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Maratha Empire

The Maratha Empire (also spelled Mahratta and also called the Maratha Confederacy), of India, was founded by Chhatrapati Shivaji in 1674 when he carved out an independent Maratha zone around Pune from the Bijapur Sultanate. After a lifetime of exploits and guerrilla warfare with the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb, Shivaji died in 1680, leaving a Maratha kingdom of great extent but strategically and vulnerably located. The Mughal invasion started around 1682 and lasted till 1707: so for 25 years the Marathas fought one of the longest ongoing battles in human history. Ultimately they defeated the Mughals, who were forced to withdraw from the Maratha possessions. Shahu, a grandson of Shivaji became ruler until his death in 1749, when power passed into the hands of the Peshwa. The battle of Panipat in 1761 crippled the Maratha empire and corroded the power of Peshwa forever. Now the Maratha Confederacy was the real authority, with titular king and prime minister. The last Peshwa, Baji Rao II, was defeated by the British in the Third Anglo-Maratha War. But the memory of Shivaji kept their cause alive, and during the late 19th century a wave of socio-political breakthrough revolutions caused a transformation of the entire State and nation.

Extent of the Maratha Confederacy ca. 1760(shown here in yellow)

 

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