Army celebrates 273rd anniversary of ‘Battle of Colochel’

Thursday, Jul 31, 2014,17:39 IST By metrovaartha A A A

Indian army celebrated the 273rd anniversary of the ‘Battle of Colochel,’ — the highly revered war in Indian history in which the forces of erstwhile Kingdom  of Travancore inflicted a crushing defeat upon the forces of  Dutch East India Company, at the Victory Column ( War Memorial)  at Colachel in Kanyakumari district, today.

At a colourful function organized by the Madras Regiment, Brigadier Samir Salunke, Station Commander, Pangode Military Station (Trivandrum), Kanyakumari district collector Nagarajan, senior police officials and retired military officials laid wreaths at theVictory Column , followed by a military band display by the pipe band of the regiment. The event is held every year to mark the great victory of Travancore forces over a vastly superior European Naval Force (Dutch East India Company) on August 10, 1741.

The Dutch East India Company after a conflict with King Marthanda Varma of erstwhile Travancore kingdom had sent a force of Dutch marines from Ceylon (Srilanka) under the leadership of Captain Eustachius De Lannoy to Colachel with artillery to capture the capital of Travancore.
In the war, King Marthanda Varma and his forces defeated the Dutch forces and took a large number of Dutch soldiers, including Captain Eustachius De Lannoy as prisoners of war.
The battle shattered the aim of Dutch forces to conquer Kerala, which earned the Travancore kingdom the distinction of being the only Asian military power ever to have defeated a leading European sea power.

The Dutch never recovered from the crushing defeat and no longer posed a large colonial threat to India, thereby assisting the British East India Company’s ultimate rise to dominance on the Indian sub-continent, according to Historians.

To mark the victory, King Marthanda Varma erected the victory pillar at Colachel, which is now under the care of Archaeological Survey of India.  Though the battle between Dutch forces and Travancore kingdom held on August 10, 1741, the date was inscribed on the victory column as July 31, 1741 as per Julian Calender, which has fallen into disuse.