History of Karnataka

History of Karnataka

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" [Thus indicating their Southern origin, Dr. Romila Thapar, The Penguin History of Early India, 2003] . The Chindaka Nagas of centra India, Gangas of Kalinga (Orissa) [Dr. Suryanath U. Kamat, "Concise history of Karnataka", 2001, MCC, Bangalore (Reprinted 2002)] , Rashtrakutas of Gujarat [Dr. B.R. Bhandarkar argues that even the viceroys ("Dandanayaka") of the Gujarat line hailing from the Rashtrakuta family signed their Sanskrit records in Kannada, examples of which are the Navasari and Baroda plates of Karka I and the Baroda records of Dhruva II. The Gujarat Rashtrakuta princes used Kannada signatures as this was the mode of writing in their native country, meaning Kannada country says Dr. Bhandarkar, "A Concise History of Karnataka", Dr. Suryanath U. Kamath] Chalukyas of Vengi [Dr. Suryanath Kamath, Prof. K.A.N. Sastri, Arthikaje] , Yadava Dynasty of Devagiri were all of Kannada origin [Dr. Ritti has argued thus. Even though the Seuna or Yadava ruled from Devagiri (850-1315), literature in Kannada was prolific in their kingdom along with Sanskrit, coinage with Kannada legends have been discovered and most of their inscriptions are in Kannada, indicating that they were Kannadaigas who migrated north due to political situation. Marathi literature started from around 1190 C.E., Dr. Suryanath U. Kamat, "Concise history of Karnataka", 2001, MCC, Bangalore (Reprinted 2002)] 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.Scholars such as R.V.Joshi, S.Nagaraju, A.Sundara etc. (Kamath 2001, p15)] 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.Discovered by Dr. K. Paddayya in 1974 (Kamath 2001, pp15-16)] There are reports that a polished stone axe was discovered at Lingsugur in the Raichur districtThe hand axe was discovered by Primrose (Kamath 2001, p15)] [cite web |url=http://www.hindu.com/2005/01/10/stories/2005011001090500.htm |title= `First-ever celt was found near Madikeri' |accessdate=2007-05-06 |publisher=The Hindu] Neolithic sites (new stone age) of importance are Maski in Raichur district, Brahmagiri 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.Kamath (2001), p18]

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. [cite web|url=http://metalrg.iisc.ernet.in/~wootz/heritage/K-hertage.htm|title=THE GOLDEN HERITAGE OF KARNATAKA|author=S. Ranganathan|work=Online webpage of the Department of Metallurgy|publisher=Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore|accessdate=2007-06-07] [cite web |url=http://www.ourkarnataka.com/states/history/historyofkarnataka7.htm |title=Prehistoric culture of Karnataka
accessdate=2007-05-06 |publisher=ourkarnataka.com
] [cite web |url=http://www.ancientindia.co.uk/staff/resources/background/bg16/home.html|title= Trade |accessdate=2007-05-06 |publisher=The British Museum]

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. [http://www.hindu.com/2005/01/10/stories/2005011001090500.htm The Hindu : Karnataka News : `First-ever celt was found near Madikeri' ] ] 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. [http://metalrg.iisc.ernet.in/~wootz/heritage/K-hertage.htm] [ [http://www.ourkarnataka.com/states/history/historyofkarnataka7.htm History of Karnataka by Mr. Arthikaje: Pre Historic Culture ] ] [ [http://www.ancientindia.co.uk/staff/resources/background/bg16/home.html Ancient India - Staff Room ] ] [http://www.hindunet.org/saraswati/html/artefacts.htm]

Early history

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 of Banavasi in modern Uttara Kannada district with Mayurasharma, a brahmin native of Talagunda in modern Shivamogga district as the founding king,From the Talagunda inscription (Dr. B. L. Rice in Kamath, 2001, p30)] Moares (1931), p10] From the Talagunda inscription of 450 Kamath, (2001), pp 30-31] Ramesh (1984), p6] cite web|title=Kadambas of Banavasi|url=http://www.kamat.com/kalranga/deccan/kadamba.htm|author=Dr. Jyotsna Kamat|publisher=1996-2006 Kamat's Potpourri|work=|accessdate=2006-11-28] and the Western Ganga Dynasty in southern Karnataka,Adiga and Sheik Ali in Adiga (2006), p89] The Gangas were sons of the Soil - R. S. Panchamukhi and Lakshminarayana Rao cite web|title=Gangas of Talkad|url=http://www.ourkarnataka.com/states/history/historyofkarnataka11.htm|author=Arthikaje, Mangalore|publisher=1998-2000 OurKarnataka.Com, Inc|work=|accessdate=2007-01-18] 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.From the Halmidi inscription (Ramesh 1984, pp10–11)] Kamath (2001), p10] 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. [cite web
month=February 7
title=5th century copper coin discovered at Banavasi
publisher=Deccan Herald

Medieval history

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.Considerable number of their records are in Kannada (Kamath 2001, p67, p73, pp88-89, p114)] 7th century Badami Chalukya inscriptions call Kannada the natural language (Thapar 2003, p345)] Altekar (1934), pp411–413] Even royalty of the Rashtrakuta empire took part in poetic and literary activities (Thapar 2003, p334)] Narasimhacharya (1988), p68, p17–21] Reu (1933), pp37–38] More inscriptions in Kannada are attributed to the Chalukya King Vikramaditya VI than to any other king prior to the 12th century, cite web|title=Chalukyas of Kalyana |url=http://www.kamat.com/kalranga/deccan/deckings.htm|author=Kamat, Jyotsna|publisher=1996–2006 Kamat's Potpourri|work=|accessdate=2006-12-24]

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.Kamath (2001), pp132–134] Sastri (1955), p359, p361] Foekema (1996), p14] Kamath (2001), p124] The expansion of the Hoysala Empire brought large parts of modern Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu under their rule.The Tamil city of Kannanur Kuppam near Srirangam became the second capital of the Hoysalas during the rule of Vira Narasimha II. During the time of Veera Ballala III, Tiruvannamalai in Tamil Nadu had been made an alternate capital. The Hoysalas were arbiters of South Indian politics and took up the leadership role (B.S.K. Iyengar in Kamath (2001), p126] Keay (2000), p252] Sastri (1955), p195] The Hoysalas dominated of Southern Deccan as a single empire, (Thapar 2003, p368]

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. P. B. Desai ("History of Vijayanagar Empire", 1936), Henry Heras ("The Aravidu Dynasty of Vijayanagara", 1927), B.A. Saletore ("Social and Political Life in the Vijayanagara Empire", 1930), G.S. Gai (Archaeological Survey of India), William Coelho ("The Hoysala Vamsa", 1955) and Kamath ( Kamath 2001, pp157-160)] Karmarkar 1947, p30] The Bahmani sultans of Bidar were the main competitors to the Vijayanagara empire for hegemony over the DeccanKamath (2001), pp190-191] and after their fall, the Bijapur Sultanate took their place in the dynastic struggle for control of the southern India.Kamath (2001), p200] 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.Kamath (2001), p201] Kamath (2001), p202] 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.Kamath (2001), p207]

Modern history


The freedom movement

Unification of Karnataka

After Indian independence, the Wodeyar Maharaja acceded to India. In 1950, Mysore 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, Madras, Hyderabad, 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.

Post-modern history

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.



* Dr. Suryanath U. Kamat, Concise history of Karnataka, 2001, MCC, Bangalore (Reprinted 2002) OCLC: 7796041
* Nilakanta Sastri, K.A. (1955). A History of South India, From Prehistoric times to fall of Vijayanagar, OUP, New Delhi (Reprinted 2002) ISBN 0-19-560686-8..
* Dr. Romila Thapar, The Penguin History of Early India From Origins to 1300 A.D., 2003, Penguin, New Delhi, ISBN 0-14-302989-4.
* R. Narasimhacharya, History of Kannada Literature, 1988, Asian Educational Services, New Delhi, Madras,1988, ISBN 81-206-0303-6.
*cite book |last= Iyer|first= Panchapakesa A.S.|title= Karnataka Sangeeta Sastra|origyear=2006|year=2006|publisher= Zion Printers|location= Chennai|isbn=
*cite book |last= Adiga|first= Malini|title= The Making of Southern Karnataka: Society, Polity and Culture in the early medieval period, AD 400–1030|origyear=2006|year=2006|publisher= Orient Longman|location= Chennai|isbn= 81 250 2912 5
*cite book |last= Altekar|first= Anant Sadashiv |title= The Rashtrakutas And Their Times; being a political, administrative, religious, social, economic and literary history of the Deccan during C. 750 A.D. to C. 1000 A.D|origyear=1934|year=1934|publisher= Oriental Book Agency|location= Poona|oclc=3793499
*cite book |last=Foekema|first=Gerard |title= A Complete Guide To Hoysala Temples|origyear=1996|year=|publisher= Abhinav|location= New Delhi|isbn=81-7017-345-0
*cite book |last=Moraes|first=George M. |title= The Kadamba Kula, A History of Ancient and Medieval Karnataka|origyear=1931|year= 1990|publisher= Asian Educational Services|location= New Delhi, Madras|isbn= 81-206-0595-0
*cite book |last= Ramesh|first= K.V.|title= Chalukyas of Vatapi|origyear=1984|year=|publisher= Agam Kala Prakashan|location= Delhi|isbn= 3987-10333
* John Keay, History of India, 2000, Grove publications, New York, ISBN 0-8021-3797-0, BINC: 6494766
* Karmarkar, A.P. (1947), Cultural history of Karnataka : ancient and medieval, Karnataka Vidyavardhaka Sangha, Dharwad OCLC 8221605

External links

* [http://www.archive.org/details/epigraphiacarnat04mysouoft Rice, B L 1898. Epigraphica Carnatica Vol 2]

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