The Marathi people originated from a region that extends from Bombay to Goa.
As Hindu's the Marathi fought endless wars against the Moslem rulers of
the Mogul empire. They became celebrated as unsurpassable guerrilla fighters under
their leader Sivaji (1627-80), who established a strong kingdom
in the 1600's.
From 1681 the Moguls conducted annual raids against the Marathi, who became a major power extending their influence across central India. In 1737 the Marathi raided as far as Delhi, which they later succeeded in occupying.
More trouble for the Mogul rulers came from the Afghan invaders who occupied the Punjab in 1739. Afghans and Marathi began to penetrate each others territories; sometimes the Afghans occupied Delhi then the Marathi advanced to the Indus. In the historic battle of Panipat (1761) a superior Afghan army defeated the Marathi decisively.
The constant wars against Marathi and Afghans broke the power of the Mogul Empire and made possible the British conquest of India. British rule in India was consolidated when troops from the East India Company led by by Robert Clive defeated the army of the ruler of Bengal in the battle of Plassey in 1757.