Rani Abbakkadevi statue at YeshwanthpurRani Abbakka Devi Chowta was the Queen of Ullal who fought the Portuguese in the latter half of the 16th century. She belonged to the Chowta dynasty who ruled over parts of coastal Karnataka (Tulu Nadu), India. The port town of Ullal served as their subsidiary capital.

The Portuguese made several attempts to capture Ullal as it was strategically placed but Abbakka repulsed each of their attacks for over four decades. For her bravery, she came to be known as Abhaya Rani (The fearless queen). She was also one of the earliest Indians to fight the colonial powers and is sometimes regarded as the ‘first woman freedom fighter of India’.

In 1555, the Portuguese sent Admiral Dom Álvaro da Silveira to fight her after she refused to pay them tribute. In the battle that followed, Rani Abbakka once again managed to hold her own and repulsed the attack successfully. In 1557, the Portuguese plundered Mangalore and laid it waste. In 1568, they turned their attention to Ullal but Abbakka Rani resisted them yet again. João Peixoto, a Portuguese general and a fleet of soldiers were sent by the Portuguese Viceroy António Noronha. They managed to capture the city of Ullal and also entered the royal court. Abbakka Rani, however, escaped and took refuge in a mosque. The same night, she gathered around 200 of her soldiers and mounted an attack on the Portuguese. In the battle that ensued, General Peixoto was killed, seventy Portuguese soldiers were taken prisoners and many of the Portuguese retreated. In further attacks, Abbakka Rani and her supporters killed Admiral Mascarenhas and the Portuguese were also forced to vacate the Mangalore fort.

In 1569 however, the Portuguese not only regained the Mangalore fort but also captured Kundapur (Basrur). Despite these gains, Abbakka Rani continued to remain a source of threat. With the help of the queen’s estranged husband, they mounted attacks on Ullal. Furious battles followed but Abbakka Rani held her own. In 1570, she formed an alliance with the Bijapur Sultan of Ahmed Nagar and the Zamorine of Calicut, who were also opposing the Portuguese. Kutty Pokar Markar, the Zamorine’s general fought on behalf of Abbakka and destroyed the Portuguese fort at Mangalore but while returning he was killed by the Portuguese. Following these losses and her husband’s treachery, Abbakka lost the war, was arrested and jailed. However, even in prison she revolted and died fighting.

— Information from Wikipedia —

This statue is located at the junction of Chord Rd and Rajkumar Rd in front of the Mysore Soap factory, Bangalore.


Anoop Hullenahalli

An Electronics Engineer working on wireless embedded systems for a living. Traveling, photographing and sharing my experiences here at ANUBIMB helps me unwind and break the monotony of life.

1 Comment

My Say · 26 Aug ’13 at 4:22 pm

Very Informative post .. honestly speaking I did not know about Rani Abbakka Devi .. glad I know it now!

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