Third Battle of Panipat


Third Battle of Panipat

Third battle of Panipat was fought on 14 January 1761 between Afghan ruler Ahmed Shah Durani also known as Ahmed Shah Abdali and Maratha confederacy under the leadership of Sadashivrao Bhau. Ahmed Shah Durani was supported by the Rohilla Afghans of Doab and Shuja-ud-Daula,Nawab of Awadh. 

This battle is considered as the most bloodiest battle among all the Three battles of Panipat.                                                                 

Ahmed Shah Abdali                                                         Sadashivrao Bhau

Around 50,000 army                                                   Around 2,50,000 men

Ahmed Shah Abdali

Ahmed Shah Abdali(1747-1772) was the successor of Nadir Shah. Abdali was the founder of Durrani Empire. He started his career as a soldier and later became the king of Afghanistan. During the reign of Abdali his empire stretched to the Punjab region of India. He checked the progress of Maratha Empire towards Northern India.

Sadashivrao Bhau

Sadashivrao Bhau was the nephew of Peshwa Bajirao I. He was the commander in chief of the Maratha Army during 3rd Battle of Panipat.

List of Marathas rulers

Maratha ruler Years
Shivaji 1674-1680
Chhatrapati Sambhaji 1680-1689
Chhatrapati Rajaram 1689-1700
Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj
Peshwa Balaji Vishwanath 1713-1720
Peshwa Baji Rao I 1720-1740
Peshwa Balaji Baji Rao  1740-1761
Peshwa Madhav Rao I  1761-1772
Peshwa Narayan Rao 1772-1773
Peshwa Raghunath Rao 1773-1774
Peshwa Madhav Rao II  1774-1796
Peshwa Baji Rao II  1796-1802, 1803-1818
Peshwa Nana Sahib 1851-1857


Reasons for the Third battle of Panipat

  • After the death of Aurangzeb in 1707 , the principal opponent of Maratha empire in north was in leadership crisis. Under Peshwa Baji Rao I in 1721 Marathas annexed the regions of Malwa and Gujarat from Mughal authority. Marathas were slowly consolidating their power in the Northern India. 
  • Peshwa Balaji Baji rao invaded Punjab in 1758. This brought him closer to the Durrani Empire led by Ahmed Shah Abdali. 
  • On the other hand Rohilla Afghans of Doab and Shuja-ud-Daula,Nawab of Awadh joined hands with the Ahmed Shah Abdali on the pretext of joining an “An army of Islam”.

Consequences of Third battle of Panipat

  • Although Maratha forces were around 2,50,000 in number but out of those almost 2,00,000 were non combatants whereas Afghan forces were 50,000 in number.
  • Afghan forces not only defeated Martha forces but also killed almost 40,000-50,000 maratha soldiers. 
  • This battle not only stopped the Maratha chariot running towards north but also blew a severe blot on the prestige of Maratha Kingdom. 

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