Territory under Maratha control in 1760 (yellow).
|Capital|| Raigad Fort |
|Common languages||Marathi and Sanskrit|
|Religion|| Hinduism |
Islam, Christianity, Jainism, Sikhism (minorities)
|Pratap Singh (last)|
|Peshwa (Prime Minister)|
|Moropant Pingle (first)|
|Baji Rao II (last)|
|1760||2,500,000 km2 (970,000 sq mi)|
|Currency||Rupee, Paisa, Mohur, Shivrai, Hon|
|Today part of|
Part of a series on the
|History of India|
|Outline of South Asian history|
The Maratha Empire or the Maratha Confederacy was an Indian power that dominated large portion of Indian subcontinent in the 18th century. The empire formally existed from 1674 with the coronation of Chhatrapati Shivaji and ended in 1818 with the defeat of Puppet Peshwa Bajirao 2 installed by Maratha nobles under Monarch Chhatrapati Pratapsingh. The Marathas are credited to a large extent for ending Mughal rule in India.
The Indian subcontinent, is a southern region and peninsula of Asia, mostly situated on the Indian Plate and projecting southwards into the Indian Ocean from the Himalayas. Geologically, the Indian subcontinent is related to the land mass that rifted from Gondwana and merged with the Eurasian plate nearly 55 million years ago. Geographically, it is the peninsular region in south-central Asia delineated by the Himalayas in the north, the Hindu Kush in the west, and the Arakanese in the east. Politically, the Indian subcontinent includes Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
Chhatrapati is a royal title from the Indian subcontinent. It is often taken to be the equivalent of emperor, and was used by the Marathas. The word ‘Chhatrapati’ is a tatpurusha Sanskrit compound of chhatra and pati (master/lord/ruler). The parasol was considered a symbol of absolute, or even universal, sovereignty and consecrated kingship, and has been used by monarchies outside of India, as well. The title indicates a person who is a sovereign ruler over other princes, and not a vassal. In contrast, the Indian titles of Maharaja or Raja, Yuvraj, Rajkumar or Kumar, and Senapati, reflect a range of European equivalent meanings, from King, Crown Prince, and Prince, to Duke, Count, or Lord. Shivaji adopted 'Chhatrapati' it since other titles were bestowed by other lieges and paramount rulers, like the Adilshahis or Mughals.
Shivaji Bhonsle I was an Indian warrior king and a member of the Bhonsle Maratha clan. Shivaji carved out an enclave from the declining Adilshahi sultanate of Bijapur that formed the genesis of the Maratha Empire. In 1674, he was formally crowned as the chhatrapati (monarch) of his realm at Raigad.
The Warrior Maratha were a group of various castes usually referred to as "Mavla". Maratha Empire had Kshatriya Kings and people from all castes as warriors in the empire from the western Deccan Plateau (present-day Maharashtra) who rose to prominence by establishing a Hindavi Swarajya (meaning "self-rule of Hindu/Indian people").The Maratha became prominent in the 17th century under the leadership of Shivaji, who revolted against the Adil Shahi dynasty, and founded the empire with Raigad as his capital. Known for their mobility, the Maratha were able to consolidate their territory during the Mughal–Maratha Wars and later controlled a large part of the Indian subcontinent. After Shivaji his son Sambhaji a very talented and clever King,a sanskrit Scholar and having a great Physique ruled the kingdom.
The Maratha clan system refers to the network of families and essentially their surnames, within the Maratha culture of India. The Marathas primarily reside in the Indian state of Maharashtra, with smaller regional populations in other states. Various lists have been compiled, purporting to list the 96 "true Maratha" clans, but these lists vary greatly and are disputed. The list of ninety-six clans is divided into five ranked tiers, the highest of which contains the five primary Maratha clans.
Kshatriya is one of the four varna of the Hindu society. The Sanskrit term kṣatriyaḥ is used in the context of Vedic society wherein members were organised into four classes: kshatriya, brahmin, vaishya and shudra. As per the caste system, after Brahmin, Kshatriya is regarded as the second highest caste. Traditionally, the kshatriya constituted the ruling and military class. Their role was to protect their interests by fighting in wartime and governing in peacetime.
The Deccan Plateau is a large plateau in western and southern India. It rises to 100 metres (330 ft) in the north, and to more than 1,000 metres (3,300 ft) in the south, forming a raised triangle within the South-pointing triangle of the Indian subcontinent's coastline.
After the death of Aurangzeb in 1707, Sambhajis son Chhattrapati Shahu, grandson of Shivaji, was released by the Mughals.Following a brief struggle with his aunt Tarabai, Shahu became the ruler and appointed Bahiroji Pingale and later, Balaji Vishwanath and his descendants, as the peshwas of the empire. Shahu also appointed Ashtapradhan like Chitnis, Nyayadhish, Sar Senapati(Supreme Commander of Maratha forces), etc Maratha Nobles(Sardar) played a key role in the expansion of Maratha rule. The empire at its peak stretched from Tamil Nadu in the south, to Peshawar (modern-day Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan ) in the north, and Bengal Subah in the east. The Maratha discussed abolishing the Mughal throne and placing Vishwasrao on the Mughal imperial throne in Delhi but were not able to do so. This lead to a decrease in the power of Peshwa like that of later Chhatrapati's In 1761, the Maratha Army lost the Third Battle of Panipat against Ahmad Shah Abdali of the Afghan Durrani Empire, which halted their imperial expansion into Afghanistan. Ten years after Panipat, the young Peshwa Madhavrao I's Maratha Resurrection reinstated Maratha authority over North India. But after his death Peshwas became puppet of the Maratha Nobles like Shindes, Gaekwads, Holkars, Bhonsales of Nagpur
Muhi-ud-Din Muhammad, commoknly known by the sobriquet Aurangzeb or by his regnal title Alamgir, was the sixth Mughal emperor, who reigned nearly all of the Indian subcontinent. Widely considered to be the last effective Mughal emperor,Aurangzeb, through his compilation of the Fatawa-e-Alamgiri, was also one of the few emperors to have fully established Sharia law and Islamic economics throughout South Asia.
Sambhaji was the second ruler of the Maratha kingdom. He was the eldest son of Shivaji, the founder of the Maratha Empire and his first wife Saibai. He was successor of the realm after his father's death, and ruled it for nine years. Sambhaji's rule was largely shaped by the ongoing wars between the Maratha kingdom and Mughal Empire as well as other neighbouring powers such as the Siddis, Mysore and the Portuguese in Goa. In 1689, Sambhaji was captured, tortured and executed by the Mughals, and succeeded by his brother Rajaram I.
Tarabai Bhosale was the regent of the Maratha Empire of India from 1700 until 1708. She was the queen of Chhatrapati Rajaram Bhosale, daughter-in-law of the empire's founder Shivaji and mother of Shivaji II. She is acclaimed for her role in keeping alive the resistance against Mughal occupation of Maratha territories after the death of her spouse, and acted as regent during the minority of her son.
In a bid to effectively manage the large empire, Madhavrao gave semi-autonomy to the strongest of the knights, and created a confederacy of Maratha states. These leaders became known as the Gaekwads of Baroda, the Holkars of Indore and Malwa, the Scindias of Gwalior and Ujjain, the Bhonsales of Nagpur, the Meheres of Vidharbha and the Puars of Dhar and Dewas. In 1775, the East India Company intervened in a Peshwa family succession struggle in Pune, which led to the First Anglo-Maratha War. The Marathas were victorious.The Maratha remained the pre-eminent power in India until their defeat in the Second and Third Anglo-Maratha Wars (1805–1818), which resulted in the East India Company controlling most of India.
Gaekwad is a surname native to Indian state of Maharashtra. The surname is found among Maratha Kolis caste and Scheduled caste people. It is also a common surname among Bharadis, Dhor Kakkayya, and Mahar communities of Maharashtra.
Baroda State was a state in present-day Gujarat, ruled by the Gaekwad dynasty of the Maratha Confederacy from its formation in 1721 until 1949 when it acceded to the newly formed Union of India. With the city of Baroda (Vadodara) as its capital, during the British Raj its relations with the British were managed by the Baroda Residency. At the time of Indian independence, only five rulers—the Nizam of Hyderabad, the Maharaja of Mysore, the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir, the Maharaja Shrimant Gaekwar of Baroda and the Maharaja Scindia of Gwalior—were entitled to a 21-gun salute. Baroda formally acceded to the Union of India, on 1 May 1949, prior to which an interim government was formed in the state.
The Holkar dynasty was a Maratha clan of Dhangar origin in India. The Holkars were generals under Peshwa Baji Rao I, and later became Maharajas of Indore in Central India as an independent member of the Maratha Empire until 1818. Later, their kingdom became a princely state under the protectorate of British India.
A large portion of the Maratha empire was coastline, which had been secured by the potent Maratha Navy under commanders such as Kanhoji Angre. He was very successful at keeping foreign naval ships at bay, particularly those of the Portuguese and British nations.Securing the coastal areas and building land-based fortifications were crucial aspects of the Maratha's defensive strategy and regional military history.
The Maratha Navy refers to the naval wing of the armed forces of the Maratha Empire, which existed from around mid-17th century to mid-18th century in India.
Kanhoji Angre was the chief of the Maratha Navy in 18th century India. In historical records, he is also known as Conajee Angria or Sarkhel Angré.
The earliest known references to armies in India are millennia ago in the Vedas and the epics Ramayana and Mahabaratha. From the ancient period to the 19th century, a succession of powerful dynasties and empires came to be and some were challenged by lesser Indian rulers who also struggled for land and power through warring.
The Maratha Empire is also referred to as the Maratha Confederacy. The historian Barbara Ramusack says that the former is a designation preferred by Indian nationalists, while the latter was that used by British historians. She notes, "neither term is fully accurate since one implies a substantial degree of centralisation and the other signifies some surrender of power to a central government and a longstanding core of political administrators. [ citation needed ]Maratha power was fragmented among several discrete fragments".
Barbara Nelle Ramusack is a historian and Charles Phelps Taft Professor of History Emerita at the University of Cincinnati. Her focus was on Indian and Chinese History. She obtained her Ph.D in 1969 from the University of Michigan.
Although at present, the word Maratha refers to a particular caste of warriors and peasants, in the past the word has been used to describe Marathi people.
The empire had its head in the Chhatrapati as de facto rulers, but after the death of Shahu the de facto governance was in the hands of the Peshwas.[ citation needed ] After the death of Chhatrapati Shahu and with the death of Madhavrao – I, various chiefs played the role of the de facto rulers in their own regions.
Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj (1630–1680) son of Shahaji Bhonsale and Rajmata Jijabai was a Maratha aristocrat of the Bhosale clan who is considered to be the founder of the Maratha empire. It was his parents dream to found a Empire of Self rule usually referred to as Hindavi Swarajya.Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj led a resistance to free the people from the Sultanate of Bijapur in 1645 by winning the fort Torna, followed by many more forts, placing the area under his control and establishing Hindavi Swarajya (self-rule of Hindu people ). He created an independent Maratha kingdom with Raigad as its capital and successfully fought against the Mughals to defend his kingdom. He was crowned as Chhatrapati (sovereign) of the new Maratha kingdom in 1674.
The Maratha kingdom comprised about 4.1% of the subcontinent, but it was spread over large tracts from Tanjavore in Tamil Nadu till Northern Maharashtra . At the time of his death,it was reinforced with about 352 forts, and defended by about 50,000 cavalry, and 80,000 foot soldiers, as well as naval establishments along the west coast.He is also known as the "Father of Indian Navy". Over time, the kingdom would increase in size and heterogeneity; by the time of his grandson Shahu's rule, and later under the Peshwas in the early and late 18th century, it was a full-fledged empire.
Shivaji had two sons: Sambhaji and Rajaram, who had different mothers and were half-brothers. Sambhaji, the elder son, was very popular among the courtiers. He got involved in Politics at a very young age of 9. He was a very learned Prince and had written literary works like Budhbhushanam at the age of 14 and . His literary works include Budhbhushan, (Nakshikank), etc. He was well versed in about 14 languages including English. [ citation needed ] In 1681, Sambhaji succeeded to the crown after his father's death and resumed his expansionist policies. His first big achievement was the raid at Burhanpur the beloved city of Aurangzeb. Sambhaji collected huge ransom and plundered the city but ordered his soldiers not to touch any women, children or any Mosque. Sambhaji later defeated the Portuguese and Chikka Deva Raya of Mysore with the help of the Supreme Commander of the Maratha forces Hambirrao . Portugues were very much afraid of Sambhaji. The Portuguese colony of Goa at that time provided supplies to the Mughals, allowed them to use the Portuguese ports in India and pass through their territory. In order to deny this support to the Mughals, Sambhaji undertook a campaign against Portuguese Goa in late 1683, storming the colony and taking its forts. The situation for the colonists became so dire that the Portuguese viceroy, Francisco de Távora, conde de Alvor went with his remaining supporters to the cathedral where the crypt of Saint Francis Xavier was kept, where they prayed for deliverance. The viceroy had the casket opened and gave the saint's body his baton, royal credentials and a letter asking the saint's support. Sambhaji's Goa campaign was checked by the arrival of the Mughal army and navy in January 1684, forcing him to withdraw . Moreover, To nullify the alliance between his rebel son, Akbar, and the Maratha, Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb headed south in 1681. With his entire imperial court, administration and an army of about 500,000 troops, he proceeded to expand the Mughal empire, gaining territories such as the sultanates of Bijapur and Golconda. During the eight years that followed, Sambhaji led the Maratha, never losing any of battles and even forts to Aurangzeb.It is believed that 120 battles were fought during his time never losing one
In early 1689, Sambhaji called his commanders for a strategic meeting at Sangameshwar to consider an onslaught on the Mughal forces.[ citation needed ] In a meticulously planned operation, Ganoji Shirke brother of Yesubai deflected to Mughals and gave secret information regarding Sambhajis being at Sangameshwar to Aurangzeb's commander, Mukarrab Khan, He attacked Sangameshwar when Sambhaji was accompanied by just a few men. Sambhaji was ambushed and captured by Mughal troops on February 1, 1689. As Aurangzeb knew that he would not be able to defeat Sambhaji on battle field. Sambhaji and his advisor, Kavi Kalash, were taken to Bahadurgad by the imperial army, where they were executed by the Mughals on 21 March 1689. Aurangzeb had charged Sambhaji with attacks by Maratha forces on Burhanpur;.
Upon Sambhaji's death, his half-brother Rajaram assumed the throne. The Mughal siege of Raigad continued, and he had to flee to Vishalgad and then to Gingee for safety. From there the Maratha raided Mughal territory, and many forts were recaptured by Maratha commanders such as Santaji Ghorpade, Dhanaji Jadhav, Parshuram Pant Pratinidhi, Shankaraji Narayan Sacheev and Melgiri Pandit. In 1697, Rajaram offered a truce but this was rejected by Aurangzeb. Rajaram died in 1700 at Sinhagad. His widow, Tarabai who was the daughter of Sar Senapati Hambirrao Mohite, assumed control in the name of her son, Ramaraja (Shivaji II). She led the Maratha against the Mughal, and by 1705 they had crossed the Narmada River and entered Malwa, then in Mughal possession. She was the bravest Maratha lady at that in the Indian subcontinent to have fought against Aurangzeb and defeating him. Through her sacrifies,like that of her Father in law, Brother in law and her Husband and many Maratha Soldiers the Maratha Empire kept Intact. As Shivaji II was not capable to rule, many Maratha nobles, mainly Dhanaji Jadhav defected to Shahu's side[ citation needed ]
After Aurangzeb's death in 1707, Shahu, son of Sambhaji (and grandson of Shivaji), was released by Bahadur Shah I, the new Mughal emperor. His mother Shri sakhi radni jayati Maharani Yesubai was kept as a hostage of the Mughal, however, in order to ensure that Shahu adhered to the release conditions. Upon release, Shahu immediately claimed the Maratha throne and challenged his aunt Tarabai and her son. The spluttering Mughal-Maratha war became a three-cornered affair. The states of Satara and Kolhapur were organized in 1707 because of the succession dispute over the Maratha kingship. Shahu appointed Dhanaji Jadhav as the supreme commander of the Maratha forces and Bahiroji Pingale as Peshwa. Later Balaji Vishwanath and his descendants were appointed as Peshwas of the Empire.The Peshwa and other Maratha Nobles were instrumental in securing Mughal recognition of Shahu as the rightful heir of Shivaji & Sambhaji and the Chatrapati of the Maratha. Balaji also gained the release of Shahu's mother, Maharani then Rajmata Yesubai, from Mughal captivity in 1719. She died in the same year.
During Shahu's reign, Raghoji Bhosale expanded the empire in the East, reaching present-day Bengal. Khanderao Dabhade and later his son, Trimbakrao, expanded it in the West in Gujarat.Peshwa Bajirao and his three chiefs, Pawar (Dhar), Holkar (Indore), and Scindia (Gwalior), expanded in the North.
During this era, Peshwas belonging to the Bhat family controlled the Maratha Army and later became de facto rulers of the Maratha Empire after the death of Shahu in 1749. As Shahu did not have any male heirs, Tarabai brought Rajaram II to Shahu and stated that Rajaram II was her grandson and had royal lineage. Rajaram II was a powerful ruler, however Tarabai wished control over him, so she declared Rajaram II as an imposter and Chhatrapati became a nominal ruler. Peshwas became de facto rulers for some time ,but soon lost their power and other Maratha nobles became independent kings. During their reign, the Maratha Empire dominated most of the Indian subcontinent.
Shahu appointed Peshwa Balaji Vishwanath in 1713.
After Balaji Vishwanath's death in April 1720, his son, Baji Rao I, was appointed Peshwa by Chhatrapati Shahu even when many Maratha Nobles were opposed to it. Shahu was a very powerful ruler, so he had total control over his ministers and appointed Bajirao as Peshwa (one of the ministers in Ashtapradhan Mandal of Shahu). Bajirao under commands of Shahu is credited with expanding the Maratha Empire tenfold from 3% to 30% with the help of Gaekwads, Bhonsale, Shinde, Holkars, Pawars of the modern Indian landscape during 1720–1740. He fought over 41 battles before his death in April 1740 and is reputed to have never lost one.
Baji Rao's son, Balaji Bajirao (Nanasaheb), was appointed as the next Peshwa by Shahuji despite the opposition of other chiefs. In 1749 when Shahu died, Ramraja became Chhatrapati(King) of the Maratha Empire
After the successful campaign of Karnataka and the Trichinopolly, Raghuji returned from Karnataka. He undertook six expeditions into Bengal from 1741 to 1748.Raghuji was able to annex Odisha to his kingdom permanently as he successfully exploited the chaotic conditions prevailing in Bengal after the death of its governor Murshid Quli Khan in 1727. Constantly harassed by the Bhonsles, Odisha, Bengal and parts of Bihar were economically ruined. Alivardi Khan, the Nawab of Bengal made peace with Raghuji in 1751 ceding Cuttack (Odisha) up to the river Subarnarekha, and agreeing to pay Rs.1.2 million annually as the Chauth for Bengal and Bihar.
During their occupation of western Bengal, the Marathas perpetrated atrocities against the local population.The Maratha atrocities were recorded by both Bengali and European sources, which reported that the Marathas demanded payments, and tortured and killed anyone who couldn't pay. Dutch sources estimate a total of 400,000 people in Bengal were killed by the Marathas. According to Bengali sources, the atrocities led to much of the local population opposing the Marathas and developing support for the Nawabs.
Just prior to the battle of Panipat in 1761, Marathas looted "Diwan-i-Khas" or Hall of Private Audiences in the Red Fort of Delhi, which was the place where the Mughal emperors used to receive courtiers and state guests, in one of their expeditions of Delhi.
"The Marathas who were hard pressed for money stripped the ceiling of Diwan-i-Khas of its silver and looted the shrines dedicated to Muslim saints".
During the Maratha invasion of Rohilkhand in the 1750s
"The Marathas defeated the Rohillas, forced them to seek shelter in hills and ransacked their country in such a manner that the Rohillas dreaded the Marathas and hated them ever afterwards".
In 1759, the Marathas under Sadashivrao Bhau (referred to as the Bhau or Bhao in sources) responded to the news of the Afghans' return to North India by sending a large army north. Bhau's force was bolstered by some Maratha forces under Holkar, Scindia, Gaikwad and Govind Pant Bundele. The combined army of over 100,000 regular troops re-captured the former Mughal capital, Delhi, from an Afghan garrison in August 1760. 2,500,000 square miles (6,500,000 km2).Delhi had been reduced to ashes many times due to previous invasions, and there was an acute shortage of supplies in the Maratha camp. Bhau ordered the sacking of the already depopulated city. He is said to have planned to place his nephew and the Peshwa's son, Vishwasrao, on the Mughal throne. By 1760, with defeat of the Nizam in the Deccan, Maratha power had reached its zenith with a territory of over
Ahmad Shah Durrani called on the Rohillas and the Nawab of Oudh to assist him in driving out the Marathas from Delhi.[ citation needed ] Huge armies of Muslim forces and Marathas collided with each other on January 14, 1761 in the Third Battle of Panipat. The Maratha Army lost the battle, which halted their imperial expansion. The Jats and Rajputs did not support the Marathas. Their withdrawal from the ensuing battle played a crucial role in its result.[ citation needed ] Historians have criticised the Maratha treatment of fellow Hindu groups. Kaushik Roy says "The treatment of Marathas with their co-religionist fellows – Jats and Rajputs was definitely unfair and ultimately they had to pay its price in Panipat where Muslim forces had united in the name of religion." The Marathas had antagonised the Jats and Rajputs by taxing them heavily, punishing them after defeating the Mughals and interfering in their internal affairs[ citation needed ]. The Marathas were abandoned by Raja Suraj Mal of Bharatpur and the Rajputs, who quit the Maratha alliance at Agra before the start of the great battle and withdrew their troops as Maratha general Sadashivrao Bhau 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 co-operation. Their supply chains (earlier assured by Raja Suraj Mal and Rajputs) did not exist.[ citation needed ]
Peshwa Madhavrao I was the Peshwa of the Maratha Empire under the Ruler Chhatrapati Rajaram II . It was during his tenure that the Maratha Resurrection took place. He worked as a unifying force in the Maratha Empire and moved to the south to subdue Nizam and Mysore to assert Maratha power. He sent generals such as Bhonsle, Scindia and Holkar to the north, where they re-established Maratha authority by the early 1770s.[ citation needed ]
Prof G. S. Chhabra wrote:
Young though he was, Madhav Rao had a cool and calculating head of a seasoned and experienced man. The diplomacy by which he could win over his uncle Raghoba when he had no strength to fight and the way he could crush his power when he had the means to do so later on proved in him a genius who knows when and how to act. The formidable power of the Nizam was crushed, Hyder Ali, who was a terror even to the British, was effectually humbled and before he died in 1772, the Marathas were almost there in the north where they had been before Panipat. What could not have the Marathas achieved if Madhav had continued living just for a few years more? Destiny was not in favour of the Marathas, the death of Madhav was a greater blow than their defeat of Panipat and from this blow they could never again recover.
Madhav Rao died in 1772, at the age of 27. His death is considered to be a fatal blow to the Maratha Empire and from that time Maratha power started to move on a downward trajectory, less an empire than a confederacy.[ citation needed ] After Madhavrao's death, Peshwas became puppets of Maratha Nobles. However, “The Great Maratha" Mahadji Shinde kept the British out of Maratha territory. His death in 1793 was the biggest blow to the Maratha empire during that time.
In a bid to effectively manage the large empire, Chhatrapati (Rajaram 2) and Madhavrao Peshwa gave Autonomy to the strongest of the knights. After the death of Peshwa Madhavrao I, various chiefs and statesman became de facto rulers and regents for the infant Peshwa Madhavrao II.[ citation needed ] Thus, the semi-autonomous Maratha states came into being in far-flung regions of the empire:[ citation needed ]
The Marathas came into conflict with Tipu Sultan and his Kingdom of Mysore, leading to the Maratha–Mysore War in 1785. The war ended in 1787 with the Marathas defeating Tipu Sultan.In 1791–92, large areas of the Maratha Confederacy suffered massive population loss due to the Doji bara famine.
In 1791, irregulars like lamaans and pindari of Maratha army raided and looted the temple of Sringeri Shankaracharya , killing and wounding many people including Brahmins, plundering the monastery of all its valuable possessions, and desecrating the temple by displacing the image of goddess Sarada.The incumbent Shankaracharya petitioned Tipu Sultan for help. A number of about 30 letters written in Kannada, which were exchanged between Tipu Sultan's court and the Sringeri Shankaracharya were discovered in 1916 by the Director of Archaeology in Mysore. Tipu Sultan expressed his indignation and grief at the news of the raid:
"People who have sinned against such a holy place are sure to suffer the consequences of their misdeeds at no distant date in this Kali age in accordance with the verse: "Hasadbhih kriyate karma rudadbhir-anubhuyate" (People do [evil] deeds smilingly but suffer the consequences crying)."
Tipu Sultan immediately ordered the Asaf of Bednur to supply the Swami with 200 rahatis ( fanam s) in cash and other gifts and articles. Tipu Sultan's interest in the Sringeri temple continued for many years, and he was still writing to the Swami in the 1790s.
The Maratha Empire soon allied with the British East India Company (based in the Bengal Presidency) against Mysore in the Anglo-Mysore Wars. After the British had suffered defeat against Mysore in the first two Anglo-Mysore War, the Maratha cavalry assisted the British in the last two Anglo-Mysore Wars from 1790 onwards, eventually helping the British conquer Mysore in the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War in 1799.After the British conquest, however, the Marathas launched frequent raids in Mysore to plunder the region, which they justified as compensation for past losses to Tipu Sultan.
In 1775, the British East India Company, from its base in Bombay, intervened in a succession struggle in Pune, on behalf of Raghunathrao (also called Raghobadada), who wanted to become Peshwa of the empire. Marathas forces under Tukojirao Holkar and Mahadaji Shinde defeated a British expeditionary force at the Battle of Wadgaon, but the heavy surrender terms, which included the return of annexed territory and a share of revenues, were disavowed by the British authorities at Bengal and fighting continued. What became known as the First Anglo-Maratha War ended in 1782 with a restoration of the pre-war status quo and the East India Company's abandonment of Raghunathrao's cause.
In 1799, Yashwantrao Holkar was crowned King of Holkars, he captured Ujjain. He started campaigning towards the north to expand his empire in that region. Yashwant Rao rebelled against the policies of the Peshwa Baji Rao II. In May 1802, he marched towards Pune the seat of the Peshwa. This gave rise to the Battle of Poona in which the Peshwa was defeated. After the Battle of Poona, the flight of Peshwa left the government of Maratha state in the hands of Yashwantrao Holkar.( Kincaid & Pārasanīsa 1925 , p. 194) He appointed Amrutrao as the Peshwa and went to Indore on March 13, 1803. All except Gaikwad chief of Baroda, who had already accepted British protection by a separate treaty on July 26, 1802, supported the new regime. He made a treaty with the British. Also, Yashwant-Rao successfully resolved the disputes with Scindia and the Peshwa. He tried to unite the Maratha Confederacy but to no avail. In 1802, the British intervened in Baroda to support the heir to the throne against rival claimants and they signed a treaty with the new Maharaja recognising his independence from the Maratha Empire in return for his acknowledgment of British paramountcy. Before the Second Anglo-Maratha War (1803–1805), the Peshwa Baji Rao II signed a similar treaty. The defeat in Battle of Delhi, 1803 during Second Anglo-Maratha War resulted in the loss of the city of Delhi for the Marathas.
The Second Anglo-Maratha War represents the military high-water mark of the Marathas who posed the last serious opposition to the formation of the British Raj. The real contest for India was never a single decisive battle for the subcontinent. Rather it turned on a complex social and political struggle for control of the South Asian military economy. The victory in 1803 hinged as much on finance, diplomacy, politics and intelligence as it did on battlefield maneuver and war itself.
Ultimately, the Third Anglo-Maratha War (1817–1818) resulted in the loss of Maratha independence. It left the British in control of most of India. The Peshwa was exiled to Bithoor (Marat, near Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh) 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, which retained local Maratha rulers (descendants of Shivaji and Sambhaji II ruled over Kolhapur). The Maratha-ruled states of Gwalior, Indore, and Nagpur all lost territory and came under subordinate alliance with the British Raj 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.[ citation needed ]
The Third Anglo-Maratha War was fought by Maratha war lords separately instead of forming a common front and they surrendered one by one. Shinde and the Pashtun Amir Khan were subdued by the use of diplomacy and pressure, which resulted in the Treaty of Gwalior [ citation needed ] All other Maratha chiefs like Holkars, Bhonsles and Peshwa gave up arms by 1818. British historian Percival Spear describes 1818 as a watershed year in the history of India, saying that by the year "the British dominion in India became the British dominion of India".on November 5, 1817.
The war left the British, under the auspices of the British East India Company, in control of virtually all of present-day India south of the Sutlej River. The famed Nassak Diamond was acquired by the Company as part of the spoils of the war. [ citation needed ]The British acquired large chunks of territory from the Maratha Empire and in effect put an end to their most dynamic opposition. The terms of surrender Major-general John Malcolm offered to the Peshwa were controversial amongst the British for being too liberal: The Peshwa was offered a luxurious life near Kanpur and given a pension of about 80,000 pounds.
The Ashtapradhan (The Council of Eight) was a council of eight ministers that administered the Maratha empire. This system was formed by Shivaji. [ citation needed ]Ministerial designations were drawn from the Sanskrit language and comprised:
With the notable exception of the priestly Panditrao and the judicial Nyayadisha, the other pradhans held full-time military commands and their deputies performed their civil duties in their stead. In the later era of the Maratha Empire, these deputies and their staff constituted the core of the Peshwa's bureaucracy.[ citation needed ]
The Peshwa was the titular equivalent of a modern Prime Minister. 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. They later became the de facto hereditary administrators of the Maratha Empire from 1749 till its end in 1818.[ citation needed ]
Under Peshwa administration and with the support of several key generals and diplomats (listed below), the Maratha Empire reached its zenith, ruling most of the Indian subcontinent. It was also under the Peshwas that the Maratha Empire came to its end through its formal annexation into the British Empire by the British East India Company in 1818.
The Marathas used a secular policy of administration and allowed complete freedom of religion. [ citation needed ]There were many notable Muslims in the military and administration of Marathas like Ibrahim Khan Gardi, Haider Ali Kohari, Daulat Khan, Siddi Ibrahim, and Jiva Mahal.
Shivaji was an able administrator who established a government that included modern concepts such as cabinet, foreign policy and internal intelligence.He established an effective civil and military administration. He believed that there was a close bond between the state and the citizens. He is remembered as a just and welfare-minded king. Cosme da Guarda says of him that:
Such was the good treatment Shivaji accorded to people and such was the honesty with which he observed the capitulations that none looked upon him without a feeling of love and confidence. By his people he was exceedingly loved. Both in matters of reward and punishment he was so impartial that while he lived he made no exception for any person; no merit was left unrewarded, no offence went unpunished; and this he did with so much care and attention that he specially charged his governors to inform him in writing of the conduct of his soldiers, mentioning in particular those who had distinguished themselves, and he would at once order their promotion, either in rank or in pay, according to their merit. He was naturally loved by all men of valor and good conduct.
English traveller John Fryer found Shivaji's tax-collecting regime oppressive, describing it as poor people having land "imposed upon them at double the former Rates," and if they refused it, being "carried to Prison, there they are famished almost to death. While French physician Dellon reports that Shivaji was "looked upon as one of the most politic princes in those parts."
Maratha empire carried out a number of sea raids, such as plunders targeting Mughal pilgrim ships and European trading vessels. European traders described these attacks as piracy, but the Marathas viewed them as legitimate targets because they were trading with, and thus financially supporting, their Mughal and Bijapur enemies. After the representatives of various European powers signed agreements with Shivaji or his successors that the threat of plundering or raids against Europeans began to reduce.
The Maratha Empire, at its peak, ruled over a large area in the Indian sub-continent. Apart from capturing various regions, the Marathas maintained a large number of tributaries who were bounded by agreement to pay a certain amount of regular tax, known as Chauth. The empire defeated the Sultanate of Mysore under Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan, Nawab of Oudh, Nawab of Bengal, Nizam of Hyderabad and Nawab of Arcot as well as the Polygar kingdoms of South India. They extracted chauth from the rulers in Delhi, Oudh, Bengal, Bihar, Odisha, Punjab, Hyderabad, Mysore, Uttar Pradesh and Rajputana.
The Marathas were requested by Safdarjung, the Nawab of Oudh, in 1752 to help him defeat Afghani Rohilla. The Maratha force left Pune and defeated Afghan Rohilla in 1752, capturing the whole of Rohilkhand (present-day northwestern Uttar Pradesh).In 1752, Marathas entered into an agreement with the Mughal emperor, through his wazir, Safdarjung, Mughals gave Marathas the chauth of Punjab, Sindh and Doab in addition to the subedari of Ajmer and Agra. In 1758, Marathas started their north-west conquest and expanded their boundary till Afghanistan. They defeated Afghan forces of Ahmed Shah Abdali, in what is now Pakistan, including Pakistani Punjab Province and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The Afghans were numbered around 25,000–30,000 and were led by Timur Shah, the son of Ahmad Shah Durrani. The Marathas massacred and looted thousands of Afghan soldiers and captured Lahore, Multan, Dera Ghazi Khan, Attock, Peshawar in the Punjab region and Kashmir.
During the confederacy era, Mahadji Shinde resurrected the Maratha domination on much of North India, which was lost after the Third battle of Panipat including the cis-Sutlej states (south of Sutlej) like Kaithal, Patiala, Jind, Thanesar, Maler Kotla and Faridkot, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh were under the suzerainty of the Scindhias of the Maratha Empire, following the Second Anglo-Maratha War of 1803–1805, Marathas lost these territories to the British East India Company.
During the 17th century through late 18th century, the Maratha emperors, prime ministers, and dominion/fiefdom chiefs contributed on military as well as non-military fronts such as building forts, naval facilities, development of towns, constructing and patronizing temples, among others. During the 19th and 20th centuries, when Maratha principalities ruled as a feudatory of the British, Maratha rulers built palaces, contributed towards fine arts, introduced social reforms, and developed civic amenities in their territories.
The Maratha army was not homogenous, but employed soldiers of different backgrounds, both locals and foreign mercenaries, including large numbers of Arabs, Sikhs, Rajputs, Sindhis, Rohillas, Abyssinians, Pathans, Topiwalas and Europeans. The army of Nana Fadnavis, for example, included 5,000 Arabs.
The Maratha army, especially its infantry, was praised by almost all the enemies of Maratha Empire, ranging from Duke of Wellington to Ahmad Shah Abdali [ citation needed ]. After the Third Battle of Panipat, Abdali was relieved as Maratha army in the initial stages were almost in the position of destroying the Afghan armies and their Indian Allies Nawab of Oudh and Rohillas. The grand wazir of Durrani Empire, Sardar Shah Wali Khan was shocked when Maratha commander-in-chief Sadashivrao Bhau launched a fierce assault on the centre of Afghan Army, over 3,000 Durrani soldiers were killed alongside Haji Atai Khan, one of the chief commander of Afghan army and nephew of wazir Shah Wali Khan. Such was the fierce assault of Maratha infantry in hand-to-hand combat that Afghan armies started to flee and the wazir in desperation and rage shouted, "Comrades Whither do you fly, our country is far off". Post battle, Ahmad Shah Abdali in a letter to one Indian ruler claimed that Afghans were able to defeat the Marathas only because of the blessings of almighty and any other army would have been destroyed by the Maratha army on that particular day even though Maratha army was numerically inferior to Afghan army and its Indian allies. Though Abdali won the battle, he also had heavy casualties on his side. So, he sought immediate peace with the Marathas. Abdali wrote in his letter to Peshwa on February 10, 1761:
There is no reason to have animosity amongst us. Your son Vishwasrao and your brother Sadashivrao died in battle, was unfortunate. Bhau started the battle, so I had to fight back unwillingly. Yet I feel sorry for his death. Please continue your guardianship of Delhi as before, to that I have no opposition. Only let Punjab until Sutlaj remain with us. Reinstate Shah Alam on Delhi's throne as you did before and let there be peace and friendship between us, this is my ardent desire. Grant me that desire.
Similarly, the Duke of Wellington, after defeating the Marathas, noted that the Marathas, though poorly led by their Generals, had regular infantry and artillery that matched the level of that of the Europeans and warned other British officers from underestimating the Marathas on the battlefield. He cautioned one British general that: "You must never allow Maratha infantry to attack head on or in close hand to hand combat as in that your army will cover itself with utter disgrace".Even when Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, became the Prime Minister of Britain, he held the Maratha infantry in utmost respect, claiming it to be one of the best in the world. However, at the same time he noted the poor leadership of Maratha Generals, who were often responsible for their defeats. Charles Metcalfe, one of the ablest of the British Officials in India and later acting Governor-General, wrote in 1806:
India contains no more than two great powers, British and Mahratta, and every other state acknowledges the influence of one or the other. Every inch that we recede will be occupied by them.
Norman Gash says that the Maratha infantry was equal to that of British infantry. After the Third Anglo-Maratha war in 1818, Britain listed the Marathas as one of the Martial Races to serve in the British Indian Army.The 19th century diplomat Sir Justin Sheil commented about the British East India Company copying the French Indian army in raising an army of Indians:
It is to the military genius of the French that we are indebted for the formation of the Indian army. Our warlike neighbours were the first to introduce into India the system of drilling native troops and converting them into a regularly disciplined force. Their example was copied by us, and the result is what we now behold. The French carried to Persia the same military and administrative faculties, and established the origin of the present Persian regular army, as it is styled. When Napoleon the Great resolved to take Iran under his auspices, he dispatched several officers of superior intelligence to that country with the mission of General Gardanne in 1808. Those gentlemen commenced their operations in the provinces of Azerbaijan and Kermanshah, and it is said with considerable success.— Sir Justin Sheil (1803–1871).
Ramchandra Pant Amatya Bawdekar was a court administrator who rose from the ranks of a local Kulkarni 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 Rajaram fled to Jinji 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 and Dhanaji Jadhav. On many occasions he himself participated in battles against Mughals.[ citation needed ]
In 1698, he 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 (मराठी: आज्ञापत्र) 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 the arrival of Shahuji in 1707.[ citation needed ]
Nana Phadnavis was an influential minister and statesman of the Maratha Empire during the Peshwa administration. After the assassination of Peshwa Narayanrao in 1773, Nana Phadnavis managed the affairs of the state with the help of a twelve-member regency council known as the Barbhai council and he remained the chief strategist of Maratha state till his death in 1800 AD.Nana Phadnavis played a pivotal role in holding the Maratha Confederacy together in the midst of internal dissension and the growing power of British. Nana's administrative, diplomatic and financial skills brought prosperity to the Maratha Empire and his management of external affairs kept the Maratha Empire away from the thrust of the British East India Company.
From Balaji Vishwanath onwards, actual power gradually shifted to the Bhat family Peshwas based in Pune.
The Thanjavur Marathas were the rulers of Thanjavur principality of Tamil Nadu between the 17th and 19th centuries. Their native language was Thanjavur Marathi. Venkoji, Shahaji's son and Shivaji's half brother, was the founder of the dynasty.
List of rulers of Thanjavur Maratha dynasty :
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Serfoji, Tanjore Maharaja (1979). Journal of the Tanjore Maharaja Serfoji's Sarasvati Mahal Library.
Baji Rao was a general of the Maratha Empire in India. He served as Peshwa to the fifth Maratha Chhatrapati (Emperor) Shahu from 1720 until his death. Bajirao was Peshwa in the Ashta Pradhan of Shahu. He is also known by the name Bajirao Ballal.
A Peshwa was the equivalent of a modern Prime Minister in the Maratha Empire of the Indian subcontinent. Originally, the Peshwas served as subordinates to the Chhatrapati, but later, they became the de facto leaders of the Marathas, and the Chatrapati was reduced to a nominal ruler. During the last years of the Maratha Empire, the Peshwas themselves were reduced to titular leaders, and remained under the authority of the Maratha nobles and the British East India Company.
Balaji Baji Rao, also known as Nana Saheb, was a Peshwa of the Maratha Empire in India. He was appointed as Peshwa in 1740 upon the death of his illustrious father, the Peshwa Bajirao I.
The Bhonsle are a prominent group within the Maratha clan system. Traditionally a warrior clan, some members served as rulers of several states in India, the most prominent being Shivaji, the founder of the Maratha Empire which displaced the Mughal Empire as the preeminent political and military power in India. His successors ruled as Chhatrapatis (emperors) from their capital at Satara, although de facto rule of the empire passed to the Peshwas, the Maratha hereditary chief ministers, during the reign of Shahu I. In addition to the Bhonsle Chhatrapatis of Satara, rulers of the Bhonsle clan established themselves as junior branch of Chhatrapatis at Kolhapur, and as Maharajas of Nagpur in modern-day Maharashtra in the 18th century.
Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj I was the fifth Chhatrapati of the Maratha Empire created by his grandfather, Shivaji Maharaj. He was the son of Sambhaji, Shivaji's eldest son and successor. Shahu, as a child, was taken prisoner along with his mother in 1689 by Mughal sardar, Zulfikar Khan Nusrat Jang After the death of Aurangzeb in 1707, leading Mughal courtiers released Shahu with a force of fifty men, thinking that a friendly Maratha leader would be a useful ally. At that time he fought a brief war with his aunt Tarabai in an internecine conflict to gain the Maratha throne in 1707.The battle is widely known as Battle of Khed, On 12th of October 1707 Supreme commander of Maratha forces Dhanaji Jadhav joined Shahuji in that battle. Tarabai along with her son Shivaji 2 left for Panhala fort and Finally Shahuji captured Satara and became the emperor of Marathas with the capital at Satara. He crowned himself as the Chhatrapati (King) of the Maratha Empire on 12th January 1708. Meanwhile Tarabai set up a new court at Kolhapur with her son Shivaji II as the Emperor.
Balaji Vishwanath (Bhat) (1662–1720), better known as Peshwa Balaji Vishwanath, was the sixth Peshwa and the first of a series of hereditary Peshwas hailing from the Chitpavan Kokanastha Brahmin Hindu family who gained effective control of the Maratha Empire during the 18th century. Balaji Vishwanath assisted a young Maratha Emperor Shahu to consolidate his grip on a kingdom that had been racked by civil war and persistently intruded on by the Mughals under the despot Aurangzeb. He was called "the second founder of the Maratha State." Later, his son Bajirao became the Peshwa.
Rajaram Raje Bhosale was the younger son of Maratha ruler Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, and half-brother of Sambhaji Maharaj. He took over the Maratha Empire as its third Chhatrapati after his brother's death at the hands of the Mughal emperor, Aurangzeb in 1689. His eleven-year reign was marked with a constant struggle against the Mughals.
The Battle of Palkhed was fought on February 28, 1728 at the village of Palkhed, near the city of Aurangabad, Maharashtra, India between the Maratha Peshwa, Baji Rao I and the Nizam-ul-Mulk, Asaf Jah I of Hyderabad wherein, the Marathas defeated the Nizam.
Rajaram II Bhonsle, also known as Ramaraja, was the 6th monarch of Maratha Empire. He was an adopted son of Chhattrapati Shahu. Tarabai had presented him to Shahu as her own grandson and used him to grab power after Shahu's death. However, after being sidelined, she stated that Rajaram II was only an impostor. Nevertheless, Peshwa Balaji Baji Rao retained him as the titular Chhatrapati. In reality, Peshwa and other chiefs had all the executive power, while Rajaram II was only a figurehead.
The Mughal–Maratha Wars, also called the Maratha War of Independence, were fought between the Maratha Empire and the Mughal Empire from 1680 to 1707. The Deccan Wars started in 1680 with the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb’s invasion of the Maratha enclave in Bijapur established by Chatrapati Shivaji. Marathas Won This War And After the death of Aurangzeb, Marathas defeated the Mughals in Delhi and Bhopal, and extended their empire as far as Peshawar by 1758.
The Maratha Conquests were a series of conquests in the Indian subcontinent which led to the building of the Maratha Empire. These conquests were started by Shivaji in 1659 from the victory at the Battle of Pratapgad against Bijapur. The empire was interrupted by the Mughal conquests of south India by Emperor Aurangzeb and lost its independence as well as execution of their kings which continued until the death of Bahadur Shah I in 1712.
Khanderao Ballal , popularly known as ‘Khando Ballal’, was a diplomat in Maharashtra during the late 17th century and the early 18th century. He was also the Personal Assistant of Chhatrapati Sambhaji, Rajaram and Shahu. He is remembered for his splendid contribution in strengthening the Maratha Empire by way of loyalty, diplomacy and exceptional sacrifice.
Vijaydurg, the oldest fort on the Sindhudurg coast, was constructed during the regime of Raja Bhoja II of the Shilahar dynasty and restructured by Shivaji Maharaj.
Kolhapur State or Kolhapur Maratha Kingdom (1710–1949) was a Maratha princely State of British India, under the Deccan Division of the Bombay Presidency, and later the Deccan States Agency. It was considered the most important of the Maratha principalities with the others being Baroda State, Gwalior State and Indore State. Its rulers, of the Bhonsle dynasty, were entitled to a 19-gun salute – thus Kolhapur was also known as a 19-gun state. The state flag was a swallow-tailed saffron pennant.
Shivaji II or Shiva Rajaram was the son of Maratha ruler Chhatrapati Rajaram I and his wife Tarabai.
The Peshwa family earlier known as Bhat family is a prominent Indian family who dominated India for around 100 years in the 18th century. Most of the members in this family were the Prime Ministers in Peshwa Era and that later became their surname. During their regime, most of India was under their control. The last Peshwa, Baji Rao II, was defeated by the British East India Company in the Third Anglo-Maratha War in 1818. The territory was annexed to the British East India Company's Bombay Presidency, and he was pensioned off.