Maratha Empire

Maratha Empire

Overview
The Maratha Empire or the Maratha Confederacy was an India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

n imperial power that existed from 1674 to 1818. At its peak, the empire covered much of South Asia
South Asia
South Asia, also known as Southern Asia, is the southern region of the Asian continent, which comprises the sub-Himalayan countries and, for some authorities , also includes the adjoining countries to the west and the east...

, encompassing a territory of over 2.8 million km².

The empire was founded and consolidated by Maharaja
Maharaja
Mahārāja is a Sanskrit title for a "great king" or "high king". The female equivalent title Maharani denotes either the wife of a Maharaja or, in states where that was customary, a woman ruling in her own right. The widow of a Maharaja is known as a Rajamata...

 Shivaji Bhosale. He created an independent Maratha kingdom with Raigad as its capital, and successfully fought against the Mughals
Mughal Empire
The Mughal Empire ,‎ or Mogul Empire in traditional English usage, was an imperial power from the Indian Subcontinent. The Mughal emperors were descendants of the Timurids...

 to defend his kingdom.
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Encyclopedia
The Maratha Empire or the Maratha Confederacy was an India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

n imperial power that existed from 1674 to 1818. At its peak, the empire covered much of South Asia
South Asia
South Asia, also known as Southern Asia, is the southern region of the Asian continent, which comprises the sub-Himalayan countries and, for some authorities , also includes the adjoining countries to the west and the east...

, encompassing a territory of over 2.8 million km².

The empire was founded and consolidated by Maharaja
Maharaja
Mahārāja is a Sanskrit title for a "great king" or "high king". The female equivalent title Maharani denotes either the wife of a Maharaja or, in states where that was customary, a woman ruling in her own right. The widow of a Maharaja is known as a Rajamata...

 Shivaji Bhosale. He created an independent Maratha kingdom with Raigad as its capital, and successfully fought against the Mughals
Mughal Empire
The Mughal Empire ,‎ or Mogul Empire in traditional English usage, was an imperial power from the Indian Subcontinent. The Mughal emperors were descendants of the Timurids...

 to defend his kingdom. The Maratha Empire waged war for 27 years
War of 27 years
The Maratha War of Independence The Maratha War of Independence The Maratha War of Independence (also termed the War of 27 yegfuyfyuffygement in the history of India. The Maratha Empire eventually emerged victorious.-Background:...

 with the Mughals from 1681 to 1707, which became the longest war in the history of India
History of India
The history of India begins with evidence of human activity of Homo sapiens as long as 75,000 years ago, or with earlier hominids including Homo erectus from about 500,000 years ago. The Indus Valley Civilization, which spread and flourished in the northwestern part of the Indian subcontinent from...

. The Maratha
Maratha
The Maratha are an Indian caste, predominantly in the state of Maharashtra. The term Marāthā has three related usages: within the Marathi speaking region it describes the dominant Maratha caste; outside Maharashtra it can refer to the entire regional population of Marathi-speaking people;...

s eventually emerged victorious. Shivaji pioneered "Shiva sutra" or Ganimi Kava (guerrilla tactics
Guerrilla warfare
Guerrilla warfare is a form of irregular warfare and refers to conflicts in which a small group of combatants including, but not limited to, armed civilians use military tactics, such as ambushes, sabotage, raids, the element of surprise, and extraordinary mobility to harass a larger and...

), which leveraged strategic factors like demographics, speed, surprise and focused attack to defeat his bigger and more powerful enemies. While Venkoji, the younger half-brother of Shivaji, founded the Thanjavur Maratha kingdom.

Shahu, a grandson of Shivaji became ruler. During this period, he appointed Peshwa
Peshwa
A Peshwa is the titular equivalent of a modern Prime Minister. Emporer Shivaji created the Peshwa designation in order to more effectively delegate administrative duties during the growth of the Maratha Empire. Prior to 1749, Peshwas held office for 8-9 years and controlled the Maratha army...

s as the prime minister
Prime minister
A prime minister is the most senior minister of cabinet in the executive branch of government in a parliamentary system. In many systems, the prime minister selects and may dismiss other members of the cabinet, and allocates posts to members within the government. In most systems, the prime...

s of the Maratha
Maratha
The Maratha are an Indian caste, predominantly in the state of Maharashtra. The term Marāthā has three related usages: within the Marathi speaking region it describes the dominant Maratha caste; outside Maharashtra it can refer to the entire regional population of Marathi-speaking people;...

 Empire
Empire
The term empire derives from the Latin imperium . Politically, an empire is a geographically extensive group of states and peoples united and ruled either by a monarch or an oligarchy....

. After the death of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb
Aurangzeb
Abul Muzaffar Muhy-ud-Din Muhammad Aurangzeb Alamgir , more commonly known as Aurangzeb or by his chosen imperial title Alamgir , was the sixth Mughal Emperor of India, whose reign lasted from 1658 until his death in 1707.Badshah Aurangzeb, having ruled most of the Indian subcontinent for nearly...

, the empire expanded greatly under the rule of the Peshwas. The empire at its peak stretched from Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu is one of the 28 states of India. Its capital and largest city is Chennai. Tamil Nadu lies in the southernmost part of the Indian Peninsula and is bordered by the union territory of Pondicherry, and the states of Kerala, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh...

 in the south, to Attock
Attock
Attock is a city located in the northern border of the Punjab province of Pakistan and the headquarters of Attock District...

 (modern-day Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

) on the Indus River
Indus River
The Indus River is a major river which flows through Pakistan. It also has courses through China and India.Originating in the Tibetan plateau of western China in the vicinity of Lake Mansarovar in Tibet Autonomous Region, the river runs a course through the Ladakh district of Jammu and Kashmir and...

 in the north and led Expeditions to Bengal
Expeditions in Bengal
The expeditions in Bengal was taken by the Maratha Empire after the successful campaign in Karnataka at the Battle of Trichinopolly. The leader of the expedition was Maratha Maharaja Raghuji of Nagpur...

 in the east. Ahmad Shah Abdali, amongst others, were unwilling to allow the Maratha's gains to go unchecked. In 1761, the Maratha army lost the Third Battle of Panipat
Third battle of Panipat
The Third Battle of Panipat took place on 14 January 1761, at Panipat , about 60 miles north of Delhi between a northern expeditionary force of the Maratha Confederacy and a coalition of the King of Afghanistan, Ahmad Shah Abdali with 2 Indian Muslim allies—the Rohilla Afghans of the Doab, and the...

 which halted imperial expansion.

After 1761, young Madhavrao Peshwa
Madhavrao Peshwa
Thorle Madhavrao Peshwa was fourth Peshwa of the Maratha Empire.-Early life and ascendancy to Peshwa:...

 reinstated the Maratha authority over North India, 10 years after the battle of Panipat. In a bid to effectively manage the large empire, semi-autonomy was given to strongest of the knights, which created a confederacy of Maratha states. They became known as Gaekwad
Gaekwad
The Gaekwad or Gaikwad was a Maratha dynasty that ruled the princely state of Baroda in western India from the mid-18th century until 1947...

s of Baroda
Vadodara
Vadodara formerly known as Baroda is the third most populated city in the Indian State of Gujarat . It is one of the four cities with the population of over 1 million...

, the Holkar
Holkar
The Holkar dynasty , whose earliest known clan-man was Malhar Rao, who joined the service of the Peshwa in 1721, and quickly rose to the ranks of Subedar...

s of Indore
Indore
Indore is one of the major city in India, the largest city and commercial center of the state of Madhya Pradesh in central India. Indore is located 190 km west of the state capital Bhopal. According to the 2011 Indian census, Indore city has a population of 1,960,631...

 and Malwa, the Scindias of Gwalior and Ujjain
Ujjain
Ujjain , is an ancient city of Malwa region in central India, on the eastern bank of the Kshipra River , today part of the state of Madhya Pradesh. It is the administrative centre of Ujjain District and Ujjain Division.In ancient times the city was called Ujjayini...

, Bhonsales of Nagpur
Nagpur kingdom
The Kingdom of Nagpur was a kingdom in east-central India founded by the Gond rulers of Deogarh in the early 18th century. It came under the rule of Marathas of the Bhonsle dynasty in the mid-18th century...

. In 1775, the British East India Company
British East India Company
The East India Company was an early English joint-stock company that was formed initially for pursuing trade with the East Indies, but that ended up trading mainly with the Indian subcontinent and China...

 intervened in a succession struggle in Pune
Pune
Pune , is the eighth largest metropolis in India, the second largest in the state of Maharashtra after Mumbai, and the largest city in the Western Ghats. Once the centre of power of the Maratha Empire, it is situated 560 metres above sea level on the Deccan plateau at the confluence of the Mula ...

, which became the First Anglo-Maratha War
First Anglo-Maratha War
The First Anglo-Maratha War was the first of three Anglo-Maratha wars fought between the British East India Company and Maratha Empire in India. The war began with the Treaty of Surat and ended with the Treaty of Salbai.-Background:...

. Marathas remained the preeminent power in India until their defeat in the Second and Third Anglo-Maratha Wars (1805–1818), which left Britain in control of most of India.

A large portion of the empire was coastline that had been secured by a potent navy under commanders such as Kanhoji Angre
Kanhoji Angre
Kanhoji Angre or Conajee Angria or Sarkhel Angre was the first notable chief of the Maratha Navy in 18th century India. He fought successfully all his life against the British, Dutch and Portuguese naval interests in the Indian Ocean during the 18th century, and hence was alleged by them to be a...

. He was very successful at keeping foreign naval ships, particularly of the Portuguese
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

 and British, at bay. Securing the coastal areas and building land-based fortifications were crucial aspects of the Maratha's defensive strategy and regional military history
Military history of India
The military history of India dates back several millennia. The first reference to armies is found in the Vedas and the epics Ramayana and Mahabaratha. From the ancient period through to the 19th century, a succession of powerful dynasties rose and fell in India as smaller rulers also struggled for...

.

Brief History


After a lifetime of guerrilla warfare
Guerrilla warfare
Guerrilla warfare is a form of irregular warfare and refers to conflicts in which a small group of combatants including, but not limited to, armed civilians use military tactics, such as ambushes, sabotage, raids, the element of surprise, and extraordinary mobility to harass a larger and...

 with Adilshah of Bijapur
Adil Shahi
The Adil Shahi or Adilshahi dynasty ruled the Sultanate of Bijapur in the Western area of the Deccan region of Southern India from 1490 to 1686. Bijapur had been a province of the Bahmani Sultanate , before its political decline in the last quarter of the 15th century and eventual break-up in 1518...

 and Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, Shivaji  founded an independent Hindu Maratha kingdom in 1674 with Raigad as its capital. Shivaji died in 1680, leaving behind a large, but vulnerable kingdom. The Mughals invaded, fighting an unsuccessful War of 27 years from 1681 to 1707.

Shahu, a grandson of Shivaji, ruled as emperor until 1749. During his reign, Shahu appointed the first Peshwa
Peshwa
A Peshwa is the titular equivalent of a modern Prime Minister. Emporer Shivaji created the Peshwa designation in order to more effectively delegate administrative duties during the growth of the Maratha Empire. Prior to 1749, Peshwas held office for 8-9 years and controlled the Maratha army...

 as head of the government, under certain conditions. After the death of Shahu, the Peshwas became the de facto leaders of the Maratha Empire from 1749 to 1761, while Shivaji's successors continued as nominal rulers from their base in Satara
Satara
Satara is a city located in the Satara District of Maharashtra state of India. The town is 2320 ft. above sea-level, near the confluence of the Krishna and its tributary river Venna. The city was the capital of the Maratha empire in the 17th century, hence one of the the historical cities of...

. Covering a large part of the subcontinent
Indian subcontinent
The Indian subcontinent, also Indian Subcontinent, Indo-Pak Subcontinent or South Asian Subcontinent is a region of the Asian continent on the Indian tectonic plate from the Hindu Kush or Hindu Koh, Himalayas and including the Kuen Lun and Karakoram ranges, forming a land mass which extends...

, the Maratha Empire kept the British forces
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

 at bay during the 18th century, until the Third Battle of Panipat
Third battle of Panipat
The Third Battle of Panipat took place on 14 January 1761, at Panipat , about 60 miles north of Delhi between a northern expeditionary force of the Maratha Confederacy and a coalition of the King of Afghanistan, Ahmad Shah Abdali with 2 Indian Muslim allies—the Rohilla Afghans of the Doab, and the...

 following which Marathas never fought as a single unit..

The Maratha Empire was at its height in the 18th century under Shahu and the Peshwa Baji Rao I
Baji Rao I
Shrimant Baji Rao Balaji Bhatt , also known as Baji Rao I, was a noted general who served as Peshwa to the fourth Maratha Chhatrapati Shahu from 1719 until Baji Rao's death. He is also known as Thorale Baji Rao...

. Losses at the Third Battle of Panipat
Third battle of Panipat
The Third Battle of Panipat took place on 14 January 1761, at Panipat , about 60 miles north of Delhi between a northern expeditionary force of the Maratha Confederacy and a coalition of the King of Afghanistan, Ahmad Shah Abdali with 2 Indian Muslim allies—the Rohilla Afghans of the Doab, and the...

 in 1761 suspended further expansion of the empire in the North-west and reduced the power of the Peshwas. In 1761, after severe losses in the Panipat war, the Peshwas slowly started losing the control of the state. Many military chiefs of the Maratha Empire like Shinde
Shinde
Shinde is a common surname among the Maratha people of India. The term may refer to:* Shinde, a Maratha caste found mainly in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Andra Pradesh and Goa.* Scindia, a prominent Maratha family-People:...

, Holkar
Holkar
The Holkar dynasty , whose earliest known clan-man was Malhar Rao, who joined the service of the Peshwa in 1721, and quickly rose to the ranks of Subedar...

, Gaikwad, Pant Pratinidhi
Parshuram Pant Pratinidhi
Parshuram Tryambak Kinhaikar , popularly known as Parshuram Pant Pratinidhi, was a diplomat and warrior of Maratha Empire during Rajaram and Tarabai’s regime. His contribution to the Maratha war of Independence is considered to be of vital importance...

, Bhosale of Nagpur, Pandit of Bhor
Bhor
Bhor is a city and a municipal council in Pune district in the state of Maharashtra, India.- Geography :Bhor is located at . It has an average elevation of 588 metres .- Demographics :...

, Patwardhan
Peshwa
A Peshwa is the titular equivalent of a modern Prime Minister. Emporer Shivaji created the Peshwa designation in order to more effectively delegate administrative duties during the growth of the Maratha Empire. Prior to 1749, Peshwas held office for 8-9 years and controlled the Maratha army...

, and Newalkar
Rani Lakshmibai
Lakshmi Bai, the Rani of Jhansi was the queen of the Maratha-ruled princely state of Jhansi, situated in the northern part of India...

 started to work towards their ambition of becoming kings in their respective regions. However, under Madhavrao Peshwa
Madhavrao Peshwa
Thorle Madhavrao Peshwa was fourth Peshwa of the Maratha Empire.-Early life and ascendancy to Peshwa:...

, Maratha authority in North India was restored, 10 years after the battle of Panipat. After the death of Madhavrao, the empire gave way to a loose Confederacy, with political power resting in a 'pentarchy' of five mostly Maratha dynasties: the Peshwas of Pune
Pune
Pune , is the eighth largest metropolis in India, the second largest in the state of Maharashtra after Mumbai, and the largest city in the Western Ghats. Once the centre of power of the Maratha Empire, it is situated 560 metres above sea level on the Deccan plateau at the confluence of the Mula ...

; the Sindhias (originally "Shindes") of Malwa and Gwalior
Gwalior state
Gwalior State was an Indian kingdom and princely state ruled by the Maratha dynasty. The state took its name from the old town of Gwalior, which, although never the actual capital, was an important place because of its strategic location and the strength of its fort. The state was founded in the...

; the Holkar
Holkar
The Holkar dynasty , whose earliest known clan-man was Malhar Rao, who joined the service of the Peshwa in 1721, and quickly rose to the ranks of Subedar...

s of Indore
Indore
Indore is one of the major city in India, the largest city and commercial center of the state of Madhya Pradesh in central India. Indore is located 190 km west of the state capital Bhopal. According to the 2011 Indian census, Indore city has a population of 1,960,631...

; the Bhonsle
Bhonsle
The Bhonsle were a prominent clan within the Maratha clan system who served as rulers of several states in India.The most prominent member of the clan was Shivaji, the founder of the Maratha empire...

s of Nagpur
Nagpur kingdom
The Kingdom of Nagpur was a kingdom in east-central India founded by the Gond rulers of Deogarh in the early 18th century. It came under the rule of Marathas of the Bhonsle dynasty in the mid-18th century...

; and the Gaekwad
Gaekwad
The Gaekwad or Gaikwad was a Maratha dynasty that ruled the princely state of Baroda in western India from the mid-18th century until 1947...

s of Baroda. A rivalry between the Sindhia and Holkar dominated the confederation's affairs into the early 19th century, as did the clashes with the British and the British East India Company
British East India Company
The East India Company was an early English joint-stock company that was formed initially for pursuing trade with the East Indies, but that ended up trading mainly with the Indian subcontinent and China...

 in the three Anglo-Maratha Wars
Anglo-Maratha Wars
The Anglo-Maratha Wars were three wars fought in India between the Maratha Empire and the British East India Company:* First Anglo-Maratha War * Second Anglo-Maratha War...

. In the Third Anglo-Maratha War
Third Anglo-Maratha War
The Third Anglo-Maratha War was the final and decisive conflict between the British East India Company and the Maratha Empire in India. The war left the Company in control of most of India. It began with an invasion of Maratha territory by 110,400 British East India Company troops, the largest...

, the last Peshwa, Baji Rao II, was defeated by the British in 1818. Most of the former Maratha Empire was absorbed by British India, although some of the Maratha states persisted as quasi-independent princely states until India became independent in 1947.

Chhatrapati Shivaji



The Marathas had lived in the Desh region around Pune
Pune
Pune , is the eighth largest metropolis in India, the second largest in the state of Maharashtra after Mumbai, and the largest city in the Western Ghats. Once the centre of power of the Maratha Empire, it is situated 560 metres above sea level on the Deccan plateau at the confluence of the Mula ...

 for a long time, in the western portion of the Deccan, where the plateau meets the eastern slopes of the Western Ghats
Western Ghats
The Western Ghats, Western Ghauts or the Sahyādri is a mountain range along the western side of India. It runs north to south along the western edge of the Deccan Plateau, and separates the plateau from a narrow coastal plain along the Arabian Sea. The Western Ghats block rainfall to the Deccan...

. They had resisted incursions into the region by the Mughal
Mughal Empire
The Mughal Empire ,‎ or Mogul Empire in traditional English usage, was an imperial power from the Indian Subcontinent. The Mughal emperors were descendants of the Timurids...

 rulers of northern India. Under their leader Shivaji Maharaj, the Marathas freed themselves from the Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

 Turkic sultans of Bijapur to the southeast under the leadership of Shivaji Maharaj, and became much more aggressive, frequently raiding Mughal territory and ransacking the Mughal port of Surat
Surat
Surat , also known as Suryapur, is the commercial capital city of the Indian state of Gujarat. Surat is India's Eighth most populous city and Ninth-most populous urban agglomeration. It is also administrative capital of Surat district and one of the fastest growing cities in India. The city proper...

 in 1664 and again in 1670. In 1674 Shivaji proclaimed himself king, taking the title (Chhatrapati). By Shivaji Maharaja's death in 1680, the Marathas had expanded their territory to include some parts of central India. According to Indian historian Tryambak Shankar Shejwalkar
Tryambak Shankar Shejwalkar
Tryambak Shankar Shejwalkar was an award-winning historian and essayist.-Biography:...

, Shivaji was inspired by the great Vijayanagara Empire
Vijayanagara Empire
The Vijayanagara Empire , referred as the Kingdom of Bisnaga by the Portuguese, was an empire based in South Indian in the Deccan Plateau region. It was established in 1336 by Harihara I and his brother Bukka Raya I of the Yadava lineage. The empire rose to prominence as a culmination of attempts...

, a bulwark against the Muslim invasion of South India. The victories of the then king of Mysore, Kanthirava Narasaraja I
Kanthirava Narasaraja I
Kanthirava Narasaraja I was the Wodeyar ruler of Mysore from 1638 to 1659.-Early years:...

 against the Sultan of Bijapur also inspired Shivaji. According to the legend, Shivaji was the first king in India whose vision encompassed the dev (god), desh (country) and dharma (natural law, righteousness).

Chhatrapati Sambhaji



Chhatrapati Shivaji had two sons: Sambhaji
Sambhaji
Sambhaji Raje Bhosle was the eldest son and successor to Emporer Shivaji, the founder of the Maratha empire.- Early life :...

 and Rajaram. Sambhaji, the elder son, was very popular among the courtiers. He was a great warrior, great politician and poet. In 1681, Sambhaji
Sambhaji
Sambhaji Raje Bhosle was the eldest son and successor to Emporer Shivaji, the founder of the Maratha empire.- Early life :...

 had himself crowned and resumed his father's expansionist policies. Sambhaji had earlier defeated the Portuguese
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

 and Chikka Deva Raya
Wodeyar
The Wodeyar dynasty was an Indian royal dynasty that ruled the Kingdom of Mysore from 1399 to 1947, until the independence of India from British rule and the subsequent unification of the Indian dominion and princely states into the Republic of India.The spelling Wodeyar/Wadiyar is found in most...

 of Mysore. To nullify any Rajput
Rajput
A Rajput is a member of one of the patrilineal clans of western, central, northern India and in some parts of Pakistan. Rajputs are descendants of one of the major ruling warrior classes in the Indian subcontinent, particularly North India...

-Maratha alliance, as well as the Deccan Sultanates
Deccan sultanates
The Deccan sultanates were five Muslim-ruled late medieval kingdoms—Bijapur, Golkonda, Ahmadnagar, Bidar, and Berar—of south-central India. The Deccan sultanates were located on the Deccan Plateau, between the Krishna River and the Vindhya Range. These kingdoms became independent during the breakup...

, the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb
Aurangzeb
Abul Muzaffar Muhy-ud-Din Muhammad Aurangzeb Alamgir , more commonly known as Aurangzeb or by his chosen imperial title Alamgir , was the sixth Mughal Emperor of India, whose reign lasted from 1658 until his death in 1707.Badshah Aurangzeb, having ruled most of the Indian subcontinent for nearly...

 himself headed south in 1682. With his entire imperial court, administration, and an army of about 400,000 troops he proceeded to conquer the sultanates of Bijapur and Golconda
Golconda
Golconda may be:Places:* Golkonda, ruined city and fortress in India* Golconda, Illinois, town in the United States* Golconda, Nevada, former town in the United StatesOther:* Golconda...

. During the eight years that followed, Sambhaji
Sambhaji
Sambhaji Raje Bhosle was the eldest son and successor to Emporer Shivaji, the founder of the Maratha empire.- Early life :...

 led the Maratha
Maratha
The Maratha are an Indian caste, predominantly in the state of Maharashtra. The term Marāthā has three related usages: within the Marathi speaking region it describes the dominant Maratha caste; outside Maharashtra it can refer to the entire regional population of Marathi-speaking people;...

s, never losing a battle or a fort to Aurangzeb
Aurangzeb
Abul Muzaffar Muhy-ud-Din Muhammad Aurangzeb Alamgir , more commonly known as Aurangzeb or by his chosen imperial title Alamgir , was the sixth Mughal Emperor of India, whose reign lasted from 1658 until his death in 1707.Badshah Aurangzeb, having ruled most of the Indian subcontinent for nearly...

. Aurangzeb
Aurangzeb
Abul Muzaffar Muhy-ud-Din Muhammad Aurangzeb Alamgir , more commonly known as Aurangzeb or by his chosen imperial title Alamgir , was the sixth Mughal Emperor of India, whose reign lasted from 1658 until his death in 1707.Badshah Aurangzeb, having ruled most of the Indian subcontinent for nearly...

 had almost lost the campaign but for an event in early 1689. Sambhaji called his commanders for a strategic meeting at Sangameshwar to decide on the final onslaught on the Mughal forces. In a meticulously planned operation, Ganoji Shirke and Aurangzeb's commander, Mukarrab Khan attacked Sangameshwar when Sambhaji was accompanied by a few men. Sambhaji was ambushed and captured by Mughal troops on 1 Feb, 1689. He and his advisor, Kavi Kalash were taken to Bahadurgad.
Sambhaji and Kavi Kalash were tortured to death on March 11, 1689.

Rajaram and Tarabai


Rajaram, Chattrapati Sambhaji's brother, now assumed the throne. Mughals laid siege to Raigad. Rajaram fled to Vishalgad
Vishalgad
Vishalgad was one of the important forts of Shivaji and Maratha Empire. The name ‘Vishalgad’ meaning grand fort in Marathi, was given by Shivaji after annexing it for the Maratha Empire in 1659.The fort is about 1130 meters that is 3630 feet.-Origin of the name Vishalgad:Khelna was in the control...

 and then to Jinji
Jinji
Jinji may refer to:* Jinji of Silla, 25th monarch of the ancient Korean kingdom of Silla* Gingee, town in Tamil Nadu, India* Gingee Fort, fort in Gingee* Jinji, Tianchang , town in Tianchang City, Anhui, China...

 for safety. From there, the Marathas raided the Mughal territory and many forts were captured by Maratha commanders Santaji Ghorpade
Santaji Ghorpade
Santaji Mhaloji Ghorpade, popularly known as ‘Santaji’ or ‘Santaji Ghorpade’, was one of the greatest warriors and the chief General of the Maratha Empire during Chhatrapati Rajaram’s regime. His guerrilla technique of war is supposed to be the best besides that of Shivaji and Bajirao...

, Dhanaji Jadhav
Dhanaji Jadhav
Dhanaji Shambhusinha Jadhav , popularly known as Dhanaji Jadhav, was one of the great warriors of the Maratha Empire. His name became inseparable from the name of Santaji Ghorpade with whom he made terrifying campaigns against Mughal Army continuously from 1689 to 1696...

, Parshuram Pant Pratinidhi
Parshuram Pant Pratinidhi
Parshuram Tryambak Kinhaikar , popularly known as Parshuram Pant Pratinidhi, was a diplomat and warrior of Maratha Empire during Rajaram and Tarabai’s regime. His contribution to the Maratha war of Independence is considered to be of vital importance...

, Shankaraji Narayan Sacheev, and Melgiri Pandit. In 1697, Rajaram offered a truce but this was rejected by the emperor. Rajaram died in 1700 at Sinhagad
Sinhagad
Sinhagad, Sinhgarh, or Sinhgad , is a fortress located roughly 30 kilometres southwest of the city of Pune, India. Previously called Kondhana , the fort has been the site of many important battles, most notably the battle of Sinhagad in 1670...

. His widow, Tarabai
Tarabai
Tarabai was a queen of the Maratha Empire in India. Her husband was Chhatrapati Rajaram, son of Shivaji. Tarabai was the daughter of the famed Maratha general Hambirao Mohite...

, assumed control in the name of her son Ramaraja (Shivaji II). Then Tarabai heroically led the Marathas against the Mughals; by 1705, they had crossed the Narmada River
Narmada River
The Narmada , also called Rewa is a river in central India and the fifth largest river in the Indian subcontinent. It is the third largest river that completely flows within India after Ganges and Godavari...

 and entered Malwa, then in Mughal
Mughal Empire
The Mughal Empire ,‎ or Mogul Empire in traditional English usage, was an imperial power from the Indian Subcontinent. The Mughal emperors were descendants of the Timurids...

 possession.

Malwa was a decisive battle for the Maratha Empire. The Mughals lost their eminent position on the Indian subcontinent
Indian subcontinent
The Indian subcontinent, also Indian Subcontinent, Indo-Pak Subcontinent or South Asian Subcontinent is a region of the Asian continent on the Indian tectonic plate from the Hindu Kush or Hindu Koh, Himalayas and including the Kuen Lun and Karakoram ranges, forming a land mass which extends...

 forever and the subsequent Mughal emperors became titular rulers. The Marathas emerged victorious after a long drawn-out and fiercely fought battle. The soldiers and commanders who participated in this war achieved the real expansion of the Maratha Empire. The victory also set the foundations for the imperial conquests achieved later, under the Peshwa
Peshwa
A Peshwa is the titular equivalent of a modern Prime Minister. Emporer Shivaji created the Peshwa designation in order to more effectively delegate administrative duties during the growth of the Maratha Empire. Prior to 1749, Peshwas held office for 8-9 years and controlled the Maratha army...

s.

Shahu


After Emperor Aurangzeb's death in 1707, Shahuji
Shahuji
Shahu Sambhaji Raje Bhosale Chhatrapati Maharaj was the fourth ruler of the Maratha Empire created by his grandfather, Chhatrapati Shivaji, and was officially the Raja of Satara...

, son of Sambhaji (and grandson of Shivaji), was released by Azam Shah
Azam Shah
Mirza Muhammad Azam Shah was Emperor of the Mughal Empire and a son of Emperor Aurangzeb and Dilrus Bano Begum. He was a brother of Zeb-un-Nissa, Bahadur Shah I, and Sultan Muhammad Akbar. Like his brothers, Azam Shah married a daughter of Sultan Dara Shikoh.He served as the Governor of Berar...

, the next Mughal emperor, under conditions that rendered him a vassal of the Mughal emperor but his mother was still held captive to ensure good behaviour from Shahuji. He immediately claimed the Maratha throne and challenged his aunt Tarabai and her son. This promptly turned the now-spluttering Mughal-Maratha war into a three-cornered affair. The states of Satara and Kolhapur came into being in 1707, because of the succession dispute over the Maratha kingship. By 1710, two separate principalities had become an established fact, eventually confirmed by the Treaty of Warna in 1731.

In 1713 Farrukhsiyar declared himself Mughal emperor. His bid for power depended heavily on two brothers, known as the Saiyid
Saiyid Brothers
The term Sayyid Brothers refers to Syed Hassan Ali Khan Barha and Syed Hussain Ali Khan Barha , who were powerful Mughal Army generals of the Mughal Empire during the early 18th century....

s, one of whom was the governor of Allahabad
Allahabad
Allahabad , or Settled by God in Persian, is a major city of India and is one of the main holy cities of Hinduism. It was renamed by the Mughals from the ancient name of Prayaga , and is by some accounts the second-oldest city in India. It is located in the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh,...

 and the other the governor of Patna
Patna
Paṭnā , is the capital of the Indian state of Bihar and the second largest city in Eastern India . Patna is one of the oldest continuously inhabited places in the world...

. However, the brothers had a falling-out with the emperor. Negotiations between the Saiyids and Peshwa Balaji Vishwanath, a civilian representative of Shahu, drew the Marathas into the vendetta against the emperor.

An army of Marathas commanded by Parsoji Bhosale, and Mughals, marched up to Delhi unopposed and managed to depose the emperor. In return for this help, Balaji Vishwanath managed to negotiate a substantial treaty. Shahuji would have to accept Mughal rule in the Deccan, furnish forces for the imperial army, and pay an annual tribute. But in return, he received a firman, or imperial directive, guaranteeing him Swaraj
Swaraj
Swaraj can mean generally self-governance or "self-rule", and was used synonymously with "home-rule" by Gandhi but the word usually refers to Gandhi's concept for Indian independence from foreign domination. Swaraj lays stress on governance not by a hierarchical government, but self governance...

, or independence, in the Maratha homeland, plus rights to chauth
Chauth
Chauth was a tax or tribute imposed, from early 18th century, by the Maratha Empire in India. It was nominally levied at 25% on revenue or produce, hence the name....

 and sardeshmukh (amounting to 35 percent of the total revenue) throughout Gujarat, Malwa, and the now six provinces of the Mughal Deccan. This treaty also released Yesubai
Yesubai
Yesubai was the wife of the Maratha emperor Sambhaji.Yesubai was the daughter of Pilajirao Shirke, an illustrious Maratha sardar , who was in the services of Chhatrapati Shivaji. Yesubai was by various accounts extremely beautiful, wise and prudent. She was fiercely loyal to the goals of her...

, Shahuji
Shahuji
Shahu Sambhaji Raje Bhosale Chhatrapati Maharaj was the fourth ruler of the Maratha Empire created by his grandfather, Chhatrapati Shivaji, and was officially the Raja of Satara...

's mother, from Mughal prison. The same applied to the less prominent kings of Kerala. Chhatrapati Shahu did not rule the following states unofficially, namely Delhi, Agra, Uttar Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir as the Mughuls were prominent in these areas.

Maharaja Yashwantrao Holkar


After the Battle of Poona
Battle of Poona
The Battle of Poona took place on 25 October 1802 near Pune between the rival factions of the Maratha Confederacy. The forces of the Scindia and the Peshwa Bajirao II were attacked by the Holkars...

, the flight of Peshwa left the government of Maratha state in the hands of Yashwantrao Holkar
Yashwantrao Holkar
H. H. Maharajadhiraj Raj Rajeshwar Sawai Shrimant Yashwant Rao Holkar Bahadur, Nusrat Jang, Maharaja of Maratha Empire, was born on 3 December 1776...

. He appointed Amrutrao as the Peshwa
Peshwa
A Peshwa is the titular equivalent of a modern Prime Minister. Emporer Shivaji created the Peshwa designation in order to more effectively delegate administrative duties during the growth of the Maratha Empire. Prior to 1749, Peshwas held office for 8-9 years and controlled the Maratha army...

 and went to Indore
Indore
Indore is one of the major city in India, the largest city and commercial center of the state of Madhya Pradesh in central India. Indore is located 190 km west of the state capital Bhopal. According to the 2011 Indian census, Indore city has a population of 1,960,631...

 on 13 March 1803. All except Gaikwad chief of Baroda, who had already accepted British protection by a separate treaty on 26 July 1802, supported the new regime. He made a treaty with the British in 1805, that fulfilled his demands. Also, Yashwant-Rao successfully resolved the disputes with Scindia and the Peshwa. His battles were the most remarkable in the military history of India
Military history of India
The military history of India dates back several millennia. The first reference to armies is found in the Vedas and the epics Ramayana and Mahabaratha. From the ancient period through to the 19th century, a succession of powerful dynasties rose and fell in India as smaller rulers also struggled for...

 and the title given to him by the Mughal Emperor gave him a prominent position amongst the rulers of India.

He tried to unite the Maratha Confederacy. In a letter dated 15 February 1806 to Vyankoji Bhosale of Nagpur he states:
He was as clever organizer as he was skillful in war. The various branches of the army were organized on a sound military basis. As a military strategist he ranks among the foremost generals who have ever trod on Indian soil. His heroic achievements shed a noble luster on his military genius, political sagacity and indefatigable industry. He was undoubtedly the greatest and most romantic figure on the stage of Indian history. Yashwant Rao Holkar rose to power from initial nothingness entirely by dint of his personal valour and spirit of adventure. So great was his personality that even in those troublesome times, no state or power could venture to commit aggression on his territory; and this influence kept the Holkar
Holkar
The Holkar dynasty , whose earliest known clan-man was Malhar Rao, who joined the service of the Peshwa in 1721, and quickly rose to the ranks of Subedar...

 State secure even after his death for some years.

Ramchandra Pant Amatya Bawdekar


Ramchandra Pant Amatya
Ramchandra Pant Amatya
Ramchandra Neelkanth Bahutkar , also known as Ramchandra Pant Amatya, was the youngest member of the Council of Ministers to Emperor Shivaji dating from 1674 to 1680. He also served as the Imperial Regent to Chhatrapati Sambhaji, Rajaram, Shivaji II and Sambhaji II...

 Bawdekar was a court administrator who rose from the ranks of a local Kulkarni
Kulkarni
Kulkarni Marathi- Kannada- is a common family name in the Maharashtra and Karnataka states of India.The name Kulkarni is believed to be a combination of two words . Kula means the root of the family, and Karanika means one who maintains records or accounts...

 to the ranks of Ashtapradhan under guidance and support of Shivaji. He was one of the prominent Peshwas from the time of Shivaji, prior to the rise of the later Peshwas who controlled the empire after Shahuji.

When Chhatrapati Rajaram fled to Jinji
Jinji
Jinji may refer to:* Jinji of Silla, 25th monarch of the ancient Korean kingdom of Silla* Gingee, town in Tamil Nadu, India* Gingee Fort, fort in Gingee* Jinji, Tianchang , town in Tianchang City, Anhui, China...

 in 1689 leaving Maratha Empire, he gave a "Hukumat Panha" (King Status) to Pant before leaving. Ramchandra Pant managed the entire state under many challenges like influx of Mughals, betrayal from Vatandars (local satraps under the Maratha state) and social challenges like scarcity of food. With the help of Pantpratinidhi, Sachiv, he kept the economic condition of Maratha Empire in an appropriate state.
He received military help from the Maratha commanders – Santaji Ghorpade
Santaji Ghorpade
Santaji Mhaloji Ghorpade, popularly known as ‘Santaji’ or ‘Santaji Ghorpade’, was one of the greatest warriors and the chief General of the Maratha Empire during Chhatrapati Rajaram’s regime. His guerrilla technique of war is supposed to be the best besides that of Shivaji and Bajirao...

 and Dhanaji Jadhav
Dhanaji Jadhav
Dhanaji Shambhusinha Jadhav , popularly known as Dhanaji Jadhav, was one of the great warriors of the Maratha Empire. His name became inseparable from the name of Santaji Ghorpade with whom he made terrifying campaigns against Mughal Army continuously from 1689 to 1696...

. On many occasions he himself participated in battles against Mughals and played the role of shadow ruler in absence of Chhatrapati Rajaram.

In 1698, he happily stepped down from the post of "Hukumat Panha" when Rajaram offered this post to his wife, Tarabai. Tarabai gave an important position to Pant among senior administrators of Maratha State. He wrote "Adnyapatra
Adnyapatra
Adnyapatra, also pronounced as ‘Ajnapatra’, is a royal edict on the principles of Maratha policy written in Modi Marathi by Ramchandra Pant Amatya, a diplomat and warrior of the Maratha Empire, with intention to guide Shivaji’s grandson Sambhaji II...

" (मराठी: आज्ञापञ) in which he has explained different techniques of war, maintenance of forts and administration etc. But owing to his loyalty to Tarabai against Shahuji (who was supported by more local satraps), he was sidelined after arrival of Shahuji in 1707.

Baji Rao I


After Balaji Vishwanath's death in April, 1719, his son, Baji Rao I was appointed as Peshwa by Chattrapati Shahuji
Shahuji
Shahu Sambhaji Raje Bhosale Chhatrapati Maharaj was the fourth ruler of the Maratha Empire created by his grandfather, Chhatrapati Shivaji, and was officially the Raja of Satara...

, one of the most liberal emperors. Shahuji possessed a strong capacity for recognising talent, and actually caused a social revolution by bringing capable people into power irrespective of their social status. This was an indication of a great social mobility within the Maratha Empire, enabling its rapid expansion.

Shrimant Baji Rao Vishwanath Bhatt (August 18, 1699 - April 25, 1740), also known as Baji Rao I, was a noted general who served as Peshwa (Prime Minister) to the fourth Maratha Chhatrapati (Emperor) Shahu between 1719 until Baji Rao's death. He is also known as Thorala (Marathi for Elder) Baji Rao. Like his father, despite being a Brahmin, he took up leading his troops. During his lifetime, he never lost a battle. He is credited with expanding the Maratha Empire that reached its zenith twenty years after his death. Baji Rao is thus acknowledged as the most famous of the nine Peshwas.

Balaji Baji Rao


Baji Rao's son, Balaji Bajirao
Nanasaheb Peshwa
Nanasaheb Peshwa , also known as Balaji Bajirao, was the son of Bajirao from his marriage with Kashibai and one of the Peshwas of the Maratha Empire. He contributed heavily to the development of the city of Pune, India. He was appointed as Peshwa by Chattrapati Shahu himself...

 (Nanasaheb), was appointed as a Peshwa by Shahuji. The period between 1741 and 1745 was one of comparative calm in the Deccan. Shahuji
Shahuji
Shahu Sambhaji Raje Bhosale Chhatrapati Maharaj was the fourth ruler of the Maratha Empire created by his grandfather, Chhatrapati Shivaji, and was officially the Raja of Satara...

 died in 1749.

Nanasaheb encouraged agriculture, protected the villagers, and brought about a marked improvement in the state of the territory. Continued expansion saw Raghunath Rao, the brother of Nanasaheb, pushing into in the wake of the Afghan withdrawal after Ahmed Shah Abdali's plunder of Delhi
Delhi
Delhi , officially National Capital Territory of Delhi , is the largest metropolis by area and the second-largest by population in India, next to Mumbai. It is the eighth largest metropolis in the world by population with 16,753,265 inhabitants in the Territory at the 2011 Census...

 in 1756. In Lahore
Lahore
Lahore is the capital of the Pakistani province of Punjab and the second largest city in the country. With a rich and fabulous history dating back to over a thousand years ago, Lahore is no doubt Pakistan's cultural capital. One of the most densely populated cities in the world, Lahore remains a...

, as in Delhi, the Marathas were now major players. By 1760, with defeat of the Nizam in the Deccan, Maratha power had reached its zenith with a territory of over 2,800,000 km² acres.

Decline


Some Indian Muslim rulers including the Rohilla
Rohilla
The Rohilla are a community of Hindi-speaking Pashtun also known as Pathan, historically found in the state of Uttar Pradesh, in North India. Most are now also found in Pakistan where they are now part of the Mohajir community. At one time, they form one of the largest Pashtun diaspora community...

s and the Nawabs of Oudh as well as others like Ahmed Shah Durrani did not want the Maratha expansion go unchecked. Thus, the combined Muslims armies on January 14, 1761 decisively defeated the Marathas at the Third Battle of Panipat
Third battle of Panipat
The Third Battle of Panipat took place on 14 January 1761, at Panipat , about 60 miles north of Delhi between a northern expeditionary force of the Maratha Confederacy and a coalition of the King of Afghanistan, Ahmad Shah Abdali with 2 Indian Muslim allies—the Rohilla Afghans of the Doab, and the...

. The defeat at Panipat checked Maratha expansion towards North and Northwest and fragmented the empire. After the battle, the Maratha Confederacy never fought again as one unit.

The Marathas had antagonised the Jats and Rajput
Rajput
A Rajput is a member of one of the patrilineal clans of western, central, northern India and in some parts of Pakistan. Rajputs are descendants of one of the major ruling warrior classes in the Indian subcontinent, particularly North India...

s by taxing them heavily, punishing them after defeating the Mughals and interfering in their internal affairs. The Marathas were abandoned by Raja Suraj Mal of Bharatpur
Bharatpur, India
Bharatpur is a city in the Indian state of Rajasthan. It was founded by Maharaja Suraj Mal in 1733. Located in the Brij region, Bharatpur was once an impregnable, well-planned and well-fortified city, and the capital of Jat kingdom ruled by Sinsinwar Maharajas.The trio of Bharatpur, Deeg and...

 and the Rajputs who quit the Maratha alliance at Agra
Agra
Agra a.k.a. Akbarabad is a city on the banks of the river Yamuna in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, India, west of state capital, Lucknow and south from national capital New Delhi. With a population of 1,686,976 , it is one of the most populous cities in Uttar Pradesh and the 19th most...

 before the start of the great battle and withdrew their troops, as Maratha general Sadashivrao Bhau
Sadashivrao Bhau
Sadashivrao Bhau was son of Chimaji Appa and Rakhmabai and nephew of Peshwa Baji Rao I and served as the commander of the Maratha army.-Birth and early years:...

 did not heed the advice to leave soldier's families (women and children) and pilgrims at Agra and not take them to the battle field with the soldiers, rejected their cooperation. Their supply chains (earlier assured by Raja Suraj Mal and Rajputs) did not exist.

Maratha Confederacy



After 1761, young Madhavrao Peshwa
Madhavrao Peshwa
Thorle Madhavrao Peshwa was fourth Peshwa of the Maratha Empire.-Early life and ascendancy to Peshwa:...

 tried his best to rebuild the empire in spite of his frail health and reinstated the Maratha authority over North India, 10 years after the battle of Panipat. In a bid to effectively manage the large empire, semi-autonomy was given to strongest of the knights. Thus, the autonomous Maratha states came into being in far flung regions of the empire:
  • the Peshwa
    Peshwa
    A Peshwa is the titular equivalent of a modern Prime Minister. Emporer Shivaji created the Peshwa designation in order to more effectively delegate administrative duties during the growth of the Maratha Empire. Prior to 1749, Peshwas held office for 8-9 years and controlled the Maratha army...

    s of Pune
    Pune
    Pune , is the eighth largest metropolis in India, the second largest in the state of Maharashtra after Mumbai, and the largest city in the Western Ghats. Once the centre of power of the Maratha Empire, it is situated 560 metres above sea level on the Deccan plateau at the confluence of the Mula ...

  • the Gaekwad
    Gaekwad
    The Gaekwad or Gaikwad was a Maratha dynasty that ruled the princely state of Baroda in western India from the mid-18th century until 1947...

    s of Baroda
    Vadodara
    Vadodara formerly known as Baroda is the third most populated city in the Indian State of Gujarat . It is one of the four cities with the population of over 1 million...

  • the Pawars of Dhar
    Dewas
    Dewas is an ancient town situated on the Malwa plateau in the West-central part of Indian state called Madhya Pradesh, about 160 km south west from state capital, Bhopal. It is the administrative center of the Dewas District, and was formerly the seat of two princely states during the British...

  • the Holkar
    Holkar
    The Holkar dynasty , whose earliest known clan-man was Malhar Rao, who joined the service of the Peshwa in 1721, and quickly rose to the ranks of Subedar...

    s of Indore
    Indore
    Indore is one of the major city in India, the largest city and commercial center of the state of Madhya Pradesh in central India. Indore is located 190 km west of the state capital Bhopal. According to the 2011 Indian census, Indore city has a population of 1,960,631...

     and Malwa
  • the Shinde
    Shinde
    Shinde is a common surname among the Maratha people of India. The term may refer to:* Shinde, a Maratha caste found mainly in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Andra Pradesh and Goa.* Scindia, a prominent Maratha family-People:...

    s (aka Scindia) of Gwalior and Ujjain
    Ujjain
    Ujjain , is an ancient city of Malwa region in central India, on the eastern bank of the Kshipra River , today part of the state of Madhya Pradesh. It is the administrative centre of Ujjain District and Ujjain Division.In ancient times the city was called Ujjayini...

  • Bhonsales of Nagpur
    Nagpur kingdom
    The Kingdom of Nagpur was a kingdom in east-central India founded by the Gond rulers of Deogarh in the early 18th century. It came under the rule of Marathas of the Bhonsle dynasty in the mid-18th century...

     (no blood relation with Shivaji's or Tarabai
    Tarabai
    Tarabai was a queen of the Maratha Empire in India. Her husband was Chhatrapati Rajaram, son of Shivaji. Tarabai was the daughter of the famed Maratha general Hambirao Mohite...

    's family)
  • Even in the Maharashtra
    Maharashtra
    Maharashtra is a state located in India. It is the second most populous after Uttar Pradesh and third largest state by area in India...

     itself many knights were given semi-autonomous charges of small districts, which led to princely states like Sangli, Aundh, Bhor, Bawda, Jat, Phaltan, Miraj etc. Pawars of Udgir were also part of confederacy.


In 1775 the British East India Company
British East India Company
The East India Company was an early English joint-stock company that was formed initially for pursuing trade with the East Indies, but that ended up trading mainly with the Indian subcontinent and China...

, from its base in Bombay, intervened in a succession struggle in Pune, on behalf of Raghunathrao
Raghunathrao
Raghunathrao was Peshwa of the Maratha Confederacy from 1773 to 1774. He was instrumental in the downfall of the Peshwa clan.-Early life:Raghunathrao, also known as "Raghoba" and "Ragho Bharari," was the younger brother of Nanasaheb Peshwa. His father was Peshwa Bajirao I & mother was Kashibai....

 (also called Raghobadada), which became the First Anglo-Maratha War
First Anglo-Maratha War
The First Anglo-Maratha War was the first of three Anglo-Maratha wars fought between the British East India Company and Maratha Empire in India. The war began with the Treaty of Surat and ended with the Treaty of Salbai.-Background:...

. That ended in 1782 with a restoration of the pre-war status quo. In 1802 the British intervened in Baroda
Vadodara
Vadodara formerly known as Baroda is the third most populated city in the Indian State of Gujarat . It is one of the four cities with the population of over 1 million...

 to support the heir to the throne against rival claimants, and they signed a treaty with the new Maharaja recognizing his independence from the Maratha Empire in return for his acknowledgement of British paramountcy. In the Second Anglo-Maratha War
Second Anglo-Maratha War
The Second Anglo-Maratha War was the second conflict between the British East India Company and the Maratha Empire in India.-Background:...

 (1803–1805), the Peshwa Baji Rao II
Baji Rao II
Baji Rao II was the last Peshwa of the Maratha Confederacy, and governed from 1796 to 1818. His reign was marked by confrontations with the British.-Biography:...

 signed a similar treaty.

The Third Anglo-Maratha War
Third Anglo-Maratha War
The Third Anglo-Maratha War was the final and decisive conflict between the British East India Company and the Maratha Empire in India. The war left the Company in control of most of India. It began with an invasion of Maratha territory by 110,400 British East India Company troops, the largest...

 (1817–1818), a last-ditch effort to regain sovereignty, resulted in the loss of Maratha independence: it left the British in control of most of India. The Peshwa was exiled to Bithoor
Bithoor
Bithoor is a centre of Hindu pilgrimage in Kanpur District near Kanpur city, in Uttar Pradesh, India.-Location:Bithoor is situated on the Kannauj Road, 27 km from center of Kanpur. Situated on the banks of the Ganges. It is a tourist place....

 (Maratnear Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh
Uttar Pradesh
Uttar Pradesh abbreviation U.P. , is a state located in the northern part of India. With a population of over 200 million people, it is India's most populous state, as well as the world's most populous sub-national entity...

) as a pensioner of the British. The Maratha heartland of Desh, including Pune, came under direct British rule, with the exception of the states of Kolhapur and Satara
Satara
Satara is a city located in the Satara District of Maharashtra state of India. The town is 2320 ft. above sea-level, near the confluence of the Krishna and its tributary river Venna. The city was the capital of the Maratha empire in the 17th century, hence one of the the historical cities of...

, which retained local Maratha rulers. The Maratha-ruled states of Gwalior, Indore, and Nagpur all lost territory, and came under subordinate alliance with the British Raj
British Raj
British Raj was the British rule in the Indian subcontinent between 1858 and 1947; The term can also refer to the period of dominion...

 as princely states that retained internal sovereignty under British 'paramountcy'. Other small princely states of Maratha knights were retained under the British Raj as well.

Legacy


The Maratha Empire is also credited for the laying the foundation of
History of the Indian Navy
-Early history:India has a rich maritime history dating back 5,000 years. The world's first tidal dock is believed to have been built at Lothal around 2300 BCE during the Indus Valley Civilization, near the present day Mangrol harbour on the Gujarat coast....

 the Indian Navy
Indian Navy
The Indian Navy is the naval branch of the armed forces of India. The President of India serves as the Commander-in-Chief of the Navy. The Chief of Naval Staff , usually a four-star officer in the rank of Admiral, commands the Navy...

 and bringing about a considerable change in naval warfare by introducing a blue-water navy
Blue-water navy
The term blue-water navy is a colloquialism used to describe a maritime force capable of operating across the deep waters of open oceans. While what actually constitutes such a force remains undefined, there is a requirement for the ability to exercise sea control at wide ranges...

. The Maratha Empire is also credited for developing many of the important cities like Pune
Pune
Pune , is the eighth largest metropolis in India, the second largest in the state of Maharashtra after Mumbai, and the largest city in the Western Ghats. Once the centre of power of the Maratha Empire, it is situated 560 metres above sea level on the Deccan plateau at the confluence of the Mula ...

, Baroda, Indore
Indore
Indore is one of the major city in India, the largest city and commercial center of the state of Madhya Pradesh in central India. Indore is located 190 km west of the state capital Bhopal. According to the 2011 Indian census, Indore city has a population of 1,960,631...

.

Geography



Maratha Empire, at its peak, ruled over much of the Indian Subcontinent
Indian subcontinent
The Indian subcontinent, also Indian Subcontinent, Indo-Pak Subcontinent or South Asian Subcontinent is a region of the Asian continent on the Indian tectonic plate from the Hindu Kush or Hindu Koh, Himalayas and including the Kuen Lun and Karakoram ranges, forming a land mass which extends...

 (modern-day Republic of India, Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

 and Bangladesh
Bangladesh
Bangladesh , officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh is a sovereign state located in South Asia. It is bordered by India on all sides except for a small border with Burma to the far southeast and by the Bay of Bengal to the south...

 as well as bordering Nepal
Nepal
Nepal , officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, is a landlocked sovereign state located in South Asia. It is located in the Himalayas and bordered to the north by the People's Republic of China, and to the south, east, and west by the Republic of India...

 and Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

). Apart from capturing various regions, the Marathas maintained a large number of tributaries who were bounded by agreement to pay a certain amount of tax, known as "Chauth". Apart from capturing the whole Mughal Empire, the Maratha Empire defeated Kingdom of Mysore
Kingdom of Mysore
The Kingdom of Mysore was a kingdom of southern India, traditionally believed to have been founded in 1399 in the vicinity of the modern city of Mysore. The kingdom, which was ruled by the Wodeyar family, initially served as a vassal state of the Vijayanagara Empire...

 under Hyder Ali
Hyder Ali
Hyder Ali was the de facto ruler of the Kingdom of Mysore in southern India. Born Hyder Naik, he distinguished himself militarily, eventually drawing the attention of Mysore's rulers...

 - the general of the Wodeyar
Wodeyar
The Wodeyar dynasty was an Indian royal dynasty that ruled the Kingdom of Mysore from 1399 to 1947, until the independence of India from British rule and the subsequent unification of the Indian dominion and princely states into the Republic of India.The spelling Wodeyar/Wadiyar is found in most...

 dynasty, Nawab of Oudh, Nawab of Bengal
Nawab of Bengal
The Nawabs of Bengal were the hereditary nazims or subadars of the subah of Bengal during the Mughal rule and the de-facto rulers of the province.-History:...

 and Nizam of Hyderabad as well as the Polygar kingdoms of South India. They extracted chauth from Oudh, Bengal
Bengal
Bengal is a historical and geographical region in the northeast region of the Indian Subcontinent at the apex of the Bay of Bengal. Today, it is mainly divided between the sovereign land of People's Republic of Bangladesh and the Indian state of West Bengal, although some regions of the previous...

, Bihar
Bihar
Bihar is a state in eastern India. It is the 12th largest state in terms of geographical size at and 3rd largest by population. Almost 58% of Biharis are below the age of 25, which is the highest proportion in India....

, Orissa
Orissa
Orissa , officially Odisha since Nov 2011, is a state of India, located on the east coast of India, by the Bay of Bengal. It is the modern name of the ancient nation of Kalinga, which was invaded by the Maurya Emperor Ashoka in 261 BC. The modern state of Orissa was established on 1 April...

, Punjab, Hyderabad, Mysore, Uttar Pradesh
Uttar Pradesh
Uttar Pradesh abbreviation U.P. , is a state located in the northern part of India. With a population of over 200 million people, it is India's most populous state, as well as the world's most populous sub-national entity...

 and Rajput states.

In March 1758, the Maratha Empire expanded its boundary till Afghanistan. They defeated Afghan forces in what is now Pakistan as well as Kashmir
Kashmir
Kashmir is the northwestern region of the Indian subcontinent. Until the mid-19th century, the term Kashmir geographically denoted only the valley between the Great Himalayas and the Pir Panjal mountain range...

. The Afghans were numbered around 25,000-30,000 and were led by Timur Shah, the son of Ahmad Shah Durrani
Ahmad Shah Durrani
Ahmad Shah Durrani , also known as Ahmad Shāh Abdālī and born as Ahmad Khān, was the founder of the Durrani Empire in 1747 and is regarded by many to be the founder of the modern state of Afghanistan.Ahmad Khan enlisted as a young soldier in the military of the Afsharid kingdom and quickly rose...

. On May 1758, the Maratha
Maratha
The Maratha are an Indian caste, predominantly in the state of Maharashtra. The term Marāthā has three related usages: within the Marathi speaking region it describes the dominant Maratha caste; outside Maharashtra it can refer to the entire regional population of Marathi-speaking people;...

s massacred and looted the Afghan soldiers and captured Lahore
Lahore
Lahore is the capital of the Pakistani province of Punjab and the second largest city in the country. With a rich and fabulous history dating back to over a thousand years ago, Lahore is no doubt Pakistan's cultural capital. One of the most densely populated cities in the world, Lahore remains a...

, Multan
Multan
Multan , is a city in the Punjab Province of Pakistan and capital of Multan District. It is located in the southern part of the province on the east bank of the Chenab River, more or less in the geographic centre of the country and about from Islamabad, from Lahore and from Karachi...

, Peshawar
Peshawar
Peshawar is the capital of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and the administrative center and central economic hub for the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan....

, Attock
Attock
Attock is a city located in the northern border of the Punjab province of Pakistan and the headquarters of Attock District...

 in the Punjab region
Punjab region
The Punjab , also spelled Panjab |water]]s"), is a geographical region straddling the border between Pakistan and India which includes Punjab province in Pakistan and the states of the Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh and some northern parts of the National Capital Territory of Delhi...

 and Kashmir
Kashmir
Kashmir is the northwestern region of the Indian subcontinent. Until the mid-19th century, the term Kashmir geographically denoted only the valley between the Great Himalayas and the Pir Panjal mountain range...

. The Marathas were requested by the Nawab
Nawab
A Nawab or Nawaab is an honorific title given to Muslim rulers of princely states in South Asia. It is the Muslim equivalent of the term "maharaja" that was granted to Hindu rulers....

 Safdarjung
Safdarjung
Safdarjung was the Subadar Nawab of Oudh from 19 March 1739 to 5 October 1754.-Life:Safdarjung was born as Muhammad Muqim in Khurasan, Persia and migrated to India in 1722.-Career:...

, Nawab of Oudh, in 1752 to help him defeat Afghani Rohilla. The Maratha force left Poona and defeated Afghan Rohilla in 1752, capturing the whole of Rohilkhand
Rohilkhand
Rohilkhand is a region of northwestern Uttar Pradesh state of India.Rohilkhand lies on the upper Ganges alluvial plain and has an area of about 25,000 km²/10,000 square miles...

 (present-day northwestern Uttar Pradesh
Uttar Pradesh
Uttar Pradesh abbreviation U.P. , is a state located in the northern part of India. With a population of over 200 million people, it is India's most populous state, as well as the world's most populous sub-national entity...

).

Raghoba's letter to the Peshwa, 4 May 1758 -

Royal Houses



  • Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj (1630–1680)
  • Chhatrapati Sambhaji
    Sambhaji
    Sambhaji Raje Bhosle was the eldest son and successor to Emporer Shivaji, the founder of the Maratha empire.- Early life :...

     (1657–1689)
  • Chhatrapati Rajaram (1670–1700)
  • Maharani Tarabai
    Tarabai
    Tarabai was a queen of the Maratha Empire in India. Her husband was Chhatrapati Rajaram, son of Shivaji. Tarabai was the daughter of the famed Maratha general Hambirao Mohite...

     (1675–1761)
  • Chhatrapati Shahu  (1682–1749) (alias Shivaji II, son of Chhatrapati Sambhaji)
  • Chhatrapati Ramaraja (nominally, grandson of Chhatrapati Rajaram and Queen Tarabai)


Kolhapur:
  • Queen Tarabai
    Tarabai
    Tarabai was a queen of the Maratha Empire in India. Her husband was Chhatrapati Rajaram, son of Shivaji. Tarabai was the daughter of the famed Maratha general Hambirao Mohite...

     (1675–1761) (wife of Chhatrapati Rajaram) in the name of her son Shivaji II
  • Chhatrapati Sambhaji  (son of Chhatrapati [Rajaram] from his second wife)
  • Chhatrapati Shahu IV

Peshwas

  • Sonopant Dabir (1640–1652)
  • Shyampant Kulkarni-Ranzekar (1652–1657)
  • Moropant Trimbak Pingle (1657–1683)
  • Moreshwar Pingale (1683–1689)
  • RamchandraPant Amatya (1689–1708)
  • Bahiroji Pingale (1708–1711)
  • Parshuram Tribak Kulkarni (1711–1713)
  • Balaji Vishwanath
    Balaji Vishwanath
    Balaji Vishwanath Bhat , better known as Peshwa Balaji Vishwanath, was the first of a series of hereditary Peshwas hailing from the Brahmin family who gained effective control of the Maratha Empire during the 18th century...

     (1713–1720)
  • Peshwa Bajirao I (1720–1740)
  • Balaji Bajirao
    Nanasaheb Peshwa
    Nanasaheb Peshwa , also known as Balaji Bajirao, was the son of Bajirao from his marriage with Kashibai and one of the Peshwas of the Maratha Empire. He contributed heavily to the development of the city of Pune, India. He was appointed as Peshwa by Chattrapati Shahu himself...

     (4 Jul.1740-23 Jun.1761) (b. 8 Dec.1721, d. 23 Jun.1761)
  • Madhavrao Peshwa
    Madhavrao Peshwa
    Thorle Madhavrao Peshwa was fourth Peshwa of the Maratha Empire.-Early life and ascendancy to Peshwa:...

     (1761-18 Nov.1772) (b. 16 Feb. 1745, d. 18 Nov. 1772)
  • Narayanrao Bajirao (13 Dec.1772-30 Aug.1773) (b. 10 Aug.1755, d. 30 Aug.1773)
  • Raghunathrao
    Raghunathrao
    Raghunathrao was Peshwa of the Maratha Confederacy from 1773 to 1774. He was instrumental in the downfall of the Peshwa clan.-Early life:Raghunathrao, also known as "Raghoba" and "Ragho Bharari," was the younger brother of Nanasaheb Peshwa. His father was Peshwa Bajirao I & mother was Kashibai....

     (5 Dec.1773–1774) (b. 18 Aug.1734, d. 11 Dec.1783)
  • Sawai Madhava Rao II Narayan (1774-27 Oct.1795) (b. 18 Apr.1774, d. 27 Oct.1795)
  • Chimnajee Madhavarao (26 May 1796 – 6 Dec 1796) (brother of Bajirao II, adopted by Madhavrao II's wife)
  • Baji Rao II
    Baji Rao II
    Baji Rao II was the last Peshwa of the Maratha Confederacy, and governed from 1796 to 1818. His reign was marked by confrontations with the British.-Biography:...

     (6 Dec.1796 - 3 Jun.1818) (d. 28 Jan.1851)
  • Amritrao (brother of Bajirao II), Peshwa for a short period during Yashwantrao Holkar
    Yashwantrao Holkar
    H. H. Maharajadhiraj Raj Rajeshwar Sawai Shrimant Yashwant Rao Holkar Bahadur, Nusrat Jang, Maharaja of Maratha Empire, was born on 3 December 1776...

    's Rule (May 1802 – May 1803).
  • Nana Sahib
    Nana Sahib
    Nana Sahib , born as Dhondu Pant, was an Indian leader during the Rebellion of 1857. As the adopted son of the exiled Maratha Peshwa Baji Rao II, he sought to restore the Maratha confederacy and the Peshwa tradition....

     (1 Jul.1857–1858) (b. 19 May.1825, d. 24 Sep.1859)

Chieftains

  • Holkar
    Holkar
    The Holkar dynasty , whose earliest known clan-man was Malhar Rao, who joined the service of the Peshwa in 1721, and quickly rose to the ranks of Subedar...

  • Shinde (Scindia)
  • Gaikwad
  • Bhonsale (Nagpur)

See also


  • Battles involving the Maratha Empire
  • Thanjavur Marathas
    Thanjavur Marathas
    Thanjavur Marathas were the rulers of Thanjavur principality of Tamil Nadu between the 17th to the 19th century C.E. Their native language was Marathi...

  • Marathas and Marathi people
    Marathi people
    The Marathi people or Maharashtrians are an Indo-Aryan ethnic group, that inhabit the Maharashtra region and state of western India. Their language Marathi is part of the southern group of Indo-Aryan languages...

  • Maharashtra
    Maharashtra
    Maharashtra is a state located in India. It is the second most populous after Uttar Pradesh and third largest state by area in India...

  • Shaniwar Wada
    Shaniwar Wada
    Shaniwarwada is a palace fort in the city of Pune in Maharashtra, India. Built in 1736, it was the seat of the Peshwa rulers of the Maratha Empire until 1818 when the Peshwas surrendered to the British...

  • List of British Indian Princely States
  • Maratha clan system
    Maratha clan system
    The Marāthā clan system refers to the network of families and surnames within the Maratha culture of India. The Maratha primarily reside in the Indian states of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Goa and Tamilnadu...

  • Military history of India
    Military history of India
    The military history of India dates back several millennia. The first reference to armies is found in the Vedas and the epics Ramayana and Mahabaratha. From the ancient period through to the 19th century, a succession of powerful dynasties rose and fell in India as smaller rulers also struggled for...

  • Ror Maratha (Ror)