Sikh Empire

The Sikh Empire (officially the Sarkar Khalsa) was a major power in the Indian subcontinent, which arose under the leadership of Maharaja Ranjit Singh who captured Lahore in 1799, and established the empire basing it around the Punjab, Kashmir and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa regions . The empire existed from 1799 to 1849 and was forged on the foundations of the Khalsa from a collection of autonomous Punjabi Misls. At its peak in the 19th century, the empire extended from the Khyber Pass in the west to western Tibet in the east, and from Bahawalpur in the south to Jammu and Kashmir in the north.

The foundations of the Sikh Empire could be defined as early as 1707, starting from the death of Aurangzeb and the downfall of the Mughal Empire. With the Mughals significantly weakened, opportunities for the Sikh army, known as the Dal Khalsa, a rearrangement of the Khalsa inaugurated by Guru Gobind Singh, to lead expeditions against them and also the Afghans in the west. This led to a growth of the army, which was split into different confederacies or semi-independent "Misls". Each of these component armies, or Misl, controlled different areas and cities. However, in the period from 1762–1799, Sikh commanders of their Misls appeared to be coming into their own.

The formal start of the Sikh Empire began with the merger of these "Misls" under Ranjit Singh. He was crowned on 12 April 1801 (to coincide with Vaisakhi), creating a unified political state. Sahib Singh Bedi, a descendant of Guru Nanak, conducted the coronation. Ranjit Singh rose to power in a very short period, from a leader of a single Sikh Misl to finally becoming the Maharaja of Punjab. He began to modernize his army, using the latest training as well as weapons and artillery. After the death of Ranjit Singh, the empire was weakened by internal divisions and political mismanagement. Finally, by 1849 the state was dissolved after their defeat in the Anglo-Sikh wars.

The Sikh Empire was divided into four provinces: Lahore, Multan, Peshawar, and Kashmir, from 1799-1849.

Read more about Sikh EmpireFormation, End of Empire, Geography, Timeline, See Also

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