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MARATHAS OF THANJAVUR 1630-1798
Q1. How the Marthas came to rule southern end Thanjavur?
Thanjavur was in the rule of Cholas,then Pandyas, then Malik Kafur of the Delhi Sultanate, then to Vijayanagara Empire, then to Nayaks of Madurai in mid 17th century (1646) and was ruled till 1673 by the Nayaks. In 1673, due to internal squabbles of the Nayaks, one of the Nayaks descendant, not on the throne, sought the help of the Bijapur Sultan to help him to ascend the throne. Thus came Venkoji Rao Bhonsle, a Maratha general under Bijapur Sultan to Thanjavur. While he successfully dethroned the ruler then, instead of handing over the throne to the claimant, or to the Bijapur Sultan, established his own kingdom in 1674. Venkoji was actually a descendant of Shivaji's family (half brother). He ruled from 1674 to 1684.
Q2. Who were the rulers of Thanjavur and what were their accomplishments?
VENKOJI - 1674 - 1684 - also known as Ekoji. He died in 1684. SHAHUJI I - 1684-1712 - Nothing much except that he accepted the suzerainty of the Mughals under Aurangazeb and was paying annual tributes. He was a great patron of literature. Abdicated the throne and became a yogi. SERFOJI I -1712-1718 ; TUKKOJI -1728-1736; EKOJI II - 1736-1737; SUJA BHAI -1736-1737 Wife of Ekkoji II - She was deposed by Shahuji II (also known as Kaattu Raja) with French help. SHAHUJI II -1738-1739 - Deposed by the French. PRATAP SIMHA - 1739-1763 - Son of Tukkoji. In 1742, became a vassal of the Nizam of Hyderabad and was paying annual tributes. Supported the British during their seven years war with the French. Died in 1763. THULJAJI - 1763-1773 and 1776-1787 - entered into a number of treaties with the British and became their subordinate. Tipu's invasion and plundering of Thanjavur during 1784 was the major event during his regime. AMAR SINGH - 1787-1793 as Regent of Serfoji II and usurped the throne between 1793-1798. SERFOJI II - 1798-1832 - the last of the Maratha rulers. He was the adopted son of Thuljaji - He was a great philanthrophist and his contribution to the Saraswathi Mahal Library (established by the Nayaks) is huge and praised even today. He seem to have performed a number of eye surgeries (cataract) during his days. As the British have by then established complete control, he was allowed to have the principality of Thanjavur for him to rule. He died in 1831 and his death was mourned by almost a lakh of people in those days.