British control over hilly areas

British control over hilly areas

During the British rule in India, many important hilly areas came under their control. Here is a simplified and detailed description of these areas and the events that occurred:


Keonthal was founded in 765 AD by Raja Girisen, a descendant of a Sena king of Bengal. Around 1830 AD, conditions at Keonthal deteriorated, leading to complaints about the king’s actions to the British Governor General. As a result, the Governor General temporarily removed the King from power. The king was reinstated in 1840 AD.


Initially controlled by the Gorkhas, the defenses of Sirmaur were established at Jythak near Nahan, led by Commander Ranjor Singh Thapa, son of Amar Singh Thapa. British troops reached Nahan on December 19, 1814 and by December 25, 1814, besieged the Jyothak fort and defeated Ranjor Singh Thapa. In 1815, the British handed over the rule of Sirmaur to Fateh Prakash, younger son of Raja Karam Prakash. Since Fateh Prakash was only six years old, his mother, Guleri Rani, continued to manage the kingdom with the assistance of Captain G. Birch until Fateh Prakash came of age in 1827.


Bharoli was strategically important for controlling the lower hills. The British captured Subathu, Siwan and Bharoli to establish military bases in these areas.

Kotgarh and Ravine

The British captured Kotgarh and Ravin located on the left bank of the Pabar River. Kotgarh was initially part of Kotkhai, then managed by Kullu, and later seized by Raja Ugar Singh of Bashahar. The Gorkhas captured Kotgarh fort, but the British recaptured it in 1815 along with the forts of Hattu, Silijan and Baji.


On November 18, 1815, the British handed over Jubbal to Rana Puran Singh and his successors. Due to weak administration, the British later transferred control to the Dangi Wazir, who implemented several reforms. After the death of Dangi Wazir, chaos again spread in the state. In 1854, Karam Chand’s harsh rule led to conflict with the British, resulting in Jubbal coming under British control.

Noorpur and Kangra

Raja Bir Singh of Nurpur and Raja Aniruddha of Kangra fled to British territory due to threats from the Sikhs. In 1815, during a Sikh gathering in Sialkot, the Raja of Jaswan surrendered his kingdom, and Bir Singh of Nurpur sought to negotiate with Raja Ranjit Singh, who instead attacked Nurpur.


After the death of Thakur Karam Singh in 1819, his successor Jhobu assumed the throne. In 1838, Jhobu’s nephew Raja Ranjit Singh formed a strong faction and claimed the throne. By June 1843, Ranjit Singh’s claims were recognised, and he was granted kingship on the condition of rendering military service to the British.


Kharak Singh ascended the throne of Bilaspur in 1824. He confiscated jagirs (land grants) from many of his relatives. In 1827, the British sent William Murray to Bilaspur to resolve the conflict between the Miyans (led by Raja Mian Jangi) and the Rohillas (led by Kharak Chand). Murray restored power to Mian Miri and Sansaru and warned the king to reform his rule. Before Kharak Chand’s death, he made peace with the Miyans and returned their jagirs.


After the British conquest, Kotkhai was divided, and nine parganas yielding a revenue of Rs 21,000 were sold to the Raja of Patiala. The remaining revenue was exempted from payment. The Punar pargana of Jubbal was initially retained by the British, but later given to Rana Sansar Sen of Keonthal in exchange for twelve villages, which the British used to build the hill station of Shimla in 1830.


After the death of Rana Mohinder Singh of Baghat in 1839, the British took over Baghat. George Russell Clerk opposed this and restored power to Mohinder Singh’s brother Vijay Singh. During the Nepal War, relations between the Baghat Raja and the British deteriorated, leading to the British seizing the parganas of Baghat and selling them to the Maharaja of Patiala, leaving only four parganas for Mohinder Singh’s successors.


 British control over the hill areas

Established by King Girisen in 765 AD.
Conditions deteriorated around 1830 AD, leading to British intervention.
The king was temporarily removed and reinstated in 1840 AD.

Initially controlled by the Gorkhas.
British troops defeated the Gorkhas in 1814.
In 1815, a young prince, Fateh Prakash, was installed as the ruler.
His mother managed the state until 1827 with British assistance.

 Strategically important for controlling the lower hills.
The British captured Subathu, Siwan and Bharoli to establish military bases.

Kotgarh and Ravine:
Captured by the British
Originally part of Kotkhai, then managed by Kullu, and later seized by Bashahar.
The British recaptured the area from the Gurkhas in 1815.

Rana Puran Singh was transferred in 1815.
The British intervened due to weak administration.
Dangi Wazir implemented reforms but after his death chaos spread in the state.
The harsh rule of Karam Chand led to British control in 1854.

Noorpur and Kangra:
The king fled to British territory due to Sikh threats.
In 1815, the king did not attend the Sikh meeting, leading to conflict.
Raja Ranjit Singh attacked Noorpur.

After the death of Thakur Karam Singh in 1819, Jhobu assumed the throne.
His nephew, Raja Ranjit Singh, claimed the throne in 1838.
The British recognized Ranjit Singh’s claim in 1843 with the condition of military service.

Kharak Singh ascended the throne in 1824.
Land was snatched from relatives, which started fights.
The British settled the disputes in 1827.
Peace was restored before Kharak Chand’s death.

Divided after British conquest.
Nine parganas were sold to the king of Patiala.
The remaining parganas were managed by the British, later traded for Shimla in 1830.

Acquired by the British after the death of Rana Mohinder Singh in 1839.
Vijay Singh was restored to power by George Russell Clerk.
During the Nepal War, the British seized the parganas and sold them to Patiala.