Maratha Confederacy

Maratha Confederacy
a loose league of states in central and western India, c1750-1818.

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Maratha alliance formed in the 18th century in western India after Shivaji's Maratha kingdom collapsed under Mughal pressure.

Under Shivaji's grandson, power fell to peshwas (chief ministers) from leading Maratha families, who ruled effectively in the early 18th century but quarreled as the century waned. The confederacy fell to the British in 1818.

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▪ Indian history
      alliance formed in the 18th century after Mughal pressure forced the collapse of Śivājī's kingdom of Mahārāshtra in western India. After the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb's death (1707), Marāṭhā power revived under Śivājī's grandson Shāhū. He confided power to the Brahman Bhat family, who became hereditary peshwas (peshwa) (chief ministers). He also decided to expand northward with armies under the peshwas' control. In Shāhū's later years the power of the peshwas increased. After his death (1749) they became the effective rulers. The leading Marāṭhā families—Sindhia, Holkar, Bhonsle, and Gaekwaḍ (Gaekwar)—extended their conquests in northern and central India and became more independent and difficult to control.

      The effective control of the peshwas ended with the great defeat of Pānīpat (1761) at the hands of the Afghans and the death of the young peshwa Mādhav Rāo I in 1772. Thereafter the Marāṭhā state was a confederacy of five chiefs under the nominal leadership of the peshwa at Poona (Pune) in western India. Though they united on occasion, as against the British (1775–82), more often they quarreled. After he was defeated by the Holkar in 1802, the peshwa Bājī Rāo II sought protection from the British, whose intervention destroyed the confederacy by 1818. The confederacy expressed a general Marāṭhā nationalist sentiment but was divided bitterly by the jealousies of its chiefs.

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Universalium. 2010.

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