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Ahmadabad History, India

Ahmadabad, India, the 6th largest Indian city, was founded in the 1000’s A.D. by Karandev I, the Solanki King, who was the ruler of Anhilwara (today this would be known as the city of Patan).  After winning a war against Ashaval (or Ashapall), he built the city Karnavati.  This city sat on the same site as the modern-day city of Ahmadabad. 

In the thirteenth century, Solanki rule of the city came to an end when Dwarka, one of the Vaghela dynasties, gained control of the area. Within one hundred years the area was conquered again; this time by the Sultanate of Delhi.  This rule lasted for only about one hundred years as well.  The Muzaffarid dynasty established an independent sultanate in the area in the early 1400’s.  In 1411, Sultan Ahmed Shah made Karnavati his capital and renamed it Ahmadabad.  The city remained the capital of the sultanate from 1411-1573.

In 1487, Sultan Mahmud Begada, had a six-mile fort built around the city in order to protect it from invaders; however, this did not stop the armies of Akbar, the Mughal emperor, from conquering the area in 1573.  Under the rule of this imperial power, the city became a thriving trade and textile center. 

A devastating famine in 1630 weakened the city and in 1753 it was again conquered. This time two Maratha generals were the conquering powers.  Political and militaristic struggles within the Maratha Empire were the source of severe damage to Ahmadabad.

In 1818, the city fell under the rule of the East India Company, a British trading company.  The city was put back into order with a military cantonment, a municipal government, and also a railway to Bombay.  Under British rule, Ahmadabad was once again a major textile and trade center; however, the citizens of the city were taxed highly and were soon struggling for independence.

In 1915, the beloved humanitarian Mahatma Gandhi joined the city’s struggle.  He lived with the people of the city for over 15 years and during that time set up two spiritual community houses known as ashrams.  One of these ashrams, the Sabarmati Ashram, became his headquarters for the peaceful protestation of the British rule.  In 1930, Gandhi formed the Salt Satyagraha which was a peaceful protest against salt taxation.  This protest began with a march from Ahmadabad to Dandi.  Before Gandhi left Ahmadabad he vowed that he would not return until India was independent of British rule. 

India was freed from the British and on May 1, 1960 Ahmadabad was named capitol of the Indian state of Gujarat.  After the capitol was changed to Gandhinagar, Ahmadabad remained the largest city in the state and its commercial center.

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