He began his carrier as a small revenue official & was given the title of Sena Karte (a marker of the army) by Shahu in 1708.
He became Peshwa in 1713 & made the post the most important & powerful as well as hereditary.
He concluded an agreement with the Syed Brothers-King Maker (1719) by which the Mughal emperor Farrukhsiyar recognized Shahu as the king of the Swarajya.
Baji Rao I: 1720-40
Baji Rao, the eldest son of Balaji Viswanath, succeeded him as Peshwa at the young age of 20.
He was considered the greatest exponent of guerrilla tactics after Shivaji & Maratha’s power reached its zenith under him.
Under him, several Maratha families became prominent & got themselves entrenched in different parts of India.
Salsette from the Portuguese (1739).
He also defeated the Nizam-ul-Mulk near Bhopal & concluded the treaty of Doraha Sarai by which he got Malwa & Bundelkhand from the latter (1738).
He said about Mughals: ‘Let us strike at the trunk of the
withering tree & the branches will fall of themselves.
Balaji Baji Rao: 1740-61
Popularly known as Nana Saheb, he succeeded his father at the age of 20.
After the death of Shahu (1749), the management of all state affairs was left in his hands.
In an agreement with the Mughal emperor Ahmad Shah, the Peshwa was to protect the Mughal empire from internal & external enemies (like Ahmad Shah Abdali) in return for Chauth (1752).
The third battle of Panipat (Jan 14, 1761) resulted in the defeat of the Marathas by Ahmad Shah Abdali & the death of Viswas Rao & Sadashiv Rao Bhau. This event shocked the Peshwa Balaji Baji Rao & after six months he also died. This battle ended the Maratha power.