MARATHA POWER: its rise and fall (c.1674-c.1818)

Some useful maps of the Maratha dominions at different points during this period; see also the *Imperial Gazetteer*
Shivaji (c.1627-80), the brilliant warrior and guerrilla leader who spearheaded the rise of the Marathas, is nowadays sometimes seen as a divinely inspired hero
The young Shivaji's first conquest was Torna Fort, which he captured from the *Bijapur* Sultanate (for which his father Shahji had been a general) in 1646
Sinhagarh Fort was another early conquest (1647)
Rajgarh Fort was a third early and important prize, completing Shivaji's control of the Pune region
In the Battle of Pratapgarh (1659) Shivaji defeated the Bijapuri general Afzal Khan, and then killed him during a peace negotiation
Next Shivaji turned his attention northward: among many other raids, in 1664 he attacked and looted the Mughals' wealthy port town of Surat
During a daring night attack in 1663, Shivaji wounded Shaista Khan (Aurangzeb's maternal uncle), who had seized and held Pune in retaliation for Shivaji's raiding; a famous account is provided by *François Bernier*
In 1666 the Mughal general in the Deccan, Raja Jai Singh I, arranged for Shivaji to travel to Delhi and to be received by Aurangzeb; but court politics wrecked the chance of what might have been a remarkable Mughal-Maratha future
Panhala (near Kolhapur), the largest fort in the Deccan, was one of Shivaji's favorites, and changed hands often; Aurangzeb held it briefly in 1701
Shivaji made Raigarh Fort his capital; in 1674, he held an elaborate coronation ceremony for himself there; in 1680, he died there of a fever
Aurangzeb came down in 1681 and easily conquered *Golconda* and *Bijapur*; but never could subdue the Marathas; he died in Aurangabad in 1707, without ever returning to North India
After much turbulence and factional fighting, in 1749 POONA became the official Maratha capital and seat of the Peshwa, or hereditary prime minister
In 1755, the Peshwa and the British cooperated to attack and capture Gheriah and other pirate forts on the Malabar Coast (*Biddulph's account*); but they could never conquer the Siddis' island fort of *Janjira*
IN 1760*
Having defeated the Nizam of *Hyderabad* and extracted territory from him, the Marathas reached the apogee of their power in 1760
But in 1761, a North Indian Muslim-Afghan coalition (using the then-newly-made cannon *Zamzamah*) defeated them decisively in the Third Battle of Panipat; after this the Marathas split along clan lines, and their hopes for empire faded
Views by James Forbes, c.1775; British dealings with the many Maratha clan leaders were immensely complex, and there were four separate "Anglo-Maratha Wars"
Amidst all the confusion, Ahilyabai Holkar (r.1767-95) ended up ruling Malwa; she's especially remembered for the number of temples she built
In 1790 the Peshwa agreed to an alliance with the British against *Tipu Sultan*
Lieutenant George FitzClarence, the illegitimate son of William IV, fought in the Maratha Wars, and published a book with some of his sketches
After the Fourth Anglo-Maratha War (1817-19), the Peshwa's dominions were added to the *Bombay* Presidency
A lesser Maratha ruler's darbar, c.1820

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