The land of Rajasthan has witnessed the rule of many great kings and rulers. Home to many different leaders, Rajasthan has witnessed the opulence of the Rajputs, the chivalry of the Mughals, and the extravaganza lifestyle of Jat rulers.
One can see the traces of human settlement in Rajasthan since the days of the Indus Valley Civilization. Due to its geographical location, Rajasthan had captured the interest of many republics like Arjunyas, Kushans, Malavas, Saka Satraps and Yaudheyas. In 321-BCE Rajasthan was part of the Gupta Empire who built some infesting Buddhist caves and Stupas in Jhalawar. Due to some political unrest in the 6th century, the Gupta Empire started declining. However the situation became stable when Gujara- Pratiharas came into power in 700 CE. By 851CE the army of Gujara- Pratiharas was well settled in Rajasthan.
During the 9th century, the Rajput clan came to power in Rajasthan. Unparalleled bravery and merits of the Rajputs played a really important role in the history of Rajasthan. Rajput warriors used to fight against all the odds, lived with honor and whenever the situation demanded they sacrificed their lives for the pride of the empire. During the eighth - twelfth century AD, the Rajput clan gained supremacy and were divided into 36 royal clans and 21 dynasties.
Many Rajput kings were against the Islamic rule in Rajasthan, though some of them started having bilateral talks with them. In the 10th century the Chauhan dynasty was established in Rajasthan. Under the reign of the Chauhan Empire, Rajasthan was continuously attacked by foreign rulers. In 1191, when Rajasthan was controlled by Prithviraj Chauhan, there were constant attacks by the Muslim ruler, Muhammad Gohri resulting in the first battle of Tarain. Though Muhammad Gohri was defeated, but in 1192 he attacked for the second time, whereupon Chauhan was defeated.
After the downfall of the Chauhan clan in 1200, Muslim rulers started establishing themselves in Rajasthan. In 1540-1556 there was a surge of Samrat Hem Chandra Vikramaditya (also called Hemu) in North India. In 1553, Hemu crushed an Afghan Governor, Junaid Khan in Ajmer and started establishing his own kingdom. Eventually, in 1556 during the battle of Panipat, Hemu was killed by the army of Akbar. In the 13th century, Mewar was the center of attraction for every king. Slowly and steadily, Akbar started an alliance with many Rajput rulers. In 1562 Akbar married one of the Rajput princesses, Jodha Bai, the daughter of the Maharaja of Amer.
Some of the Rajput rulers also started their alliances with Akbar; however, some of them maintained a distance from him and decided to retain their independence. One such ruler who was against Akbar was Raja Man Singh of Mewar, who was the founder of Udaipur city. He never accepted the supremacy of Akbar and was clashing with him on a continuous basis. In 1567, a battle took place when Akbar along with his 50,000 army men and 60, 000 troops sieged Chittorgarh, the capital of Mewar. Rajput women never wanted to live under the rule of the Mughals and committed Jauhar (self immolation of women).
Akbar was now the master of almost the whole of Rajputana. Most of the Rajput kings had submitted to the Mughals. After the death of Raja Maan Singh of Mewar, his son Maharana Pratap continued the legacy, and was firmly against the Mughal Empire; he was determined to end the dominance of the Mughals. In 1576, the battle of Haldighati took place where Maharana Pratap fought a fierce battle with Akbar at the Haldighat pass and was wounded badly.
Rana Pratap remained in exile for 12 years and attacked the Mughal ruler from time to time. Eventually during the Battle of Dewar, he was able to conquer lost territories of Mewar and freed much of Rajasthan from the Mughal rule. Some of the famous Rajput leaders whose chivalry is still imprinted in the sands of Rajasthan are Rana Uday Singh, his son Rana Pratap, Bhappa Rawal, Rana Kumbha and Prithviraj Chauhan and others.
In 1707 Bharatpur city was further developed by a Jat (peasant caste) conqueror. By 1803 Maratha conquered some parts of Rajasthan and was led by Peshwa Baji Rao I of Pune. Most of the Rajputs passed under the control of the Maratha Empire and continued to pay tribute to Pune. This kept on happening till the British East India Company replaced the Marathas as preeminent rulers. In 1857, the British started their rule in India and most Rajput states allied with them. Association of Rajput and British allowed Rajasthan to continue as independent states, subject to certain political and economic constraints. Under the British rule, the nineteen Rajput states signed a treaty and came under an umbrella called Rajasthan.