to the early 19th century. Although for
the distinct community which has dominated the political scene of
Maharashtra since medieval times.
Shivaji (1630–1680) united the Maratha chiefs from Mavla, Konkan and
Desh regions and carved out a small kingdom.
He stabilised the state with effective civil and military administration and
adopted a policy of religious tolerance to accommodate all religions and sects
in his state.
He was the first Maratha Chhatrapati (ruler) and issued the gold coin,
shivarai hon, on the occasion of his coronation (1674).
His premature death at the age of 50 (April 5, 1680) created a vacuum.
Shivaji’s son, Sambhaji (1657–89), during his short reign of nine years, in
addition to domestic feuds, was confronted with the Siddis, the Portuguese
and the Mughals. His cold-blooded murder (1689) by the Mughals inspired a
wave of patriotism in the Maratha region.
The Marathas, under the leadership of his brother, Rajaram (1670–1700),
waged a relentless war against the imperial army of Aurangzeb who, until his
death (1707), struggled in vain to suppress Maratha power.
Tarabai, Rajaram’s widow, declared her son, Shivaji II (1700), Chhatrapati.
But when Sambhaji’s son, Shahu was released (1707) from Mughal captivity
and gained support from the Maratha elite, a civil war ensued in Maharashtra,
and Tarabai set up a separate gadi (throne) at Panhala (Kolhapur).
A palace revolution (1714) removed Shivaji II and Tarabai declared Sambhaji
II (1698–1760), second son of Rajaram, the Chhatrapati of Kolhapur, which
Shahu finally recognised by the Treaty of Warna (1731).
Marathas before Shivaji
Misrule of Deccan Sultans A large portion of Maharashtra was under the
rule of the Nizam Shahis of Ahmednagar and the Adil Shahis of Bijapur.
These two had divided Maharashtra between themselves. Adil Shahis and
Nizam Shahis were very narrow in their outlook and oppressed the people
over whom they ruled. They were also sworn enemies of each other. They
constantly fought each other and as a result the people of Maharashtra
suffered untold hardships.