Third Battle of Panipat: Description, Armies, and Causes

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Third Battle of Panipat

The third battle of Panipat took place on 14 January 1761, at Panipat, about 97 km away from present-day Delhi. The battle was fought between the king of Afghanistan and the Maratha Empire. The former came in a coalition of Afghanistani army, with two Indian Muslim allies- Rohilla Afghans of Doab, and Shuja-ud-daula, the Nawab of Oudh. The third battle of Panipat is considered to be one of the largest and most eventful battles in Indian history. The battle lasted for days with many losses and gains of humans and materials on both sides.  It led to the victory of the Afghans. 

Third Battle of Panipat – Description

The third battle of Panipat lasted for several days and involved a series of fights between the armies of both parties.

Maratha ExpansionMarathas grew in power after defeating the Mughals, aiming to establish their kingdom from Indus to southern India. They succeeded in creating a kingdom in Delhi.
Ahmed Shah Abdali’s KingdomAbdali established his kingdom in Afghanistan in 1747 and moved towards Punjab, posing a threat to the Marathas.
First Battle of Panipat (1761)Marathas faced Afghan forces supported by Nawab of Awadh and Rohilla Afghans. Marathas lacked support from Rajputs, Sikhs, and Jats.
Casualties and LossesVishwas Rao and Sadashiv Rao were among the Maratha leaders killed in the battle, leading to heavy casualties and defeat.
Peshwa’s Death and Durrani’s RetreatPeshwa died due to defeat, and Durrani did not return to India. He transferred power to Robert Clive of the East India Company, marking the Company’s increased influence.
OutcomeMarathas suffered a significant blow, leading to the East India Company’s rise to power in India.

Armies in the Third Battle of Panipat

This is what the armies of both sides consisted of:

Maratha ArmyCoalition Army
French-supplied ArtilleryAfghans- Heavy cavalry and mounted artillery(zamburak and jizail) 
CavalryRohillas- Led by two Ethnic PashtunsAhmad Shah Durrani Najib-ud-Daulah
Credits: Quora

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Cause of the Third Battle of Panipat

There are multiple factors that led to the third battle of Panipat.

FactorsImpact on the Mughal Dynasty
Defeat by Nadir ShahShaken dynasty; led to Sardars gaining autonomy and weakening Mughal unity.
Maratha PowerMarathas’ expansion created fear, targeting Punjab; defeated Durrani’s son, causing conflict over Delhi’s power.
Internal DisputesRuhela’s defeat by Safdarjung and Marathas; Maratha-Rajput, Maratha-Avadh, Maratha-Holkar/Scindia conflicts; Abdali’s motive.
Maratha ReligionStrongly Hindu-centric, aiming for a Hindu empire; not supporting Rajput/Muslim establishment.
Durrani’s RequestAbdali invites Rajputs and Ruhels to attack India due to internal disputes.
First Anglo-Maratha War: History and ResultSecond Anglo-Maratha War: Course and Outcome
Who Defeated the Maratha Empire?Who Defeated Akbar?
Battle of Khanwa: Causes, Events and AftermathHere is the List of All The Anglo-Maratha Wars!

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