Friday, December 2, 2011

What's this War that Ravaged Bheemili?

While reading an article from the Oriental Herald (dated October 1829) by James Silk Bukingham, I came across the following passage about Bimilipatam:
“After some little detention at the warehouse in dispatching off to the ship some bales of punjum (calico) which we were to take to Bengal I found a conveyance ready to take me to Mr Suter's house which was nearly four miles in the country. In passing along the skirts of the town the ravages of war were most apparent and among a number of buildings seemingly battered down by cannon was a large edifice with a highly ornamented facade which had been probably the residence of the former Dutch governors. Several still larger buildings, probably barracks and military store houses, were also seen in ruins and the place looked to us if it had been once abandoned and but now recently peopled again. This settlement having formerly belonged to the Dutch had come into our possession during the late war and had been restored again to the Dutch by the English East India Company.”

I wonder which war is being referred to here: a war whose battle or battles destroyed Bheemli and the Dutch colony there. Is it one of the Anglo-Dutch wars that the English and Dutch fought to control trade in Asia? If so, the last one was fought in 1780-84, and it’s hard to imagine that the town had this ravaged look more than 40 years after whatever battles were fought there.