Maratha Empire – Shivaji & Peshwa

 

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  • Most important power emerged in the fading shadow of the Mughal dynasty was the Maratha empire.
  • The physical environment of the Maratha country, mountainous regions and dense forests, resulted in certain peculiar qualities
  • This difficult terrain made the Maratha Soldiers expert in guerilla tactics.
  • Deccan Sultanates of Bijapur and Ahmadnagar, which offered them a first-hand experience of administration
  • Spread of the Bhakti movement in Maharashtra under the influence of spiritual leaders fostered social unity
  • Among them and the much-required political unity was conferred by Shahaji Bhonsle and his son Shivaji

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maratha empire shivaji history peshwa bajirao balaji vishwanath Balaji Baji Rao

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Maloji Raje Bhonsle 
  • He joined Nizam Shah with a small band of cavalry

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maratha empire shivaji history peshwa bajirao balaji vishwanath Balaji Baji Rao

Shahaji Raje Bhonsle 

  • Served under Nizam Shah and Adil Shah, and came to prominence as a leading Maratha.
  • After the fall of Ahmadnagar, he had transferred his services to Bijapur

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Shivaji Raje Bhonsle (1674–80)

  • Born in the hill fortress of Shivmer in Poona on Feb 19, 1630
  • Belonged to the Bhonsle clan of Marathas.
  • His mother was Jijabai.
  • Shivaji, influenced by Dadaji Kondev (his teacher), Sufi saint Pir Shaikh Yacub, Guru Ramdas, Tukaram, Hazrat Baba of Ratnagiri, Ramayana, and the Mahabharata
  • He started his career as an independent young prince at Poona and Supa in1637
  • After the death of Dadaji Kondadev in 1647 Shivaji assumed full charge of his jagir.
  • In 1646, he captured Torna from Bijapur and built the fort of Raigarh.
  • By 1654, Shivaji had captured forts in the Western Ghats and along the Konkan coast.
  • Shivaji and his elder brother defeated invading armies of Adil Shah and secured the release of their father.
  • He raided Portuguese settlement at Daman
  • Battle of Pratapgarh 1659 fought between Afzal Khan (represented Adil Shah of Bijapur) and Shivaji
  • Shivaji killed Afzal Khan with his tiger claws and became a local hero.
  • He won Battle of Kolhapur against Rustemjaman (represented Adil Shah of Bijapur) 
  • Aurangzeb, considered Shivaji as a mountain rat.
  • In 1660, Aurangzeb sent Shaista Khan, but war continued till 1663
  • In 1663 in a night attack on Shaista Khan, Shivaji injured him and killing his son.
  • Shivaji sacked the port of Surat, important Mughal trading city in 1664.
  • Aurangzeb sent Raja Jai Singh and Diler Khan, and they won and singed treaty of Purander in 1665 with Shivaji
  • His minor son Sambhaji was granted a mansab of 5000
  • When Shivaji visited Agra with his son, was house arrested by Aurangazeb.
  • Shivaji escaped along with his son
  • In 1670, he recovered most of his lost forts and sacked Surat for the second time.
  • Shivaji defeated Mughals in the Battle of Salher in 1672
  • After this win, he crowned himself at Raigarh and assumed the title Maharaja Chattrapati.
  • He issued the gold coin, shivaraihon, on the occasion of his coronation 1674
  • He died in 1680 at the age of 53
  • Shivaji promoted Sanskrit, but respected all religions and opposed forced conversion.

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maratha empire shivaji history peshwa bajirao
Pratapgad Fort

maratha empire shivaji history peshwa bajirao balaji vishwanath Balaji Baji Rao

Sambhaji (1681–89)

  • Prince Akbar, the rebellious son of Aurangzeb, took shelter with him and in a pursuing battle at Sangmeshwar in 1689
  • He was defeated by the Mughal commander Muqqarrab Khan and was killed along with his personal counselor, Kavi Kalash.
  • Widow of Sambhaji, Yesubai could not protect the fort of Raigarh, and she along with her son, Shahu were made prisoners.

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Rajaram (1689-1707)

  • Younger brother of Sambhaji, who never sat on the throne, as he claimed that he was ruling on behalf of Shahu.
  • Shifted his headquarters to Ginjee.
  • After the Mughals conquered Ginjee, he fled to Vishalgarh and then to Satara, giving Hukumat Panha (King status) to Peshwa Ramchandra Pant
  • After his death in 1700, his widow Tarabai assumed control in the name of her infant son Shivaji II.

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Shahu (1707-49)

  • Shahu was released by Zulfiqar Khan (Bahadur Shah) hoping for a civil war among Marathas.
  • In 1707 with the help of a Chitpavan Brahman named Balaji Vishwanath, Shahu was successful in defeating Tarabai at the Battle of Khed
  • Tarabai went away to Kolhapur, establishing the Royal House of Kolhapur.
  • In 1719, Shahu, under the advice of Peshwa Balaji Vishwanath, assisted the Saiyyad brothers in the execution of Farukkh Siyar and got his mother released.
  • Soon after he declared Swaraja the Independence of Maratha land.

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Rajaram II (1749–77)
  • Adopted son of Shahu
  • Peshwa Baji Rao retained him as the titular Chattrapati.
  • The power of the Chhatrapati was almost totally overshadowed by that of the Peshwa.

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maratha empire shivaji history peshwa bajirao balaji vishwanath Balaji Baji Rao

Royal House of Kolhapur

Shivaji II (1710–14)

  • Son of Queen Tarabai and Rajaram, and was under the regency of Queen Tarabai.

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Sambhaji II (1714–60)

  • Son of Rajaram from his second wife Rajabai, who deposed Shivaji II and Tarabai by the palace revolution in 1714
  • He signed the Treaty of Warna in 1731 with his cousin Shahu to formalize the two separate seats of the Bhonsle family.
  • British sent expeditions against Kolhapur in 1765 and 1792
  • State entered into treaty with the British after the collapse of the Maratha confederacy in 1812

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balaji vishwanath Balaji Baji Rao

maratha empire shivaji history

Office of the Peshwa (1640–1818)

  • The word ‘Peshwa’ probably originated in Persian, meaning ‘foremost’, and was introduced in Deccan by the Muslim rulers.
  • Duties of a Peshwa were equal to that of a Prime Minister.

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peshwa bajirao balaji vishwanath Balaji Baji Rao

Sonopant Dabir (1640–52)

  • First unofficial Peshwa

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Ramchandra Pant Amatya (1689–1708)

  • Peshwa under Rajaram.
  • Rajaram had to escape to Ginjee in 1689, he gave Hukumat Panha (King status) to Pant before leaving.
  • He wrote Adnyapatra

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Balaji Vishwanath (1713–19)

  • Balaji Vishwanath belonged to the Bhatt family of Shri Vardhan in the Konkan region.
  • He made the post of the Peshwa hereditary.
  • He helped Shahu become the Maratha empire ruler by seeking the support of all Maratha leaders for Shahu.
  • Shahu conferred the title of Sena-karte (organizer of forces) to him.
  • In 1719, he got certain rights from the Farrukh Siyar, recognition of Shahu as the Maratha empire king
  • He got permission to collect chauth and sardeshmukhi from the six provinces of the Deccan
  • Nana Sahib belonged to this family.

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maratha empire shivaji history peshwa bajirao balaji vishwanath Balaji Baji Rao

Peshwa Bajirao I (1720–40)

  • The Eldest Son of Balaji Vishwanath who succeeded him as Peshwa at the young age of twenty.
  • Baji Rao I was the most famous of all nine Peshwas and also known as “Thorale”, meaning ‘Elder’ Baji Rao.
  • He was the greatest exponent of guerrilla tactics after Shivaji.
  • During his lifetime, he never lost a battle and the Maratha empire reached its zenith under him.
  • Baji Rao I preached and popularized the idea of Hindupadpadshahi
  • He defeated the Nizam on both occasions when they fought at Palkhed and Bhopal
  • In 1722, he captured Salsette and Bassein from the Portuguese.
  • He shifted the administrative capital from Satara to Pune in 1728
  • He initiated the system of confederacy among the Maratha chiefs.
  • They were the Gaekwads at Baroda, the Bhonsles at Nagpur, the Holkars at Indore, the Scindias at Gwalior, and the Peshwas at Poona.

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maratha empire shivaji history
Vijay Durg Fort, Sindhudurg

maratha empire shivaji history 

Balaji Baji Rao I/ Nana Sahib I (1740–61)

  • Balaji Baji Rao succeeded his father as Peshwa at the young age of nineteen and was appointed as Peshwa by Shahuji.
  • It was during his reign that the Maratha empire king Shahu died in 1749 without an issue.
  • His nominated successor, Ramraja, was imprisoned by the Peshwa Balaji Baji Rao at Satara
  • The supreme power of Maratha empire passed into the hands of Peshwa by the Sangola Agreement in 1750
  • He defeated Bengal Nawab Alivardi Khan and one third of the Indian sub-continent was under the Maratha empire.
  • According to a agreement in 1752, the Peshwa gave protection to Mughal Emperor from internal and external enemies
  • Maratha got chauth of the north-west provinces and total revenue of the Agra and Ajmer provinces as per the agreement.
  • Honouring this agreement, Marathas fought the 3rd Battle of Panipat in 1761 when Ahmad Shah Abdali invaded India
  • The defeat of Panipat checked the expansion of Maratha empire and fragmented it.

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peshwa bajirao balaji vishwanath Balaji Baji Rao

Madhav Rao (1761–72)

  • Madhav Rao defeated the Nizam, compelled Haidar Ali of Mysore to pay tribute
  • He reasserted control over northern India by defeating the Rohillas and subjugating the Rajput state and Jat chiefs.
  • In 1772, he brought back Emperor Shah Alam to Delhi.
  • Maratha empire got weekened and divided into semi-independent states.
  • The most important were the Gaikwads (Gaekwars), the Holkars, and the Scindias.

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Sawai Madhav Rao (1774–95)

  • Son of Narayan Rao, who was merely 40 days old when crowned as Peshwa.
  • The empire was managed by Nana Phadnavis, an able administrator and warrior
  • There were twelve member regency council called the Barbhai Council.
  • Out of frustration, Raghunath Rao went to British for help which resulted in the First Anglo–Maratha war in 1775–82
  • At the battle of Talegaon in 1776, Nana Phadnavis defeated the British
  • The treaty of Purandhar in 1776 and the treaty of Salbai in 1782 were signed.
  • After death of Nana Phadnavis in 1800 that the Maratha empire could not sustain against the British

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maratha empire shivaji history peshwa bajirao balaji vishwanath Balaji Baji Rao

Baji Rao II (1796–1818)

  • Son of Raghunath Rao 
  • Baji Rao II signed the humiliating Treaty of Bassein with the British in 1802.
  • He was defeated by the East India Company in the Third Anglo– Maratha War in 1818
  • After this the Peshwa’s territory was annexed to the British Bombay province, and he was pensioned off
  • Nana Sahib ( Dhondu Pant ) was the adopted son of Baji Rao II 

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Maratha Empire Administration

  • King was assisted by a council of ministers called the Ashtapradhan
  • Provinces were known as Prants
  • Prants divided into Tarfs Parganas
  • Mauzas or villages were the lowest unit
  • There were two divisions in the Maratha cavalry:
    1. Bargirs: Equipped and paid by the state
    2. Silahdars: Maintained by the nobles.
  • Mavli foot soldiers played an important role in the infantry
  • Shivaji strongly discouraged revenue farming.
  • Marathas employed a special script known as the ‘Modi script’ in the documents of the revenue and administrative records.
  • Chauth and sardeshmukhi were two major sources of revenue
    1. Chauth: One fourth (1/4 th of the land revenue) paid to the Marathas in order to avoid the Maratha raids.
    2. Sardeshmukhi 1/10 of land revenue on those lands on which the Marathas claimed hereditary rights.

maratha empire shivaji history peshwa bajirao balaji vishwanath Balaji Baji Rao

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