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Home Discover Andhra

History of Andhra Pradesh

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Since Prehistoric times, there has been continuous human habitation in Andhradesa. A good number of prehistoric and posthistoric sites along with rock paintings datable to a period between 8000 B.C. to 1500 B.C. are identified throughout the state. The term Andhra to denote race or people have been found recorded in some of the earliest literary works of the Indian sub-continent. The earliest reference to the term Andhra is the name of a tribe and this is made in the Aitareya Brahamana datable to 800 B.C. It also mentions that the Andhras were socially parallel to other tribes like the PundrasSabarasand Pulindas.

Early Buddhist literature contains many references to the Andhras and their country. The story of Bavari as mentioned in the Suttanipata refers to Assaka the land on either side of Godavari River as Andhra Janapada. A few Jatakas like theKumbhaSamkiccha, Bhimasena and Serivanijamention Andhakas identified as the Andhras, Andhakaratta and Andhranagara.

In classical accounts of the Greeks too, the Andhras as a people have been mentioned. Megasthanese noted that the Andhras were second to the Mauryas in military might having possessed 30 fortified cities with an army which consisted of 2000 elephants, 3000 horses and 100000 infantry. The XIII th rock edict ofAshoka the great refers to Andhra Brityas meaning, Andhras were his subordinates in 3rd century B.C It proves that Andhradesa was part and parcel of the mighty Mauryan Empire

Ancient period
Satavahanas :
After the fall of the Mauryan Empire, the history of the Andhras, commences with the rise of the Satavahanas as independent rulers. The later Satavahanas ruled Andhra from Dhanyakataka. The Deccan, during this period known asDakshinapatha, was a center of inland and maritime trade. The region between the rivers of Godavari and Krishna was full of ports, and was busy with brisk trading activity. After the Satavahanas the Andhradesa was divided into petty kingdoms and ruled by the Ikshvakus AnandagotrinsSalankayanas,Brihatpalayanas and Vishnukundins during the period between the 3rd and 5th Centuries A.D.
Chalukyas :

Andhradesa, from the 7th century A.D onwards witnessed a strong political rule by the Chalukyas of Badami (Western Chalukyas) and the Chalukyasof Vengi(Eastern Chalukyas).

The Western Chalukyas under the leadership of Pulakesin ll captured the western parts of Andhradesa and was under their sway for a period of two centuries until Rastrukutas conquered the area. At the same time the eastern tracts of Andhra were under the rule of the Eastern Chalukyaswith Vengi as capital. The Eastern Chalukyas ruled the Andhra, for a period of 400 years and slowly handed over to The Kakatiyas.

From about the 7th century A.D., the North Costal Andhra was under the sway of the Eastern Ganges who ruled from Mukhalingam.

Medieval Period
Kakatiyas :

The 12th and the 13th centuries saw the emergence of a new Kingdom called The Kakatiyas. The Kakatiya period was rightly called the brightest period of the Telugu history. The entire Telugu speaking area was brought under one umbrella. From the regal period of Rudra onwards, a large number of temples were built. They encouraged agriculture by excavating tanks. They also encouraged trade and commerce. Literature, art and architecture received good patronage.

The Muslim inroads into the Deccan led to the fall of mighty Kakatiya Kingdom. The fall of the Kakatiya Kingdom resulted in division of the Andhradesa and was ruled by the Reddy's of Kondavidu (14th-15th Centuries A.D.), the Velamas ofRachakonda, and the Musumuri Chiefs. Among these, the Reddy Kingdom left an indelible mark in the annals of medieval Andhra history by encouraging arts and letters.

The Vijayanagara Rule :
During the 14th - 15th centuries A.D. the South - Western portion was under the control of the Vijayanagara rulers. Later from the 16th century A.D. it was completely under them. The illustrious Vijayanagara King Krishnadevaraya built many temples and conquered many forts of Andhra. During the same period, the north coastal Andhra was under the Gajapatis.
Qutub Shahis :
The Telengana region and parts of Andhra area was under the rule of the Qutub Shahis who ruled from Golconda between the 16th - 17th centuries A.D. During their rule, Islamic architecture was introduced in this part of the country. The famous Golconda Fort, Mecca MasjidQutub Shahi Tombs are some of the monuments built by them.
The Moghul Rule :
Aurangazeb, the Moghul emperor, invaded Golconda in A.D.1687 and annexed it to the Moghul Empire. Since then, Golconda became part of the Deccan Subha and a Nizam was appointed as an agent of the Moghul emperor. Thus, for about a period of 35 years the Moghuls, the last one being Mubariz Khan, ruled it.
Modern Period
Asaf Jahis :
The founder of this dynasty was one Mir Qamruddin, a noble and a courtier of the Moghul King Muhammad Shah. Though Hyderabad was founded in A.D.1590--91 and built by Muhammad Quli, the fifth king of the Qutubshahidynasty, it was a princely capital under them. The pomp and pageantry of the fabulous Asafjahi Nizams gained an all-India importance as well as worldwide recognition. The rule of the Nizams lasted not only for a much longer period from A.D.1724 to 1948 but also concerned a large territory with diverse language groups that came under their sway.
Under the British Crown :
It naturally took some years for the East India Company to consolidate and stabilize its rule in the Telugu area, which came under its direct rule. In the initial stages, the Company had to counter strong resistance from theZamindars in the coastal Andhra and the Palegars in the Rayalaseemadistricts that were in existence from the ancient Hindu rulers or the medieval Muslim rulers. The Company decided to use the Zamindari system to its best advantage, entrusting the Zamindars only with collection of land revenue and taking away from them the executive and judicial powers. The Company also introduced the system of 'Permanent Settlement' in A.D.1802.
Freedom Struggle :
The role of the Andhras in the Freedom Struggle is next to that of none and they had always been in the forefront along with the rest of the countrymen. The young men of Andhra had their own share in the 'Vande Mataram' and 'Home Rule' movements also. In 1930 when Gandhiji started his salt-campaign, the lengthy east coast of Andhra became the venue of memorable deeds of many a young man and woman, who in spite of the severe blows of lathis, prepared salt and courted imprisonment. The tremendous awakening, which was an outcome of this movement, resulted in the rout of the parties other than the Congress in the elections of 1937.

The Andhras all along their fight with the British authorities thought that the exit of the Britishers would facilitate the early formation of the Telugu areas as a separate State.
Post-Independence Era
Struggle for Andhra State :

The struggle began when Potti Sriramulu, a self-effacing Gandhian, began his fast unto death on the 19th of October 1952 at Madras. On the 15th of December 1952, Sriramulu attained martyrdom. The news of Sriramulu's death rocked Andhra into a violent and devastating agitation. On the 19th December 1952, Jawaharlal Nehru announced in the Lok Sabha that the Andhra State would be formed with the eleven undisputed Telugu districts, and the threeTaluks of the Bellary district, but excluding Madras City. On the 1st of October 1953, Andhra State came into existence. It consisted of the districts of Srikakulam, Visakhapatnam, East Godavari, West Godavari, Krishna, Guntur, Nellore, Chittoor, Cuddapah, Anantapur and Kurnool, and the taluks of Rayadurg, Adoni and Alur of the Bellary district. On the question of Bellary taluk, it was included in the Mysore State on the recommendation of L.S.Mishra Commission.

Later as a result of the decision of the Union Government on the report of the States Reorganization Commission on November 1, 1956, the state of Andhra Pradesh, which comprises the Andhra area of the Andhra State and Telangana area of the Hyderabad State was inaugurated by Jawaharlal Nehru, the then Prime Minister of India.

Hyderabad, the capital of Andhra Pradesh, offers a fascinatingly panorama of the past, with a richly mixed cultural and historical tradition spanning over 400 years. Presently a strong Industrial, Commercial and Information Technology Centre, Hyderabad is fast developing as a tourist destination.

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