Some of the most important historical facts about the state of Gujarat have been described concisely in the article below. Read on to come across some wonderful historical facts about Gujarat.
History of Gujarat
The history of Gujarat can be traced back to as early as the settlements of the Indus Valley Civilization, whose evidence can be found in places like Lothal and Dholavira. Evidences also suggest that the coastal cities of Gujarat, mainly Bharuch, were used as ports and trading centers in the Nanda, Satavahana, Maurya and Gupta empires as well as during the Western Kshatrapas period. Quite evidently Gujarat has always been one of the prominent territories in the illustrious history of India. There are Rock edicts in the Girnar hills which suggest that Ashoka extended his domain into Gujarat during his reign. In about 150BC the Bactarian Greeks under Meander were said to have instilled their rule. Till 40AD they maintained their trade contracts with Rome. From about 130 to 390 AD the Scythians ruled the territory of Gujarat. There are many interesting historical facts about Gujarat. Read the lines below to learn many such facts.
Interesting Facts About History of Gujarat
- According to the Hindu epics, Lord Krishna and his elder brother Balarama, left Mathura and established the ‘Yadav dynasty’ at Kushasthali, which is now known as Dwarka. Dwarka eventually became one of the four seats (mathas) which was set up by Adi Shankaracharya.
- The name Gujarat was derived from "Gujjar Rashtra", the land of the Gujjars, a migrant tribe who arrived in India during Hun invasion in the 5th century.
- Originally the Dravidian tribes inhabited the region.
- The historical evidences suggest that, Gujarat had trade and commerce ties with Sumer in the Persian Gulf during the time period of 1000 to 750 BC.
- After the Gupta Empire fell in the 6th century AD, Gujarat thrived as an independent Hindu/Buddhist state. The Maitraka dynasty which descended from a Gupta general, ruled from the 6th to the 8th centuries from their capital at Vallabhi, although they were ruled briefly by Harsha during the 7th century. Eventually Maitraka dynasty came to an end when the Arab rulers of Sindh sacked Vallabhi in 770. The Gurjara-Pratihara Empire ruled Gujarat thereafter from the 8th-10th centuries. However, for some period in between during the reign of Gurjara-Pratihara, the region fell under the control of Rashtrakuta Empire and Pala Empire. The Zoroastrians refugees from Iran first set their feet on Gujarat in 775 AD.
- The earliest of the Europeans to set foot on Gujarat were the Portuguese who settled in Diu, a small island off the southern coast of Saurashtra. After that the British arrived and set up their warehouses in Surat in 1612.
- Gujarat witnessed many Dynasties like Mauryas, Guptas, Pratiharas etc, but it was under the regime of Chalukyas (Solanki) when Gujarat was the most prosperous and progressive. Even in the wake of Mahmud of Ghazni’s lootings, the Chalukyan kings could maintain prosperity throughout the state. But after this glorious reign of the Chalukya dynasty, Gujarat faced great turmoil under the Muslims, Marathas and the British rules.
- Allauddin Khilji, Sultan of Delhi, destroyed Anhilwara and Gujarat thus was included into the Delhi Sultanate from 1297 to 1300. But the sultanate was weakened when Timur sacked Delhi at the end of the fourteenth century. Gujarat's Rajput Muslim governor Zafar Khan Muzaffar seized the opportunity and declared himself Independent and his son, Sultan Ahmed Shah (ruled 1411 to 1442), reconstituted Ahmedabad as the capital. Until 1576 the Sultanate of Gujarat remained independent, but then Akbar, the Great Mughal emperor, conquered and Gujarat fell under Mughal Empire. During the Mughal rule, Surat evolved into the most prominent port of India. Gujarat continued to be a part of the Mughal Empire until in the eighteenth century when the Marathas occupied eastern and central Gujarat, whereas the Western part of Gujarat (Kathiawar and Kutch) was divided among several local rulers.
- In the late 18th century, the Maratha Empire got an absolute control over Gujarat. The first ruler of Gaekwad dynasty, Pilaji Gaekwad established the control over Baroda and much of Gujarat. In 1761 after the ‘Battle of Panipat’, the Maratha generals proclaimed their autonomous governments. But after the second Anglo-Maratha War the British East India Company snatched Gujarat from the Marathas. However, some of the rulers like the Maratha Gaekwads of Baroda (Vadodara, made peace with the British with the British. They agreed to acknowledge British sovereignty in order to retain local self-rule. Gujarat was under the political authority of the Bombay Presidency. However, the state Baroda was an exception, as it had a direct relationship with the Governor-General of India.
- During the period from 1818 to 1947, most of what is present-day Gujarat, including Kathiawar, Kutch, and northern and eastern Gujarat constituted of several princely states. Though some districts in central and southern Gujarat, such as Kaira (Kheda), Panchmahal, Ahmedabad, Broach (Bharuch), and Surat, remained under the direct rule of the British officials.
With a history that can be dated as early as the Vedic period, Gujarat has witnessed a number of major events in the history of India.