In this volume in The New Cambridge History of India, Dr. Stewart Gordon presents a new comprehensive history of one of the most colorful and least understood kingdoms of India; the Maratha polity. The kingdom was founded by Shivaji in the mid-seventeenth century and spread across much of India during the following century. It was subsequently conquered by the British in the nineteenth century, but none the less provided the basis for the formation of many princely states.
Since independence a huge mass of administrative documents of the Maratha polity and many important family papers have become available to scholars. Stewart Gordon draws on this material to explore the origin of the Marathas in the Muslim kingdoms of the Deccan, their emergence as elite families, patterns of loyalty, and strategies for maintaning legitimacy. He traces how the Marathas armies developed from bands of lightly armed cavalry to European-style infantry and artillery and assesses the economics that funded the polity, especially taxation and credit. Finally, the author considers the legacy of the Maratha polity: the profound effects it had upon revenue administration, law, education, trade patterns, migration, and the economic and social make-up of Central India, Gujarat and Maharashtra.
In this book, Stewart Gordon presents a picture of everyday life in the Maratha polity as well as an important example of the dynamics of kingdoms during this period. The Marathas 1600-1818 will be widely read by students and specialists of Indian, military, and colonial history as well as by anthropologists.
List of maps
General editor's preface
Introduction: historiography and bibliography
1. The geopolitics of Maharashtra
2. Marathas and the Deccan sultanates
3. Shivaji (1630-80) and the Maratha polity
4. Family responses to invasion (1680-1719)
5 Baji Rao I's northern expansion (1720-1740)
6. Conquest to administration (1740-1760)
7. Centripetal forces (1760-1803)