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Coorg Medal, issued to a Kodava loyalist in 1837

Coorg Medal, 1837

Obverse, a Coorg warrior standing facing left with knife and musket

Coorg Medal, 1837

Reverse, a collection of war trophies

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Coorg Medal, issued by the British East India Co., 1837

The princely state of Kodagu, or Coorg, now part of modern Karnataka in India, became an ally of the British in India due to the threat posed by Tipu Sultan, King of Mysore, who had occupied the country three times and been repelled twice. In 1799 Kodagu was afforded the protection of the British East India Co., but in 1820 the young Vira Raja succeeded, and his liquidation of his family rivals and other actions which could be considered treasonable led to a British intervention in force in 1834, after which the state was formally annexed by the Company.
One of the effects of the Company take-over was that taxes were now paid in money rather than in kind, and this seems to have been the cause behind a rising by the Gauda people in Kanara, a province of Kodagu. The rising met with little success due to the loyalty of the Kodavas to British rule. This loyalty was immediately rewarded by the East India Company with this issue of this medal, of which about 250 were struck, to the loyal people of the Kanara area.
The medals were issued unnamed, and so the recipient's identity is unknown. Lester Watson purchased the medal at some point before 1928.