Maratha State (1674-1720) and Maratha Confederacy (1720-1818)




Maratha State: 1674-1720

Shivaji: 1674-80

1. Bom at Shivneri Fort in 1627.

2. Father- Shahji Bhonsle, Mother-Jija Bai, Religious Teacher-Samarth Ramdas.

3. Shivaji inherited the Jagir of Poona from his father in 1637.

4. After the death of his guardian, Dadaji Kondadev, in 1647, he assumed full charge of his Jagir.

5. He conquered many Forts viz. Singh Garh/Kondana (1643), Rohind and Chakan (1644-45), Toran (1646), Purandhar (1648), Rajgarh / Raigarh (1656), Supa (1656), and Panhala (1659).

6. Afzal Khan was deputed by Adil Shah (Ruler of Bijapur) to punish Shivaji, but the later Afzal Khan was killed by Shivaji in 1659.

7. Shaista Khan, governor of Deccan, was deputed by Aurangzeb to put down the rising power of Shivaji in 1660. Shivaji lost Poona and suffered several defeats till he made a bold attack on Shaista Khan (1663) and plundered Surat (1664) and later Ahmadnager.

8. Raja Jai Singh of Amber was then appointed by Aurangzeb to put down Shivaji (1665). Jai Singh succeeded in beseiging Shivaji in the fort of Purandhar. Consequently the treaty of Purandhar (1665) was signed according to which Shivaji ceded some forts to the Mughals and paid a visit to the Mughal court at Agra.

9. In 1674 Shivaji was coronated at capital Raigarh and assumed the title of Haindava Dharmodharak (Protector of Hinduism).

10. After that Chhatrapati Shivaji continued the struggle with Mughals and Siddis (Janjira). He conquested Karnataka during 1677-80.


Shivaji's Administration

1. Shivaji divided his territory under his rule (Swaraj) into three provinces, each under a viceroy. Provinces were divided into prants which were subdivided into parganas or tarafs. The lowest unit was village headed by Patel (Headman).

2. Shivaji was helped by the ashtapradhan (eight minister) which was unlike a collective of ministers, for there was no collective responsibility; each minister was directly responsible to Shivaji.

3. Most of the administrative reforms of Shivaji were based on Malik Ambar’s (Ahmadnagar) reforms.

4. Assessment of land revenue was based on measurement. The Kathi of Malik Ambar was adopted as the unit of measurement.

5. Land revenue was fixed 1/3rd i.e. 33% of the gross produce (initially), 2/5th i.e. 40% of the gross produce (after reforms).

6. Chauth was 1/4th i.e. 25% of the land revenue was paid to the Marathas so for not being subjected to Maratha raids.

7. Sardeshmukhi was an additional levy of 10% on those lands of Maharashtra over which the Maratha claimed hereditary rights, but which formed part of the Mughal Empire.

Sambhaji: 1680-89

1. Sambhaji, the elder son of Shivaji, defeated Rajaram, the younger son of Shivaji, in the war of succession.

2. He provided protection and support to Akbar II, the rebellious son of Aurangzeb.

3. He was captured at Sangameswar by a Mughal noble and executed.


Rajaram: 1689-1700

1. He succeeded the throne with the help of the ministers at Rajgarh.

2. He fled from Rajgarh to Jinji in 1689 due to a Mughal invasion in which Rajgarh was captured along with Sambhaji's wife and son (Shahu) by the Mughals.

3. Rajaram died at Satara, which had become the capital after the fall of Jinji to Mughal in 1698.

4. Rajaram created the new post of Pratinidhi, thus taking the total number of ministers to nine (Pratinidhi + Ashtapradhan).


Tarabai: 1700-07

1. Rajaram was succeeded by his minor son Shivaji II under the guardianship of his mother Tarabai.

2. Tarabai continued the struggle with the Mughals.


Shahu: 1707-1749

1. Shahu was released by the Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah.

2. Tarabai's army was defeated by Shahu in the battle of Khed (1700), and Shahu occupied Satara.

3. But the Southern part of the Maratha kingdom with its capital Kolhapur continued to be under the control of the descendants of Rajaram (Shivaji II and later Shambhaji II).

4. Shahu's reign saw the rise of Peshwas and the transformation of the Maratha kingdom into an empire based on the principle of the confederacy.


Balaji Viswanath (1713-20): The First Peshwa

1. He began his career as a small revenue official and was given the title of Sena Karte (a marker of the army) by Shahu in 1708.

2. He became Peshwa in 1713 and made the post the most important and powerful as well as hereditary.

3. He played a crucial role in the final victory of Shahu by winning over almost all the Maratha Sardars to the side of Shahu.

4. He concluded an agreement with the Syed Brothers-King Maker (1719) by which the Mughal emperor Farrukh Siyar recognized Shahu as the king of the Swarajya.


Baji Rao I: 1720-40

1. Baji Rao, the eldest son of Balaji Viswanath, succeeded him as Peshwa at the young age of 20.

2. He was considered the greatest exponent of guerrilla tactics after Shivaji and Maratha power reached its zenith under him.

3. Under him several Maratha families became prominent and got themselves entrenched in different parts of India.

4. After defeating and expelling the Siddis of Janjira from the mainland (1722), he conquered Bassein and Salsette from the Portuguese (1739).

5. He also defeated the Nizam-ul-Mulk near Bhopal and concluded the treaty of Doraha Sarai by which he got Malwa and Bundelkhand from the latter (1738).

6. He led innumerable successful expeditions into North India to weaken the Mughal empire and to make the Marathas the supreme power in India.

7. He said about Mughals: 'Let us strike at the trunk of the withering tree and the branches will fall of themselves'.


Balaji Baji Rao: 1740-61

1. Popularly known as Nana Saheb, he succeeded his father at the age of 20.

2. After the death of Shahu (1749), the management of all state affairs was left in his hands.

3. In an agreement with the Mughal emperor Ahmad Shah, the Peshwa was to protect the Mughal empire from internal and external enemies (like Ahmad Shah Abdali) in return for Chauth (1752).

4. Third battle of Panipat (Jan 14,1761) resulted in the defeat of the Marathas by Ahmad Shah Abdali and the death of Viswas Rao and Sadashiv Rao Bhau. This event shocked the Peshwa Balaji Baji Rao and after six months he also died. This battle ended the Maratha power.

5. Successors of Balaji Baji Rao: Madhav Rao (1761-72), Narayan Rao (1772-73), Sawai Madhav Rao (1773-95), and Baji Rao II (1795-1818).


Anglo-Maratha Wars

1. First Anglo-Maratha War (1775-82) : Favouring the cause of Raghunath Rao (Raghoba) for Peshwaship, English (Hastings) came in conflict with the Marathas. On being defeated, the British had to sign the humiliating Convention of Wadgaon (1779).

2. British later signed the Treaty of Salbai (1782), renouncing the cause of Raghoba.

3. Second Anglo-Maratha war (1803-06) : The Maratha Peshwa signed the Subsidiary Alliance Treaty of Bassein (1802).

4. The Maratha confederacy, which did not like the idea challenged the British power but were defeated by the British.

5. Third Anglo-Maratha war (1817-18) : Lord Hastings was determined to proclaim British paramountcy in India. He moved against Pindaris transgressed the sovereignty of the Maratha chiefs and the war began.

6. The Marathas were decisively defeated.

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