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History

Main article: History of Gujarat

Ancient history

The docks of ancient Lothal as they are today

Ancient water reservoir at Dholavira

Gujarat was one of the main centres of the Indus Valley Civilization. It contains ancient
metropolitan cities from the Indus Valley such as Lothal, Dholavira, and Gola Dhoro. The
ancient city of Lothal was where India's first port was established. The ancient city of
Dholavira is one of the largest and most prominent archaeological sites in India,
belonging to the Indus Valley Civilization. The most recent discovery was Gola Dhoro.
Altogether, about 50 Indus Valley settlement ruins have been discovered in Gujarat.[10]

The ancient history of Gujarat was enriched by the commercial activities of its
inhabitants. There is clear historical evidence of trade and commerce ties with Egypt,
Bahrain and Sumer in the Persian Gulf during the time period of 1000 to 750 BC.[10][11]
There was a succession of Hindu and Buddhist states such as the Mauryan Dynasty,
Western Satraps, Satavahana dynasty, Gupta Empire, Chalukya dynasty, Rashtrakuta
Empire, Pala Empire and Gurjara-Pratihara Empire, as well as local dynasties such as the
Maitrakas and then the Chaulukyas.

The early history of Gujarat reflects the imperial grandeur of Chandragupta Maurya who
conquered a number of earlier states in what is now Gujarat. Pushyagupta, a Vaishya, was
appointed governor of Saurashtra by the Mauryan regime. He ruled Giringer (modern day
Junagadh) (322 BC to 294 BC) and built a dam on the Sudarshan lake. Emperor Ashoka,
the grandson of Chandragupta Maurya, not only ordered engraving of his edicts on the
rock at Junagadh, but asked Governor Tusherpha to cut canals from the lake where an
earlier Mauryan governor had built a dam. Between the decline of Mauryan power and
Saurashtra coming under the sway of the Samprati Mauryas of Ujjain, there was a Indo-
Greek incursion into Gujarat led by Demetrius. In the first half of the 1st century AD
there is the story of a merchant of King Gondaphares landing in Gujarat with Apostle
Thomas. The incident of the cup-bearer killed by a lion might indicate that the port city
described is in Gujarat.[12][13]

For nearly 300 years from the start of the 1st century AD, Saka rulers played a prominent
part in Gujarat's history. The weather-beaten rock at Junagadh gives a glimpse of the ruler
Rudradaman I (100 AD) of the Saka satraps known as Western Satraps, or Kshatraps.
Mahakshatrap Rudradaman I founded the Kardamaka dynasty which ruled from Anupa
on the banks of the Narmada up to the Aparanta region which bordered Punjab. In
Gujarat several battles were fought between the south Indian Satavahana dynasty and the
Western Satraps. The greatest ruler of the Satavahana Dynasty was Gautamiputra
Satakarni who defeated the Western Satraps and conquered some parts of Gujarat in the
2nd century CE.[14]

The Kshatrapa dynasty was replaced by the Gupta Empire with the conquest of Gujarat
by Chandragupta Vikramaditya. Vikramaditya's successor Skandagupta left an inscription
(450 AD) on a rock at Junagadh which gives details of the governor's repairs to the
embankment surrounding Sudarshan lake after it was damaged by floods. The Anarta and
Saurashtra regions were both part of the Gupta empire. Towards the middle of the 5th
century, the Gupta empire went into decline. Senapati Bhatarka, the Maitraka general of
the Guptas, took advantage of the situation and in 470 AD he set up what came to be
known as the Maitraka state. He shifted his capital from Giringer to Valabhipur, near
Bhavnagar, on Saurashtra's east coast. The Maitrakas of Vallabhi became very powerful
with their rule prevailing over large parts of Gujarat and adjoining Malwa. A university
was set up by the Maitrakas, which came to be known far and wide for its scholastic
pursuits and was compared with the noted Nalanda university. It was during the rule of
Dhruvasena Maitrak that Chinese philosopher-traveler Xuanzang visited in 640 AD along
the Silk Road.[15]

Medieval history

In the early 8th century, the Arabs of the Umayyad Caliphate established an Empire in the
name of the rising religion Islam, which stretched from Spain in the west to Afghanistan
and modern-day Pakistan in the east. Al-Junaid, the successor of Qasim, finally subdued
the Hindu resistance within Sindh and had established a secure base. The Arab rulers tried
to expand their empire southeast, which culminated in the Caliphate campaigns in India
fought in 730 CE. However, the Arab invaders were defeated and repelled from the areas
east of the Indus river by a Hindu alliance between the north Indian Gurjar Emperor
Nagabhata I of the Pratihara Dynasty, the south Indian Emperor Vikramaditya II of the
Chalukya dynasty and many other local small Hindu kingdoms. After this victory, the
Arab invaders were driven out of Gujarat. General Pulakesi, a Chalukya prince of Lata,
received the title Avanijanashraya (refuge of the people of the earth) and honorific of
"Repeller of the unrepellable" by the south Indian Emperor Vikramaditya II of the
Chalukya dynasty for the protection of Gujarat during the battle at Navsari, where Syrian
troops suffered a crushing defeat.[16]

In the late 8th century, the Kannauj Triangle period started. The three major Indian
dynasties the northwest Indian Gurjara-Pratihara Dynasty, the south Indian Rashtrakuta
Dynasty and the east Indian Pala Empire dominated India from the 8th to 10th
centuries. During this period the northern part of Gujarat was ruled by the north Indian
Gurjara-Pratihara dynasty and the southern part of Gujarat was ruled by the south Indian
Rashtrakuta dynasty.[17] However, the earliest epigraphical records of the Gurjars of
Broach attest that the royal bloodline of the Gurjara-Pratihara dynasty of Dadda I-II-III
(650750) ruled south Gujarat.[18] Southern Gujarat was ruled by the south Indian
Rashtrakuta dynasty until it was captured by the south Indian ruler Tailapa II of the
Western Chalukya Empire.[19]

Zoroastrians from Greater Iran migrated to the western borders of South Asia (Gujarat
and Sindh) during the 8th or 10th century,[20] to avoid persecution by Muslim invaders
who were in the process of conquering Iran. The descendants of those Zoroastrian
refugees came to be known as the Parsi.[21][22][23][24]

Rajput Period

Rani ki vav 11th century

Taranga Jain Temple constructed by Kumarapala (11431172 CE)

In the early 8th century some parts of Gujarat was ruled by the south Indian Chalukya
dynasty. In the early 8th century the Arabs of the Umayyad Caliphate established an
Empire which stretched from Spain in the west to Afghanistan and Pakistan in the east.
The Arab rulers tried to expand their empire in the 8th century and invaded Gujarat but
the Arab invaders were defeated by the south Indian general Pulakesi who was sent by
the south Indian Emperor Vikramaditya II of the Chalukya Dynasty. After this victory the
Arab invaders were driven out of Gujarat. Pulakesi received the title Avanijanashraya
(refuge of the people of the earth) by Vikramaditya II for the protection of Gujarat. In the
late 8th century the Kannauj Triangle period started. The 3 major Indian Dynasties the
northwest Indian Gurjara-Pratihara Dynasty, the south Indian Rashtrakuta Dynasty and
the east Indian Pala Empire dominated India from the 8th to 10th centuries. During this
period the northern part of Gujarat was ruled by the north Indian Gurjara-Pratihara
Dynasty and the southern part of Gujarat was ruled by the south Indian Rashtrakuta
Dynasty.[17] Southern Gujarat was ruled by the south Indian Rashtrakuta dynasty until it
was captured by the south Indian ruler Tailapa II of the Western Chalukya Empire.[19]

The Chaulukya dynasty [25] ruled Gujarat from c. 960 to 1243. Gujarat was a major centre
of Indian Ocean trade, and their capital at Anhilwara (Patan) was one of the largest cities
in India, with population estimated at 100,000 in the year 1000. In 1026, the famous
Somnath temple in Gujarat was destroyed by Mahmud of Ghazni. After 1243, the
Solankis lost control of Gujarat to their feudatories, of whom the Vaghela chiefs of
Dholka came to dominate Gujarat. In 1292 the Vaghelas became tributaries of the Yadava
dynasty of Devagiri in the Deccan. Karandev of the Vaghela dynasty was the last Hindu
ruler of Gujarat. He was defeated and overthrown by the superior forces of Allauddin
Khilji from Delhi in 1297. With his defeat Gujarat not only became part of the Muslim
empire but the Rajput hold over Gujarat lost for ever.