Over the centuries, Kashmir has been ruled by various empires and dynasties, each leaving its mark on the region’s history and culture.
- The Mauryan Empire
- The Kushan Empire
- The Gupta Empire
- The Muslim Sultanate of Kashmir
- The Mughal Empire
- The Sikh Empire
- The British Raj
- Dogra dynasty
- India (after 1947)
In this article, we will explore the rich and complex history of Kashmir, from its early civilizations to the present day.
History of J&K
Here is a table of the different rules and dynasties that have governed Jammu and Kashmir, along with their start and end dates:
|Dynasty/Ruler||Start Date||End Date|
|Mauryan Empire||321 BCE||184 BCE|
|Kushan Empire||1st century CE||3rd century CE|
|Gupta Empire||4th century CE||6th century CE|
|Karkota Empire||7th century CE||10th century CE|
|Utpala Dynasty||9th century CE||10th century CE|
|Shah Mir Dynasty||1339 CE||1561 CE|
|Chak Dynasty||1561 CE||1587 CE|
|Mughal Empire||1586 CE||1752 CE|
|Durrani Empire||1752 CE||1819 CE|
|Sikh Empire||1819 CE||1846 CE|
|Dogra Empire||1846 CE||1947 CE|
|Indian Union||1947 CE||Present|
The history of Jammu and Kashmir dates back to the ancient period, with the region being ruled by various empires and dynasties.
Kashmir valley’s earliest known Neolithic settlements dating back to 3000 BCE.
Burzahom was the most important among these settlements, with two Neolithic and one Megalithic phase.
The first phase (c. 2920 BCE)
During the first phase, people lived in mud-plastered pit dwellings and used coarse pottery and stone tools.
Second Phase (till c. 1700 BCE)
In the second phase, they built houses and buried their dead with animals. They relied on hunting, fishing, and crop cultivation.
The Mauryan Empire
One of the earliest known empires to have ruled over the region was the Mauryan Empire.
The Mauryan Empire was founded by Chandragupta Maurya, who is said to have conquered the region in 321 BCE.
The region remained a part of the empire until the decline of the Mauryan dynasty in 185 BCE.
The Kushan Empire
Kanishka (127–151 CE), an emperor of the Kushan dynasty, conquered Kashmir and established the new city of Kanishkapur.
The Kushan Empire had its capital in Peshawar, present-day Pakistan, and ruled over the region from around 30 CE until its decline in 375 CE.
The Kushans were known for their art and culture, and their rule is considered to be a golden period in the region’s history.
The Gupta Dynasty
The Gupta dynasty was one of the most powerful dynasties in ancient India, and it ruled over Jammu and Kashmir from around 320 CE until the rise of the Rajputs in the 6th century CE.
The Guptas were known for their patronage of art and literature, and their rule saw a flourishing of culture in the region.
The Rajput Period
The Rajputs were a group of warrior clans that ruled over Jammu and Kashmir from the 6th century CE until the arrival of the Muslim rulers in the 12th century CE.
The Rajputs were known for their chivalry and military prowess, and their rule saw the construction of many fortresses and palaces in the region.
The Muslim Sultanate (1346–1580s)
The arrival of the Muslim rulers in the 12th century CE marked a significant turning point in the history of Jammu and Kashmir.
The first Muslim ruler to have ruled over the region was Shah Mir, who founded the Shah Miri dynasty in 1339 CE.
This was followed by the establishment of the Chak dynasty in the 15th century CE.
The Mughal Empire (1580s–1750s)
The Mughal Empire was one of the most powerful empires in India, and it ruled over Jammu and Kashmir from the 16th century CE until the decline of the Mughal dynasty in the 18th century CE.
In 1586, Akbar the Great gained control of Kashmir and incorporated it into his Kabul Subah.
The Mughals were known for their patronage of art and culture, and their rule saw the construction of many beautiful buildings and monuments in the region.
Durrani Empire (1752–1819)
In 1752, the Afghan Durrani Empire, led by Ahmad Shah Durrani, took over Kashmir.
Sukh Jiwan Mal, the governor appointed by the Afghans, rebelled in the mid-1750s but was defeated in 1762.
Following the rebellion’s defeat, the Durrani Empire subjected the remaining Hindu population to forced conversions, killings, and forced labor.
The Durrani Empire levied heavy taxes on the Kashmiri people, and income from the region became a significant part of their revenue.
The empire ruled over Kashmir until 1819
The Sikh Rule (1820–1846)
The Sikh Empire, which was founded by Maharaja Ranjit Singh, ruled over Jammu and Kashmir from the early 19th century until the annexation of the region by the British in 1846.
Sikh governors in Kashmir were harsh rulers, and their reign was generally oppressive.
The Dogra Rule (1846–1947)
The Dogras were a Hindu Dogra dynasty that ruled over Jammu and Kashmir from 1846 until the independence of India in 1947.
The Treaty of Amritsar freed Gulab Singh from obligations towards the Sikhs and made him the Maharajah of Jammu and Kashmir.
The Dogras were known for their administrative skills, and their rule saw the introduction of many reforms in the region.
After the independence of India in 1947, Jammu and Kashmir became a part of India.
However, the region has been the subject of a long-standing dispute between India and Pakistan, with both countries claiming the region as their own.
Partition and Conflict
In 1947, India gained independence from British rule, and the region of Jammu and Kashmir became a subject of dispute between India and Pakistan.
The Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir, Hari Singh, initially decided to remain independent, but he later signed an Instrument of Accession with India in October 1947, after Pakistani forces invaded the region.
This led to the First Indo-Pakistani War, and the region was divided into Indian-controlled Jammu and Kashmir, and Pakistani-controlled Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan regions.
Since then, the region has been the site of several wars and conflicts between India and Pakistan, and it remains one of the most militarized regions in the world.
This article provides a detailed overview of the rich and complex history of Jammu and Kashmir.
It traces the region’s early civilizations, including the Mauryan and Kushan empires, and explores the impact of the Mughal Empire, the Dogra Dynasty, and other ruling powers on the region’s culture and architecture.
Source: History of Kashmir
Who were the early rulers of Jammu and Kashmir?
The early rulers of Jammu and Kashmir were the Mauryan Empire, followed by the Kushan Empire and the Gupta Empire.
These empires established their rule over the region and left their mark on its culture and architecture.
What was the impact of the Karkota Empire on Jammu and Kashmir?
The Karkota Empire was founded in the 7th century CE and lasted until the 10th century CE.
This period saw the rise of several notable Rajput clans, including the Katoch, the Jamwal, and the Dogra.
The Rajputs had a significant impact on the region’s culture and architecture, with many forts, temples, and palaces still standing today.
Who were the Shah Mirs and how did they come to rule Jammu and Kashmir?
The Shah Mir Dynasty was founded in 1339 CE by a Muslim governor appointed by the Delhi Sultanate.
The dynasty lasted until 1561 CE and played an important role in the spread of Islam in the region.
What was the impact of the Mughal Empire on Jammu and Kashmir?
The Mughal Empire played an important role in the history of Jammu and Kashmir, particularly during the reign of Emperor Akbar.
Akbar annexed Kashmir to the Mughal Empire in the late 16th century and established a system of governance that lasted for several centuries. The Mughals also had a significant impact on the region’s culture and architecture, with many monuments and structures still standing today.
Who were the Sikh rulers of Jammu and Kashmir?
The Sikh Empire was established in the early 19th century by Maharaja Ranjit Singh, who annexed Jammu and Kashmir to his kingdom. After his death, the region was ruled by his successors, including Maharaja Gulab Singh, who eventually became the ruler of Jammu and Kashmir.
How did the Dogras come to rule Jammu and Kashmir?
The Dogras were a Rajput clan that originated in Rajasthan. They were invited to Jammu by the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb in the 17th century and gradually established their rule over the region.
The Dogra Maharaja Gulab Singh signed the Treaty of Amritsar with the British in 1846, which gave them control over Kashmir as well.
What was the impact of the Dogra Empire on Jammu and Kashmir?
The Dogra Empire was founded in 1846 and lasted until 1947, when India gained independence from British rule.
The Dogras had a significant impact on the region’s culture and architecture, with many monuments and structures still standing today.
What is the Line of Control?
The Line of Control (LoC) is a ceasefire line that divides the Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir from the Pakistani-administered Azad Jammu and Kashmir.
The LoC was established in 1972 after the Simla Agreement between India and Pakistan.