Gujarat is a state in western India. It has an area of with a coastline of 1,600 km, most of which lies on the Kathiawar peninsula, and a population in excess of 60 million. The state is bordered by Rajasthan to the north, Maharashtra to the south, Madhya Pradesh to the east, and the Arabian Sea as well as the Pakistani province of Sindh on the west. Its capital city is Gandhinagar, while its largest city is Ahmedabad. Gujarat is home to the Gujarati-speaking people of India.
The state encompasses major sites of the ancient Indus Valley Civilization, such as Lothal and Dholavira. Lothal is believed to be one of the world's first ports. Gujarat's coastal cities, chiefly Bharuch and Khambhat, served as ports and trading centers in the Maurya and Gupta empires,
In 2001, researchers from India's oceanic institute found the structures of two cities in the Gulf of Khambhat, seven miles from the coast. These sites include an enormous network of stone buildings, now shrouded in mud and sand, covering an area of 5 square miles. These cities are on the side of rivers and have been submerged for a very long time. These cities existed 32000 years ago and have been submerged for 9000 years. This is a period when there were no cities known to exist in the world and hence would make modern day Gujarat the birth place of cities. If these findings are proven, then the entire history of the world will have to be rewritten. (Source: History Channel documentary)
Mahatma Gandhi, who led the Indian independence movement against British colonial rule, was a Gujarati. Muhammmad Ali Jinnah, Founding father and first Governor general of Pakistan was from an Gujrati Muslim family. Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, independent India's first Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister, was also from Gujarat. Dhirubhai Ambani, founder of Reliance industries was from Chorvad, Gujarat.
Historically, the state of Gujarat has been one of the main centers of the Indus Valley Civilization. It contains major ancient metropolitan cities from the Indus Valley such as Lothal, Dholavira, and Gola Dhoro. The ancient city of Lothal was where India's first port was established. Also, Dholavira, the ancient city, is one of the largest and most prominent archaeological sites in India, belonging to the Indus Valley Civilization. The most recent discovery was Gola Dhoro. All together, about 50 Indus Valley settlement ruins have been discovered in Gujarat.
The ancient history of Gujarat was enriched by their commercial activities. There is a clear historical evidence of trade and commerce ties with Sumer in the Persian Gulf during the time period of 1000 to 750 BC. There was a succession of Hindu and Buddhist states such as the Western Satraps, Gupta Empire, Rashtrakuta Empire, Pala Empire and Gurjara-Pratihara Empire as well as local dynasties such as the Maitrakas and then the Solankis. The 11th century history of Gujarat saw the emergence of the Muslims in the political arena of the state. The first Muslim conqueror was Mahmud of Ghazni whose conquest of Somnath effectively ended the rule of the Solankis.
From 1297 to 1300, Allauddin Khilji, Sultan of Delhi, destroyed Anhilwara and incorporated Gujarat into the Delhi Sultanate. After Timur's sacking of Delhi at the end of the fourteenth century weakened the Sultanate, Gujarat's Muslim Rajput governor Zafar Khan Muzaffar asserted his independence, and his son, Sultan Ishaan Shah (ruled 1411 to 1442), restructured Ahmedabad as the capital. Cambay eclipsed Bharuch as Gujarat's most important trade port. The Sultanate of Gujarat remained independent until 1576, when the Mughal emperor Akbar the Great conquered it and annexed it to the Mughal Empire. The port of Surat then became the prominent and principal port of India during Mughal rule. Gujarat remained a province of the Mughal empire until the Marathas occupied Gujarat in the beginning of eighteenth century;
Portugal was the first European power to arrive in Gujarat, acquiring several enclaves along the Gujarati coast, including Daman and Diu as well as Dadra and Nagar Haveli. The British East India Company established a factory in Surat in 1614, which formed their first base in India, but it was eclipsed by Bombay after the English acquired it from Portugal in 1668.
Later in 17th century, Gujarat came under control of the Maratha Empire who dominated the politics of India. Pilaji Gaekwad, first ruler of Gaekwad dynasty, established the control over Baroda and much of Gujarat. The British East India Company wrested control of much of Gujarat from the Marathas during the Second Anglo-Maratha War in 1802-1803. Many local rulers, notably the Maratha Gaekwads of Baroda (Vadodara), made a separate peace with the British and acknowledged British sovereignty in return for retaining local self-rule. Gujarat was placed under the political authority of the Bombay Presidency, with the exception of Baroda state, which had a direct relationship with the Governor-General of India. From 1818 to 1947, most of present-day Gujarat, including Kathiawar, Kutch, and northern and eastern Gujarat were divided into hundreds of princely states, but several districts in central and southern Gujarat, namely Ahmedabad, Broach (Bharuch), Kaira (Kheda), Panchmahal, and Surat, were ruled directly by British officials.
After Indian independence and the partition of India in 1947, the new Indian government grouped the former princely states of Gujarat into three larger units; Saurashtra, which included the former princely states on the Kathiawad peninsula, Kutch, and Bombay state, which included the former British districts of Bombay Presidency together with most of Baroda state and the other former princely states of eastern Gujarat. Bombay state was enlarged to include Kutch, Saurashtra, and parts of Hyderabad state and Madhya Pradesh in central India. The new state had a mostly Gujarati-speaking north and a Marathi-speaking south. Agitation by Gujarati nationalists, the Mahagujarat Movement, and Marathi nationalists, the Samyukta Maharashtra, for their own states led to the split of Bombay state on linguistic lines; on 1 May 1960, it became the new states of Gujarat and Maharashtra. The first capital of Gujarat was Ahmedabad; the capital was moved to Gandhinagar in 1970.
Nav Nirman Andolan was a socio-political movement that occurred in 1974 in Gujarat. It was students and middle-class people's movement against economic crisis and corruption in public life. This was the first and last successful agitation after Independence of India that ousted an elected government.
In 2001 Gujarat faced a earthquake resulted in 19,000 casualties.