Shivaji (1627–1680)

  • Shivaji was born in Shivner near Junnar.
  • He was the son of Shahji Bhonsle by his first wife Jijabai.
  • Shahji was a descendant of the Yadava rulers of Devagiri from his mother’s side and the Sisodias of Mewar on his father’s side.
  • Shahji Bhonsle served under Malik Ambar (1548–1626), former slave, and the Abyssinian minister of Ahmed Shah of Ahmednagar.
  • After the death of Malik Ambar, Shahji played a vital role in its politics.
  • After the annexation of Ahmednagar by the Mughals, he entered the service of the Sultan of Bijapur.
  • Shivaji and his mother were left under the care of Dadaji Kondadev who administered Shahji Bhonsle’s jagirs (land grants given in recognition of military or administrative services rendered) at Poona.
  • Shivaji earned the goodwill of the Mavali peasants and chiefs, who were a martial people with knowledge about the hilly areas around Poona.
  • Shivaji made himself familiar with the hilly areas around Poona.
  • Religious heads, Ramdas and Tukaram, also influenced Shivaji. Ramdas was regarded by Shivaji as his guru.

Military Conquests

  • Shivaji began his military career at the age of nineteen.
  • In 1646, he captured the fortress of Torna from the Sultan of Bijapur.
  • The fort of Raigad, located five miles east of Torna, was captured and wholly rebuilt.
  • After the death of Dadaji Kondadev in 1647, Shivaji took over all the jagirs of his father.
  • Subsequently, the forts of Baramati, Indapura, Purandhar and Kondana came under his direct control.
  • The Marathas had already captured Kalyan, an important town in that region.
  • Shivaji’s father had been humiliated and imprisoned by the Sultan of Bijapur.
  • He negotiated with Prince Murad, the Mughal Viceroy of the Deccan and expressed his wish to join Mughal service.
  • The Sultan of Bijapur released Shahji in 1649 on some conditions.
  • So, Shivaji refrained from his military activities from 1649 to 1655.
  • During this period, he consolidated his power and toned up his administration.
  • In 1656, Shivaji re-started his military activities.
  • He captured Javli in the Satara district and the immense booty that he won made him popular among the Marathas.
  • Many young men joined his army.
  • A new fort, Pratapgarh, was built two miles west of Javli.

Confrontation against Bijapur

  • After Mohammad Adilshah of Bijapur died in November 1656, Adilshah II, a young man of eighteen, succeeded him.
  • Aurangzeb captured Bidar, Kalyani and Purandar in 1657.
  • So, both Shivaji and the Bijapur Sultan were forced to make peace with Aurangzeb.
  • At this time Shah Jahan fell ill, and a war of succession was imminent in Delhi.
  • Aurangzeb left for Delhi to take part in it.
  • Using this opportunity, Shivaji invaded north Konkan and captured the cities of Kalyan, Bhivandi and fort of Mahuli.

Shivaji and Afzal Khan, 1659

  • As there was no danger from the Mughals, Bijapur Sultan decided to attack Shivaji.
  • Afzal Khan was sent with a huge army.
  • He boasted that he would bring the “mountainrat” in chains.
  • But, he found fighting in the mountainous country extremely difficult.
  • So, he planned to trick Shivaji but he was outwitted.
  • The Maratha forces ravaged South Konkan and Kolhapur district and captured the fort of Panhala.
  • The Sultan of Bijapur himself led the army and the war dragged on for more than a year.
  • Nothing substantial was gained.
  • Finally, after negotiations, Shivaji was recognised as the ruler of the territories in his possession.

Shivaji and the Mughals

  • In July 1658, Aurangzeb ascended the throne as the Emperor.
  • Shaista Khan was appointed the Governor of the Deccan in 1660 with the main purpose of crushing Shivaji.
  • Shivaji hit upon a bold plan.
  • He entered Poona at night with 400 soldiers in the form of a marriage party and attacked the home of Shaista Khan.
  • Aurangzeb was forced to recall Shaista Khan from the Deccan in December 1663.

Shivaji and Jaisingh

  • In 1664, Shivaji attacked Surat, the major Mughal port in Arabian Sea and his soldiers plundered the city.
  • Aurangzeb despatched an army under the command of the Rajput general Raja Jai Singh to defeat Shivaji and annex Bijapur.
  • At that time, Prince Muazzam, (known as Bahadur Shah I), was the Governor of the Deccan.
  • Jai Singh made elaborate plans to encircle Shivaji on all sides.
  • Even Raigarh was under threat.
  • Purandar was besieged in June 1665.
  • The heroic resistance of Shivaji became futile.
  • Therfore he decided to come to negotiate with Jai Singh.
  • According to the treaty of Purandar signed on 11 June 1665 Shivaji yielded the fortresses that he had captured and agreed to serve as a mansabdar and assist the Mughals in conquering Bijapur.

Visit to Agra

  • Jai Singh persuaded Shivaji to visit the Mughal court.
  • He fed Shivaji with high hopes and took personal responsibility for his safety at the capital.
  • Shivaji and his son Sambhaji reached Agra in May 1666.
  • But, they were not shown due respect.
  • Humiliated, he burst out and abused the Emperor.
  • When Shivaji was imprisoned, he managed to escape by hiding himself in a fruit basket.
  • In 1666, Shivaji resumed his belligerent policy and led Maratha soldiers in new conquests.
  • As the Mughals were busy with the Afghan risings in the North-West, they could not deal with Shivaji.
  • Shivaji also occupied himself with the re-organisation of his internal administration.
  • Prince Muazzam, Viceroy of the Deccan, was weak and indolent.
  • Raja Jaswant Singh was friendly towards Shivaji.
  • Sambhaji was also made a mansabdar of 5000.

Conflict with the Mughals (1670)

  • Aurangzeb took Shivaji and Jai Singh back a part of the jagir in Berar which was once given to Shivaji.
  • Shivaji got annoyed and recalled his troops from Mughal service.
  • He recovered almost all the forts he had ceded to the Mughals by the treaty of Purandar.
  • In 1670, he again sacked Surat, the most important port on the western coast.
  • In 1672, the Marathas imposed chauth or one fourth of the revenue as annual tribute on Surat.


  • On 6 June 1674, Shivaji was crowned at Raigarh.
  • He assumed the title of “Chhatrapathi”( metaphor for “supreme king ”).

Deccan Campaigns

  • In 1676, Shivaji began his career of conquests in the south.
  • A secret treaty was signed with the Sultan of Golkonda.
  • Shivaji promised him some territories in return for his support.
  • He captured Senji and Vellore and annexed the adjoining territories which belonged to his father, Shahji.
  • He allowed his half-brother Venkoji or Ekoji to carry on administering Thanjavur.
  • The Nayaks of Madurai promised a huge amount as tribute.
  • The Carnatic campaigns added glory and prestige to Shivaji.
  • Senji, the newly conquered place, acted as the second line of defence for his successors.

Last days of Shivaji

  • Shivaji’s last days were not happy.
  • His eldest son Sambhaji deserted him and joined the Mughal camp.
  • Although he returned, he was imprisoned and sent to Panhala fort by Aurangzeb.
  • The relentless campaigns affected Shivaji’s health.
  • He died in 1680 at the age of 53.
  • At the time of his death, Shivaji’s kingdom comprised the Western Ghats and the Konkan between Kalyan and Goa.
  • The provinces in the south included western Karnataka extending from Belgaum to the bank of Tungabhadra.
  • Vellore, Senji and a few other districts were not settled at the time of his death.

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