Assam : The political history of Assam is well-known since the first millennium AD when political institutions began to take shape like that of greater northern India. The Brahmaputra valley housed several kingdoms and political territories while the valley’s southern and eastern hills experimented with numerous political cultures. It was only in the early 20th century that British historians like Edward Gait or Assamese historians like Kanaklal Barua began to write about this political past. Since then there has been a clear picture of the political cultures of Assam.

4th – 13th Century AD:

Historians like to attribute 4th century AD as the defining period when Maharajadhiraj Pushya Varman (350-380 AD), who was a contemporary of Samudragupta (350-375 AD), ruled Kamarupa. The territorial expanse of this dynasty is mostly confined to the fertile valley. As the frontier kingdom of Guptas, Kamarupa drew attention and there ensured occasional wars. A couple of centuries later, Bhaskar Varman (594-650 AD), further strengthened his political bargaining power. His powerful contemporary was none other than Harshavardhan (606-648 AD). His rule was also marked by the visit of the illustrious Chinese traveler Hieun Tsang. The period between 7th century AD to 12th century was ruled by two other powerful political dynasties – Salasthamba and Pala respectively. Around this political past of Kamarupa, several communities also experimented with kingdom formations. This will be briefly described a little later.

Beginning in the 13th century, the Islamic rulers from northern India tried to occupy this region with mixed results. While the Islamic rulers suffered setback, these wars helped in reorienting the political boundaries. The 13th century also witnessed the formation of Chutia kingdom in the eastern part of the valley.

13th to early 18th Century:

The Ahoms ruled from the 13th century till the advent of the British in the early 19th century. The foundation of this dynasty goes back to Sukapha who in the early 13th century together with his followers settled in the Patkai mountains. In 1228 he entered the boundaries of Assam through the Naga kingdom. He formed his capital at Charaideo in 1253. There were marked expansion as well as realignment of political territories during this period. Several of the Ahom rulers had left behind illustrious legacy in terms of consolidation of their territories, expansion of agriculture, developing relations with the neighbouring hill kingdoms and widening the scope of trade. Despite occasional defeats, they successfully protected their territory from the occupation by the Mughal state. These victories are normally attributed to war tactics, organization of their army as well as patriotism. Between 13th and 18th century the Kachari and Jaintia rulers challenged the Ahom rulers despite the latter’s constant attempt to subjugate the former. This forced the Kacharis to constantly search for new territories, often shifting their geographical location from hills to plains and vice-versa. Around this time the Bhuyans gained prominence. The Bhuyans were petty Chiefs who had their principalities towards the east of Kamrup-Kamata area. The title ‘Baro’ is a title of honour given to twelve chieftains who, even though not kings, established small kingdoms on the basis of their strength. They took arms against the Ahoms, but the Ahom king Pratap Singha crushed the rebellion of the Baro Bhuyans.

The Ahoms also had intense political relations with their powerful western neighbours, the Koch kingdom. These two political neighbours often subscribed to similar political and economic institutions. Regular alliances and enmity marked their relationship in the 16th century. Naranarayana and his brother Chilarai as king and military commander of the Koch kingdom never refrained from military and political negotiation with both the Ahom and Mughal rulers in the 16th century. The Mughals integrated the Koch kingdom, spread across the western part of the valley, early in the 17th century and thus brought the Ahom and Mughal face to face in terms of military and political relations. Towards the end of the 18th century, civil and religious wars weakened the political strength of the Ahom kingdom and the Burmese rulers took the benefit. A brief political rule of the Burmese rulers early in the 19th century exposed Assam to further political upheaval when the British East India Company occupied Assam in 1826 as an outcome of the Burmese defeat at the hands of the British army.


Assam was known as Pragjyotisha or the place of eastern astronomy during the epic period and later named as Kamrupa. The earliest epigraphic reference to the kingdom of Kamrupa is found in the Allahabad pillar inscription of king Samudragupta. Kamrupa is mentioned as a Pratyanta or frontier state outside the Gupta empire but with friendly and subordinate relation to it Hiuen Sang, the Chinese scholar pilgrim who visited Kamrupa in about 743 A.D. on an invitation of its monarch, Kumar Bhaskar Varman, left a record of the kingdom he called Kamolupa. Kamrupa also figured in the writings of the Arabian historian Alberuni in the eleventh century. Thus, from the epic period down to the twelfth century A.D., the eastern frontier kingdom was known as Pragjyotisha and Kamrupa and kings called themselves 'Lords of Pragjyotisha'.

Capital : Dispur
Date of Attaining Statehood : 15th August, 1947
Population (Census 2011) : 31,169,272
Area : 78,438 Sq. km
Districts : 27
Official Language : Assamese, Bengali (in Barak Valley Districts), Bodo (in Bodo Territorial Council area) & English
Other Languages/Dialects : Other languages/dialects and dialects are Bengali, Dimasa, Mishing, Karbi, Rambha, Tinua and sub-groups likeTai - Phake, Tai - Aiton, Tai - Khamti.
Population Composition : Decadal Population Growth Rate (2001- 2011, Census 2011) 4,513,744
Population Density (persons per sq km as per census 2011) 2001
Sex Ratio (Females per 1000 males) 2001
Literacy 2001

ST population% (Census 2001) (from website of M/o Tribal Affairs) 12.42
SC population % (Census 2001) (from website of M/o SJ&E) 6.9
Forest Cover : India State of Forest Report 2011
Seats in Legislative Assembly : 126
Seats in Lok Sabha : 14 (137.07 KB)
Seats in Rajya Sabha : 7
Governor : Shri Jagdish Mukhi
Chief Minister : Sarbananda Sonowal
State Portal :
Brief Intro from
State bird : Deo haah (White-winged wood duck)
State animal : One horned rhinoceros
State tree : Hollong (Dipterocarpus macrocarpus)
State flower : Kopou phul (Foxtail Orchids)