Queen of Kittur: India’s First Female Queen To Rebel Against The British

Queen Chennamma was the queen of Kittur, a princely state in Karnataka. She defined valor, grit, and determination during her rebellion against the atrocities by the British. The queen was one of the first few rulers who took up the stand against the prevailing injustice by the colonial power. 

Queen Chennamma

Through this article, let us go through the glorious journey of the brave soul, who defied the adversity to keep her chin up. Queen Chennamma’s saga is the classic example of manifesting a never say die spirit. Here we present the biography of the queen of Kittur.

Read here: The biography of Rabindranath Tagore

Early Life of Queen of Kittur:

Queen Chennamma was born on 23rd October 1778 in the Belagavi district of Karnataka. At the age of 15, she got married to king of Kittur, Raja Mallasarja. Presently, Kittur is a taluk in present Belagaum. Queen Chennamma had a prosperous life until the death of her husband in 1816. She was left with her son afterwards. Unfortunately, her son died in 1824. Chennamma adopted a boy whose name was Shivalingappa. Shivalingappa was not recognised by the East India Company as the heir. It was the pretext of Doctrine of Lapse. Doctrine of Lapse was later codified between 1848 to 1856.

Chennamma Circle Belagavi

The queen of Kittur did not accept the illegitimate policy of the British. She took up arms against the colonial power. Queen Chennamma waged a war against the British by refusing their sovereignty in 1824. Thus, her rebellion was way before the Indian Revolt of 1857.

Basic Details of Queen of Kittur:

Here is the summary of basic details about the queen of Kittur, Chennamma.

Birth23 October, 1778.
SpouseKing of Kittur, Raja Mallasarja.
WarsRevolt against the British, 1824.
Death21 February, 1829.

Why is She Famous?

The queen of Kittur was well-trained in archery, horse-riding, sword-fighting since her childhood days. In place of giving up or reconciling with the British, she chose to fight tooth and nail. The British attacked her kingdom with an army of 20000 men and 400 guns. They made an attempt to capture the treasure of Kittur which valued ₹15 lakhs. But their attempt failed. In the first battle between Kittur and the East India Company, which happened in October,1824 the company suffered a heavy loss.

The English Collector and Agent were killed by the general of queen Chennamma. The Kittur army even took two hostages with them. But, the kind-hearted queen of Kittur released the hostages, as they made a promise of not waging the war further. But, unfortunately they restarted the war as soon as they got released.

The queen of Kittur, Chennamma had gallant warriors on her side. She fought bravely with her army that consisted of stalwarts like Sangolli Rayanna, Gurusiddappa, and so on. Despite their brave endeavours the queen got captured. This is how Kittur got under the company’s rule. 

The queen Chennamma was imprisoned in Bailhongal Fort where she took her last breath on 21 February, 1829.

The biography of the queen of Kittur depicts the saga of impeccable commitment towards the motherland and that makes it immortal.

Read here: Know the Princess of Bhangarh Fort – The Most Hanuted Fort of India

Kittur Festival in the Honor of Queen of Kittur:

Today the state of Karnataka organizes a three-day event called ‘Vijayothsava’. The current generation celebrates the valor of the queen of Kittur. Her heroic stance against the British Army has made her an inspiration for the entire India. Since her fight against the British in 1824, her courage and commitment for the sake of motherland has been celebrated through the songs and stories.

The Kittur Utsav is usually celebrated between 22-24 October every year. The native people alongwith the state officials organize a cultural fest pertaining to the glory of the brave queen of Kittur.

Legacy of Queen Chennamma:

Let us know how the memory of the queen of Kittur has been preserved:

  • A statue of queen Chinnamma was unveiled in the parliament complex by Pratibha Partil in the year 2007.
  • There are other statues which are present in Banglore and Kittur.
  • Ballads are still sung in her honour.
  • Queen Chinnamma’s samadhi is maintained near a park in Kittur.

About the City of Kittur:

Kittur which was historically known as Kittoor has witnessed the glory of valor and grit. It is the home to Kittur fort, which is a significant historical destination in the state of Karnataka. The fort stands as a spectator of one of the early revolts against the draconian colonial rule.  This was the same place from where the queen Chinnamma led the rebellion. The then British Comissioner destroyed the fort and there we can find the ruins of the grandeur that once upon a time prevailed. 


Who built the Kittur Fort?

It was built by Allppa Gowda Sardesai.

In which fort the queen of Kittur was captivated?

The queen of Kittur was captivated in the fort of Bailhongal Fort.

Who was the mother of the queen of Kittur?

Her mother’s name was Paadmavati.

Who was the father of queen Chennamma?

Her father was Dhulappa Desai.

What was the name of the village of queen Chennamma?

Her village was Kakati. This is the place where she was born.

What is the Doctrine of Lapse?

It was a process in which the adopted heirs of native rulers were not accepted by the British.

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