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|5th Maratha Chhatrapati|
|Reign||January 12, 1708–December 15, 1749|
|Coronation||January 12, 1708, Satara|
|Successor||Rajaram II of Satara|
18 May 1682|
Ganguli Fort, Mangaon
|Died||15 December 1749
Rangmahal Palace, Satara
|Spouse||Savitribai, Ambikabai|
Shahuji Bhonsle (1682–1749 CE) was the fifth emperor of the Maratha Empire created by his grandfather, Shivaji. More popularly known as Chhatrapati Shahu, he was taken prisoner with his mother in 1689 by Nasrat Jang.[better source needed] He came out of captivity by the Mughals and defeated his aunt Tarabai in an internecine conflict to gain the throne in 1708. After the death of Aurangzeb, leading Mughal courtiers released Shahu with a force of fifty men, thinking that a friendly Maratha leader would be a useful ally.
He was son of Sambhaji, Shivaji's eldest son and successor. Under his reign, Maratha power and influence extended to all corners of the Indian subcontinent by Peshwas. However his period saw the power moving from the ruler to his ministers (the Peshwas) and the generals who had carved out their own fiefdoms such as the Shindes, Holkars, Gaekwad and Bhonsle of Nagpur.
Expansion of the 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..
Shahu had four wives and fathered two adopted sons and four daughters. He adopted two sons, Fatehsinh I and Rajaram II of Satara (who succeeded him as the Raja of Satara). Rajaram II had been brought to her by Tarabai, who initially claimed that the young man was her grandson and a descendant of Shivaji, but later disowned him as an imposter. After his death the powers were indirectly shifted to the Peshwa Balaji Bajirao.
Shahu died in 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.
|Chhatrapati of the
Rajaram II of Satara
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