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The history of Punjab is as old as the history of the Indian Civilization. Being the land of five rivers, this state was known as Panchal when the Aryans came to India in the third millennium BC.

Before that, the whole region of the Sindhu (Indus) and its tributaries was inhibited by the Harappans or the people of the Copper age, who constructed great cities in this region. Ropar in modern Punjab is a great example of this civilization.

The Harappan culture declined suddenly between 1800-1700 BC and its end is as puzzling as its beginning. After the decline of the Harappans, Aryans from Central Asia ventured into this land and made this their home.

Punjab was the first place on the Indian subcontinent where the Aryans actually decided to settle after a long period of grazing and fighting with the aboriginal communities. This was the place where later parts of many Vedas were written. This was also the place where the first war for the control of the entire northern India was fought between the Aryans and non-Aryans, known as Dasragya War (war of 10 kings).

Draupadi, wife of the Pandava princes in Mahabharat, was the princess of Panchal though her father fought in the war of Mahabharat against the Pandavas. When the Aryans finally settled down in India, the region came under the rulers of the Magadh kingdom in the last century BC.

Punjab always had a strategic importance due to its position on the famous Grand Trunk Road that connected the eastern parts of India to the extreme northwest point of Taxila (now in Afghanistan). This road was first constructed by Ashoka to have a better administration of the northwestern frontier, which was always a problem.

After the decline of the Mauryan Empire, the Indo Greeks, Guptas, and Vardhans ruled this region in succession. After the coming of the Muslims in the 9th-10th century AD, the region became an integral part of the Delhi Sultanate and of the Mughal Empire. It was also under the Maratha rule for some time.

After the decline of the Mughal Empire, the most prominent ruler in this land was Maharaja Ranjit Singh in the early 19th century. After the death of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the Sikhs could not hold on to their territory for long and the British controlled most of the region either directly or through the princely states.

The Partition of India in 1947 was a turning point for this state. Most of the Muslim dominated areas went out with Pakistan; while the Sikh and Hindu dominated areas remained within India.

Lakhs of people were killed in the mayhem that engulfed in this region in the wake of the Partition. After independence, a new state of Punjab was created with the modern day Haryana and Himachal Pradesh being a part of this state.

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