History of Punjab

In early 7000 B.C, in Punjab, archaeologists have discovered evidence of life. Around 3000 BC, in Indus Valley, life grew that gave rise to the Indus Valley Civilization. There was evolution of historic cities like Harappa and Mohenjo Daro .In these civilizations after 19th century BC, there was the sharp and sudden decline.

Aryans migrated from the North-West (1500-100 BC), over the Indus region, shows dominance for thousand years. During Aryan Period, in this region, the oldest book of human history, Rig Veda, is supposed to be written here.

Persian kings, continuously attacked Punjab as it was just at the outskirt of the Persian Empire. In 516 BC, King Gustasp ,the Persian king conquered the region . Consequently, Punjab became the wealthiest empire i.e. a province of the Persian kingdom. Greeks, the strong competitors of the Persians, also got attracted to Punjab.

In 321 BC, Alexander, Great Greek King invaded Punjab, breaking the power of the Persian kings. He invited all the chieftains of the Persian Empire to come and surrender to him.

After a period of time, Greek empire in the east was upset by the domination of the Bacterians. In the second century BC, Bacterian king Demetrius I added Punjab to his kingdom. During the same period, the Northern Sakas successfully combated the power of the area from the Indo-Greeks. In 3rd century AD, White Huns established their rule over the state.

Arabs also get attracted to the land. In 8th century AD, they conquered the area of Multan Meanwhile, Mahmud, the ruler of Ghazni, attacked Punjab 17 times during his reign. However, the Ghaznavids were uprooted by the Ghauris, who spreader as far as Delhi. There were also few short-term rules of the Mamluks, Mongols, Khiljis and Tughluqs.

On 12th April 1801, Maharaja Ranjit Singh took over as its ruler in Punjab. Ahmad Shah Abdali’s empire in India had dissolved. Since 1757, Punjab was under the rule of Afghans and they had to face the rising power of Sikhs.

Sikhs joined hands to dethrone Taimul Shah and his Chief, Jalal Khan. In 1758, Afghans had to return and Lahore came under the Sikhs. Jassa Singh Ahluwalia became the head of the Sikh sovereignty.

Under his rule, the domain of Sikhs considerably grew over Punjab. After the death of Jassa Singh, Afghans started gaining power again. However, that was for short period of time , as Maharaja Ranjit Singh built up a strong force to counteract them.

Shah Zaman was one of the main rivals to be defeated by Ranjit Singh . Shah Zaman, inspite of his previous defeats, attacked Lahore and surrounded Sikhs from all the sides. The Afghans now planned to attack Amritsar, which was well answered by the forces of Ranjit Singh. In Punjab, Ranjit Singh won the hearts of everyone irrespective of religion and status.

On July 7, 1799 victorious Ranjit Singh entered Lahore. In Punjab, he finally acquired a kingdom, which stretched from the Sutlej river in the east to Peshawar in the west, and from the junction of the Sutlej and the Indus in the south to Ladakh in the north. In 1839, Ranjit Singh died and a succession struggle followed his death.

By 1845, British entered the province of Punjab with 32,000 troops and moved to the Sutlej frontier. In the late 1845, British and Sikh troops engaged in the First Anglo-Sikh War near Ferozepur. The war ended the following year and the territory between the Sutlej and the Beas fell into the hands of the British rule, along with Kashmir.

As per the Peace Treaty and the Treaty of Lahore, Punjab was totally controlled by the British East India Company and Dhalip Singh, the minor Sikh ruler, was deposed off. In 1919, the dreadful day of the Jalianwala Bagh Massacre occurred at Amritsar, It agitated the Sikhs to protest against the colonial rule. The 1940 Lahore Resolution of the Muslim League made Punjab the center of a bloodier struggle.

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