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History of Himachal Pradesh

The history of Himachal Pradesh dates back to the days of Indus Valley civilization. The original tribes that inhibited the Indus valley civilizations were Koilis, Halis, Dagis, Dhaugris, Dasas, Khasas, Kinnars and Kirats. Gradually the Aryan civilization invaded this region.

In fact, human settlements in Himachal Pradesh date back to two million years. Evidence suggests that the places of prehistoric settlements are found in the Bangana valley of Kangra, Sirsa valley of Nalagarh, and Markanda valley of Sirmour. In ancient times, the region of Himachal Pradesh was made up of a number of small republic states known as Janapadas. These Janapadas enjoyed independence till the Muslims invaded these parts of India. Mahmud Ghaznavi conquered Kangra valley around the 10th century and Timur and Sikandar Lodi also exercised their imperialistic ambitions in this state.

The history of Himachal Pradesh had been subjected to various imperialistic ambitions. The Kashmiri king, Sankar Varma, exercised an influence over Himachal Pradesh way back in the ninth century. In 1009 AD, Himachal Pradesh saw the invasion of Mahmud Ghazni, who had looted the wealth from the temples in north India. Himachal Pradesh was also no exception to his plunders.

Himachal Pradesh was ruled by the Rajputs from 1043 AD to 1804 AD, till the Maharaja Ranjit Singh crushed the Rajput empire in 1804. During the late 1760s, the Gorkhas, a tribe with special martial arts prowess, came to power in Nepal. They captured most of the areas of the north eastern side of the state and eventually annexed the territories of Sirmour and Shimla to their kingdom. Under the leadership of Raja Ram Singh, they also defeated Maharaja Ranjit Singh.

Eventually the southward expansion of the Gorkhas led to the Anglo Gorkha war in which the British gradually came out to be victorious. They expelled the Gorkhas from the provinces of Sutlej. During the early 19th century, the British captured and annexed the area of Shimla and its surrounding areas, following the Anglo Gorkha War of 1815-16. Most of the rulers or rather puppet rulers of Himachal Pradesh extended support to the British government during the 1857 mutiny. The rulers also supported British war efforts during the World War I, both with men and materials.

After the independence of India in 1947, Himachal Pradesh became a centrally administered territory with the integration of 31 hill provinces. Some additional regions were integrated into the ambit of Himachal Pradesh in 1966. In 1956, Himachal Pradesh became a union territory, and it was elevated to the status of statehood on 25 January 1971.

Last Updated On: 2011/07/06

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