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The Marathas 1600-1818 by Stewart Gordon


The Marathas 1600-1818 by Stewart Gordon

In this book, Dr Stewart Gordon presents a comprehensive history of one of the most colourful and least-understood kingdoms of India: the Maratha Empire. The empire was founded by Shivaji in the mid-seventeenth century, spread across most of India during the following century, and was conquered by the British in the nineteenth century. Using administrative documents of the Maratha polity, family papers and Histories of the Empire, Stewart Gordon explores the origin of the Marathas, their emergence as elite families, patterns of loyalty and strategies for maintaining legitimacy. He traces how the armies developed into European-style infantry and artillery and assesses the economics that funded the polity, especially taxation and credit. Finally the author considers the lasting effects the empire had on administrations, law and trade patterns of Central India, Gujarat and Maharashtra.


The Marathas is extremely detailed and covers a great many topics in the two century period it treats. It is written with an eye to the use that various groups with political and cultural agendas have made of the history of Maharashtra. The story The Marathas itself tells is dispassionate, judicious, and absorbing.

Rachana Kamtekar, Chicago South Asia Newsletter As a synthesis of current interpretations and as a comprehensive reference work, Gordon's volume amply fulfills the goals of the New Cambridge History of India series of which it forms a part. Gordon distills a massive array of original and secondary sources into a succinct and readable summary of Maratha history, while at the same time acquainting readers with the main issues in the field. Copious bibliographic references and a glossary provide further assistance to the nonspecialist, as do the nine excellent maps. For the many of us who have yearned to understand something of Maratha history, yet have been too faint of heart to face the enormity of the task given the vast (and often rather dense) literature involved, Gordon has performed a welcome service.

Cynthia Talbot, Journal of Asian Studies intelligent and insightful new synthesis on the Marathas and their polity....a brilliant and compelling reading of the Maratha's political and military enterprise.

Frank F. Conlon, American Historical Review

About the Author

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Book Info

Publication date

1st February 2007


Stewart Gordon

More books by Stewart Gordon
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Cambridge University Press


220 pages


Asian history
Modern history to 20th century: c 1700 to c 1900



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