As per the royal chronicle, or Cheitharol Kumbaba, the region of Manipur, India, was established in the 1st century AD. It was a former kingdom, formed by the unification of ten clans under the Ningthouja clan. The region has historical significance as well - it had been the site of trade routes between India and Myanmar and also served as the arena for battle between the Japanese and the Allied forces, during World War II. A democratic form of government was established in Manipur, in accordance with the Manipur Constitution Act, 1947, and the Maharaja was appointed as the Executive Head. The area became a of independent India in 1949. The government in the State consisted of an elected legislature as well. In 1956, Manipur was conferred the status of a union territory of India, which continued till 1972. On January 21, 1972, it was given the status of a state in India. Let us explore the history and origin of Manipur in detail.
The Ancient Period (before Christ)
The earliest known occupation of Manipur can be traced back to Tang, the 14th generation ruler of Qi tribe that inhabited the central part of the present day China, who later found Tang-Shang dynasty. After him, his son (Tangja Leela Pakhangba) and grandson (Kangba) ruled over the area. The reign of Kangba, on Manipur region, stretched from 1405 BC to 1359 BC, after which his son Koikoi took over. He was one who introduced the dating of Meitei calender (Cheraoba), known as Mari-Fam and the surnames like Koikoijam & Keirambam.
The records of Manipur show have obscure information on its history between the reign of Kokoi and that of Korou Nongdren Pakhangba, who ruled around 934 BC and after him, we get to know about Chingkhong Poireiton, whose reign lasted from 34 BC to 18 BC. The information on what happened in-between these two rulers is again vague. Still, it is believed that for about 700 years during this period, there were no rulers in the Manipur area, which was then known as Tai-Pong-Pan.
The Early Period (33 AD-1149 AD)
Talking about the Early Period in the history of Manipur, we go back to the 1st century AD, when Nongda Lairen Pakhangba ruled over the region. He ascended the throne in 33 AD. After him, it is Meidingu Yanglou Keiphaba whose mention has been found in the historical records, with his reign lasting from 965 AD to 983 AD. The last major name of the Early Period is that of Meidingu Loitongba, who ruled from 1121 AD to 1149 AD. His son Atom Yoireba ascended the throne in 1149 Ad, but by 1162 AD he was driven out by his brother Hemtou Iwang-Thaba.
The Medival Period (1467 AD-1798 AD)
The Medival Period in the history of Manipur brings forth the name of Medingu Senbi Kiyamba, who became king in 1476 AD, at the age of 24. He was a freind of the King of Pong (Shan Kindom), who presented him with a stone, known as PHEIYA (Almighty). It was after this that worship of God, in the form of a sacred stone, was started. From 1708 AD to 1747 AD, the region of Manipur was under the rule of Meidingu Pamheiba, who extended his kingdom from Kabow valley, in the east, to Nongnang (Cachar), Takhel (Tripura), in the west.
Ningthou Ching-Thang Khomba, the son of Samjai Khurai-Lakpa (the eldest son of Pamheiba), became the king in 1747 AD and ruled for the next 4 years, after which he was expelled by his brother Borot-sai, in 1751 AD. After Borot-sai, Gaurisiam became the ruler signed a treaty with the British, encouraging trade and commerce. Gaurisiam's death, in 1763 AD) again led to the reign of Ningthou Ching-Thang Khomba. It was during Khomba's rule that the name "Manipur" for "Meitrabak" or "Sanna-Leipak" came to existence.
The Modern Period (1819 AD-Present)
The modern period started in 1819 AD, when King Marjeet ruled over Manipur. In the said year, Manipur was attacked and won over by the Burmese and Chahi-Taret Khuntakpa became the king. In 1825, Gambir Sing led Manipuris in an attack over the Burmese and declared himself as the king of Manipur. After his death, his son Maharaja Chandrakirti ascended the throne, at the age of two. Maharaja Surchand, the eldest son of Chandrakirti, ascended the throne after his father and ruled for 5 years (from 1886 AD to 1890 AD).
In 1890, Surchand's younger brothers, Zillangamba and Angousana revolted against him, along with Jubaraj Tikendrajit. Later, Kullachandra, the elder brother of Tikendrajit, became the king. British waged an open war against Manipur sometime later and conquered it on 27th April, 1891 AD. Thereafter, the region saw two kings only - Maharaja Churachand Singh (1891-1941 AD) and Maharaja Budhachandra Singh (1941-1949 AD). In 1949, Manipur was merged into independent India. On 21 January 1972, Manipur was granted statehood.