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History of Odisha

Since prehistoric days, the land of Odisha has been inhabited by various people. The earliest settlers of Odisha were primitive hill tribes. Although prehistoric  communities cannot be identified, it is well known that Odisha had been inhabited by tribes like Saora or Sabar from the Mahabharata days. Saora in the hills, and the Sahara and Sabar of the plains continue to be an important tribe distributed almost all over Odisha. The aboriginal tribes, the Buiyas and Gonds, originally inhabited Odisha. They confined themselves to the forest and hills when the Dravidian race settled here.  Most of the tribal people have been influenced by Hindus and have  adopted Hindu manners, customs and rituals. Bonda Parajas of Koraput district are the best example of these tribes. Several pre-historic sites have been excavated in Odisha since the arrival of Britishers.

Pre History:
140 million years ago, the peninsular India, including Odisha, was a part of the Gondwana supercontinent. Due to this, some of the oldest rocks in the subcontinent,  dating to Precambrian times, are found in  Odisha. Some of the rocks, like the Mayurbhanj granite pluton, have been dated to 3.09 billion years ago. The coal-fields in  Mahanadi and Ib river basins are known to be one of the richest sites for fossils in the subcontinent. This has led to the discovery of new species, like the  charophytes from the Permian Period, which were found in the Talcher region and the Upper Permian megaspores from the Ib river area.

Ancient Odisha:
According to some scriptures (Mahabharata and some Puranas), a king Bali, the Vairocana and the son of Sutapa, had no sons. So, he requested the sage, Dirghatamas, to bless him with sons. The sage is said to have begotten five sons through his wife, the queen Sudesna.The princes were named Anga, Vanga, Kalinga, Sumha and Pundra. The princes later founded kingdoms named after themselves. The prince Vanga founded Vanga kingdom, in the current day region of Bangladesh and part of West Bengal. The prince Kalinga founded the kingdom of Kalinga, in the current day region of coastal Odisha, including the North Sircars. The Mahabharata also mentions Kalinga several more times. Srutayudha, the king of Kalinga, son of Varuna and river Parnasa, had joined the Kaurava camp in the Kurukshetra War. He had been given a divine mace by his father on request of his mother, which protected him as long he wielded it. But, Varuna had warned his son, that using it on a non-combatant will cause the death of the wielder himself. In the frenzy of battle, harried by Arjuna's arrows, he made the mistake of launching it at Krishna, Arjuna's charioteer, who was unarmed. The mace bounced off Krishna and killed Srutayudha.

261 BC to 49 BC:
261 BC: A major turning point in world history took place in Odisha. The Kalinga War that led emperor Ashoka to embrace non-violence and the teachings of Buddha was fought here in 261 BCE. Ashoka's military campaign against Kalinga was one of the bloodiest in Mauryan history on account of the fearless and heroic resistance offered by the Kalingas to the mighty armies of the expanding Mauryan empire.


Kalinga War

177 BC: Coronation of king Kharavela.

232 BC: Ashoka dies. The Mauryan Empire lasts up to 185 BC.

1st Century BC: Kalinga drifts out of the Mauryan rules under the first Chedi King Mahameghavahan in the early part of the 1st Century BC.

49 BC: The third Chedi king Kharavela comes to power, and conducts extensive military campaigns. The greatness of his power is felt from the eastern coast to western coast of India and from Mathura in the North to the Pandya kingdom in the south. Jainism flourishes under him.

1st Century AD to 736 AD:
2nd Century AD: Early in the 2nd Century AD Kalinga is occupied by the Satabahana King Goutamiputra Satakarni from the west (Nasik), and continues to remain under the Satabahanas probably upto the rule of Yajansri Satakarni (AD 174-202).

3rd century AD: After the death of Yajansri Satakami (202 AD), some minor dynasties like the Kusanas of North India, the foreign Indo- Scythian Murundas, and thereafter the Nagas are believed to have ruled in the land until the time of Samudragupta's south India campaign.

350: Samudragupta of Magadha sets out on his campaign of the south and conquers parts of Kalinga.

350-498: Soon after the invasion of Samudragupta to new ruling power called Marathas raises its hand (from modern Parlakhemundi) and continues to rule over Kalinga till 498 AD.

500: The reign of first group of the eastern Gangas begins.

6-7 Century BC: A new dynasty called Sailodbhava raises its hand in the coastal region of Odisha extending from Mahanadi in the North to the Mahedragiri in the South. It is during the region of the Saillodhavas that Kalingas overseas trade flourishes largely with the rulers bunching their colonial adventure in the Suvarnadweepa i.e., modern Myanmar.

621: Harshavardhana of Thaneswar (Modern Haryana) invades Utkal and occupies till Chilika Lake. Budhism gets a renewal in 630 AD. Huen Tsang visited Odisha.

647: The last Hindu emperor of India Harshavardhana dies.

736: Bhuama era begins with the region Unmattasimha alias Sivakardeva who occupies the Saillodhava Kingdom. The Bhuamas give patronage to Buddhism The dynasty is marked by a few illustrious women rulers like Tribhubana Mahadevi and Dandi Mahadevi.


Medieval I (931 AD to 1467 AD):
931: The reign of Somavamsis begins. Somavamsi continue to raid till 1110 AD. Temple building activities reach a considerable degree of perfection during the reign of the Somavamsi with Bhubaneswar as the chief center. Somavamsi King Mahasivagupta Yayat II comes to the throne, and with him begins the most brilliant epoch in the history of Odisha. Yayat II unites Kalinga, Kangoda, Utkal and Koshala in the imperial tradition of Kharavela. He is believed to have constructed 38 temples for Lord Jagannath at Puri. He is also known to have laid the foundation of the famous Lingaraj Temple at Bhubaneswar.

1038: The eastern Ganga which was lying low since the end of 5th century AD came into prominence again with the rise of Vajrahasta V who defeated Somavamsi ruler Kama Deva and establishes the Ganga Supremacy over Kalinga.

1050: The construction of Lingaraj Temple at Bhubaneswar is finished by Lalatendu Keshari of the Soma Dynasty.

1078: Chodaganga Dev of Ganga Dynasty comes to the throne.

1112: Chodaganga Dev invades Utkal and brings it under his rule. A great champion of Vaishnavism, he is believed to have built the monument of Jagannath Temple at Puri. It was during the rule of Chodaganga Dev that the famous medieval saint Ramanujacharya is known to have visited Odisha.

1115: Construction of Lord Jagannath Temple started.

1147: King Chodoganga Dev dies. About 15 kings rule the Ganga Empire after him.

1211: Anangabhima Dev III ascends to the throne. He is believed to have finished the construction work of Lord Jagannath Temple at Puri. Anangabhima Dev establishes a new city called Avinaba Bidanasi Katak (Modern Cuttack) at the bifurcation of the river Kathajodi and Mahanadi.

1234 -1245: Langula Narasingh Dev built Sun Temple at Konark.

1238: Anangabhima Dev dies in 1238 AD. His son Narshimha Dev comes to throne. He is reputed to have built the Temple for the Sun God at Konark.

1244: King Narasimha Dev invades Bengal.

1361: Sultan Firuz Shah Tugluq invades the Ganga Kingdom and occupies Avinaba Bidanasi Katak.

1435 -1467: Kapilendra Dev founded Odisha Empire. Odia Mahabharat was written during this period.


Medieval II (1567 to 1764):
1567: Suleiman Karrani, the sultan of Bengal invades Odisha.

1568: Ramachandra Bhanja, the feudatory of Saranga Garh rises in rebellion and proclaims himself as the king. Mukunda Dev dies in a battle with Ramachandra Bhanj, Soon thereafter Ramachandra Bhanja also meets his defeat and died in the hands Bayazid, the son of Suleiman Karrani. He succeeded in conquering Odisha thereafter Afghan rule in Odisha began.

1590-1595: Odisha becomes an arena for the battles between the Mughals and the Afghans when the Afghans refuse to acknowledge the supremacy of the Mughals ruling over Delhi. The operation continues from 1590 to 1595 resulting to the complete defeat of Afghans.


1592 - 1751: Mughals rule in Odisha begins with the arrival of Raja Manasingh, Akbar's Rajput General, who destroyed the Afghans resistant. On the instruction of the Akbar, Odisha is divided into five sarkars: Jaleswar (including Medinapur), Bhadrak , Cuttack, Chika Khol, and Raj Mahendry Dandpat. Odisha is thus acquired for Mughal Empire and is governed as a part of the Bengal Subah for sometime. It is during the Mughal rule that the merchants carry on their brisk overseas trade & commerce and attract the attention of European traders.

1607: During the rule of Akbar's son & successor, Jahangir, Odisha constituted into a separate province, with Cuttack as capital and is placed under a subhedar.

1670: Kavi Samrat Upendra Bhanj is believed to have been born around 1670.

1728: The Nizam of Hyderabad occupies the whole of Ganjam & Chikakol (Srikakulam) & declares them as the North Sarkar.

1751 - 1803: Maratha Administration of Odisha begins with Raghuji Bhonsla-I as the new chief of the territory. Marathas continue to rule till 1803, the year in which Odisha passes to the hands of the Maratha administration. Marathas rulers however patronized religion and religious institutions, thus making Odisha centre of attraction. Oriya literature also makes a rapid progress during the period.

1633: East India Company set up its trade centre at Hariharpur and Balasore.

1757 - 1764: After the battle of Plassey in 1757 & Buxar in 1764, the British Empire looks for acquiring more Indian territories. Odisha being the neighboring state of Bengal naturally comes to be included in their planning.


Modern Up To 1948:
1803: British army under Col. Harcourt begins its march from Ganjam in the South, and occupies the Mugalbandi districts of Cuttack, Puri, Balasore, and thereby completed conquering Odisha.

1807: The first book to be printed in Odia is "New Testament" published by the Serampore Baptist Mission Press.

1817: Under the leadership of Bakshi Jagabandhu Biddyadhar, the paikas of Khurda rises up against the British rule what is known as the famous Paikas Revolt of 1817. It is primarily an agrarian revolt against the wrong policies of land settlement and revenue administration adopted by the British.

1822: Missionaries arrive in Odisha.

1837: Missionaries established Cuttack Mission Press.

1839: Odia is adopted as the language of the court replacing Persian language.

1843: Fakir Mohan Senapati is born.

1848: Kulabrudha Madhusudan Das is born.

1849: Missionaries bring out the first Odia Magazine -"JNANARUNA"

1853: Bhaktakabi Madhusudan Rao is born.

1855: Appearance of saint poet Bhima Bhoi. Surendra Sai of Sambalpur, Chaki Khuntia of Puri, and Arjun Singh of Podahat join hands with sepoys that is known as the "Sepoy Mutiny".

1862: Poet Gangadhar Meher is born.

1866: A failure of rain in 1865 resulted in the loss of usual crops and brought about a catastrophic famine in 1865-66 which laid to the death of about one million people in Odisha. Gross negligence, indifferent administration, lack of communication and inadequate attention caused massive deaths in Odisha.. Cuttack printing press, the second in the state is established by the initiative of the people of the province. The first news paper "Utkal Dipika" is brought out by the Cuttack printing company. This tragic famine is known as "Naonkandurvikshya".

1866-1900: It was during this late 19th century that a new consciousness began to take shape. The growth of modern education gave birth to middle class intelligentsia. The publication of nationalistic periodicals and journals came into existence. Nationalistic literary activities of writers like Fakir Mohan Senapati and Radhanath Ray, gets prominence. Rise of numerous socio religious and cultural societies for creating consciousness. Formation of the Indian National Congress took shape of a political movement to unite all the Odia-speaking areas under one administration.

1882: Utkal Sabha under the secretary Gouri Sankar Ray formed.

1895: Meeting held at Cuttack under the leadership of Utkal Gourava Madhusudan Das and the resolution passed for unification of Odia speaking tracks.

1898: Madhusudana Das elected to Bengal Legislative Assembly.

1909: Satyabadi Bana Vidyalaya established at Sakhigopala (Puri) district.

1912: Sitting of Jatiya Sameelan was held at Balasore for discussion about creation of a separate state.

1918: Satyabadi press established at Sakhigopala.

1927: Utkalamani Gopabandhu Das passed away.

1930: Salt Satyagraha (Labana Satygraha) at Inchudi, Balasore.

1936: 1ST April Odisha became separate state.

1938: Baji Rout died in police firing.

1939: (5TH August) Subash Chandra Bose visited Cuttack. Jaya Prakash Narayan visited Cuttack. Major general Bezel Gate was attacked and killed at Ranapur of Puri district.

1941: Raghu Dibakar hanged in connection with Bezel Gate murder.

1943: Odia song transmitted for the first time from Calcutta radio station. Utkal University started functioning.

1946: Foundation stone of Hirakuda Dam laid by Sir.Hawthrone Lewis, Governor of Odisha. Central Rice Research Institute (CRRI) established at Cuttack.

1947: Sri Biju Pattanaik made a daring flight to Indonesia to bring the hostage Indonesian leaders. Merger of princely state with Odisha.

History After 1948:
On 27 May 1947, Harekrushna Mahatab took oath to form a Congress ministry. In 1946, it was decided that Bhubaneswar would replaced Cuttack as the political capital of the state of Odisha. A year after India gained its independence from Britain, the task of designing had been granted to the German architect Otto Königsberger. Also in 1948, construction on the Hirakud Dam began. By 1949, the 24 princely states had been integrated and Orissa had 13 districts: Cuttack, Puri, Balasore, Ganjam, Koraput, Sambalpur, Dhenkanal, Sundergarh, Keonjhar, Balangirpatna, Boudh-Khonmandal, Mayurbhanj and Kalahandi.

1950: With the coming of independence, the princely states in and around Odisha surrender their sovereignty to the Government of India. By the states merger (Governors provinces) order, the princely states of Odisha are completely merged with the Odisha on 19th August 1949, and the new Odisha becomes nearly twice its size by the addition of more people to its population. On 12 May 1950, Mahatab resigned to join the Cabinet of India. Nabakrushna Choudhuri took over as the Chief Minister the same day.

1951: In 1951, Biju Pattnaik made a donation to the UNESCO to establish the Kalinga Prize. It has been awarded every year since 1952 to people who have contributed to the popularization of science.

1952: To institute Kalinga prize Sri Biju Pattanaik donated an amount of one thousand pound to UNESCO. In Govt. transaction both Odia and English language were introduced.

1953: Rourkela Steel Plant (RSP) was founded. 

1956: The second (post-independence) ministry under the leadership of Nabakrushna Choudhury formed. The third (post-independence) ministry headed by Dr.H.K.Mahatab assumes office. Odisha Board of Secondary Education (BSE) is formed. Establishment of Burla Engineering College at Sambalpur.

1957: Odisha Sahitya Academy is formed.  To introduce Oriya in official language, official language act was passed in Odisha Assembly. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Prime Minister of India inaugurated Hirakuda Dam.

1958: Establishment of Rourkela Steel Plant (RSP). Mihir Sen crossed English Channel.

1959: Medical College at Burla, named as VSS Medical College started.

1960: The fourth (post-independence) ministry formed under the leadership of Dr.H.K.Mahatab. The Odisha Land Reforms Act of 1960 introduced.

1961: Inauguration of Odisha State Assembly Building. Regional Engineering College (REC) started at Rourkela. Odisha State Electricity Board (OSEB) is set up.

1962: Congress forms the fifth (post-independence) ministry under the great leadership of Shri Biju Pattnaik. Shri Pattnaik initiates several industrial projects for rapid industrialization of Odisha. Most important and ambitious of the projects are Paradeep Port and the Express Highway connecting the port with the mining areas. Bali Mela and Talcher Projects, MIG Factory at Sunabeda. Odisha Industrial Development Corporation (IDCO) and Odisha Small Scale Industries Corporation are set up.

1963: Utkal University building inaugurated.

1964: Congress forms the sixth (post-independence) ministry under the leadership of Shri Biren Mitra of Congress. Nehru laid foundation stone of NTPC (National Thermal Power Corporation) at Talcher, in 1964.

1965: Congress forms the seventh (post-independence) ministry under the leadership of Sadasiva Tripathy.

1966: Completion of Paradeep port (1966).

1967: Establishment of two new universities at Berhampur and Sambalpur. A new party called Jana Congress is formed under the leadership of Dr. Harekrushna Mahatab. Pt. Nilakantha Dash passed away.

1971: As the result of an indecisive verdict in the mid term poll held in the March, 1971, the Swatantra Party, the Jharkhand Party and the Utkal Congress party form a coalition Govt. Ninth (Post-independence) ministry formed under the leadership of Shri Biswanath Das. Maharaja Krushna Chandra Gajapati passed away. Acharya Harihara passed away.

1972: Mrs. Nandini Satpathy takes over as the chief of the tenth ministry formed after large scale defections from the ruling coalition.

1973: Imposition of president rule on 3rd March, 1973.

1974: Mrs Nandini Satpathy forms eleventh ministry.

1977: Mr.Binayak Acharya is sworn in as the Chief Minister of the twelfth ministry. The ministry remains in office only for 123 days. In a mid term poll, the Janta Party laid by Shri Biju Pattnaik secures 110 seats out of 147 seats. Mr.Nilamani Routray is made the Chief Minister. The ministry remains in office till 1980.

1980: Shri Biju Pattnaik conferred the title of "Bhumiputra" by Indonesian Government.

1981: Congress party wins a resounding victory to form of the fourteenth ministry in the state. Mr. Janaki Ballav Pattnaik becomes the Chief Minister. Sri Jagannath Sanskrit University is established at Puri. National Aluminium Company (NALCO) established at Angul. 

1984: Mrs. Indira Gandhi addressed last meeting of her life at Bhubaneswar. Television Transmission Centre was established at Cuttack.

1985: Congress party wins an impressive victory in the elections to the 9th Odisha Legislative Assembly. Mr. Janaki Ballab Pattnaik becomes the Chief of the fifteenth ministry.

1987: Dr. Harekrushna Mahatab passed away. Shri Sachidananda Routray, renowned poet of Odisha received "Gyanapitha" award.

1989: Shri Rabi Ray was elected as Speaker of Loksabha. Agni Ballistic Missile was test fired for first time at Chandipur on sea. Mr. Hemananda Biswal becomes the sixteenth Chief Minister after the resignation of Shri Janaki Ballav Pattnaik.

1990: Under the dynamic leadership of Shri Biju Pattnaik, the Janta Dal wins an astounding victory in the elections to the Tenth Odisha Legislative Assembly. Justice Ranganath Mishra sworn in as the Chief Justice of India.

1993: 10 more districts were created, Khurda, Nayagarh, Sonepur, Bargarh, Kendrapara, Jagatsinghpur, Jajpur, Nuapada, Angul and Bhadrak.

1994: Three more were craved out, Jharsuguda, Deogarh and Boudh. This brought the number of districts in Odisha to 30.

1995: Indonesian Government awarded their highest national title "Bintan Jasuttam" to Shri Biju Pattnaik. The 1995 Assembly polls were won by the Indian National Congress and Janaki Ballabh Patnaik became the Chief Minister.

1999: On 22 January 1999, Australian missionary Graham Staines and his two sons were murdered. Soon afterwards, Janaki Ballabh Patnaik resigned and was replaced by Giridhar Gamang. In October 1999, a cyclone struck Odisha causing economic loss estimated at $2.5 billion (1999 USD) and about 10,000 deaths. In December 1999, Gamang also resigned. He was replaced by Hemananda Biswal on 7 December.

2000: In March 2000, Naveen Patnaik become the Chief Minister of a BJD-BJP alliance government.

2001-Present: On 20 February 2014, Odia language was given the status of a classical language, making it the sixth language to have the status.


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