English मराठी

Shrimant Maharaj Chhatrapati Shivaji Raje Bhosle, Satara

Ruled: 1674 - 1680
Present -
Ascended the Gadi in 2018
Maharaj Chhatrapati Shivajiraje Bhosle, born on February 19, 1630, emerged as a formidable leader and founder of the Maratha Empire in western India. His upbringing was done in the fort of Shivneri, under the influence of his deeply religious mother Jijabai.
Born: 19th February 1630
Adoption and ascension to the Gadi

She instilled a strong sense of morality in him. From a young age, Maharaj Chhatrapati Shivajiraje Bhosle displayed leadership qualities, exploring the Sahyadri Mountains and gathering a loyal band of soldiers from the Maval region. He was a devout Hindu, he grew up at the time when India was ruled by the Mughals. He was the one who wanted to lay the foundation of the Maratha Empire and welded the Marathas into a nation by infusing the new spirit of dignity and unity into the 96 clans of Marathas.

By 1645, Maharaj Chhatrapati Shivajiraje Bhosle strategically acquired control of key territories from the declining Adilshahi Sultanate, laying the foundation for the Maratha Empire. In 1646 he captured the Torna fort and began his journey to become Maratha emperor. His innovative military tactics, leveraging geography, speed, and surprise, enabled him to defeat more powerful adversaries. Maharaj Chhatrapati Shivajiraje Bhosle's prowess in warfare became evident in encounters like the Battle of Pratapgarh, where he outsmarted Afzal Khan the most important general in Mughal Emperor Adil Shaha of Bijapur and secured a decisive victory.

His conflicts with the Bijapuri Sultanate drew the attention of the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, who perceived Maharaj Chhatrapati Shivajiraje Bhosle as a threat. The ensuing confrontations led to the signing of the Treaty of Purandar in 1665, wherein Maharaj Chhatrapati Shivajiraje Bhosle agreed to surrender forts and pay compensation to the Mughals. However, hostilities resumed in 1670, culminating in a series of strategic moves by Maharaj Chhatrapati Shivajiraje Bhosle to reclaim his territories from Mughal control within four months.

Maharaj Chhatrapati Shivajiraje Bhosle's interactions with the English initially remained cordial, but conflicts arose when they supported the Bijapuri Sultanate against him. Despite negotiations, the English refused support in various military endeavors, leading to strained relations.

In 1674, Maharaj Chhatrapati Shivajiraje Bhosle took a monumental step by declaring himself the King of Marathas in a grand coronation ceremony at Raigadh Fort, the then capital of Maratha kingdom. He believed himself to be an independent sovereign and his focus shifted to aggressive conquests aimed at unifying Deccan states under Hindu sovereignty. He made an alliance with the sultans in the south, thereby blocking the spread of Mughal rule. His rule was noted for its religious tolerance.

Under Maharaj Chhatrapati Shivajiraje Bhosle's reign, a well-structured Maratha administration emerged, with him as the supreme sovereign and a council of eight ministers overseeing various aspects. Maharaj Chhatrapati Shivajiraje Bhosle emphasized the use of Marathi and Sanskrit, changing fort names to Sanskrit, and promoting Hindu culture. He implemented the Ryotwari system, eliminated caste discrimination and brought several reforms with the taxation system.

Maharaj Chhatrapati Shivajiraje Bhosle maintained a strong military force, built strategic forts, and established a robust naval presence along the Konkan and Goa coasts. His death at the age of 52 in 1680 marked a succession conflict between his eldest son Sambhajiraje and his third wife Maharani Soyrabai. She was advocating for her young son Rajaramraje to conquer the throne. This led to the division of Maratha empire into two branches. One at Satara and the other at Kolhapur. Sambhajiraje ascended the throne and became the legal heir of the Satara royal branch, whereas Rajaramraje ascended the Kolhapur Royal Branch.

Even after the demise of Maharaj Chhatrapati Shivajiraje Bhosle the Mughal-Maratha conflicts persisted, leading to a decline in Maratha glory. However, the resurgence came with young Madhavrao Peshwa, who reclaimed Maratha glory and established authority over North India. Maharaj Chhatrapati Shivajiraje Bhosle's legacy endures as a visionary leader, military strategist, and architect of the Maratha Empire, leaving an indelible mark on Indian history.