The conquest of Raichur by Krishnadeva Raya of Vijaynagar

From Robert Sewell as per the narrative of Nuniz :-

Krishna Deva Raya, having determine to attack the Adil Shah and once for all to capture the disputed fortress of Raichur, collected all his forces, and marched with an immense host from Vijayanagar in a north-easterly direction. It was the dry season, and he probably set out in February or March. The weather must have been intensely hot during his advance, and still more so during the campaign; but the cotton plains that lay on his route out and home were then in the best condition for the passage of his troops, guns, and baggage. His enormous army consisted of about a million of men, if the camp-followers be included; for the fighting men alone, according to Nuniz, numbered about 736,000, with 550 elephants. The troops advanced in eleven great divisions or army corps, and other troops joined him before Raichur.
He pitched his camp on the eastern side of that citadel, invested the place, and began a regular siege. After an interval he received intelligence of the arrival of the Adil Shah from Bijapur, on the north side of the Krishna, with an army of 140,000 horse and foot to oppose him.
Having for a few days rested his troops, the Sultan crossed the river, advanced (according to Nuniz) to within nine miles of Raichur, and there entrenched himself, leaving the river about five miles in his rear.[215] Firishtah, however, differs, and says that the Muhammadan forces crossed directly in face of the Hindu army encamped on the opposite bank.
On Saturday morning, May 19, in the year A.D. 1520,  the forces became engaged, and a decisive pitched battle was fought. Krishna Deva, making no attempt to outflank his adversary, ordered an advance to his immediate front of his two forward divisions. Their attack was so far successful that they drove the Muhammadans back to their trenches. The Sultan had apparently deployed his force over too wide an area, expecting that the Raya would do the same; but finding himself weak in the centre he opened fire from the guns that he had previously held in reserve, and by this means caused great loss in the close ranks of the Hindus. The Raya’s troops fell back in face of this formidable bombardment, and at once their enemies charged them. The retreat was changed to a rout, and for a mile and a half to their direct front the Mussulman cavalry chased the flying forces belonging to Krishna Deva’s first line. The king himself, who commanded the second line, began to despair of victory, but rallied his troops, collected about him a number of his nobles, and determined to face death with the bravery that had always characterised him. Mounting his horse, he ordered a forward movement of the whole of his remaining divisions, and charged the now disordered ranks of the Mussulmans. This resulted in complete success, for the enemy, scattered and unable to form, fled before his impetuous onslaught. He drove them the whole way back to, and into, the river, where terrific slaughter took place, and their entire army was put to flight.
The Raya then crossed the river and seized the Shah’s camp, while the Shah himself, by the counsel and help of Asada Khan, a man who afterwards became very famous, escaped only with his life, and fled from the field on an elephant.
While being driven back towards the river, Salabat Khan, the Shah’s general, made a valiant attempt to retrieve the fortunes of the day. He had for his bodyguard 500 Portuguese “renegades,” and with him these men threw themselves into the advancing ranks of the Hindus, where they “did such wonderful deeds” that ever after they were remembered. They penetrated the king’s host, and cut their way forwards till they almost reached his person. Here Salabat Khan lost his horse, but at once mounted another and pressed on. The little force was, however, surrounded and annihilated, and the general, being a second time overthrown, horse and all, was made prisoner.
The spoil was great and the result decisive. For years afterwards the “Moors” cherished a wholesome dread of Krishna Raya and his valiant troops, and the Sultan, panic-stricken, never again during his enemy’s lifetime ventured to attack the dominions of Vijayanagar. Krishna Deva, flushed with victory, returned at once to the attack of Raichur, and the fortress was after a short time captured.
Its fall was due in great measure to the assistance rendered by some Portuguese, headed by Christovao de Figueiredo, who with their arquebusses picked off the defenders from the walls, and thus enabled the besiegers to approach close to the lines of fortification and pull down the stones of which they were formed. Driven to desperation, and their governor being slain, the garrison surrendered.
The chronicler states that Krishna Deva was prepared to give battle on a Friday, but was persuaded by his councillors to postpone his attack till the following day, Friday being unlucky. The battle accordingly took place on the Saturday, which was the new moon day.

About Olikara

An engineer, history buff, collector of South Indian antiques.
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