|Chhatrapati of the Maratha Empire|
|5th Chhatrapati of the Maratha Empire|
|Reign||12 January 1708 –15 December 1749|
|Coronation||12 January 1708, Satara|
|Born||18 May 1682|
Gangoli Fort, Mangaon
|Died||15 December 1749 (aged 67)|
Rangmahal Palace, Satara
Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj (1682–1749 CE) was the fifth Chhatrapati of the Maratha Empire created by his grandfather, Shivaji. 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.He was a powerful ruler of Maratha Samrajya after Shivaji I. 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, Scindia of Gwalior and Holkar of Indore.
Expansion of the Maratha Empire
Early in his reign, Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj 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 four daughters. 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.
Death and succession
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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Shahu ruled for about forty-two years from January 12, 1708, to December 15, 1749
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Shahu, the son of Sambhaji along with his mother Yesubai, was made a prisoner
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