1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Satara

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

SATARA, a town and district of British India, in the Central division of Bombay. The name is derived from the “seventeen” walls, towers and gates which the fort was supposed to possess. The town is 2320 ft. above sea-level, near the confluence of the rivers Kistna and Vena, 56 m. S. of Poona. Pop. (1901) 26,022.

The District of Satara has an area of 4825 sq. m. It contains two hill systems, the Sahyadri, or main range of the Western Ghats, and the Mahadeo range and its offshoots. The former runs through the district from north to south, while the Mahadeo range starts about 10 m. north of Mahabaleshwar and stretches east and south-east across the whole breadth of the district. The Mahadeo hills are bold, presenting bare scarps of black rock like fortresses. Within Satara are two river systems-the Bhima system in a small part of the north and north-east, and the Kistna system throughout the rest of the district. The hill forests have a large store of timber and firewood. The whole of Satara falls within the Deccan trap area; the hills consist of trap intersected by strata of basalt and topped with laterite, while, of the different soils on the plains, the commonest is the black loamy clay containing carbonate of lime. This when well watered is capable of yielding heavy crops. Satara contains some important irrigation works, including the Kistna canal. In some of the western parts of the district the average annual rainfall exceeds 200 in.; but on the eastern side water is scanty, the rainfall varying from 40 in. in Satara town to less than 12 in. in some places farther east. The population in 1901 was 1,146,559, showing a decrease of 6% in the preceding decade. The principal crops are millet, pulse, oil-seeds and sugar-cane. The only manufactures are cotton cloth, blankets and brass-ware. The district is traversed from north to south by the Southern Mahratta railway, passing 10 m. from Satara town. The Satara agency comprises the two feudatory states of Phaltan and Aundh. Total area 844 sq.m.; pop. (1901) 109,660.

On the overthrow of the Jadhav dynasty in 1312 the district passed to the Mahommedan power, which was consolidated in the reign of the Bahmani kings. On the decline of the Bahmanis towards the end of the 15th century the Bijapur kings finally asserted themselves, and under these kings the Mahrattas arose and laid the foundation of an independent kingdom with Satara. as its capital. Intrigues and dissensions in the palace led to the ascendancy of the Peshwas, who removed the capital to Poona in 1749, and degraded the raja of Satara into the position of a political prisoner. The war of 1817 closed the career of the peshwas, and the British then restored the titular raja, and assigned to him the principality of Satara, with an area much larger than the present district. In consequence of political intrigues, he was deposed in 1839, and his brother was placed on the throne. This prince dying without male heirs in 1848, the state was resumed by the British government.