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History of Karnataka
The Vijayanagara Empire
Krishnadevaraya (1509 – 1529)

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Krishnadevaraya (1509 – 1529):
The reign of Krishnadevaraya marks “the grand climax in the development of the empire, and the successful achievement of the objects for which it was actually founded”. He was the greatest ruler of Vijayanagara and one of the most famous kings in the history of India.

Military Career:
The empire to which Krishnadevaraya succeeded was not in a safe condition in spite of his predecessor Vira Narasimha’s efforts to overcome its enemies, both internal and external. Therefore, he was obliged to be at war with some one or other of his foes almost from the days of his accession.

The King stayed in the capital for a year restoring order in the state, reorganizing the army and stabilizing the finances of the empire. He then set to work methodically on his schemes of conquest. Krishnadevaraya suppressed the feudatories in the central regions of the empire and marched against the Chief of Ummattur. In 1512 he was defeated and the fortress of Shivanasamudra was captured.

Krishnadevaraya proceeded to the frontier of Bijapur through Srirangapatna and Ikkeri. The joint armies of the Bahamani Sultan and the Adil Shah of Bijapur were defeated at Doni. The Vijayanagara warrior pursued the retreating Muslims. They were again defeated at Kovilakonda where Yusuf Adil Shah was killed. Krishnadevaraya captured Raichur in the Krishna Tungabhadra doab.

The emperor now turned against Gajapati Prataparudra of Orissa. Early in 1514 he captured the fortress of Udayagiri. This was followed by the conquest of lesser fortresses like Kandukur, Vinukonda and Nagarjunakonda. Kondavidu was subjugated in 1515. In his third campaign Krishnadevaraya encamped at Bejwada and captured Kondapalli. He then advanced as far as Simhachalam in the north – east. Prataparudra, at last, came to terms when the Raya’s army triumphantly marched upon Cuttack, the Capital.

Peace was concluded and the territories north of the river Krishna were returned to the Gajapati whose daughter Tukkadevi or Jaganmohini was married to Krishnadevaraya.

The second conflict with Bijapur took place in 1520 when Ismail Adil Shah attempted to recover the Raichur Doab. A fierce battle took place in which the Bijapuris sustained defeat and Adil Shah fled from the field. The fort of Raichur was captured. In 1523 the emperor marched on Gulbarga, freed the Bahamani Sultan and revived his power. The title “Yavanarajya Sthapanacharya” was assumed by the Raya after this.

According to Dr. K. K. Datta, “the military conquests of Krishnadevaraya enabled him to humble the pride of his northern foes and to extend the limits of his Empire up to the South Konkan in the west, Vizagapatnam in the east and the extreme border of the peninsula in the south, while some islands and coasts of the Indian Ocean were within its sphere of influence”.

Relations with the Portuguese:
Krishnadevaraya maintained very friendly relations with the Portuguese because he wanted to secure horses for his cavalry through them. The Portuguese were equally anxious to secure the Raya’s favour so that they might obtain facilities for trade in the numerous cities and towns of the empire.

Though the Raya was friendly towards the Portuguese, he was not prepared to enter into political or military alliance with them. Therefore, when Albuquerque, the Governor of the Portuguese settlements, made a request to help him capture Calicut from the Zamorian, he politely declined.

The Raya, however, congratulated the Portuguese on their victory over the Muslims in 1510 A. D. when they managed to seize Goa from the Sultan of Bijapur. In the same year the Portuguese were allowed by the emperor to build a fort at Bhatkal. The Portuguese travelers, Barbosa and Paes had paid visit to his court and have left vivid descriptions of his personality and the royal court.

to be continued....


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