Posted on: 31 January 2013

Digital Rare Book:
GESCHICH DER MARATTEN bis auf den lezten Frieden mit England, den 17. May 1782
By Matthias Christian Sprengel
Published by Johann Jacob Gebauer, Halle, Germany - 1786
In German

"Nearly twenty years before Edward Scott Waring's 'History of the Mahrattas' appeared, the subject had attracted the attention of a German professor of Halle University who published his now little known "Geschichte der Maratten", as early as 1791, for the edification of his European contemporaries. The writer himself admitted that he could not vouch for the authenticity of the earlier parts of his fantastic work, but that he had compiled it from such accounts as were available to him in the several European languages. It comprised 288 octavo pages and also contained a map prepared by Forster in 1786. The book closes with ' the peace with England of 17th May, 1782.' The author never visited India and the work has little value today except as a rare specimen of the first European account of the Marathas full of quaint errors."

- Extract from the Introduction in 'Maratha History' - S.R. Sharma (1944)

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Hello, Although the text says that the book is full of quaint errors, it should not be forgotten that during the 1780's a very considerable proportion of the British East India Company army was in fact made up of Germans and Swiss. Entire regiments were being hired in Europe and from "Dutch" troops captured at the Cape and in India. These "Dutch" regiments were largely German speaking as well, so that many Germans were aware of India and some had no doubt already returned to Germany by this period with tales to relate about their experiences in India. Regards Nick Balmer