Today's Marathi-speaking and Kannada- speaking parts of India spoke Maharashtri Prakrit for centuries.
Maharashtri Prakrit was widely spoken in India till 875 AD.
Maharashtri Apabhramsa remained in use for several hundred years until at least 500 CE.
Apabhramsa found wide usage in Jain literature and it constituted the key link in the evolution of Marathi by having been re-Sanskritised.
At the beginning of the 19th century (the period of the British colony), Christian missionaries, in their efforts to spread their religion, played an important role in the development of Marathi.
A well known Christian missionary William Carey was the one in standardizing the Marathi grammar.
Like the corresponding periods in other Indian languages, this was the period dominated by English- educated intellectuals.
In the beginning of the 20th century, Marathi literature and drama well flourished.
During the period from 1794 to 1818, old Marathi literature gave way to entry of Modern Marathi literature. Joshi, Vinda Karandikar, Vasant Bapat and Shanta Shelke are some of other the well-known names of the last phase of the Modern Period of Marathi literature.
Mahipati Buva Tahrabadkar (1715-1790), Niranjana Madhava (1703-1790) and Moropant (1729-1794) were the great writers of this period. Marathi literature in the field of drama saw an opening with Vishnudas Bhave's work. Kirloskar (Saubhadra, Sakuntala and Ramarajaya-Viyoga), G B Deval (Sharada), R G Gadkari (Ekach Pyala), Mama Warerkar (Apporva Bangal) and P L Deshpande (Amaldar) are some great Marathi dramatists. Hari Narayan Apte's (1864-1919) Madhali Sthiti was the first novel to be published in Marathi followed by his other important novels, Ushankala, Mi and Pan Lakshat Kon Gheto.