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Chhatrapathi Shivaji Maharaj was the greatest ruler of the Maratha Empire. After Shivaji's death in 1680,the Mughal ruler Aurangzeb killed Shivaji's son Shambhaji and captured Shamabaji's infant son Shahu. Aurangazeb's successors released Shahu who occupied the Maratha throne.
The Peshwa is a (Prime minister) helped him rule his empire. Gradually, Peshwa became the real ruler of Marathas and his post became hereditary.
During Shahu's reign Satara was the Maratha capital. After his death, the capital was shifted to Pune. Under the Peshwas Marathas developed a very successful military campaign. Between 1720 and 1761 the Maratha empire expanded.
After raiding Delhi on 1737 the frontiers of Maratha domination expanded into Rajasthan, Punjab, Bengaluru and Odisha. But these military campaigns also made other rulers hostile towards the Marathas and as a result they did not support Marathas in the third battle of Panipat.