A History of Assam: Medieval Assam

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A History of Assam: Medieval Assam

By Mofid Tourism Assam February 27, 2008

See also

A History of Assam: An overview A History of Assam: A Chronology A History of Assam: Ancient Assam A History of Assam: Medieval Assam A History of Assam: Colonial Assam A History of Assam: Post-colonial Assam A History of Assam: the Assam Pradesh Congress Committee

Medieval Assam

A typical octagonal Ahom coin issued by Suramphaa Rajeswar Singha (1751-1769) of the Ahom dynasty

The beginning of Medieval Assam is marked by the rise of the Khen dynasty of the Kamata kingdom, established by Prithu in the western part of the old Kamarupa Kingdom, and the beginning of attacks by the Turks of Bengal. The Kamata kingdom, named after the capital at Kamatapur, was frequently attacked by the rulers of Bengal, and Alauddin Hussain Shah finally removed the last Khen king in 1498. But Hussein Shah and subsequent rulers could not consolidate their rule in the Kamata kingdom, mainly due to the revolt by the Bhuyan chieftains and other local groups. In the 16th century Viswa Singha of the Koch tribe established the Koch dynasty in the Kamata kingdom. The Koch dynasty reached its peak under his sons, Nara Narayan and Chilarai.

In the eastern part of the old Kamarupa kingdom, the Kachari and the Chutiya kingdoms arose, with portions of the north bank of the Brahmaputra river controlled by the Bhuyan chieftains. In the tract between the Kachari and the Chutiya kingdoms, a Shan group, led by Sukaphaa, established the Ahom kingdom. The Ahom kingdom in the course of time expanded into the Chutiya kingdom to its north and pushed the Kachari kingdom further south. After the death of Nara Narayan of the Koch dynasty in the late 16th century, the Kamata kingdom broke into Koch Bihar in the west and Koch Hajo in the east. The rivalry between the two kingdoms resulted in the former allying with the Mughals and the latter with the Ahoms. Most of the 17th century saw the Ahom-Mughal conflicts, in which the Ahoms held the expansive Mughals at bay epitomized in the Battle of Saraighat of 1671, and which finally ended in 1682 with the defeat of the Mughals at Itakhuli—and the Ahom kingdom reached its westernmost boundary. Though the Ahom kingdom saw itself as the inheritor of the glory of the erstwhile Kamarupa kingdom and aspired to extend itself to the Karatoya river, it could never do so; though an Ahom general, Ton Kham under Swargadeo Suhungmung, reached the river once when he pursued a retreating invading army in the 16th century.

After the Ahom kingdom reached its zenith, problems within the kingdom arose in the 18th century, when it lost power briefly to rebels of the Moamoria rebellion. Though the Ahoms recaptured power, it was beset with problems, leading to the Burmese invasion of Assam in the early 19th century. With the defeat of the Burmese in the First Anglo-Burmese war and the subsequent Treaty of Yandaboo, control of Assam passed into the hands of the British, which marks the end of the Medieval period.

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