Bellary Fort, Bellary
About Bellary Fort
Bellary town and the district has a hoary history dating from 300 BC till 1365 AD, the beginning of the Vijayanagar empire. It was ruled by Mauryas, Satavahanas, Kadambas, Chalukyas of Kalyana, Kalachuryas, Sevunas and Hoysalas. But the specific history of the fort (Upper Fort) starts with the rule of the chieftain named Hanumappa Nayaka, a feudatory of the Vijayanagar empire, who built the Upper Fort. With the fall of the Vijayanagar empire in 1565, the area witnessed political upheaval till the British took control of the region, around 1800 AD. The region subsequently came under the control of the Bijapur Sultans. Shivaji, who during one of his campaigns was passing through the fort seized the fort, in 1678, as some of his advance scouting parties were ambushed by the garrison stationed in the fort. He later restored the fort on condition of tribute payment. Under force, in 1761, the fort came under the control of Basalat Jung of Adoni. The Nayaka chieftain of the fort quarrelled with Basalat Jung and refused to pay the tribute money. The Nayaka sought the help of Haider Ali of Mysooru (Mysore) to attack the Adoni Sultan. Haider Ali convincingly defeated the Adonis. But subsequently, Haider Ali himself usurped the fort and the region. It was during his time that the Upper Fort was restored and the Lower Fort was newly constructed with the help of a French engineer.Bellary was a stronghold of Haidar Ali after he overthrew the local chieftains. He surprised the forces sent by Nizam under the military command of a Frenchman named M. de Lally and besieged the fort and took total control. But after the defeat of Tipu Sultan, Hyder Ali's son, at the hands of the British during the Third Anglo-Mysore War, the territory was divided and the Bellary district with the fort was given to the then Nizam Salabat Jang. After the defeat and death of Tippu Sultan in 1799 in the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War at Srirangapattanam (Seringapatam), the Mysore territories were further divided up between the Wodeyars, Asaf Jah II and the British. In 1796 AD, Asaf Jah II, harassed by the Marathas and Tipu Sultan, had opted to get British military protection under Lord Wellesley's doctrine of Subsidiary Alliance. Now, as part of this agreement, the Asif Jah II ceded a large portion of the acquired territory, including Bellary, to the British, to be added to the Madras Presidency as 'Bellary District'. This area was also known as the Ceded Districts (see map at), a term constantly used then for the areas, and was considerably larger than the present district, including the present districts of Kadapa (Cuddapah), Anantapuram and much of Karnoolu (Kurnool). This was also a deal or an agreement that was meant to compensate the Company for the expenses they incurred to maintain the British Subsidiary Force at Hyderabad.The fort was classified as 1st class by the British Administration. This fort gave Bellary its ancient importance, and led to its selection by the British rulers as the site of a cantonment.Muzzaffar Khan, the Nawab of Kurnool, was confined here from 1823 to 1864 for the murder of his wife.