RANJIT SINGH (1780-1839) and his Sikh kingdom

A set of Joppen historical maps that show Ranjit Singh's kingdom over time; and a more general set of *maps of the Punjab*; see also the *Imperial Gazetteer*
The coins of the Sikh kingdom bore Persian inscriptions
Ranjit Singh, the son of a local Sikh chieftain, was born in Gujranwala; he succeeded his father at the age of 12, and soon rallied followers behind him
Ranjit Singh, the "Sher-e Panjab" (Lion of the Punjab), ruled inclusively; he had many loyal Muslim and Hindu supporters, and used European officers in his army
From 1799 onward, he made his headquarters in the Lahore Fort
In 1802 he took the Sikhs' holiest city, Amritsar; he then drove the Afghans out of western Punjab, and took *Peshawar*
He was the last to use the famous cannon "Zamzamah": it was damaged in the siege of Multan in 1818, and was retired from service
In 1819, Ranjit Singh was able to capture and annex the huge northern region of Jammu and Kashmir
Some drawings of the Sikh kingdom and its people; Ranjit Singh stayed west of the Sutlej, and carefully avoided conflict with the British

Ranjit Singh died in 1839; his tomb adjoins the *Lahore Fort*, to which he had added a handsome barahdari
Vicious power struggles soon caused his sons Kharak Singh and Sher Singh, and their sons Nau Nihal Singh and Pratap Singh, to be murdered by rival chieftains
Ranjit Singh's widow Rani Jindan actively sought power in the name of her young son Duleep Singh, and finally escaped British confinement by fleeing to Nepal
Tensions with the British increased, and the first Anglo-Sikh War (1845-46) resulted in the loss both of Kashmir and of the famous Koh-i-nur diamond
The second Anglo-Sikh War (1848-49) ended with the British annexation of the whole Punjab; a British perspective is offered by *G. A. Henty, 1894*
Duleep Singh himself (r.1843-49), who had been installed on the throne at the age of 5, was lavishly pensioned off; he ended up living on an estate in England
The Punjab not only remained quiet during 1857, but also contributed many soldiers to the British force that suppressed the *Rebellion*

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