The recorded history of Karnataka goes back more than two millennia. Several great empires and dynasties have ruled over Karnataka and have contributed greatly to the history, culture and development of Karnataka.
The impact of kingdoms of Karnataka origin have been felt over other parts of India also. The Sena Dynasty of Bengal called themselves Karnata Kshatriyas, the Karnatas of Mithila ruled over present day Bihar called themselves Karnata Vamsha and Karnataka Kshatriya. The Chindaka Nagas of centra India, Gangas of Kalinga (Orissa), Rashtrakutas of Gujarat Chalukyas of Vengi, Yadava Dynasty of Devagiri were all of Kannada origin who later took to encouraging local languages
The credit for doing early extensive study of prehistoric Karnataka goes to Robert Bruce-Foote and this work was later continued by many other scholars. The pre-historic culture of Karnataka (and South India in general) is called the hand-axe culture, as opposed to the Sohan culture of North India. Paleolithic hand axes and cleavers in the shape of pebbles made with quartz and quartzite which have been found in places such as Lingadahalli in Chikkamagaluru district
and Hunasigi in Gulbarga district
, and a wooden spike at Kibbanahalli in Tumkur district
are examples of old stone age implements. There are reports that a polished stone axe
was discovered at Lingsugur in the Raichur district
Neolithic sites (new stone age) of importance are Maski
in Raichur district
in Chitradurga district
etc., wih abundance of evidence that man begun to domesticate animals such as cows, dogs and sheep, use copper and bronze weapons, wear bangles, rings, necklaces of beads and ear-rings and have burial chambers. To the end of the Neolithic era, during the Megalithic
age, people in Karnataka began to use long swords, sickles, axes, hammers, spikes, chistles and arrows, all made of iron.
Scholarly hypothesis postulates contacts between the Indus Valley city of Harappa in 3000 BCE, citing the discovery of gold found in the Harappan sites that was imported from mines in Karnataka.
Evidence of Neolithic habitation of areas in modern Karnataka and celts dating back to the 2nd century BCE were first discovered in 1872. There are reports that a polished stone axe was discovered at Lingsugur in the Raichur district; however the authenticity of these reports remains unverifiable. Megalithic structures and burial grounds were discovered in 1862 in the regions of Kodagu and Moorey Betta hills, while Neolithic sites were discovered in north Karnataka. Scholarly hypothesis postulates of contacts between the Indus Valley city of Harappa in 3000 BCE, citing the discovery of gold found in the Harappan sites that was imported from mines in Karnataka.
Around 230 BCE, the Satavahana
dynasty came to power and its rule lasted nearly four centuries till the early 3rd century CE. The disintegration of the Satavahana dynasty led to the ascent of the earliest native kingdoms, the Kadamba Dynasty
in modern Uttara Kannada
district with Mayurasharma
, a brahmin native of Talagunda
in modern Shivamogga district
as the founding king, and the Western Ganga Dynasty
in southern Karnataka, marking the birth of the region as an independent political entity. These were the first kingdoms to give administrative status to Kannada language
as evidenced by the Halmidi inscription
of 450, attributed to King Kakusthavarma
of the Kadamba Dynasty
. Also, recent discovery of a 5th century copper coin in Banavasi
, ancient capital of the Kadambas
, with Kannada script
inscription on it, further proves the usage of Kannada at an official level.
They were followed by large imperial empires, the Badami Chalukyas, Rashtrakuta Dynasty and Western Chalukya Empire, who had their regal capitals in modern Karnataka region and patronised Kannada language and literature.
Natives of the malnad Karnataka, the Hoysalas established the Hoysala Empire at the turn of the first millennium. Art and architecture flourished in the region during this time resulting in distinctive Kannada literary metres and the construction of temples and sculptures adhering to the Vesara style of architecture. The expansion of the Hoysala Empire brought large parts of modern Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu under their rule.
In the early 14th century, the Vijayanagara Empire with its capital at Hosapattana (later to be called Vijayanagara) rose to successfully challenge the Muslim invasions into the South. This empire was established by Harihara I and Bukka Raya who many historians claim were commanders of the last Hoysala King Veera Ballala III and the empire prospered for over two centuries. The Bahmani sultans of Bidar were the main competitors to the Vijayanagara empire for hegemony over the Deccan and after their fall, the Bijapur Sultanate took their place in the dynastic struggle for control of the southern India. After the defeat and disintegration of the Vijayanagara Empire in battle at Talikota in 1565 to a confederacy of Sultanates, the Bijapur Sultanate rose as the main power in the Deccan before their defeat to the Mogul Empire in late 17th century. The Bahamani and Bijapur rulers encouraged Urdu and Persian literature and Indo Saracenic architecture, the Gol Gumbaz being one of the high points of this contribution.
of Mysore, former vassals of the Vijayanagara Empire, leased the state from the Mughal king Aurangzeb
in the 15th century. With the death of Krishnaraja Wodeyar II
, Haider Ali
, the Commander-in-Chief
of the Mysore Army, assumed control over the region, until the rule of the kingdom was passed to Tipu Sultan
, after Haider Ali's death. In attempting to contain European
expansion in South India, Tipu Sultan, known as the Tiger of Mysore
fought four significant Anglo-Mysore Wars
, the last of which resulted in his death and the incorporation of Mysore into the British Raj
The freedom movement
Unification of Karnataka
After Indian independence, the Wodeyar
Maharaja acceded to India. In 1950
became an Indian state, and the former Maharaja became its rajpramukh
, or governor, until 1975. The Ekikarana movement
which started in the latter half of the 19th century, culminated in the States Reorganisation Act
of 1956 which provided for parts of Coorg
, and Bombay states
to be incorporated into the state of Mysore
. Mysore state was renamed Karnataka
in 1973. The state of Mysore was formed on November 1 1956
and since then November 1
of every year is celeberated as Kannada Rajyotsava
/ Karnataka Rajyotsava
K Changalaraya Reddy became the first Chief Minister of Mysore state. The Maharaja of Mysore H H Sri Jayachamarajendra Wadeyar became the Rajapramukh later the Governor of the State.
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