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Shahu I
Chhatrapati of the Maratha Empire
Copy of Shahu (3).jpg
Flag of the Maratha Empire.svg 5th Chhatrapati of the Maratha Empire
Reign 12 January 1707 –15 December 1749
Coronation 12 January 1708, Satara
Predecessor Shivaji II
Successor Rajaram II
Born (1682-05-18)18 May 1682
Gangoli Fort, Mangaon
Died 15 December 1749(1749-12-15) (aged 67)
Rangmahal Palace, Satara
Spouse
  • Savitribai
  • Ambikabai
  • Sakwarbai
  • Sagunabai
Issue
  • Sambhajiraje
  • Gajrabai
  • Rajasbai
  • Fatehsinh I (adopted)
  • Rajaram II of Satara (adopted)
  • Parvatibai (adopted)
House Bhosale
Father Sambhaji
Mother Yesubai
Religion Hinduism

Shahu Bhosale I (1682–1749 CE) was the fifth Chhatrapati of the Maratha Empire created by his grandfather, Shivaji. Born in the Bhonsle family, he was the son of Sambhaji, Shivaji's eldest son and successor. Shahu, as a child, was taken prisoner along with his mother in 1689 by Mughal sardar, Zulfikar Khan Nusrat Jang. After the death of Aurangzeb in 1707, leading Mughal courtiers released Shahu with a force of fifty men, thinking that a friendly Maratha leader would be a useful ally. At that time he fought a brief war with his aunt Tarabai in an internecine conflict to gain the Maratha throne in 1708.

Under Shahu's reign, Maratha power and influence extended to all corners of the Indian subcontinent. However, after his death, power moved from the ruling Chhatrapati to his ministers (the Peshwas) and the generals who had carved out their own fiefdoms such as Bhonsle of Nagpur, Gaekwad of Baroda, Sindhia of Gwalior and Holkar of Indore.

Expansion of the Maratha Empire

Early in his reign, Shahu appointed Balaji Vishwanath as his Peshwa. Over the next fifty years, Balaji followed by his son, Bajirao I and grandson Balaji Bajirao with help of capable military leaders such as Shinde, Holkar, Gaekwad, Pawar and Bhonsle of Nagpur expanded Maratha power in all directions of the Indian subcontinent.

Family

Shahu had four wives who gave him two born-to sons and four born-to daughters. Shahu adopted Parvatibai when she was 3 years old. She was the daughter of a mamledar of Pen, Raigad. He gave her training in warfare and administration. He, later, got her married to Shrimant Sadashivrao Bhau when she was 15 years-old. Even though her father was alive, he did her kanyadan. He also adopted two sons, Fatehsinh I and Rajaram II of Satara (who succeeded him as the Raja of Satara). Rajaram II had been brought to him by Shahu's paternal aunt, Tarabai, who initially claimed that the young man was her grandson and a descendant of Shivaji, but later disowned him as an imposter. After Shahu's death the powers were indirectly shifted to the Peshwa Balaji Bajirao.

Shahu also adopted Ranoji Lokhande, later known as Fatehsinh I Raje Sahib Bhonsle, the son of Meherban Sayaji Lokhende, the patil of Parud.[1] Fatehsinh became the first raja of Akalkot around the year 1708. Upon his adoption Fatehsinh received the town of Akkalkot and surrounding areas. The descendants of Fatehsinh later went on to establish the Bhonsle dynasty in Akkalkot state.

Death and succession

After getting Parvatibai married to Sadashivrao Bhau, the valiant son of Chimaji Appa Peshwa and fixing Radhikabai's marriage with Vishwasrao Peshwa , he died in December 1749. His adopted son Rajaram II of Satara claimed to be Tarabai's grandson and succeeded him. But the actual power was held by others: first by Tarabai and then by Peshwa Balaji Baji Rao.

Preceded by
Shivaji II
Chhatrapati of the
Maratha Empire

1707–1749
Succeeded by
Rajaram II of Satara
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