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Modern History / British Conquest of India

Third Battle of Panipat and Anglo Maratha Wars


    Third Battle of Panipat and Anglo Maratha Wars were the reasons for the establishment of British rule in the Maharashtra region. The third battle of Panipat was fought in the year 1761 between the Marathas and Ahmad Shah Abdali, the king of Afghanistan.



    During the reign of Shahu I (1707-1749), the grandson of Shivaji, the post of Peshwa was made hereditary. The Peshwas during the rule of Shahu I were Balaji Vishwanath (1713-1720), Baji Rao I (1720-1740) and Balaji Baji Rao (Nana Saheb) (1740-1761). Shahu I died without having any heirs. From 1749 onwards, the Peshwa became the de facto and de jure authority. Balaji Baji Rao shifted the capital from Satara to Pune. By this time, the Maratha glory reached from Delhi to Mysore and from Cuttack to Attock (in Sindh).

    Third Battle of Panipat

    • The third Battle of Panipat was fought when the Afghan king, Ahmad Shah Abdali, who was ruling over Attock, was invited by Najib-ud-Daulah, the de facto ruler of Delhi under the Mughal Empire to wage a war against the Marathas.

      Balaji Baji Rao was the Peshwa during third battle of Panipat. In the third Panipat war, Marathas were defeated. Balaji Baji Rao died with a broken heart.

    • In this war, Maratha forces were led by 2 generals, namely Sada Shiv Rao Bhau (cousin of Nana Saheb) and Vishwas Rao (son of the Peshwa). 27 nobles died in this war.

      Those who died, were most of the 4 family rulers of (i) Bhonsle rulers of Nagpur, (ii) Scindia rulers of Gwalior, (iii) Gaekwad rulers of Baroda and (iv) Holkar rulers of Indore.

    • Historians called it as tragedy of Marathas. Fruits of Third Panipat were enjoyed by the Britishers as the Marathas became weak.

    Anglo Maratha Wars

    Three wars were fought between the Marathas and the British.

    • First Anglo Maratha War (1775-1782)

      An infant, Madhav Rao II was the Peshwa during the First Anglo Maratha war. The First Anglo Maratha war began with Treaty of Surat in 1775. According to the treaty, the acting Peshwa Raghunathrao, who was unwilling to give power to Madhav Rao II, gave over the territories of Salsette and Bassein to the British, in addition to some part of the revenues from Bharuch and Surat districts to seek the British support. The British Governor General during the war was Warren Hastings. A standstill agreement known as Treaty of Salbai was concluded in the year 1782.

    • Second Anglo Maratha War (1803-1805)

      Baji Rao II was the Peshwa during the Second Anglo Maratha war and the British Governor General was Lord Wellesley. The British were victorious in the Second Anglo Maratha war.

    • Third Anglo Maratha War (1817-1818)

      The British governor general during third Anglo Maratha war was Lord Hastings and the Peshwa was Baji Rao II. Marathas were completely defeated in this war. Baji Rao II was sent to Kanpur as pensioner.