Baroda State has a rich historical background. The ardent historian can trace Baroda's history over 2000 years and more. The first noted history of the city was of the early trader settlers who settled in the region in 812 A.D. The province was mainly Hindu-dominated with Hindu kings ruling till the year 1297. The Gupta Dynasty was the first power rulers of the region. After fierce battles, the region was taken over by the Chalukya Dynasty. Finally, the kingdom was annexed by the Solankis. By this time the Muslim rule had spread across India, and the reins of power were then snatched by the Delhi Sultans. The city was ruled for a long time by these Sultans, until they were easily overthrown by the grand Mughal emperors. The Mughals biggest problem were the mighty Marathas who slowly but eventually took over the region. It became the capital of the Maratha Gaekwads. Sayaji Rao III was the most able ruler of them, and he made many public and bureaucratic implementations in the region. The British had a major influence on the region but Vadodara remained a princely state till Independence and like all other princely states, Vadodara also joined the Republic of India in
Origin of name
Two thousand years back, there was a small town known as "Ankottak " (present day Akota) on the western bank of river Vishvamitri. The earliest mention of Vadodara is in a granth or charter of 812 that identifies it as Vadapadraka, a village attached to the nearby town of Ankottaka. In 600 AD severe floods in Vishvamitri forced the inhabitants to move to the eastern side of the river to a village known as "Vatpatrak" (Leaf of Banayan tree) which developed into Vadodara. In the 10th century Vadapadraka replaced Ankottaka as the main town.
The city was once called Chandanavati after its ruler Raja Chandan of Dor tribe of Rajputs, who wrested it from the Jains. The capital had also another name "Virakshetra" or "Virawati" (A Land of Warriors). Later on it was known as Vadpatraka or Wadodará, which according to tradition is a corrupt form of the Sanskrit word Vatodar means 'In the heart of the Banyan tree'. It is now almost impossible to ascertain when the various changes in the name were made; but early English travellers and merchants mention the town as Brodera and it is from this that the name Baroda is derived. Again in 1974, the official name was changed to Vadodara.
In 1907, a small Village & Township in Michigan, United States was named after Baroda.
The early man lived on the banks of the river Mahi. This river must have formed the flood plain during that age. The movements of this “food gathering” parasites on nature, living on the banks of the river, grumbling the roots and killing animals with crude stone tools made out of the cobbles and pebbles available on the river bank, were necessarily controlled by the availability of convenient raw materials for their tools. There are evidences of the existence of early man in the Mahi river valley at a number of sites within 10 to 20 km to the north-east ot Vadodara. No evidences however of the existence of this man are found in and around present Vadodara. This may be because of the absence of gravels and cobbles on the banks of the Vishwamitri rivulet.
The next phase of the pre-historic Vadodara witnessed the first human settlement on the right bank of the river vishwamitri on a group of dunes resting on the alluvium of the river. It also means that men knew about where to set up settlements, as they had selected an elevated land. The Vishwamitri must have been prone to seasonal floods even then. These people still belonged to the stone age, crafting their tools with finely grained stones. From their material culture and physical environment, they seem to have belonged to the same culture as those whose implements were found in the Mahi river valley. This human settlement has been dated 1000 b.c.
Around the beginning of the Christian Era, a small township developed at the same spot as the above mentioned settlement on the right bank of the river. It came to be know as Ankotakka (present day Akota), the mound on which this settlement was established came to be known as Dhantekri. The entire settlement was developed by clearing grazing land and forest of Ankhol and covered an area of ½ to ¾ sq. km. This is indicative of the presence of thick forests during those times. Due to its location on the ancient trade route between Gujarat and Malva, this small township flourished in to a commercial entre. There was a supposed commercial relation between this township and Rome.
The township of Ankotakka developed during the rules of the Guptas and the Vallabhis. It was subjected to periodical heavy floods. But a severe flood which inundated the renovated public hall, forced the inhabitants to abandon this township and move away from the banks of the Vishwamitri.
The event occurred in 600 A.D. The inhabitants moved to the east of Ankotakka to another elevated portion located on the present kothi area. This formed the nucleus of a new township.
The City of Vadodara apty described by a medieval Jain writer as a “Tilak on the Brove of Lata.” was a nodal center of the costal plain of Gujarat. It is strategically situated at a junction of the main highways linking Gujarat with Rajputana and the Punjab in the north, the Malva and the Gangetic valley in the north east, Konkan in the south and Khandesh in the south-east. Significantly Vadodara today is a junction on the western railway of the lines leading to Ahmedabad, Delhi & Mumbai. This confirms the historic role of Vadodara in the communication pattern for movements of people and culture. The history of Vadodara city amply bears out its cultural and commercial activities during the last two thousand years. Apart form the traditional stories, our knowledge of the history of Vadodara is based mainly on Jain literature and a few old inscriptions pertaining to Vadodara.
Baroda state in 1909 Baroda State was a former Indian State in Western India. Vadodara's more recent history began when the Maratha leader Pilaji Gaekwad (or Gaikwar) conquered Sonagad from the Mughal Empire in 1726. Before the Gaekwars captured Baroda, it was ruled by Babi Nawabs, who were the officers of the Delhi ruler. Moghul rule came to an end in 1732, when Pilaji Rao Gaekwar brought the Maratha activities in Southern Gujarat to a head and captured it. Except for a short period, Baroda continued to be in the reign of the Gaekwars from 1734 to 1948. Initially detailed to collect revenue on behalf of the Peshwa in Gujarat, Pilaji Gaekwad remained there to carve out a kingdom for himself. Damajirao, son and successor of Pilajirao defeated the Mughal armies and conquered Baroda in 1734. He assumed the titles of an independent ruler. His successors consolidated their power over large tracts of Gujarat, becoming easily the most powerful rulers in the region. After the Maratha defeat by the Afghans at the Third Battle of Panipat in 1761, control of the empire by the Peshwas weakened as it became a loose confederacy, and the Gaekwad Maharajas ruled the kingdom until Indian independence. In 1802, the British intervened to defend a Maharaja that had recently inherited the throne from rival claimants, and Vadodara concluded a treaty with the British that recognized the Kingdom as a 'Princely state' and allowed the Maharajas of Baroda internal political sovereignty in return for recognizing British 'Paramountcy', a form of suzereignty where the subject of foreign affairs was completely surrendered.
The greatest period in the Maratha rule of Baroda started with the accession of Maharaja Sayajirao III in 1875. It was an era of great progress and constructive achievements in all fields. Maharaja Sayajirao III, who ruled from 1875 to 1939, did much to modernize Baroda, establishing compulsory primary education, a library system, a university, and model textile and tile factories, which helped to create Baroda's modern textile industry. Modern Vadodara is a great and fitting memorial to Maharaja Sayajirao. It was the dream of this able administrator to make Baroda an educational, industrial and commercial centre and he ensured that his dreamwould come true. For this reason, the city is also referred to as Sayaji Nagari (the town of Sayaji).
With India's independence in 1947, the last ruling Maharaja of Baroda acceded to India. Baroda was merged into to Bombay State shortly after independence, which was divided into the states of Gujarat and Maharashtra in 1960, with Baroda part of Gujarat.
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