chief and master of Diu.[3] The fleet was also planning to join with the Zamorin of Calicut, and then to raid and destroy all the Portuguese possessions on the Indian coast, but the Zamorin, who was expecting the Mamluk fleet in 1507 had already left.[1]


The Portuguese, under Lourenço de Almeida, son of the Viceroy Francisco de Almeida, were inferior in number with only a light force, and located in the nearby harbour of Chaul.[3] The rest had sailed north to protect shipping and fight the so- called piracy.[3]
The Mamluks sailed into Chaul and fought for two days inconclusively with the Portuguese, unable to board their ships. Finally, Malik Ayaz sailed in with his own galleys. The Portuguese had to retreat and Almeida's ship was sunk at the entrance of Chaul harbour with Almeida aboard.[3]
Ali Hussain returned to the port of Diu, but from that point abandoned any further initiative on the Indian coast, his ships becoming derelict and his crews dispersing.[1] The Portuguese later returned and attacked the fleet in the harbour of Diu, leading to a decisive victory in the Battle of Diu (1509).[1]
These events would be followed by a new Ottoman intervention in 1538, with the Siege of Diu.

See also