Historical Information of Maharashtra
Maharashtra was inhibited since the
Palaeolithic era, as indicated by the archaeological evidences.
Maharashtra's early history information is not well known and its
recorded history is as old as the 3rd century BC. It was recorded with
the use of the Marathi language, a Prakrit corruption of Sanskrit.
Later, Maharashtra was included in the Magadha empire, ruled by the
Buddhist emperor Ashoka. The port town of Sopara was the hub of
ancient India's commerce, having links with Eastern Africa,
Mesopotamia, Aden and Cochin. This port town was situated just north
of the present day Mumbai. As the Mauryan Empire degraded, Maharashtra
was overpowered by the Satavahanas between 230 BC and 225 AD.
¤ The Early History
Vidarbha, the eastern region of Maharashtra was also conquered by the
Vakatakas (250 AD-525 AD), who were then the rulers of the state. Art
and religion developed and technology flourished, during this period.
By the 6th century, Maharashtra came under the reign of the Chalukyas.
Later, in 753, Rashtrakutas ruled the region. This empire spread over
most of the Indian peninsular. Rashtrakutas were then defeated in 973
by the Chalukayas, who ruled parts of Maharashtra until 1189, when
they lost to Yadavas of Deogiri.
¤ The Islamic Influence
When the Muslim emperors entered India, they established their
capital in Delhi. Later, they started to expand towards the south of
India. The first Muslim emperors who invaded Maharashtra and conquered
some parts of the Deccan in the 13th century were Ala-ud-din Khalji
and Muhammad bin Tughluq. When the Tughlaq dynasty fell in 1347, the
Bahamani Sultanate overpowered the region and ruled it for the next
By the 16th century, central Maharashtra was ruled by numerous
autonomous Islamic kingdoms that owed commitment to the Mughals.
Meanwhile the coastal region was annexed by the Portuguese, who wanted
to control the rich spice trade of the region.
¤ The Maratha Empire
As the 17th century emerged the Maratha Empire began to take root.
Shivaji Bhonsle led the Marathas, native to western Maharashtra, he
was crowned king in 1674, after a long fought battle with Muslim
emperors. The Maratha Empire saw the peak under Shivaji's reign. He
included almost the entire Deccan, central India and some parts of
modern day Pakistan into Maratha Empire. After defeating the Mughals
in 1707, the Marathas became the dominant rulers of India. Bajirao I,
in the year 1712, was crowned the next king. He established the Peshwa
(Prime Minister) dynasty with Pune as their capital. During his reign
Maratha Empire suffered a heavy defeat to the Afghan chieftain Ahmad
Shah Abdali, in the third Battle of Panipat in 1761. The loss was so
huge that the Maratha Confederacy was reduced to a regional kingdom.
As the British East India Company arrived in India and started
interfering in the Indian politics, they faced stiff resistance from
the Marathas. These two powers fought three major battles, which led
to the annexation of Peshwa ruled territory in Maharashtra in 1819.
This marked the end of the Maratha empire.
¤ The British Raj
This region was ruled by the British, as a part of the Bombay
Presidency. The Bombay presidency included an area from Karachi in
Pakistan to most of the northern Deccan. The British Raj saw many
social reforms, infrastructure improvement and many revolts due to
their prejudiced policies. As the 20th century began, a non-violent
struggle led by Mahatma Gandhi started taking shape. The Quit India
Movement started by Gandhi in 1942 was marked by a non-violent civil
disobedience movement and strikes.
¤ Post Independence (1947)
Many independent princely states in central India joined the Indian
Union, after India's independence in 1947. Bombay state was
established in the year 1956, which merged the princely states of
central India into Bombay Presidency. The state of Maharashtra was
established on 1st May 1960, this state included the Marathi-speaking
territory of Bombay state. Maharashtra became India's leading state
after the favorable economic policies in the 1970s.