Chao-Pha[ edit ] The office of the Ahom king, was reserved exclusively for the descendants of the first king Sukaphaa — who came to Assam from Mong Mao in The descendants of Sukaphaa were not eligible for ministerial positions—a division of power that was followed till the end of the dynasty and the kingdom. When the nobles asked Atan Burhagohain to become the king, the Tai priests rejected the idea and he desisted from ascending the throne. The king could be appointed only with the concurrence of the patra mantris council of ministers— Burhagohain , Borgohain , Borpatrogohain , Borbarua and Borphukan. During three periods in the 14th century, the kingdom had no kings when acceptable candidates were not found.
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Main article: Ahom kingdom The Ahoms migrated from present-day Myanmar to the Brahmaputra valley in the 13th-century. They settled in with the locals initially and created a new state; and in the 16th-century they vastly expanded their power and territory by removing the Baro-Bhuyan confederacy, occupying the Chutiya kingdom in the north bank and pushing the Dimasa kingdom further south.
As the kingdom pushed west it came under attack from Turkic and Afghan rulers; and on one occasion the Ahoms general Ton Kham Borgohain pursued retreating invaders through a nascent Koch kingdom and reached the Karatoya river—and since then they began to see themselves as the rightful heir of the erstwhile Kamarupa kingdom. From the beginning the relationship between the Ahoms and the Mughals was hostile and that was due to certain factors, such as, Mughal alliance with Koch Bihar , the western enemy of the Ahoms and secondly the growing advance of the Mughals in north-eastern frontier which alarmed them.
This dynastic alliance between Ahom and Koch was renewed afterwards by the next Ahom king Susenghphaa Pratap Singha, who married a daughter of Raja Parikshit. It is true that with a view to satisfy the territorial ambitions of his own nephew, Nar Narayan allowed partition of his kingdom. But unfortunately, in spite of being pacified, Raghudeva and his successors remained all along hostile towards the Koch royal house and this rivalry and antagonism between these two frontier states invited intervention and aggression of their two mighty neighbourhood powers: the Mughals on the west and Ahoms on the east.
Conflict inception[ edit ] From the time the Mughals appeared in the north-eastern frontier, a state of indirect rivalry and hostility began between the Mughals and the Ahoms. After the final defeat of Parikshit the first organised Mughal attack upon Assam was made with a view to conquer that kingdom. It was the outcome of the aggressive imperialism of the Mughals.
After the extinction of the Kamrup monarchy, the Mughals came to regard the territory east of Barnadi up to Singiri as part of the conquered region and hence asserted their political right over it. Ahoms strongly resented this claim. His illicit trade was detected, his goods were confiscated and he was expelled from Assam.
The Mughals got the necessary pretext for war and an imperial army was at once detached in under the command of Abu Bakr and Raja Satrajit of Bhusna. The imperial army advanced towards Barnagar , the old capital of Kamrup and next moved to Hajo and numerous outposts were raised in the surrounding region.
After a short skirmish, the Ahoms were defeated and leaving their war boats and the fort, they fled. Flushed with easy success the Mughals indulged in a series of aggressive measures against the Ahoms.
The Ahom king then fortified the fort of Samdhara with a view to check the advance of the Mughals. Meanwhile, the Mughals had reached the confluence of the Brahmaputra and the Bharali facing Samdhara. After a month of inaction, the Mughals achieved a great triumph. They transported their horses across the Bharali and made a violent assault on the Ahom stockade on the left bank. The Ahoms thus suffered another discomfiture. The Ahom king sent a strong detachment to the Ahom commanders at Samdhara and exhorted them to fall on the enemy and fight to finish.
The Ahoms gained an initial success and reoccupied the stockade at the mouth of Bharali. The imperialists were taken by complete surprise and suffered heavy casualties. Thus in spite of the initial success, the maiden attempt of the Mughals upon Assam ended in a disastrous failure.
They suffered a colossal loss in men and money besides military prestige. Because of their heavy engagement in Kamrup, the Mughals henceforward were very cautious not to offend their mighty neighbour.
But the Ahoms being encouraged at their recent brilliant success continued to pursue hostile policy against the Mughals and proceeded to take advantage of the prevailing political confusion in Kamrup. The Assam disaster encouraged seditions and rebellions in Mughal occupied Kamrup.
The Ahoms encouraged the Kamrup rebels and thereby caused hardship to the Mughals. There was hardly any open and direct conflict between the two powers as such.
The Ahoms interfered in Kamrup for the third time on behalf of the hill chiefs of Dhanikal in The hill chiefs being sick of Mughal subjection made a bold attempt to seize the hill fort of Ranihat and they sought the help of the Ahom king. The Ahom responded to the appeal and sent a large detachment to their assistance. After hard fighting, the Mughals courted defeat and were compelled to evacuate Ranihat hotly pursued by the Ahoms. But the Mughals soon gathered strength and recovered Dhanikal in spite of the stiff resistance of the Ahoms.
Thus three attempts of the Ahoms at supplanting Mughal authority in Kamrup proved abortive. The Ahom king gradually withdrew from the arena of Kamrup policies leaving Balinarayan to his fate. After a decade of informal hostility, circumstances paved the way for the renewal of open conflict between the two powers. Twofold factors, both political, appear to have been responsible for the conflict. The first was the asylum given by the Ahom king to the hill-chiefs of Dhanikal who had sought his protection against the ill-treatment of the Bengal Subahdar Qasim Khan Chishti.
The second factor, which precipitated the crisis, was the wickedness and treachery of Satrajit, the Thanadar of Pandu who made a common cause with Balinarayan and instigated him to take advantage of the change of governor in Bengal in order to attack Kamrup.
The invasion of Kamrup by Balinarayan compelled the Mughals to resort to arms. The Ahoms gained initial success. A fierce encounter took place, which ultimately ended with the total discomfiture of the imperialists. Thereupon, the Mughal fell back to their frontier post of Hajo. The Ahoms laid siege to Hajo and fighting continued for some time. The Mughals entered Kamrup proper. The decisive defeat inflicted by the imperialists on Balinarayan and the Ahoms in November turned the tide of fortune in favour of imperialists.
The whole of Kamrup was cleared and re-annexed to the Pan-Mughalia. The third round of conflict began soon. The imperialists advanced up the Brahmaputra and halted opposite to Samdhara in October ; severe fighting ensued. Although the faint-hearted Ahom admiral retired from battlefield, the garrison in the fort of Samdhara offered such a gallant defence that the Mughals had to give up the contest with great loss of men and materials.
Hence a treaty of peace was signed in February Besides trade and commercial intercourses were resumed. However, it would be wrong to assume that both sides strictly honoured the peace treaty of On these issues frictions continued mounting without, of course, any open armed-clash.
It was really a period of armed peace between the Mughals and the Ahoms. In , the Mughal Faujdar of Gauhati sent a message of congratulations to the Ahom king Jayadhwaj Sutamla on his succession. He also devastated the territory near Dacca and carried off to Assam a large number of Mughal subjects as captives. After having occupied Koch Behar had also declared its independence.
Mir Jumla entered Assam in the beginning of He easily repulsed the feeble resistance offered by the Assamese at the garrisons between Manaha and Guwahati. He occupied one garrison after another, and Pandu, Guwahati, and Kajali fell into the hands of the Mughals practically unopposed. The easy success of Mir Jumla was due to dissatisfaction in the Assam camp.
The leading commanders and the officers were the exclusive monopolies of the Tai-Ahom. King Jayadhwaj Singha had appointed a Kayastha as viceroy of Western Assam and commander-in-chief of the Ahom army despatch against Mir Jumla leading to resentment among the ranks. This officer was Manthir Bharali Barua of Bejdoloi family.
He was also appointed Parbatia Phukan. The Ahoms, however, recovered their senses when the hostile force reached the neighbourhood of Kaliabor. They concentrated their defence at Simalugarh and Samdhara.
In February , Mir Jumla laid siege to Simalugarh and after the severe hand-to-hand fight, the Ahoms abandoned the fort and took to flight. The Ahom forces at Samdhara on the opposite bank, being unnerved by the fall of Simalugarh, left their charge without any opposition worth the name. The Ahom king Jayadhwaj took shelter in the eastern hills abandoning his capital and all his treasures. Immense spoils fell into the hands of the Mughal Empire — 82 elephants, about , coins in gold and silver, big guns, about maunds of gunpowder in boxes, shields , odd ships, and stores of rice.
But, Mir Jumla conquered only the soil of Ahom capital and neither the king nor the country. The rainy season was fast approaching and so Mir Jumla halted there and made necessary arrangements for holding the conquered land. Communications with the imperial fleet at Lakhau as well as with Dacca were arranged. But the torrential rain and violence of the rivers caused immense hardship to the Mughals and the communication with the Mughal fleet and Lakhau and with Dacca became completely disrupted.
The Ahoms took the fullest advantage of the unspeakable hardship of the Mughals. With the progress of monsoon , the Ahoms easily recovered all the country east of Lakhau. Only Garhgaon and Mathurapur remained in the possession of Mughals. The Ahoms were not slow to take advantages of the miserable plight of the Mughals.
The Ahom king came out of his refuge and ordered his commanders to expel the invaders from his kingdom. A serious epidemic broke out in the Mughal camp at Mathurapur, which took away the lives of hundreds of Mughal soldiers. There was no suitable diet or comfort in the Mughal camp.
At last life became unbearable at Mathurapur and hence the Mughals abandoned it. The rains decreased, and flood went down, roads reappeared and communications became easier. The contact with the Mughal fleet at Lakhau was restored which cheered the long-suffering Mughal garrison. The Mughal army under Mir Jumla joined the fleet at Devalgaon. The Ahom king Jayadhwaj Singha took refuge in hill again.
But in December, Mir Jumla fell seriously ill and the soldiers refused to advance any further. Meanwhile, the Ahom king became extremely anxious for peace. At last a treaty was concluded at Ghilajharighat in January , according to which the Ahoms ceded western Assam to the Mughals, promised a war indemnity of three lakhs of rupees and ninety elephants. Besides, the king had to deliver his only child and daughter Ramani Gabharu, as well as his niece, the daughter of the Tipam Raja to the harem of the Mughal emperor.
Thus, according to the treaty Jayadhwaj Singha transferred Kamrup to the possession of the Mughals and promised to pay a heavy war indemnity. The first installment was paid by Jayadhwaj promptly. But as soon as Mir Jumla withdrew from Assam the Ahoms began to default.
Main article: Ahom kingdom The Ahoms migrated from present-day Myanmar to the Brahmaputra valley in the 13th-century. They settled in with the locals initially and created a new state; and in the 16th-century they vastly expanded their power and territory by removing the Baro-Bhuyan confederacy, occupying the Chutiya kingdom in the north bank and pushing the Dimasa kingdom further south. As the kingdom pushed west it came under attack from Turkic and Afghan rulers; and on one occasion the Ahoms general Ton Kham Borgohain pursued retreating invaders through a nascent Koch kingdom and reached the Karatoya river—and since then they began to see themselves as the rightful heir of the erstwhile Kamarupa kingdom. From the beginning the relationship between the Ahoms and the Mughals was hostile and that was due to certain factors, such as, Mughal alliance with Koch Bihar , the western enemy of the Ahoms and secondly the growing advance of the Mughals in north-eastern frontier which alarmed them. This dynastic alliance between Ahom and Koch was renewed afterwards by the next Ahom king Susenghphaa Pratap Singha, who married a daughter of Raja Parikshit. It is true that with a view to satisfy the territorial ambitions of his own nephew, Nar Narayan allowed partition of his kingdom.
At the time, the Ahom spoke a language of the Tai language family. That language is now extinct; today, the people who identify as Ahom or Tai Ahom speak Assamese. The Ahom left a considerable amount of literature in their Tai language. Their chronicles, called buranjis, record the history of the Ahom people and the region.