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Imperial Gazetteer of India, v. 2, p. 441.


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xli] THE MARS THXS 441
founded a dynasty of his own, confining the pageant king
in a palace that became a prison. The first of the Peshwa
dynasty was BMliji Vishvanath, a Brlhman from the Konkan,
who established the power of Shlhu, and organized the con-
federacy of the Marith. chiefs. Before he died in 1720,
he had led a Maratha army to Delhi, in alliance with the
Saiyid 'king-makers,' and had extorted an imperial grant of
the chauzh or one-fourth of the revenues of the Deccan,
together with a recognition of the swaraj or 'kingdom' that
had been won by Sivaji. His two successors, Baji Rao I
(r720-40) and Balaji Rao (I740-6I), inherited his talents and
his policy. In their time the Marathas conquered Gujarat,
Mailw, Berkr, Gondwana, and Orissa; they drove the Portu-
guese out of Salsette and Bassein; they raided as far south as
the Carnatic, and as far north as Bengal and the Punjab. It
was as generals of the Peshwa that the representatives of the
two great houses of Sindhia and Holkar first came into notice.
But at the very moment when the Marathas appeared to have
bled to death the effete Mughal empire, they brought down
upon their heads a more virile Muhammadan race from the
north-western frontier. Ahmad Shah Durrani, now paramount
in the Punjab, rallied round his own Afghans the Rohillas and
the forces of the Nawab of Oudh, and inflicted upon the
confederate Mar-thas the decisive defeat of Panipat (I761).
The Peshwa himself, who had lost a son in the battle, sank
under the blow; and from this epoch may be dated the dis-
ruption of the Maratha confederacy, for henceforth each chief
fought mainly for his own hand.
The fourth Peshwa, Madhu Rao (I761-72), was not un-
worthy of his ancestors. He was an able administrator, and
waged war successfully against Haidar Ali. His death, how-
ever, was followed by minorities and disputed successions, and
by intrigues among ministers at Poona and rival chiefs who
had now become independent. It was in these circumstances
that the British first came into contact with the Marathas.
Up to this time the Government of Bombay had always Bombay
maintained fairly amicable relations with the Marathas. When and the
Sivaji sacked Surat, the English factory was stoutly defended,
and compensation was paid by him for English losses on other
occasions. When Sivjji was crowned at Raigarh, an English
embassy attended the ceremony. Later on English ships were
constantly fighting against Angria, the admiral of the Maratha
fleet; but it was in alliance with the Peshwa that Angria's two
strongholds of Suvarndrug and Gheria were ultimately stormed,



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