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Early History

The first references to the land currently known as Uttarakhand appear in the Skanda Purana and Mahabharata as Kedarkhand. Its first known kingdom was that of the Chand dynasty which started ruling in the Kumaon region mid 8'th century with initial settings in Champawat. Interrupted by domination of Katyuri dynasty during the 9'th-11'th century the Chand dynasty ruled in various forms. During this time the Shah dynasty comes into power in the Garhwal region. This continued till the 17'th century when the frequent invasions of Garhwal by Kumaon results in the then Shah king (Man Shah) defeating the erstwhile Chand king (Laxmi Chand) of Kumaon and taking his capital Almora.

The next momentous moment in the history comes in the early 19'th century when there was a big earthquake and famine in the region resulting in a weak kingdom being overcome by the Gurkhas of Nepal. This was followed by the Britishers influencing the region by mid 19'th century which led to a British Commissioner being appointed as the ruler of the region. It was a period of selective promotion of cities like Nainital (as the summer capital for the British kingdom) and the establishment of Mussorie. The British rule also saw the ethnic units of the army namely Garhwal rifles and Gurkha battalion of the army performing bravely during the various battles and earning a reputation for bravery.

Post independence

The advent of independence lead to the princely state of Tehri Garhwal and others joining together to the newly formed state of Uttar Pradesh. Even though the voice of independence was led by early leaders like P.C Joshi and others, the main push for the separate state started in the 70's when there was awareness of the impact of distant rule on the environment and region. The popularity of Chipko moment to save the forests and other natural resources was increased by the resistance to the building of Tehri dam. The lack of relief and rehabilitation by the state government to the earthquake (in the Tehri area in 1993), the extension of caste based reservation onto the hills and abuse of protestors in Muzaffarnagar in 1994 by the Uttar Pardesh state police further the moment towards a separate state.

Finally in August, the new government of India announces its approval of statehood for Uttarakhand. The initial name for the state was Uttaranchal which was finally changed to Uttarakhand in 2006.

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