|Known for||Fighting against Bijapur and defying Mughal emperor Aurangzeb|
Keladi Chennamma was the Queen of Keladi Kingdom (1671-1696) in Karnataka. A Lingayat, she was the daughter of Siddappa Setti, a native merchant of Kundapur, Karnataka. Keladi Kingdom (also known as Bednur and Ikkeri), was formed after the fall of Vijayanagara Empire. Chennamma married King Somashekara Nayaka in 1667 CE. After Somashekhara Nayaka's death in 1677, Chennamma efficiently handled the administration of the Keladi Nayaka dynasty. During her reign of 26 years, she repelled the advances of the Mughal Army led by Aurangzeb from her military base in the kingdom of Keladi located in Sagara, Karnataka, India. She adopted Basavappa Nayaka, one of her close relatives who succeeded as Hiriya Basappa Nayaka. She also rendered a trade agreement with the Portuguese involving commodities like pepper and rice.
She was given the epithet "the Pepper Queen" or "Raina da Pimenta" by the Portuguese. She also permitted Portuguese to establish churches at Mirjan, Honnavara, Chandavara and Kalyanpura. In the state of Karnataka, she is celebrated along with Abbakka Rani, Kittur Chennamma and Onake Obavva, as the foremost women warriors and patriots.
Attack by Aurangazeb
She provided shelter to Rajaram Chhatrapati, son of Shivaji who was fleeing from the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb after a meeting with her cabinet and treated Rajaram with respect, but Aurangazeb attacked Keladi. Keladi Chennamma fought the war without defeat and battle with Mughals ended in a treaty. A subordinate of Keladi Kingdom, Sadasiva of Swadi also helped Rajaram through a loan. Keladi kingdom was probably the last to lose autonomy to Mysore rulers and subsequently to British. Her cabinet was headed by Timmanna Nayaka who was the descendent of a commander of Vijayanagra.
Chennamma was known to be a very virtuous and pious woman, and a pragmatic administrator of her times.
- amar chitra katha vol 793
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