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The Maratha Dynasty India

  • The Maratha Dynasty was an imperial power in India from 1674 to 1818. During its peak period the empire covered a large part of the Indian subcontinent. The Marathas ended the Mughal rule in India.
  • The Marathas were a Hindu warrior group from the Maharashtra. They gained prominence during the 17th century under the leadership of Shivaji who fought against the Bijapur Sultanate and the Mughal Empire, and established a rebel territory. The Marathas consolidated their territory during the Wars against the Mughal ruler Aurangzeb and later controlled a big part of India.
  • After the death of Aurangzeb, a grandson of Shivaji, Shahu was released by the Mughals. Shahu became ruler after a brief struggle with his aunt Tarabai. He appointed Balaji Vishwanath Bhat as the Peshwa or the Prime Minister of his empire. Under the rule of the Peshwas the empire expanded greatly after the demise of Aurangzeb. At its peak, the empire stretched from Peshawar in the north to Tamil Nadu in the south and Bengal in the east. Their imperial expansion in North western India was in 1761 when the third Battle of Panipat was lost by the Maratha army to Ahmed Shah Abdali of the Afghan Durrani Empire. Young Madhavrao Peshwa regained the Maratha authority over North India after 10 years.
  • In an attempt to manage the huge empire, he granted semi-autonomy to the strongest of the knights. They were known as Bhonsales of Nagpur, Scindias of Gwalior, Ujjain Holkars of Indore and Malwa and the Gaekwads of Baroda. The First Anglo-Maratha War started in 1775 in Pune when the British East India Company intervened in a succession struggle. The Marathas were strong power in India until their defeat in the Anglo-Maratha wars leaving the control of most of India to the British East India Company.

Brief history

  • Shivaji established a Maratha territory when he crowned himself in 1674. Shivaji died in 1680. A grandson of Shivaji, Shahu was emperor until 1749. During the 18th century, the Maratha Empire kept the British forces away until the 3rd Battle of Panipat.
  • In the 18th century, the Maratha Empire was at its zenith. Further expansion of the empire in the North-west was halted by the losses at the 3rd Battle of Panipat in 1761. A number of military chiefs of the Maratha Empire like Pandit of Bhor, Pant Pratinidhi, Gaikwad, Holkar and Shinde became independent rulers in their respective territories. However, 10 years after the battle of Panipat, Maratha authority in North India was restored under Madhavrao Peshwa. In 1818, the last Peshwa, Baji Rao II, was defeated by the British in the Third Anglo-Maratha War.


  • Shivaji was of the Bhosle clan and is considered as the founder of the Maratha Empire. He created an independent Maratha kingdom and fought against the Mughals to protect his kingdom.


  • Sambhaji was the elder son of Shivaji. He had himself crowned in 1681, and followed expansionist policies of his father. The Mughal emperor Aurangzeb proceeded with an army of about 500,000 troops to conquer the entire Maratha Empire. In a battle Sambhaji was ambushed and captured by Mughal troops. On 11 March, 1689 Sambhaji and Kavi Kalash were executed on charges of rebellion against the Empire.

Rajaram and Tarabai

  • After Sambhaji's death, Rajaram assumed the throne. Rajaram fled to Ginge from where the Marathas attacked the Mughal territory and recaptured many forts. Rajaram offered a truce in 1697 but this was not accepted by Aurangzeb. Rajaram died in 1700. His widow, Tarabai assumed power and led the Marathas against the Mughals. The Mughals lost their strong position.


  • After the death of Aurangzeb in 1707, the new Mughal emperor, Bahadur Shah I, released Shahuji, son of Sambhaji and grandson of Shivaji. Shahuji died in 1749.

Baji Rao I

  • Chattrapati Shahu appointed Baji Rao I as Peshwa after Balaji Vishwanath's death in April 1720. Baji Rao I was also known as Baji Rao Vishwanath. He was a General credited with expanding the Maratha Empire. Baji Rao I and the Nizam-ul-Mulk of Hyderabad fought a war in 1728 which was won by the Marathas. The Marathas fought the Battle of Vasai against the Portuguese rulers of Vasai which was commanded by Chimaji Appa, a brother of Peshwa Baji Rao I.