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Far East Kingdoms

South Asia

 

 

 

Assam's Minor Kingdoms

Assam is a state lying in the far north-east of modern India, with Bangladesh bordering it to the west. The people mainly belong to a mix of Mongoloid, Caucasian and Australoid races, speaking Austro-Asiatic, Indo-Aryan, and Tibeto-Burman language types. During the first millennium AD, from the mid-seventh century onwards, there was an explosion in the peoples of the region and the kingdoms they formed, many of which are listed here in addition to those in the primary Assam list.

(Information by Abhijit Rajadhyaksha.)

Kamata Kingdom
AD Mid-7th Century - 12th Century

The Kamata kingdom apparently emerged towards the end of the rule of the Varman kings, when the Mlechha kings were also becoming dominant in Assam in the mid-seventh century. The kingdom was situated in western Assam, and was possibly independent of the dominant kingdom towards the east of the region. The Kamata were bordered by Karatoya, Brahmaputra, Doaars, and Padma Brahmaputra. However, they seemingly claimed no real power in the region until the decline of the Kamarupa kings in the twelfth century and the disintegration of the formerly powerful and ancient kingdom of Kamarupa. Consequently, no kings are known (and may not even have existed) until the Khen kings emerged in the late twelfth century.

(Information by Abhijit Rajadhyaksha.)

fl mid-600s

Sangaldip

The first king of Kamatapur, according to Dr Sailen Debnath.

c.900

The Kamarupa kings emerge in Assam.

Tezpore landing ghat
The landing ghat at Tezpore in Assam with probably the vessels being the only modern objects there

c.1100 - 1140

The Gaud Pala kings conquer the Kamarupa kingdom in Assam. In turn, they are terminated in 1140, allowing the Kamarupa kings to restore their kingdom, albeit in a weakened fashion. It is only now that other independent states can emerge in Assam to fill the growing vacuum left by Kamarupa's decline.

1185 - 1187

With Kamarupa now in terminal decline, the Kamata kingdom itself is destroyed by Gauda. Two kingdoms subsequently emerge in Assam, under the Khen kings, who replace Kamata, and the Chutiya kings. The Barobhuyan chieftains also emerge, situated to the east of Kamata, forming a buffer region between Kamata and Kamarupa.

Barobhuyan Chieftains
AD 12th Century

The Barobhuyans (or Baro-Bhuyans) were regional chieftains who emerged to the west of the declining kingdom of Kamarupa in Assam and eastern Bengal, where they were able to form a buffer region between Kamarupa and the Kamata kings. Rather than forming a single kingdom, they lacked the cohesion to do more than create a loose confederation which banded together when faced by external threats. They were bordered to the east by the Kachari and Chutiya kingdoms and were formed into two main groups, one either side of the River Brahmaputra, with those on the north bank seemingly the earliest group. Almost nothing is known about them until the very end of their independence.

(Information by Abhijit Rajadhyaksha.)

1523

After Chandan Narayan has greatly expanded his Koch kingdom, his brother, Biswa Singha, marries the daughter of a Koch chief and unites various tribes against the Barobhuyans, establishing the Kamata-Koch kingdom in the process.

1533

Future shah in Delhi, Sher Shah Suri, seizes his opportunity and captures and annexes Bengal to his already captured territories in Bihar. His changes to the administration of Bengal allows the Barobhuyan chieftains to gain strength.

1571 - 1599

Isa Khan

Ruler of Bhati with a capital at Sonargaon.

1571

Isa Khan is designated ruler of Bhati by Abul Fazl, vizier to the Moghul Emperor Akbar, but it is simply recognition of the fact that they are outside Moghul control. Isa Khan is the most powerful of the Barobhuyan chieftains, and therefore holds seniority over the twelve chieftains of the remaining Barobhuyans who hold power in this period. All of the remaining chieftains are shown below in grey.

Ibrahim Naral

Barobhuyan chieftain.

Karimdad Musazai

Barobhuyan chieftain.

Majlis Dilwar

Barobhuyan chieftain.

Maharaja Pratapaditya

Barobhuyan chieftain.

Kedar Rai

Barobhuyan chieftain.

Sher Khan

Barobhuyan chieftain.

Bhadur Ghazi

Barobhuyan chieftain.

Tila Ghazi

Barobhuyan chieftain.

Chand Ghazi

Barobhuyan chieftain.

Sultan Ghazi

Barobhuyan chieftain.

Selim Ghazi

Barobhuyan chieftain.

Qasim Ghazi

Barobhuyan chieftain.

1599 - 1610

Musa Khan

Son of Isa Khan. Ruler of Bhati.

Alaul Khan

Barobhuyan chieftain.

Abdullah Khan

Barobhuyan chieftain.

Maxmud of Astrakhan

Barobhuyan chieftain.

Bahadur Ghazi

Barobhuyan chieftain.

Sona Ghazi

Barobhuyan chieftain.

Anwar Ghazi

Barobhuyan chieftain.

Shaikh Pir

Barobhuyan chieftain.

Mirza Mumin

Barobhuyan chieftain.

Madhav Rai

Barobhuyan chieftain.

Binode Rai

Barobhuyan chieftain.

Pahlwan

Barobhuyan chieftain.

Haji Shamsuddin Baghdadi

Barobhuyan chieftain.

1610

Musa Khan is dethroned by the Moghul general, Islam Khan, no doubt weakening the chieftains considerably.

c.1615

Qasim Khan Chishti, the Moghul subahdar of Bengal, forces the independent Barobhuyan chieftains to the east of Bengal to submit, ending their period of strength. The Barobhuyans on the north bank of the Brahmaputra are subsequently transferred to the south bank by the Ahoms, ending their independence also.

Khen Kings
AD 1185 - 1498

This dynasty of kings emerged at the same time as the Chutiya kings in Assam, replacing the presumed Kamata kingdom whose existence appears to be attested but which remained undocumented. The Khen rulers were of Kheng-Bhutanese stock from the mountains. Possibly non-Aryan in origin, it was only the decline of the Kamarupa kings which allowed them to blossom into a powerful entity in their own right from their former position as local chieftains.

(Information by Abhijit Rajadhyaksha.)

1185 - 1228

Prithu

First Khen ruler. Claimed Kamata as his kingdom.

1187

Kamarupa's decline is highlighted once again as the Chutiya kings emerge to the east of the kingdom, in north-eastern Assam. The second of those kings, Gaurinarayan, later forges an alliance with Prithu by marrying one of his daughters.

Stone mason in Assam
This stone mason from Assam of the 1920s was probably using techniques relatively unchanged since the twelfth century Khen kings ruled

1205 - 1206

Prithu repulses the first Turkish invasion, which is led by by the slave general, Bakhtiar Khilji, servant of the soon-to-be proclaimed sultan of Delhi.

1227 - 1228

The second Turkish invasion is led by Ghiyasuddin Iwaj Khilji, the Turkish governor of Bengal, in 1227 but this is also defeated. The following year the Delhi sultan kills Prithu, subjugating his territories and going further to attack Tibet, immediately north of Assam. At the same time, with the final fall of the Kamarupa kings, the Ahom kings emerge to take their place.

1228 - 1250

There is an interregnum following the death of Prithu, during which Delhi controls the region via its governor in Bengal. This is short-lived, however, and the rule of the Khen kings is re-established by Prithu's son, Sandhya. He also transfers the capital from Kamrupnagar to Kamatanagar.

c.1250 - 1260

Sandhya / Saindhya

Son.

1257

The second invasion by the Turks takes place, led probably by Malik Ikhtiyaruddin Iuzbak, the Mameluke governor of Bengal. Ultimately it is unsuccessful.

c.1260 - 1285

Sindhurai

c.1285 - 1300

Rupnarayan

c.1300 - 1305

Singhdhwaj

c.1305 - 1325

Pratapdhwaj

c.1325 - 1330

Dharmanarayan

c.1330 - 1350

Durlabhnarayan

1336

The Kachari kings emerge as a recognisably independent kingdom based at Dimapur in Assam.

c.1350 - 1365

Indranarayan

c.1365 - 1385

Sasanka / Arimatta

Moved the capital to Vaidyanagar.

c.1385 - 1400

Gajanka

c.1400 - 1415

Sukranka

c.1415 - 1440

Mriganka

c.1440 - 1460

Niladhwaj

c.1460 - 1480

Chakradhwaj

c.1480 - 1498

Nilambar

Last Khen king.

1498 - 1510

The dynasty is ended although it is unclear just how. The king's death is perhaps either caused by, or encourages an invasion by the sultan of Bengal, Alauddin Husain Shah. However, he is not able to hold onto his conquests for long and is soon driven off by the Barobhuyans and Ahoms. It is possible that the chaos caused by this brief occupation allows the Jayantiya kingdom to emerge in Assam, while the Khen kings are soon replaced in the region by the Koch kings.

Koch Kings (of Kamata)
AD 1510 - 1586

The Koch kings succeeded the Khen kings in southern Assam. They emerged while the Ahom kings were already at their height and the Jayantiya kingdom was just arising. Like the Chutiyas, the Koch were a Tibeto-Burmese peoples. The kingdom they established, with its capital at Kamarupa, later divided, forming the Koch Bihar (Cooch Behar) and Koch Hajo dynasties. Koch Behar became a Moghul ally while Koch Hajo became an Ahom ally. A third branch at Khaspur was formed. There were also minor branches at Derrang, Beltala and Bijni.

(Information by Abhijit Rajadhyaksha.)

1510 - 1523

Chandan Narayan

Son of a Mech chief, Raja Haridas Mondal (1510-1515).

1523

After Chandan Narayan has greatly expanded his kingdom, his brother, Biswa Singha, marries the daughter of the Koch chief, Bhuyiyan Koch Hajo, and unites various tribes against the Barobhuyans, establishing the Kamata-Koch kingdom in the process.

1523 - 1554

Biswa Singha / Vishwa Singha / Bisu

Brother.

1554 - 1586

Naranarayan

Son. During his time the kingdom reached its cultural zenith.

1586

Naranarayan divides his kingdom between his brothers, Chilarai or Shukladhwaj, his brother and military commanders in chief, his son Raghudeva who gains the eastern section, Koch Hajo, and his son Laxmi Narayan who gains the western section, Koch Bihar. Naranarayan's brother, Kamal Narayan, gains the kingdom of Khaspur, formerly capital of the Kachari kingdom.

Koch Bihar Kings
AD 1586 - 1949

The Koch kings formed a successful kingdom in 1510, when Chandan Narayan quickly built up an expanded area of territory under his control. Chandan's grandson was the last king of a single Koch kingdom. Upon his death, the territory was greatly divided, with Koch Bihar (Cooch Behar) one of the bigger slices, situated immediately south of Bhutan and west of the Ahoms. It was ruled by Laxmi Narayan, great-grandson of Chandan. Koch Bihar later became a vassal of the Moghuls and then the British East India Company.

(Information by Abhijit Rajadhyaksha.)

1587 - 1621

Laxmi Narayan / Laxminarayan

Inherited Koch Bihar from his father, the Koch king.

1621 - 1626

Birnarayan

First to open schools.

1626 - 1665

Prannarayan

Captured Dhaka.

1665 - 1680

Modnarayan

Helped Delhi sultanate against Ahoms.

1680 - 1682

Basudevnarayan

1682 - 1693

Mahindranarayan

1693 - 1714

Roopnarayan

1714 - 1763

Upendranarayan

1764 - 1765

Devendranarayan

Bhutanese king invaded the kingdom.

1765 - 1770

Dhairrajendranarayan

Imprisoned by Bhutanese army. Abdicated.

1770 - 1772

Rajendranarayan

Died without an heir.

1772

The British East India Company invades Bhutan and captures the capital, ending the Bhutanese threat to Koch Bihar. A peace settlement is negotiated in 1774 but the agreement means that Koch Bihar is subject to Company dictates which gradually replace the authority of the kings in the quest to improve the region's infrastructure and the rule of law.

Royal Court at Koch Bihar
An illustration of the Royal Court at Koch Bihar, probably at the end of the nineteenth century

1772 - 1775

Dharendranarayan

Enthroned by nobles. Drove away Bhutanese with British help.

1775 - 1783

Dhairrajendranarayan

Restored himself following the death of his named successor.

1783 - 1840

Harendranarayan

1840 - 1847

Shivendranarayan

1847 - 1863

Narendranarayan

Adopted as successor by his uncle. Banned Sati.

1863 - 1911

Col Sir Nripendranarayan

1911 - 1913

Rajrajendranarayan II

1913 - 1922

Jitendranarayan

1922 - 1949

Jagaddipendranarayan

Last ruler of Koch Bihar.

1948 - 1949

India achieves independence from Britain and begins the process of taking control of the princely states, including Koch Bihar.

Koch Hajo & Koch Bijni Kings
AD 1586 - 1956

The Koch kings formed a successful kingdom in 1510, when Chandan Narayan quickly built up an expanded area of territory under his control. Chandan's grandson was the last king of a single Koch kingdom. Upon his death, the territory was greatly divided, with Koch Hajo one of the bigger slices. It was ruled by Raghudev, but it was subsequently conquered by the Moghuls. The son of the last king was able to found a new kingdom at Bijni, and the dynasty continued there until the modern age.

(Information by Abhijit Rajadhyaksha.)

late 1500s

Raghudeva

First king of Koch Hajo after the division of the Koch kingdom.

early 1600s

Parikshitnarayan

Parikshitnarayan is attacked by the Moghuls and taken as a prisoner to the court at Delhi. His son, Chandranarayan, forms a new kingdom at Bijni. Additionally, Parikshitnarayan's brother, Balinarayan, escapes imprisonment and seeks refuge with the Ahoms. His descendents form the vassal state of Derrang. Another brother, Gajnarayan, later rules at Beltala.

Chandranarayan

First king of Koch Bijni after the defeat of Koch Hajo.

Chandranarayan

Joynarayan

Shivnarayan

Bijoynarayan

Mukundanarayan

Haridevnarayan

Indranarayan

Amritnarayan

 

Kumudnarayan

? - 1956

Bhairabendranarayan

Last king of Koch Bijni.

1956

The national Indian government takes control of Bijni, forcing the king to give up give up his sovereignty.

Derrang
AD 1616 - 1682

The Koch kings formed a successful kingdom in 1510, but the territory was greatly divided in 1586. Koch Hajo was one of the bigger slices, but this was conquered by the Moghuls. Balinarayan, the brother of the king, escaped Moghul imprisonment and sought refuge with the Ahoms. His descendents formed the Ahom vassal state of Derrang. Its territory encompassed the region between the Bharali and Barnadi rivers, and was under Ahom overlordship.

(Information by Abhijit Rajadhyaksha.)

1616 - 1638

Balinarayana

Descendant of Balinarayan of Koch Hajo.

1616

Balinarayana fights a war against the Moghuls who are attacking the region, and fends them off with help from the Ahoms.

River Brahmaputra by Princeps
Not strictly within Derrang, this view is of the River Brahmaputra and the Himalayas from Dibrugarh, painted by Edward Augustus Prinsep (1828-1900)

1638 - ?

Mahendranarayan

Son.

Chandranarayan

? - 1682

Suryanarayan

1682

The Moghuls attack the kingdom, deposing Suryanarayan. The kingdom is ended, but the Ahoms regain control of Derrang.