The battle of Colachel was fought in August 1741 between Travancore and Dutch East India Company. The battle came to be known as Travancore-Dutch war. The Dutch were so brutally defeated in the war, it was unable to maintain its ground on India ever again.
But where did it all began and how did it end, is the big question here.
In the year 1740, the British had no control over India; they just had few factories and plants on our land. Dutch was eyeing Singapore and had little control over Bengal and Surat in India. Their initial focus was to capture South-East Asia.
The British and the Dutch were both trying to expand their territory and gain control over the Indian Ocean, which included all the flourishing ports.
Ever since 1689, when the Dutch prince William of Orange took over the British crown, the British and Dutch nations had a stronger bond than most other European countries until Anglo-Dutch war in 1780.
The Dutch traded from there, and the French did from their ports in their Indian territories, but that geospatial location was not enough to draw manpower and larger army that can defend the kingdom.
The conquest of Travancore would have given them exactly the base they needed and that is Travancore in Kerala becomes very important.
Dutch imported their spices particularly in pepper from Kayamkulam.
King Marthanda Varma, ruler of Venad, started to assimilate all small kingdoms under one umbrella of rule — Travancore.
Marthanda Varma started a military campaign against Rajah of Kayamkulam on the pretext that the latter was involved in conspiracy against him.
Capturing Kayamkulam in Travancore would give the entire spice trade and Dutch import in the hands of Marthanda, while also making him a hard power. The Dutch East India Company was unable to tolerate this invasion especially since the British had signed a treaty with Marthanda according to which the entire pepper business will come under British control if he successfully captured Kayamkulam.
Thus the Dutch will be overpowered by Britishers. Eventually the Dutch monopoly will come to end.
This significant war was with a significant stake.
In the long course of debates and meetings, tensions grew more between Travancore and Dutch as they wanted Kayamkulam out of Travancore and function independently.
This tussle led Travancore-Dutch war. Travancore kingdom defeated Dutch armies brutally. In the subsequent war Travancore supported Kalkulam and won against Dutch army again, this time crushing them completely and taking their commander Eustachius De Lannoy, second-in-command Donadi and a large number of Dutch soldiers prisoners.
In 1753, the Dutch signed the Treaty of Mavelikkara stating that they will not obstruct the Raja’s expansion and thus this marked the beginning of the end of Dutch influence in India.
The dream to conquer Kerala never came true. Travancore was the first Asian kingdom to have defeated the colonial European force and Marthanda Varma was the first Asian king to have prevented a European force from expanding in India.