Broach

Broach or Bharuch is one of the oldest seaports. Situated in western part of India, it has a known history of about 8000 years. This city was ruled by too many emperors in the princely states era. Up to the 5th century Chandragupta Vikramaditya and other kings of the Gupta dynasty ruled over here. Later it came under the Gurjar ancestry and then under the Rajputs. It was later taken over by the Mughals followed by the British. Until the seventeenth century Broach had a stronghold of trade and sent ships eastwards to Java and Sumatra, and westward to Aden and Red Sea.

By tradition Broach District was once a part of the Mauryan Empire, the famous ruler of which, Chandragupta, is said to have resided at Suklatirtha. It was then passed into the hands of Western Kshatrapas. Gurjar and Rajput rulers followed, subject to the over lordship of the Chalukyas of Kalyan and their successors the Rashtrakutas. It was subsequently included in the kingdom of Anhilwada until the Muslim conquest in 1298.

For nearly five hundred years the District remained subject to the Muslim rulers. The early Muslim governors of Gujarat (1298-1391) were succeeded by the Ahmadabad kings (1391-1572), who were replaced by the Delhi emperors (1572-1736) and finally by independent chiefs (1736-72). During the third period, Broach was visited by English merchants Aldworth and Withington.

In 1616 a house was hired for an English factory. A Dutch factory followed in about 1620. At the end of the seventeenth century the Marathas raided the city of Broach twice. But soon after the accession of the British to political power at Surat, certain questions of revenue gave rise to a dispute with the ruler of Broach. In 1771 a force was sent from Surat against his capital. This expedition resulted in failure. However, during the ensuing rainy season the Nawab of Broach visited Bombay and agreed to pay the English a sum of 4 lakhs. This agreement was not fulfilled and hence a second expedition was sent against him. The city was captured with little difficulty. The territory acquired by the capture of the city comprised of 162 villages. In 1783 the country under Broach (Ankleshwar, Hansot, Dehejbara and Amod) was by the Treaty of Salbai handed over to the Marathas- the original conquest to Mahadji Sindhia, and the new acquisitions to the Peshwa. For nineteen years these territories remained under the Maratha rule.

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