History of Andhra Pradesh

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The history of Andhra Pradesh dates back to the Vedic Period. Andhra was mentioned in the Sanskrit epics such as Aitareya Brahmana (800 BCE).[1][2][3]

The Assaka Maha-Janapada (700–300) BCE[4] was an ancient Indian kingdom located between the rivers of Godavari and Krishna in southeastern India. There are accounts of people in the region being descendants of Viswamitra; these are littered in all versions of Ramayana, Mahabharata and Puranas.

Modern day Andhra Pradesh is one of the 29 states of India.

Historical Overview[edit]

The Assaka was one of the sixteen kingdoms in the 6th Century BCE. The Assaka period was succeeded by the Satavahana Empire (230 BCE - 220 CE). This empire built the great city of Amaravati and reached its zenith under Satakarni. At the end of the Satavahana Empire, a divided Telugu region was ruled by various Satavahana feudatories. The Andhra Ikshvakus ruled the eastern Andhra country along the Krishna river during the latter half of the 2nd century. In the 4th century, the Pallavas extended their rule from southern Andhra to the Tamil region and established their capital at Kanchipuram. They increased in power during the reigns of Mahendravarman I (571 – 630) and Narasimhavarman I (630 – 668), dominating the southern Telugu and the northern parts of the Tamil region until the end of the 9th century.

Between 624 and 1323, a significant change came about in the social, religious, linguistic and literary spheres of Andhra society. The Kakatiya dynasty emerged as the largest state, bringing the entire Telugu land under unified rule. During this period, the Telugu language emerged as a literary medium, overcoming the predominance of Prakrit and Sanskrit through the contributions of Nannaya. The Chalukya Chola dynasty ruled the Cholas from 1070 until the demise of their empire in the second half of the 13th century. In 1323, the Delhi Sultan Ghiyath al-Din Tughluq sent a large army under Ulugh Khan (who later ruled as Delhi Sultan under the name Mohammad bin Tuglhluq) to conquer the Telugu country and lay siege to Warangal.

The fall of the Kakatiya dynasty led to a new era under the competing influence of the Turkic kingdoms ruling Delhi, the Chalukya Chola dynasty ruling the south, and the sultanate of central India (Persio-Tajik). The struggle for Andhra ended with the dramatic victories of Musunuri Nayaks over the Turkic Delhi Sultanate, making it possible for the next era of Telugu independence under the Vijayanagara Empire (1336–1646), ruled by Krishnadevaraya. The retreat of the Delhi Sultanate from the south after battles with Musunuri Nayaks allowed an independent Muslim state, the Bahmani Sultanate, to be established in central India by Ala-ud-Din Bahman Shah after a revolt against the Delhi Sultanate. The tolerant Qutb Shahi dynasty of the Bahmani Sultanate held sway in the Andhra country after the demise of the Vijayanagara Empire and patronized the Telugu way of life for about two hundred years, from the early part of the 16th century to the end of the 17th century.

The arrival of Europeans, the French under the Marquis de Bussy-Castelnau and the English under Robert Clive, ended another era of Andhra history. In 1765, Lord Robert Clive, along with the Chief and Council at Vishakapatnam, obtained from the Mughal emperor Shah Alam a grant of the five Circars. In 1792, the British achieved complete supremacy when they defeated Maharaja Vijaya Rama Gajapati Raju of Vizianagaram.

The foundation for modern Andhra was laid in the struggle for Indian independence under Mohandas Gandhi. The campaign of Potti Sriramulu for a state independent of the Madras state and social reform movements by Tanguturi Prakasam Panthulu and Kandukuri Veeresalingam, led to the formation of Andhra State with Karnool as its capital and Tanguturi Prakasampantullu, a noted freedom fighter, as its first chief minister. A fully democratic society with two stable political parties and a modern economy emerged under the Chief Ministership of N. T. Rama Rao.

India became independent from the United Kingdom in 1947. The Muslim Nizam of Hyderabad wanted to retain his independence from India, but was forced to cede his kingdom to India in 1948 to form Hyderabad State. Andhra State was the first state in India to be formed on a mainly linguistic basis by carving it out from the Madras Presidency in 1953. Andhra State was later merged with the Telugu-speaking area of Hyderabad State to create Andhra Pradesh state in 1956.

The next chapter in the history of the Telugus began when the Lok Shabha of India approved the formation of Telangana from ten districts of Andhra Pradesh on 18 February 2014.

Pre-Satavahana Period[edit]

Main article: Andhra Kingdom

There are several references to an Andhra kingdom and a people called Andhras in the Sanskrit epics Mahabharata, Ramayana and Puranas. In the Mahabharata, Rukmini hailed from Vidarbha, the kingdom stretching through the Deccan Plateau and around the Vindhya ranges, which included the modern Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka regions and also the little-known, now apparently submerged archipelago in the Bay of Bengal. Rama, in his exile, is said to have lived in the forests around the present city of Bhadrachalam in Andhra Pradesh.

Although there are signs that the region's history dates back to several centuries BC, authentic archaeological evidence exists only from the last two millennia. The Kingdom of Pratipalapura (5th century BC), identified with Bhattiprolu in the Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh, appears to be the earliest known kingdom in South India. There is inscriptional evidence to show that King Kubera ruled over Bhattiprolu around 230 BC, followed by the Sala Kings. The script of the Bhattiprolu inscriptions was the progenitor of the Brahmi Lipi that later diversified into the modern Telugu and Tamil scripts.

Satavahana Period[edit]

During the Mauryan age there is historical evidence of Andhra as a political power in the southeastern Deccan. Megasthenes, who visited the court of Chandragupta Maurya (322-297 BC), mentioned that Andhras had 30 fortified towns and an army of a million infantry, 2,000 cavalry and 1,000 elephants.[5]

The continuous political and cultural accounts of Andhra Pradesh commence with the rise of the Satavahanas as a political power. According to Matsya Purana, there were 29 rulers of this dynasty. They ruled over the Andhra desa for about 456 years, from the 2nd century BC to the 2nd century AD. According to an inscription at Nasik, under Gautamiputra Satakarni, the 23rd Satavahavana, the kingdom included most of the southern peninsula and some southern parts of the present Indian states of Maharashtra, Orissa and Madhya Pradesh. The court language used by the Satavahanas was Prakrit. Satavahana kings followed the Vedic religion.

The fall of the Satavahana empire left Andhra in political chaos. Local rulers carved out small kingdoms for themselves. From AD 180-624, Ikshvaku, Brihatpalayana, Salankayana, Vishnukundina, Vakataka, Pallava, Ananda Gotrika, Kalinga and other small kingdoms dominated parts of Andhra. Most important among these small dynasties was the Ikshvaku. Sanskrit mostly replaced Prakrit as the language of the inscriptions.


The Andhra Ikshvakus (Sanskrit: इक्श्वाकू) were one of the earliest dynasties of Andhra Pradesh. They ruled the eastern Andhra country along the Krishna river during the latter half of the 2nd century AD. Their capital was Vijayapuri (Nagarjunakonda). Some scholars have suggested that this dynasty was related to the ancient Ikshvakus of Hindu epics. Rama of the Ramayana, who is considered the incarnation of Vishnu, belonged to the line of Ikshvaku. According to Hindu epics, Ikshvaku, who was the Manu and father of Kukshi, was the founder of the Suryavanshi dynasty, reigning from Ayodhya at the commencement of the Treta Yuga.

Archaeological evidence has suggested that the Andhra Ikshvakus immediately succeeded the Satavahanas in the Krishna river valley. They left inscriptions at Nagarjunakonda, Jaggayyapeta, Amaravati and Bhattiprolu. Ikshvaku rulers practiced the Vedic religion.

Oriental scholars such as Buhler and Rapson have expressed the view that the northern Ikshvakus may have migrated south. According to the Vayu Purana, Manu, the great patriarch of ancient India, had nine sons, of whom Ikshvaku was the eldest. His capital was Ayodhya. He had one hundred sons, and the eldest, Vikushi, succeeded his father as the ruler of Ayodhya. Of his remaining sons fifty founded small principalities in Northern India. Forty-eight of his sons migrated to the south and carved out kingdoms for themselves.

The Dharmamrita mentions that during the lifetime of the 12th Tirthankara, a prince named Yasodhara hailing from the Ikshvaku family came from the Anga kingdom to Vengi in the south. The prince was so impressed with the beauty of the region and the fertility of the soil that he made it his permanent home and founded a city called Pratipalapura (Bhattiprolu). Inscriptions have also been discovered in the Nagarjunakonda valley, Jaggayyapeta and Ramireddipalli attesting this event. The Puranas (epics) mention Andhra Ikshvakus as the Sriparvatiyas, Rulers of Sriparvata, and Andhrabhrityas (Servants of the Andhras).


The Andhra Ikshvakus were originally feudatories of the Satavahanas and bore the title Mahatalavara. Although the Purana state that seven kings ruled for 100 years in total, the names of only four of them are known from inscriptions.

  • Vashishthiputra Sri Santamula (Santamula I), the founder of the line, performed the Asvamedha, Agnihotra, Agnistoma and Vajapeya sacrifices. Santamula performed the Ashvamedha sacrifices with a view to proclaiming his independent and imperial status. It became a common practice among the rulers of subsequent dynasties to perform the Ashvamedha sacrifice in token of their declaration of independent status. From this fact it can be inferred that it was Santamula I who first declared his independence and established the Ikshvaku dynasty. Santamula's mother was Vashishthi, as is evident from his name.
  • Virapurushadatta was the son and successor of Santamula through his wife Madhari. He had a sister named Adavi Santisri. He took a queen from the Saka family of Ujjain and gave his daughter in marriage to a Chutu prince.
  • Virapurushadata's son Ehuvula Santamula (Santamula II) ruled after a short Abhira interregnum.
  • Rudrapurushadatta was the name of an Ikshvaku ruler mentioned in inscriptions from Gurajala in Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh. He may have been a son of Ehuvula Santamula. Rudrapurushadatta ruled for over 11 years. He was probably the last important ruler of the Ikshvaku family. According to the Puranas there were three more unknown rulers after him. The Abhiras may have put an end to the Ikshvakus about AD 278.


In the 3rd century AD, Brihatpalayana ruled Northern Andhra with Kodur in Krishna District as his capital. After the Ikshvakus, a part of the Andhra region north of the River Krishna was ruled by Jaya Varma of Brihatpalayana gotra.


The Ananda Gotrikas (335-425) ruled coastal Andhra with Kapotapuram as their capital. Historians[who?] are unsure of their affiliation.


The Salankayanas (c. 300 to 440) ruled over a part of the East Coast with Vengi as their capital. The Salankayanas and Vishnukundinas were two of the many dynasties that succeeded the Ikshvakus. Both the Salankayanas and Vishnukundinas were vassals under Pallava rulers who ruled from southern Telugu and northern Tamil lands. Beginning in their time the script for the Telugu and Kannada languages began clearly separating from that of the other south Indian and north Indian dialects. The Salankayanas were succeeded by the Vishnukundinas, ruling from Vinukonda.


The Pallava Empire (Telugu: పల్లవులు; Tamil: பல்லவர்) was an ancient South Indian kingdom. They ruled from Kanchipuram in Tamil Nadu from around the 4th century. They increased in power during the reigns of Mahendravarman I (571 – 630) and Narasimhavarman I (630 – 668) and dominated the southern Telugu and the northern parts of the Tamil region for about six hundred years until the end of the 9th century.

Throughout their reign they were in constant conflict with both the Chalukyas of Badami in the north and the Tamil states of Chola and Pandyas in the south, and were finally defeated by the Chola rulers in the 8th century.

The Pallavas are most noted for their patronage of Dravidian architecture, still seen today in Mahabalipuram. They laid the foundations of classical Dravidian architecture, leaving behind magnificent sculptures and temples. A Chinese traveller, Hiuen Tsang, visited Kanchipuram under Pallava rule and extolled their benign government.


The Vishnukundinas were a dynasty that ruled over the Deccan and South India. They played an important role in the history of the Deccan during the 5th and 6th centuries.

According to Edward B. Eastwick, the Maharaja of Vizianagaram descends from the Maharajas of Udaipur and is of the Sisodia branch of the Gehlot tribe. A brother of the Maharaja of Udaipur migrated to Oudh in the 5th or 6th century, and relatives of this line migrated into the Deccan. The early rulers of the dynasty were feudatory to the Vakatakas and had marital alliances with them and with the Rashtrakutas.

In 529, a descendent, Madhava Varma, and four allied clans gained independence and solidified their position by defeating the Salankayanas in coastal Andhra. They had different capitals such as Amaravati and Bezwada, until they eventually settled at Vizianagaram. Over the centuries the other four clans served as feudatories to the Vizianagaram rulers, as well as subsequent dynasties such as the Chalukyas. One of the forts later traditionally connected to Rajus is Kalidindi in Krishna district, which was under the Vishnukundin sway for a long time.

In 1512, the Maharaja of Vizianagaram was conquered by the Golkonda dynasty and was made Subahdar of the Northern Circars. The title was conferred by Emperor Aurangzeb, who gave him a two-edged sword (Zulfikar), which is still used in the coat-of-arms of the family. Maharaja Vijaya Rama Gajapati Raju III had several honours conferred on him by the British Government in 1845. Lord Northbrook conferred the title of His Highness. His son was born 31 December 1850, and a daughter was married to His Highness Maharaj Kumar Singh, cousin and heir apparent of H.H. the Maharajah of Rewah. The Rajahs of Vizianagaram obtained the title of 'Gajapati' after the 16th-century battle of Nandapur in the Northern Circars.

Kalachuris of Chedi[edit]

The Matsyas, Chedis, Perichedis, Haihayas and Kalachuris seem to share a common Vedic ancestry. They all seem to share a common origin myth, but it would be difficult to make a conclusive link between the myth and currently available historical information. In the Puranas, Matsya (Sanskrit for fish) was the name of a tribe Meenas and state of the Vedic civilization of India. It was founded by a fisherman who later attained kingship. The Mahabharata (V.74.16) refers to a King Sahaja as the son of a Chedi king named Uparichara Vasu who ruled over both the Chedis and the Matsyas, implying that Matsya once formed a part of the Chedi Kingdom. Besides this Matsya kingdom, the epic refers as many as six other Matsya kingdoms. The Pandya Kingdom in the extreme south also bears the picture of a fish on its official banner, which may indicate some connection with the Matsya kings, and a branch of Matsya is also found later in the Visakhapatnam region.

The Chedi kingdom was one among the many kingdoms in central and western India ruled during early periods by Paurava kings and later by Yadav kings. It falls roughly in the Bundelkhand division of Madhya Pradesh.

The Haihaya kingdom was one of the many kingdoms ruled by Chandravamsha Kshatriya kings in central and western India. Its rulers include Kartavirya Arjuna, a powerful king who defeated Ravana. Its capital was Mahishmati (the modern city of Maheswar) on the banks of the river Narmada in Madhya Pradesh.

Kalachuri is the name used by two kingdoms ruled by a succession of dynasties from the 10th-12th centuries. The first controlled areas in Central India (west Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan) and was called Chedi or Haihaya, and the other, the southern Kalachuri, ruled over parts of Karnataka. They claim common ancestry.


  • Haihaya is supposed to be derived from haya (horse).
  • They believe they are descendants of a prince of the Lunar race.
  • The Vishnu Purana represents them as descendants of Haihaya of the Yadu race, but they are generally associated with outlying tribes.
  • In the Vayu and other Puranas, five great divisions of the tribe are named as the Talajanghas, Vitihotras, Avantis, Tundikeras, and Jatas, or rather Sujatas.
  • According to the Mahabharata, they were descended from Saryati, a son of Manu.
  • Kaartaveerya-Arjuna, who had a thousand arms, was king of the Haihayas; he was defeated and had his arms cut off by Parasurama.
  • The southern branch of Haihayas (Kalachuris) further adds to the legend:
    • Kalli, meaning "long moustache", and Churi, meaning "sharp knife", are the sources of their dynastic name.
    • An 1174 record says the dynasty was founded by one Soma, who grew a beard and moustache to save himself from the wrath of Parashurama, and thereafter the family were known as "Kalachuri".
    • Their emblem was Suvarna Vrishabha, or the golden bull.
    • They worship Krantivirya Sahasrarjun, who killed Rishi Jamdagni, Bhagwan Parshurama's father.

Historians such as P. B. Desai are emphatic about the central Indian origin of the Kalachuris. They were also referred to as Katachuris (shape of a sharp knife), Kalanjarapuravaradhisvara (Lord of Kalanjara) and Haihaya (Heheya). Mount Kalanjara is in north-central India, east of the Indus Valley floodplain. The Vindhya Mountains would seem to have been the home of these tribes, and according to Colonel Todd, a tribe of Haihayas still exists "near the very top of the valley of Sohagpur, in Bhagelkhand, aware of their ancient lineage, and though few in number, still celebrated for their valor."

Before the arrival of the Badami Chalukyas, the Kalachuris had carved out an extensive empire covering areas of Gujarat, Malwa, Konkan and parts of Maharashtra. However, after their crippling defeat at the hands of Badami Chalukya Magalesa, they remained in obscurity for a long time.

Historians have also pointed out that several Kalachuri kings were related to the Chalukyas and Rashtrakutas by matrimonial alliances and ruled from places like Tripuri, Gorakhpur, Ratnapur, and Rajpur[disambiguation needed]. By the time they are mentioned in the Telugu epic "Battle of Palnadu", they are referred to as the Haihaya family of the Kona region (Amalapuram and Razole Taluqs of the present East Godavari District) and as the Haihaya family of Palanadu, and were modest feudatories of the Chalukyas.

In the same tale the Perichedis are also mentioned as minor feudatories of the Chalukyas. According to V. Rama Chandra Rao, they were linked to the ancient Chedi Kingdom. They had two branches, with Kollipaka and Bezawada as their capitals. He also mentions that the Vastsavai dynasty of Peddapuram may be related to the Matsya dynasty, as there is evidence of a branch found in the Vishakapatnam area.

All these clans were important participants in the battle, and from circumstantial evidence we may be able to surmise that they were descendants of a common ancestor separated over time.

Eastern Chalukyas[edit]

Between 624 and 1323, a significant change came about in the social, religious, linguistic and literary spheres of Andhra society. During this period the Telugu language emerged as a literary medium, overcoming the predominance of Prakrit and Sanskrit. As a result, Andhra achieved an identity and a distinction of its own.

The Eastern Chalukyas were a branch of the Chalukyas of Badami. Pulakesin II conquered Vengi (near Eluru) in 624 and installed his brother Kubja Vishnuvardhana (624-641) as its ruler. His dynasty, known as the Eastern Chalukyas, ruled for nearly four centuries in all. Vishnuvardhana extended his dominions as far as Srikakulam in the north and Nellore in the south.

The Eastern Chalukyas occupied a prominent place in the history of Andhra Pradesh. Beginning in the time of Gunaga Vijayaditya in 848, inscriptions show Telugu stanzas, culminating in later centuries in the production of literary works. Later in the 11th century, the Mahabharata was partially translated by the court poet Nannaya under the patronage of the current Eastern Chalukya ruler, Rajaraja Narendra. Throughout this period and up to the 11th century, the Telugu language was written in old Telugu script. Al-Beruni referred to old Telugu script as "Andhri" in his "Kitab Al-Hind" (1000). The emergence of the Telugu script from the old Telugu script started around the 11th century and culminated in the 19th century.

After a brief period of independence under Gunaga Vijayaditya, the Vengi region again came under Rashtrakuta rule, and later under Kalyani Chalukya rule from the beginning of the 10th century to the 11th century, when the Cholas managed to wrest control from the Chalukyas. By 1118, however, with the defeat of the Kulottunga Chola at the hands of Vikramaditya VI of the Kalyani Chalukya dynasty and the victory of the Hoysala ruler Vishnuvardhana over the Cholas at Talakad, Vengi once again came under Chalukya rule. The Kalyani Chalukya power itself went into decline after the death of Vikramaditya VI. By the end of the 12th century, their empire was split into several local kingdoms, namely the Hoysala Empire, the Kakatiya Kingdom and the Yadavas.

Chola Empire[edit]

The Chola dynasty ruled Andhra during the period 1010–1200, The Chola territories stretched from the islands of the Maldives in the south to as far north as the banks of the Godavari River in Andhra Pradesh.


The 12th and 13th centuries saw the emergence of the Kakatiya dynasty. At first they were feudatories of the Western Chalukyas of Kalyani, ruling over a small territory near Warangal. A ruler of this dynasty, Prola II (1110–1158), extended his sway to the south and declared his independence. His successor Rudra (1158–1195) pushed the kingdom to the east up to the Godavari delta. He built Warangal Fort to serve as a second capital and faced the invasions of the Seuna Yadavas of Devagiri. The next ruler, Mahadeva, extended the kingdom to the coastal area. Ganapati Deva succeeded him in 1199. He was the greatest of the Kakatiyas and the first after the Satavahanas to bring almost the entire Telugu area under one unified empire. (Unlike the Satavahanas, the Kakatiyas were native Telugu kings who used Telugu as their court language.) Ganapati put an end to the rule of the Velanati Cholas in 1210 and extended his empire to Anakapalle in the north. The most prominent ruler in this dynasty was Rani Rudrama Devi (1262–1289), one of the few queens in Indian history. An able fighter and ruler, Rudrama defended the kingdom against the Cholas and the Seuna Yadavas, earning their respect. She remains one of the few female rulers in South India at any period. On the death of Rudrama at the beginning of 1290, her grandson Prataparudra, whom she adopted as her son and heir apparent on the advice of her father Ganapatideva, ascended the throne. Prataparudra had to fight battles throughout his reign against either internal rebels or external foes. Prataparudra expanded his borders to the west to Raichur and in the south to Ongole and the Nallamala Hills, whilst introducing many administrative reforms, some of which were also later adopted in the Vijayanagar empire.

The Kakatiya dynasty faced Muslim onslaughts beginning in 1310 and came under the control of the Delhi Sultanate in 1323. The region enjoyed a brief period of 50 years of independence under the Musunuri Nayaks, who rebelled and liberated Telugu land from the rule of Delhi. Although short-lived, the Musunuri Nayaks' rule was a watershed in the history of south India. Hakka (Harihara) and Bukka, who were previously treasury officers at the court of Prataparudra, drew inspiration from him and organized Hindu opposition to the Muslim invaders. Eventually, after the fall of the Kakatiyas in 1370, the Vijayanagara Empire, considered the last great Hindu and Kannada empire, swept across the Telugu lands and present-day Karnataka (1336–1450). major parts of the Telugu region were under the Reddys of Kondavidu and Rajahmundry,[6]

Musunuri Nayaks[edit]

The short rule of the Musunuri Nayaks provided an example of Telugu pride and assertion of independence. After the capture of Prataparudra, the Muslim invasion demoralized the common people, who were unfamiliar with the methods used by the invaders.[7] Two Telugus, Annaya Mantri and Kolani Rudradeva, united the Nayaks and instilled a willingness to sacrifice to protect the Telugu country and Hindu Dharma. A Nayak from Vengi (in modern-day West Godavari district), Musunuri Prolayanayak (Prolaaneedu), was chosen as their leader.[8] Prolaneedu galvanized the Nayaks with his organizational skills.[9][10] Battles were fought at a great cost, and Telugu independence was achieved. By 1326 Prolaneedu liberated Warangal and drove the Muslims out of the Telugu country.[11] Many inscriptions glorify the victories of Prolaya and the statecraft he practised.[12] Inspired by the victories of Prolaneedu and his cousin Kaapaneedu, other states like Kampili, Hoysala, Dwarasamudram and Araveedu also asserted independence. The cousins actively assisted other kings to achieve freedom from the Sultanate. Harihara and Bukka, who were captured at Warangal by Ulugh Khan and converted to Islam, were sent by the Sultan to suppress the rebellion of the Hoysala ruler. The brothers, however, switched sides and went on to establish the Vijayanagara Empire. The Sultan was enraged and personally led a huge army southward. He reached Warangal but had to make a hasty retreat. Historians think that the retreat was due to a great epidemic raging at the time and to the formidable resistance of the Nayaks. Kaapaneedu wanted to take the opportunity to liberate the whole of Andhra Pradesh, including Bidar. He sought the help of the Hoysala ruler in this endeavour. Kaapaya succeeded in capturing the Warangal fort and liberating Andhra Pradesh from the invaders. The flag of Andhradesa was again unfurled on the Warangal fort. Kaapaya took the titles "Andhradesaadheeswara" and "Andhrasuratraana". The Telugu land now extended from Srikakulam to Bidar and Siripur to Kanchi.

A revolt by a group of Muslim nobles against Muhammad bin Tughluq that began in Devagiri in 1345 culminated in the foundation of the Bahmani Sultanate by Hasan Gangu. He assumed the name Alauddin Bahman Shah and moved his capital to the more centrally located Gulbarga in 1347. Alauddin was an ambitious man and his goal was to conquer the whole of Dakshinapatha (the Deccan). The unity fostered by the Musunuri cousins among the Nayaks started showing strains fueled by envy. The Recherla Nayaks, led by Singama, raided Addanki, which was under the control of Vema Reddy. He sought the help of Kaapaneedu, who intervened and forced Singama to accept the confederation. Singama was never reconciled to this. Kaapaneedu also helped the Bahmani sultan to ward off the Delhi sultan's attack, but Alauddin soon proved ungrateful. Singama and his sons induced Alauddin to interfere in the affairs of Warangal. The Bahmani sultan was only too eager to oblige. Kaapaneedu's army was surprised and fought a heroic battle in vain. He concluded a treaty with Alauddin and surrendered the Kaulas fort. This was the first setback to the unified Telugu state. The death of Muhammad bin Tughluq in 1351 emboldened Alauddin to further his goal of expanding his sultanate in the Deccan. He returned to Gulbarga and died in 1359. Mohammed Shah succeeded Alauddin. Kaapaneedu then sent his son Vinayaka Deva to liberate Kaulas and Bhuvanagiri from the Bahmanis. The Vijayanagar emperor Bukka Raya actively assisted him in this campaign. Vinayaka Deva had initial successes but was eventually defeated, captured and killed in a ghastly manner. Kaapaneedu was disheartened, but his goal was to destroy the Bahmani Sultanate. Along with Bukka Raya, he planned a great expedition against the Bahmanis and conquered Golconda and Warangal. Meanwhile, Bukka Raya died. Lack of support from Vijayanagar and the jealous designs of the Devarakonda and Rachakonda Nayaks contributed to the fall of Warangal. Historians feel that the Rachakonda Nayaks surreptitiously helped the Bahmani sultan. Golconda was chosen as the border between the Bahmani and Warangal kingdoms in 1365. Musunuri Kaapaaneedu had to present the turquoise throne and large amounts of tribute to Mohammed Shah. Singamanayaka of Recherla and his sons took advantage of the situation and declared independence. They marched against Warangal, now ruled by a weakened and disheartened Kaapaneedu. The treasury was empty and the army was war-weary. Kaapaneedu met Singama's army at Bhimavaram and died a martyr's death. Thus ended the short but glorious reign (1326–1370) of the Musunuri clan, which united the Telugu country, its people and its warriors and protected the Hindu Dharma. The valor, dedication and undaunted spirit of sacrifice of the Musunuri Nayaks are unparalleled in the history of the Telugu land[citation needed].

Reddy Dynasty[edit]

Main article: Reddy dynasty

The first of the Reddy clans came into prominence during the Kakatiya period. During this time the Reddys carved out feudal principalities for themselves. After the death of Pratapa Rudra II and the subsequent fall of the Kakatiya empire, the Reddy chiefs became independent, leading to the emergence of the Reddy kingdom. Reddys ruled from present day srikakulam in the north to kanchi in south.After the decline of kakateeyas, reddys ruled most of thepresent andhra and rayalaseema regions.[13][14][15][16]

The 19th-century writer Edgar Thurston in his book, Castes and Tribes of Southern India, stated that the Reddys were village chiefs and listed them under the section Kapu.[28] The village chiefs were given the title "Reddy".

The Reddy dynasty (1325–1448) ruled some parts of coastal Andhra Pradesh for over a hundred years.[15][17][18][19][20] the Reddys became independent after the death of Pratapa Rudra II and the subsequent fall of the Kakatiya Dynasty. The Reddy Kingdom then emerged.[13][14][15][16] Prolaya Vema Reddy was the first king of the Reddy dynasty.[21] The capital of the kingdom was Addanki; it was moved to Kondavidu and later to Rajahmundry.[22] Prolaya Vema's reign was characterized by the restoration of peace, patronage of the arts and literature, and broad development. Errana, the translator of the Mahabharata, lived during this period.

Origins of the Reddys: The Rashtrakutas and Reddys seem to share a similar origin, from the great "Rattas" or "Rathis" or "Rashtrikas"[12][15] who ruled the Deccan in ancient times.[16] The "Rathis" ruled over small principalities on the Deccan plateau before 200 BCE, before the Satavahanas and Mauryas. The word "Rathi" or "Ratti" is found in various forms, such as Reddi, Ratta, Rashtrakuta, Rahtor, and Rathaur.[28] They left coins in northern Andhra Pradesh, in Kurnool district, and near Pune. Coins have been found in excavations in levels from the megalithic to Satavahana periods. The word Reddy is first specifically seen in inscriptions made during the Renati Chola period (7th century CE).[29] The Reddys are believed to be an offshoot of the Rashtrakuta dynasty. After the decline of the Rashtrakuta dynasty, the ruling clan broke off and settled in two branches in North and South India. The Rashtrakutas were a Rajput clan. The settlers in the north were called Rathods/Rathores and ruled Marwar in western Rajasthan, while the southern settlers were called Reddys.

Vijayanagar Empire[edit]

The Vijayanagara Empire, one of the greatest empires of southern India, was founded by Harihara (Hakka) and Bukka, who either served as Treasury officers in the administration of the Kakatiya dynasty or were commanders for Hoysala. When Warangal fell in 1323, the two brothers were captured, taken to Delhi and converted to Islam. The Delhi Sultanate sent them to the Deccan as governors of Kampili with the hope that they would be able to deal with the local revolt and invasions by neighboring Hindu kings. Their first campaign was against the neighboring Hoysala emperor, Veera Ballala III of Dwarasamudra. Later the brothers reconverted to Hinduism under the influence of the sage Vidyaranya and proclaimed their independence from the Delhi Sultanate. However, this tale of conversion to Islam, wars against the Hoysalas and their reconversion to Hinduism has been rejected by other historians, who claim the founders were Kannadigas and were stationed in the Tungabhadra region by Hoysala Veera Ballala III to fight the Muslim invasion. Harihara I (reigned 1336–56) then established his new capital, Vijayanagar, in an easily defensible position south of the Tungabhadra River, where it came to symbolize the emerging medieval political culture of South India. The Vijayanagara empire reached its peak under Emperor Krishnadevaraya in the early part of the 16th century. Telugu literature reached new heights during this time. Fine Vijayanagar monuments were built across South India, including Lepakshi, Tirupati and Shri Kalahasti in Andhra Pradesh. The largest and most famous assembly of Vijayanagara monuments is at Hampi in modern Karnataka.

Mughal era[edit]

In 1323 the Delhi Sultan Ghiaz-ud-din Tughlaq sent a large army under Ulugh Khan to conquer the Telugu country and lay siege to Warangal.

In 1347 an independent Muslim state, the Bahmani Sultanate, was established in south India by Ala-ud-Din Bahman Shah in a revolt against the Delhi Sultanate. By the end of the 15th century, Bahmani rule was plagued with faction fights and the five Shahi sultanates came into existence. Of these, it was the Qutb Shahi dynasty that played a notable role in the history of the Telugu land.

The Qutb Shahi dynasty held sway over the Andhra country for about two hundred years, from the early part of the 16th century to the end of the 17th century. Sultan Quli Qutb Shah, the founder of the dynasty, served the Bahmanis faithfully and was appointed governor of the Hyderabad State in 1496. He declared independence after the death of his patron, Mahmud Shah, in 1518. Aurangazeb, the Mughal emperor, invaded Golconda in 1687 and annexed it to his empire. He appointed a Nizam (governor), and for about 35 years this region was ruled by Mughal Nizams. Aurangazeb died in 1707, the administrative machinery of the Mughal regime began to crumble and it gradually lost control over the provinces. This enabled two foreign mercantile companies to consolidate themselves as political powers capable of later playing decisive roles in the destiny of the nation. These were the East India Company of England and the Compagnie des Indes Orientales of France.

Beginning of the Colonial era[edit]

Colonial era

In 1753, a decree of Asif ad-Dawlah Mir Ali Salabat Jang, Subedar of Deccan, ceded to General Bussy the paragons of Chicacole, Ellore, Rajahmundry etc. with an annual revenue of Rs.200,000 for the maintenance of the French troops in the Subah, in recognition of their help. The revenue of the Circars amounted to 1 million Rupees per year. Bussy had aided Salabat Jang in becoming Subedar of Deccan. The agreement between the French and Salabat Jang in Aurangabad bears the signature of Said Loukshur, Minister of Salabat Jang. Yanam acquired considerable importance during the occupation of the Northern Circars by the French.

Another important historical event was the battle between the French and the English fought at Chandurti (now in Gollaprolu mandal in East Godavari district) in 1758, in which the French were defeated by the combined armies of the British and Maharaja Ananda Gajapathi Raju II of Vizianagram. Salabat Jang made a treaty with the British and gave the Northern Circars to the English under a firman. Later, the Nizam rebelled against the English. The war ended with a second treaty and the Northern Circars remained permanently under the control of the British. After 1760 the French lost their hold in South India, especially on the Northern Circars. In 1765, Lord Robert Clive and the existing Chief and Council at Vizagapatam obtained from the Mughal emperor Shah Alam a grant of the five Circars. In 1792, the British achieved complete supremacy when they defeated Maharaja Vijaya Rama Gajapati Raju of Vizianagaram. During the rule of Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan, the Kingdom of Mysore pursued an expansionist policy against the Marathas, the Nizam and the English and made incursions into the Rayalaseema region.

Madras Presidency[edit]

The Northern Circars became part of the British Madras Presidency. Eventually that region became the Coastal Andhra region. Later, the Nizam ceded five territories (Datta Madalālu) to the British, which eventually became the Rayalaseema region. The Nizams retained control of the interior provinces as the Princely state of Hyderabad, acknowledging British rule in return for local autonomy.

At this time the provinces were governed in a feudal manner, with Zamindars in areas such as Kulla and other parts of the Godavari acting as lords under the Nizam. The feudal or zamindari system was removed after independence.

Telugu Districts in Madras Presidency[edit]

The Andhras (or Telugu) were at the forefront of Indian nationalism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Zamindaris in Famous Madaras state

  • Vizagapatam
  • Pemmasani Clan
  • Ravella Clan
  • Vasireddy Rajas
  • Yarlagadda Rajas
  • Balusu Clan
  • Mullapudi Clan
  • Adusumilli Clan

Zamindaris in Famous Madaras state is Ruled by Padamanayakas


India became independent from the United Kingdom in 1947. The Muslim Nizam of Hyderabad wanted to retain his independence from India, but was forced to cede his state to India in 1948 to form Hyderabad State. When India became independent, the Telugu-speaking people (although Urdu is spoken in some parts of Hyderabad and in a few other districts of Hyderabad State) were distributed in about 22 districts, 9 of them in the Hyderabad State region of the Nizam's Dominions (Hyderabad State), 12 in the Madras Presidency and one in French-controlled Yanam. Andhra State was the first state in India formed on a purely linguistic basis by carving it out from Madras Province in 1953. Andhra State was later merged with the Telugu-speaking area of Hyderabad State to create Andhra Pradesh state in 1956. In 1954, Yanam was liberated, and it was merged with Puducherry in 1963.

Madras Manade movement[edit]

However, in 1953, Telugu speakers of Madras Presidency sought Madras as the capital of Andhra Pradesh state, adopting the famous slogan "Madras Manade" (Madras is ours) before Tirupati was included in Andhra Pradesh. Madras at that time was an indistinguishable mixture of Tamil and Telugu cultures, and it was difficult to determine who should possess it. Panagal Raja, Chief Minister of the Madras Presidency, in the early 1920s said that the Cooum River should be kept as a boundary, giving the northern portion to the Andhra and the southern portion to the Tamils. In 1928, Sir C. Sankaran Nair sent a report to the Central Council discussing why Madras should not belong to the Tamils. It was finally decided that Madras would remain in the Tamil region, however. According to the JPC report, (by Jawahar Lal Nehru, Bhogaraju Pattabhi Sitaramayya, and C. Rajagopalachari), the Telugu people should leave Madras to the Tamils if they wanted a new state.

Creation of Andhra Pradesh State[edit]

In an effort to protect the interests of the Telugu people of Madras state, Amarajeevi Potti Sriramulu attempted to force the government of Madras Presidency to listen to public demands to separate the Telugu-speaking areas of Rayalaseema and Coastal Andhra from Madras Presidency to form the Andhra state. He went on a lengthy fast, and only stopped when Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru promised to form Andhra state. However, there was no further movement on the issue for a long time. Potti Sriramulu started fasting again on 19 October 1952 in Maharshi Bulusu Sambamurthy's house in Madras to promote statehood for Andhra. He started off without fanfare but gradually caught people's attention, despite the disavowal of the fast by the Andhra Congress committee.

The government of the day did not make a clear statement about the formation of a new state, however, despite several strikes and demonstrations by the Telugus. Shortly after midnight of 15 December 1952, Potti Sriramulu died, giving his life trying to achieve his objective.

In his death procession, people shouted slogans praising his sacrifice. When the procession reached Mount Road, thousands of people joined and raised banners hailing Sriramulu. Later they went into a frenzy and began destroying public property. The news spread like wildfire and created an uproar in distant places such as Vizianagaram, Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada, Eluru, Guntur, Tenali, Ongole and Nellore. Seven people were killed by police gunfire in Anakapalle and Vijayawada. The popular agitation continued for three or four days, disrupting normal life in Madras and Andhra regions. On 19 December 1952, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru announced the formation of a separate state for Telugu-speaking people of Madras Presidency.

House no. 126, Royapettah high road, Mylapore, Madras is the address where Potti Sriramulu died, and it has been preserved as a monument of importance by the state government of Andhra Pradesh.

After an election campaign, on 1 October 1953, 11 districts in the Telugu-speaking portion of Madras State (Coastal Andhra and Rayala Seema) voted to become the new state of Andhra State, with Kurnool as the capital. Andhra Kesari Tanguturi Prakasam Pantulu became first Chief Minister of the Telugu state thus formed.

The formation of linguistic states was the single most important event in the history of the South Indian languages, since it provided an opportunity for these languages to develop independently, each of them now having a state to support it.

Merger of Hyderabad state and Andhra[edit]

Map of India with the Telangana region highlighted in red

In December 1953, the States Reorganization Commission was appointed to prepare for the creation of states on linguistic line.[23] The commission, due to public demand, recommended disintegration of Hyderabad state and to merge Marathi speaking region with Bombay state and Kannada speaking region with Mysore state. The States Reorganisation Commission (SRC) discussed pros and cons of the merger of Telugu speaking Telangana region of Hyderabad state with Andhra state. Paragraph 374 of the SRC report said "The creation of Vishalandhra is an ideal to which numerous individuals and public bodies, both in Andhra and Telangana, have been passionately attached over a long period of time, and unless there are strong reasons to the contrary, this sentiment is entitled to consideration". Discussing the case of Telangana, paragraph 378 of the SRC report said "One of the principal causes of opposition of Vishalandhra also seems to be the apprehension felt by the educationally backward people of Telangana that they may be swamped and exploited by the more advanced people of the coastal areas." In its final analysis SRC recommended against the immediate merger. In paragraph 386 it said "After taking all these factors into consideration we have come to the conclusions that it will be in the interests of Andhra as well as Telangana, if for the present, the Telangana area is to constitute into a separate State, which may be known as the Hyderabad State with provision for its unification with Andhra after the general elections likely to be held in or about 1961 if by a two thirds majority the legislature of the residuary Hyderabad State expresses itself in favor of such unification."

After going through the recommendations of the SRC, the then Central Government led by Jawaharlal Nehru decided to merge Andhra state and Telangana to form Andhra Pradesh state on 1 November 1956 after providing safeguards to Telangana in the form of Gentleman's agreement.

Telangana movement[edit]

Main article: Telangana movement

There have been several movements to revoke the merger of Telangana and Andhra, major ones occurring in 1969, 1972, and 2009. The movement for a new state of Telangana gained momentum over the decades.[24] On 9 December 2009 the Government of India announced the process of formation of the Telangana state. Violent protests led by people in the Coastal Andhra and Rayalseema regions occurred immediately after the announcement, and the decision was put on hold on 23 December 2009.

The movement continued in Hyderabad and other districts of Telangana.[25] There have been hundreds of claimed suicides,[26] strikes, protests and disturbances to public life demanding separate statehood.

Bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh[edit]

Telangana (in white) and Andhra Pradesh (in yellow) after bifurcation

On 30 July 2013, the Congress Working Committee unanimously passed a resolution to recommend the formation of a separate Telangana state. After various stages the bill was placed in the Parliament in February 2014.[27] In February 2014, Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014 bill was passed by the Parliament of India for the formation of Telangana state comprising ten districts from north-western Andhra Pradesh.[28] The bill received the assent of the President and published in the Gazette on 1 March 2014.[29]

The state of Telangana was officially formed on 2 June 2014.



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