Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj fondly called as Shivaji was the founder of the Maratha kingdom. Born on 1627 AD at Shivneri near Pune, Shivaji went on to become a Maratha hero who gave the Moslem invaders a tough time. His father Shahaji Raje Bhosale was in the army of Bijapur Sultan and he grew up under the care of his mother Jijabai and Dadaji Kondadev, his guardian.
Here we share some of the interesting facts about Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj:
He Built a Powerful Naval Army
Shivaji Maharaj at a very early stage realized the importance of Naval force. He not only protected the Konkan coast from the pirates but also made sure it remained independent from foreign invaders including the Dutch, Portuguese and the English. What’s more, he also built naval forts at Jaigad, Vijaydurg, Singhudurg and other places. He also had four different kinds of warships including Manjuhasm Pals, Gurabs and Gallibats.
It was Shivaji who formed a Professional Army of Marathas
Before Shivaji came in force, there was no proper Maratha army. It was Shivaji Maharaj who formed a formal army where several soldiers were paid throughout the year for their services. The Maratha army was divided into several units and each unit had 25 soldiers. The 25 soldiers reported to Havaldar who then reported to Jumladar. Both Hindus and Muslims were appointed in the army without any discrimination.
At the age of 15, Shivaji Acquired Forts by Bribing
When Shivaji was only 15 he bribed Inayat Khan, a Bijapuri commander to hand him the fort of Torna. Next, Shivaji also got the possession of Kondana fort after bribing an Adilshahi commander. Besides, the commander of Chakan fort became a Shivaji loyalist. Seeing Shivaji as a threat, Mohammed Adilshah imprisoned his father Shahaji Raje. Later Shahiji was conditionally released.
The Combat with the Mighty Afzal Khan
Shivaji is known for his combat with the Adilsahahi general Afzhal Khan. Both of them were supposed to meet carrying only a sword with just one follower. Shivaji speculated that Afzhal Khan would attack him so he wore armor beneath his dress. Different accounts narrate different stories as to who initiated the first attack/ However, it is interesting to see how a small man both in built and size could easily defeat and kill the huge general Afzal Khan in a combat.
Shivaji Maintained Peaceful Relations with Mughals
Shivaji maintained peaceful relations with the Mughals. In fact, Shivaji even offered his assistance to Aurangzeb for capturing Bijapur. In return he was guaranteed formal right to the forts and villages which were under his possession. However, things started deteriorating when Shivaji’s officer raided areas near Mughal Territory of Ahmednagar and later in Junnar. Soon, even the Mughals retaliated by raiding Shivaji’s territory.
Shivaji Had to Fight with His Half Brother Venkoji
All the negotiations made by Shivaji with his half brother Venkoji failed and this is the reason why the two brother fought each other in 1677. However, Shivaji defeated Venkoji and took most of his possessions. Later, Venkoji’s wife Dipa Bai made new negotiations with Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and even convinced her husband to stay away from Moslem advisors.