The Maratha Empire was founded by the great warrior Chatrapati Shivaji during the year 1674. The Indian Maratha confederacy was established at the area around Pune from Bijapur. The Marathas came to power as the Mughals started to decline around the 17th century. The Marathas were in power from 1674 to 1818 and during the peak of the Maratha rule covered a territory of around 250 million acres. The Marathas were skillful warriors and were fiercely possessive about their land. Read about the history of Maratha Empire.
The Maratha nation was founded by Shivaji after many battles and
guerilla warfare against the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb. Though he was
successful, he died in 1680 leaving the kingdom vulnerable to attacks
and external aggression. The state of Maratha was ruled by Shahu, a
grandson of Shivaji till 1749. During his reign, Shahu appointed a
Peshwa or a prime minister who would act as the head of the state under
certain emergency conditions in the kingdom. With time, the Peshwas
became the real rulers of the empire while the successors of Shivaji
were just nominal heads of state. The Maratha Empire was successful at
keeping the British forces from attacking India for most of the 18th
The Marathas were essentially a Marathi speaking clan, hence the name
Marathas. The rise of the Marathas was the main reason for the decline
of the Mughal Empire. The rulers after Shivaji were able to withhold the
Maratha empire together thus making it one of the strongest empires in
India. Under the rule of Shivaji, the Maratha Empire saw its best days.
The area under the Marathas during the reign of Shivaji included the
Deccan, central India and some parts of present day Pakistan. After
Shivaji, the Maratha Empire suffered greatly at the hands of the Afghans
during the third battle of Panipat. Then came the British, who wanted to
include the Maratha Empire (which was reduced to a regional kingdom)
into the Bombay presidency.
The Marathas were adamant about their territory and waged three fierce
battles against the British. The result was that the British annexed the
territory that was ruled by the Peshwas. Thus, ended a great empire that
had ruled major parts of central and southern India with a firm hand.