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THE HISTORY OF HYDERABAD

The Pre Qutb Shahi Era (1000AD-1450AD)

The Chalukya dynasty ended around 1200AD and the Kakatiya dynasty took over the area over, ruling from Warangal, about 180km from Hyderabad. Around 1320AD, Mohammad Bin Tughlaq from Delhi invaded the Kakatiyas, which resulted in the Bahmani Sultanate that operated from what is now Karnataka, slowly taking over the area, fighting neighbouring empires. By about 1450AD, they were undisputed rulers.

The Qutb Shahi Era (1450AD-1700AD)

The Bahmanis sent Quli Qutb-ul-Malik to the Deccan in 1463, to quell some anarchy. He succeeded, and the Bahmani Sultan of that time made him the head of the area, in a decision he would rue for all time. This Quli Qutb-ul-Malik is the founder of the Quli Qutb Shah dynasty, which in 1594 built Hyderabad, and had 7 generations rule the city before Aurangazeb attacked.

Quli Qutb-ul-Malik operated from a fort built by the Kakatiyas called Golconda, which he buttressed. By 1500AD he had become virtually the ruler of the area, and declared independence from the Bahmanis in 1518.

Mohammed Quli Qutb Shah of the Qutb Shahi dynasty founded the city of Hyderabad in 1589-94 south of the Musi river, 8km from the Golconda fort, and built a bridge over the river to connect the fort to the city (it is now called Purana Pul). The city was originally called Bhagyanagar after Mohammed Quli Qutb Shah's wife Bhagyamati, and prospered under the Qutb Shahi dynasty, in the 16th and 17th centuries. It became popular as a hub of diamond and pearl trading, and lore has it that pearls would be sold spread out on the streets. Mohammed Quli Qutb Shah also constructed Charminar in 1591 reportedly as a tribute to divine help in avoiding an epidemic, a huge structure with 4 minarets that symbolizes Hyderabad in many places and publications even today, and is a must on the tourist itinerary.

Indeed, all 7 generations of the Qutb Shahi dynasty are known to have done pretty well in enriching the city that eventually became their capital. Then Aurangazeb, the Mughal emperor of Delhi, attacked, defeated the Qutb Shahis, and put his governors to adminster the area for 4 decades which saw neglect and ruin.

The Nizam Era (1700AD-1948AD)

After the death of Aurangazeb in 1707, the Mughal empire weakened, and the governor of Hyderabad, Asaf Jah I (titled Nizam-ul-Mulk by the Mughal emperor), declared independence in 1724. His line ruled Hyderabad until 1948, and were called the Nizams. While Asaf Jah I ruled from Aurangabad, his son and successor Nizam Ali Khan shifted the capital to Hyderabad, and a glorious period started.

7 Nizams ruled Hyderabad, and it prospered in the areas of town-planning, economics and culture. The city was peaceful, and became richer and richer, with the last Nizam, Mir Osman Ali Khan (who built Osmania University and Osmania General Hospital and named them after himself) being named the world's richest man by Time magazine in 1937.

The Nizams did not believe in going to war with anyone, and pledged allegiance to the British empire, and made friends with the French before that, in attempts to retain control as at least vassals. The 3rd Nizam, Sikandar Jah, even started an entire twin city for the British and French garrisons, named after him as Secunderabad.

When India gained independence in August 1947, however, the 7th/last Nizam still declared that Hyderabad state would be independent, but had to bow to the mighty Indian army, which officially took over in September 1948.