The origins of the Maratha Empire can be traced back to a series of rebellions led by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj against the rule of the Bijapur Sultanate and later the Mughal Empire. Based on the principle of Hindawi Swarajya, he carved out an independent Maratha kingdom with Raigad as the capital.
In 1674, he was crowned Chhatrapati (sovereign) of the new Maratha Kingdom after successfully defending it from Mughal incursions. At the time of his death, the kingdom was defended by a series of forts and well-equipped naval establishments. By the time of his grandson’s rule in the early 18th century, the kingdom had increased its size and transformed into a full-fledged empire. In 1659, Adilshah sent Afzal Khan, an experienced and veteran general to destroy Shivaji in an effort to put down what he saw as a regional revolt. Afzal Khan desecrated Hindu temples at Tuljapur and Pandharpur, hoping to draw Shivaji to the plains where the superior Bijapuri army could destroy him. Shivaji, however, sent a letter to Afzal Khan requesting a meeting to negotiate.
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