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Attingal Outbreak (Anjengo Revolt; April–October 1721) refers to the massacre of 140 East India Company soldiers by native Indians and the following siege of Fort Anjengo. The Attingal Outbreak is often regarded as the first organized revolt against British authority in Malabar, Cochin and Travancore. The main reasons behind the resentment was large scale corruption and the manipulation of black pepper prices by the Company.

The chief factor at the Anjengo factor, Gyfford refused to hand over the customary gifts meant for the Rani of Attingal to the agents of the local feudal lords (Pillamar) and tried to hand them directly to the Rani at the head of a force of 140 soldiers on April 15, 1721. This show of force had the opposite effect and the local people rebelled, attacked and destroyed the entire force and then laid siege to the fort. Gunnar Ince led the defence of the fort for six months till the arrival of the Company's troops from the English controlled Tellicherry.

Following the turn of events, the Company and the Rani of Attingal entered into an agreement under which;

  • the Company was compensated for all losses sustained during the attack on Anjengo
  • was also given the sole monopoly of trade in pepper
  • the right to erect factories in places of its choice


The Attingal revolt of 1721 was the first organised uprising against the English East India Company in Kerala. But, there is an opinion among a group of historians that the revolt took place with the prior permission of the queen. Whatever it may be, it is an indisputable fact that local people hated Gyffort. The British used to send to the Queen costly gifts from the Fort of Anjengo annually. In 1721, around 140 Britons started their journey from Anjengo to the palace of Attingal. In the meanwhile, the Pillamars, the local rulers, demanded that the gifts were to be presented to the Queen through them only. But Gyffort was not ready to accept it. The people became furious and they attacked and killed the Britons. Then the local people laid siege to the fort and it was said that the sige continued for about 6 months. The English troops from the Fort of Tellichery came to Anjengo and suppressed the revolt. Even though the revolt was the first uprising against the British supremacy, it is an indisputable fact that it helped the English East India Company to strengthen their authority and power in Kerala. The Company completed the completion of the fort at Anjengo in 1695.

NB: For more details- "Early Resistance to Colonialism in South Kerala"- Leela More and "Maritime Malabar and the Europeans" edited by K.S Mathew. [Old View of Pondichery ] Marthanda Varma became the King of Travancore (Venad)

When the English strengthened in the south of Kerala in the north the French had already stepped in.At last what the Dutch feared happened. In 1725 the French forces, under the orders of the Govt: of Pondichery seized Mayyazhy of Kadathanadu located at a little distance away from Tellichery and rechristened it as Mahi. During the revolt of Attingal, it was Adhitya Varma who ruled over Venad. After his death, Rama Varma (1721–29) became the king. It was during this tumultus period that the King of Venad signed a treaty with the English East India Company. The treaty, aimed at suppressing the insurrection of Yogakkar and Pillamar, gave the English the permission to construct a fort at Kulachal The Battle of Kulachal was fought on 10 August 1741 [O.S. 31 July 1741] between forces of the Indian kingdom of Travancore and the Dutch East India Company, during the Travancore-Dutch War. The treaty was signed by the heir-apparent Anizham Thirunal Marthanda Varma for and on behalf of the king reaching at the fort of Anjengo.Sharp witted and steel-hearted the heir-apparent was for making use of any means, fair or foul, to suppress insurrection of the Yogakkars and the Pillamars. It was because of his advice that Rama Varma, the King, signed the treaty with the British in 1729. After his death, Marthanda Varma became the King of Travancore (Venad) and there began an era in the history of Kerala.

It was a period of intense internal conflicts in south Kerala and mid-Kerala when Marthanda Varma was enthroned in 1729 in Travancore (Venad). He had to confront the opposition of chieftains besides the disputations of right of succession among the members of the royal family. Because of internal conflicts he could not, initially, rule over the kingdom. The king, who spent his life in hiding or in the open met at different times face to face with death. He saved his life either in disguise or keeping his eyes peeled for the enemies. But the Dutch commander Stein Van Gollenesse recorded that Marthanda Varma was a cruel, audacious, greedy, unkind but efficient person who wanted to rule the entire Kerala. This opinion may be true when we compare his deeds later. His mind was harder than steel. To achieve his aims he did not take in to consideration moral obligation and not ready to examine kindness and truth. He started confronting the enemies by creating an armed force of his own and by procuring gunpowder and war equipment with the help of the British at Anjengo. He tightened his grip on the administration by brutally suppressing the revolt in the royal family by murdering his own kin and by killing mercilessly the Madambis and Pillamars. He confiscated the properties of Madambis and Pillamars and brought all of them under the control of the Government. This ultimately led to the collapse of the feudal system that existed in Travancore kingdom. His advancement became a threat to the neighbouring countries. The Dutch were also in confusion. He was going to attack the countries with which they had trade of pepper or other goods.


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