Shahu I
Chhatrapati of the Maratha Empire
5th Chhatrapati of the Maratha Empire
Reign12 January 1707[1] –15 December 1749[2][3]
Coronation12 January 1708, Satara[4]
PredecessorShivaji II
SuccessorRajaram II
Born(1682-05-18)18 May 1682
Gangawali village Fort, Mangaon[5]
Died15 December 1749(1749-12-15) (aged 67)[6]
Rangmahal Palace, Satara[6]
  • Savitribai[7]
  • Ambikabai[7]
  • Sakwarbai
  • Sagunabai

Shahu Bhosale I (1682–1749 CE) was the fifth Chhatrapati of the Maratha Empire founded by his grandfather, Shivaji. Born in the Bhonsle family, he was the son of Sambhaji Maharaj, Shivaji Maharaj'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 Battle of Raigarh.[9][10]

Under Shahu's reign, Maratha power and influence extended to all corners of the Indian subcontinent. After his death, his ministers (the Ashtapradhans) and the generals carved out their own fieldoms such as Bhonsle of Nagpur, Gaekwad of Baroda, Sindhia of Gwalior and Holkar of Indore, which eventually turned into a Maratha confederacy.

Expansion of the Maratha Empire

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.[11] At that time he fought a brief war with his aunt Tarabai in an internecine conflict to gain the Maratha throne in 1708.[12][13] 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.[14][15]


Shahu had four wives who gave him two born-to sons and four born-to daughters.[16] Shahu adopted Parvatibai when she was 3 years old. She was the daughter of a mamledar of Pen, Raigad. He gave her training in warfare and administration. He, later, got her married to Sadashivrao Bhau when she was 15 years-old. Even though her father was alive, he did her kanyadan. 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.[17] After Shahu's death the powers were indirectly shifted to the Peshwa Balaji Bajirao.[6]

Shahu also adopted Ranoji Lokhande, later known as Fatehsinh I Raje Sahib Bhonsle, the son of Meherban Sayaji Lokhende, the patil of Parud.[1] Fatehsinh became the first raja of Akalkot around the year 1708. Upon his adoption Fatehsinh received the town of Akkalkot and surrounding areas. The descendants of Fatehsinh later went on to establish the Bhonsle dynasty in Akkalkot state.

Death and succession

After getting Parvatibai married to Sadashivrao Bhau, the valiant son of Chimaji Appa Peshwa and fixing Radhikabai's marriage with Vishwasrao Peshwa , he died in December 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.[17]

Preceded byShivaji II Chhatrapati of the Maratha Empire 1707–1749 Succeeded byRajaram II of Satara


  1. ^ Mehta 2005, p. 55.
  2. ^ Mehta 2005, p. 314.
  3. ^ Rameshwarprasad Ganeshprasad Pandey (1980). Mahadji Shinde and the Poona Durbar. Oriental Publishers & Distributors. p. 3. Shahu ruled for about forty-two years from January 12, 1708, to December 15, 1749
  4. ^ Pī. E. Gavaḷī (1988). Society and Social Disabilities Under the Peshwas. National Publishing House. p. 5. At last Shahu emerged victorious and ascended the throne at Satara on 12th January, 1708.
  5. ^ Mehta 2005, p. 51.
  6. ^ a b c Mehta 2005, p. 181.
  7. ^ a b Mehta 2005, p. 177.
  8. ^ "Ruka'at-i-Alamgiri; or, Letters of Aurungzebe, with historical and explanatory notes". 1908.
  9. ^ Rukaat-i-Alamgiri page 153
  10. ^ Maharashtra State Gazetteers: Buldhana. Director of Government Printing, Stationery and Publications, Maharashtra State. 1976. Shahu, the son of Sambhaji along with his mother Yesubai, was made a prisoner
  11. ^ Manohar, Malgonkar (1959), The Sea Hawk: Life and Battles of Kanoji Angrey, p. 63
  12. ^ A. Vijaya Kumari; Sepuri Bhaskar (1998). Social change among Balijas: majority community of Andhra Pradesh. MD. ISBN 9788175330726. Retrieved 24 June 2011.
  13. ^ Sen, Sailendra (2013). A Textbook of Medieval Indian History. Primus Books. pp. 201–202. ISBN 978-93-80607-34-4.
  14. ^ Stein, B. (2010). A history of India (Vol. 10). John Wiley & Sons page= 187
  15. ^ Gordon, S. (1993). The Marathas 1600–1818 (Vol. 4). Cambridge University Press, pages 121–130.
  16. ^ "Fatehsinh I Raje Sahib Bhonsle and Adoption (under India - Princely States: 1)". Retrieved 19 September 2020.
  17. ^ a b Biswamoy Pati, ed. (2000). Issues in Modern Indian History. Popular. p. 30. ISBN 978-81-7154-658-9.