The rise of the Marathas was a dramatic turn in the history of India. Spread across the Deccan Plateau, they had a long lived empire from AD 1664-1819.The presence of Mughals started to diminish due to their power. They first served under the Bijapur sultans who were governed by the Mughals.
Shivaji Bhonsle is known as the,”Father of the Maratha Nation”. He was a very able and just leader who fought with bravery, skill, and impressive strategies. He further expanded the empire and established Pune as the Maratha capital. His soldiers were Hindu warriors who rode on hardy ponies. Most of them were peasants and were quick to assemble together. Shivaji also brought back ancient Hindu political systems and court conventions.
A large part of the empire was near the coastline. Hence, a navy was created to protect as a part of the military strategy. When the empire expanded, a confederacy era came into being for effective management. These semi autonomous states that were formed were ruled by the Peshwas of Pune, Gaekwads of Baroda, Scindias of Gwalior, Bhonsales of Nagpur, Holkars of Indore, Puars (or Pawars) of Dewas & Dhar etc. Once, the Britishers reached India, frequent wars were fought and the Britishers ultimately took over large portions of the Maratha Empire.
The Maratha Empire re-instated Hinduism in India. Its rulers especially Shivaji are still revered by many for their dedication to the country and fair rule.
Learn more about Maratha Empire history at Mintage World.