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Would you like to find the origin of one of the largest states of India? Then, check out this article on the history of Maharashtra.

Maharashtra History

Ajanta Ellora Caves MaharashtraWhen we take a look down history, we get to know that the area where Maharashtra stands today has been inhibited since the Paleolithic era. All the archaeological evidences unearthed till now, date the origin of the area to somewhere around 3rd century BC. The proof being the records related to the usage of Marathi language during that time. The state was ruled by the emperor Ashoka, of Magadha Empire. During that time, there was a port town of Sopara (situated to the north of the present day Mumbai).

Through that port, trade was conducted with Eastern Africa, Mesopotamia, Aden and Cochin. With the degradation of the Mauryan Empire, Satavahanas took over the rule of Maharashtra and their reign lasted till 225 AD. After that, the Vidarbha region of the state came under the Vakatakas and continued to be so till 525 AD. It was during the time of Vakatakas that art, religion as well as technology flourished in the state. The sixth century saw Maharashtra coming under the power of the Chalukyas.

It was in the 753 AD that Rashtrakutas conquered the state and started spreading it throughout the Indian peninsular. However, Chalukayas again gathered their army and annexed Maharashtra in 973 and they remained as the rulers of the state till 1189. This time, they lost their kingdom to the Yadavas of Deogiri. With the invasion of India by the Muslims, the first place to fall was Delhi. However, with time, the Muslim rulers started invading the whole of India and gained roots in Maharashtra around 13th century.

Ala-ud-din Khalji and Muhammad bin Tughlaq were the ones who had achieved this feat by taking over some parts of the Deccan. Tughlaq dynasty fell in 1347 and the region was thereafter taken over by the Bahamani Sultanate, which maintained the status quo for the next one and a half century. With the dawn of the 16th century, central Maharashtra came to be ruled by a number of Muslim rulers, all of them committed to the Mughals. However, the coastal areas of the state were under the control of the Portuguese.

Maratha Empire started gaining grounds in the state around the 17th century. Shivaji Maharaj kept on fighting with the Mughals to gain the control over Maharashtra and finally won in 1674, when he was crowned the king. It was during Shivaji's rule that he state experienced expansion at a phenomenal rate. He was the one to merge almost the entire Deccan, central India and some parts of the modern day Pakistan into Maratha Empire. In 1712, Bajirao I became the ruler of Maharashtra.

Thereafter, he established the Peshwa dynasty, with Pune as capital. With the arrival of the British, Peshwas were drawn into a long battle, which ended with the annexation of Peshwa ruled territory in Maharashtra in 1819. With this, the Maratha rule ended and began the British rule. British added an area from Karachi to most of the northern Deccan. India got independence in 1947 and in 1956; the princely states of central India were merged into Bombay Presidency. Maharashtra, as a state, was established on 1st May 1960.

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