The area which is
now known as Karnataka, has a history so ancient, that it merges in the
realm of pre-history. The history of Karnataka region traces to Paleolithic
age. Neolithic and megalithic cultures were also present in this region.
The hand axe culture was very much prevalent among the people here, than
the people of the north. It is also believed by many historians that gold
was imported to Harappa from the gold mines of Karnataka. As far as recorded
history of Karnataka goes, it has also been found that the people of Karnataka
who lived as far back as 1200 BC, used iron weapons.
The early rulers of
Karnataka were mainly from the north of India, and many parts of Karnataka
were ruled by the Mauryas and the Nandas. Extensive areas of Karnataka
were ruled by the Satavahanas from 30BC to 230AD, and the decline of their
rule was followed by the rise of Kadamba and the Western Ganga dynasty.
Mayurasharman in 345 AD founded the Kadamba dynasty and the capital of
his kingdom was Banavasi.
The Western Gangas
started their rule from around 350 AD from the Kolar region, and much
later shifted their capital to Talakadu, located in the Mysore district.
Both the Gangas and the Kadambas ruled their respective regions well till
the advent of the Badami Chalukyas, who overpowered them and made them
It was the Badami Chalukyas who actually brought the whole of Karnataka
under a single ruler and they greatly contributed to the fields of arts
and crafts. The Rastrakutas came next, after overthrowing the Chalukyas.
They were responsible for building the famous Ellora Caves in Maharashtra.
The Rastrakutas were
overthrown by the Kalyana Chalukyas who in turn resisted the powerful
Chola kings from the South. The Sevunas or Yadavas who came next, ruled
Karnataka for a long period of time.
At the beginning of
the first millennium, Hoysalas emerged as a powerful political force in
the Karnataka region. Their rule made a significant impact in the cultural
history of Karnataka. During Hoysala rule, Karnataka literature flourished,
and a great many temples and sculptures were created. The Muslim rulers
defeated the Hoysalas, who ruled over Karnataka. It was the commanders
of the Hoysala army, named Harihara and Bukka, who fought against the
Delhi Sultan and founded the Vijayanagara Empire, which extended from
south of the Vindyas. In the early fourteenth century, Harihara and Bukka
Raya founded the Vijayanagara Empire. This empire successfully thwarted
many imperialistic advances by Moghuls. The ruins of this mighty empire
can be seen today at Hampi.
Krishna Devaraya was
the greatest king of the Vijayanagara Empire and during his time there
was a reign of peace and prosperity. His reign saw the building of many
famous temples. After the fall of the Vijayanagara Empire, the Marathas
took control of northern Karnataka. Tipu Sultan, who was the last king
to rule Karnataka, was defeated by the British rulers who overthrew him.
After a long stint of rule under the British, Karnataka state in its present
form, finally became an independent state of the Indian Union in the year
1956 with Kodagu and Kannada speaking regions from the states of Madras,
Hyderabad and Bombay being incorporated into the Mysore state under the
States Reorgnisation Act. Yes, then it was called Mysore state; it was
renamed Karnataka in 1973.
Karnataka in Details