Hunza (Urdu: ہنزہ) was a former princely state in the northernmost part of the Northern Areas of Pakistan, which existed until 1974. The state bordered the Gilgit Agency to the south, the former princely state of Nagar to the east, China to the north and Afghanistan to the northwest. The state capital was the town of Baltit (also known as Karimabad). The area of Hunza now forms the Aliabad tehsil of Gilgit District.
The British retained Hunza's status as a 'principality' until 1947. According to Habib R. Sulemani, the people of Hunza were ruled by a local Mir for more than 900 years, which came to an end in 1974.
Although never ruled directly by neighbouring Kashmir, Hunza was a vassal of Kashmir from the time of Maharaja Ranbir Singh of Jammu and Kashmir. The Mirs of Hunza sent an annual tribute to the Kashmir Durbar until 1947, and along with the ruler of Nagar, was considered to be among the most loyal vassals of the Maharaja of Kashmir.
I declare with pleasure on behalf of myself and my State accession to Pakistan
The state was governed by hereditary rulers who took the title Mir (ruler) and were assisted by a council of Wazirs or Ministers. Details for early rulers are uncertain with the first definite dates available from 1750 CE onwards.
|Reign||Mirs of Hunza|
|Uncertain dates||Salim Khan II|
|Uncertain dates||Shah Sultan Khan|
|1710 - uncertain date||Shahbaz Khan|
|Uncertain dates||Shahbeg Khan|
|~1750 - 1790||Shah Kisro Khan|
|1790 - 1825||Salim Khan III|
|1825 - 1863||Ghazanfur Khan|
|1863 - 1886||Mohammad Ghazan Khan I|
|1886 - Dec 1891||Safdar Ali Khan|
|15 September 1892 - 22 July 1938||Mohammad Nazim Khan K.C.I.E|
|22 July 1938 - 1945||Mohammad Ghazan Khan II|
|? 1945 - 25 September 1974||Mohammad Jamal Khan|
|25 September 1974 -||State of Hunza Dissolved BY Z.A.Bhutto Prime Minister of Pakistan|
For many centuries, Hunza has provided the quickest access to Swat and Gandhara for a person travelling on foot. The route was impassable to baggage animals; only human porters could get through, and then only with permission from the locals.
Hunza was easily defended as the paths were often less than half a metre (about 18") wide. The high mountain paths often crossed bare cliff faces on logs wedged into cracks in the cliff, with stones balanced on top. They were also constantly exposed to regular damage from weather and falling rocks. These were the much feared "hanging passageways" of the early Chinese histories that terrified all, including several famous Chinese Buddhist monks.
The last independent ruler was Mir Safdar Khan, who ruled from 1886 to December 1891 - until the British conquest in December 1891. His younger brother Mir Mohammad Nazim Khan was installed by the British and Maharaja (Raja) of Kashmir in September 1892.