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India >> Karnataka >> Belgaum >> History of Belgaum

History of Belgaum

Belgaum’s origins hark back to 225 BC, when a local chieftain Jakkadeva built a mud fort here, the remains of which are visible even today. Initially the settlement was known as Velugrama (village of bamboos), which later became Belagugrama, Belugav and ultimately Belagavi or Belgaum (Bel – bamboo and gaon – village). In the years to come, Belgaum was ruled by the Satavahanas, the Chalukyas followed by the Rashtrakutas. However, it was under the Kadambas and the Rattas in 12th century that Belgaum attained its preeminence. These rulers were followed by the Devagiri Yadavas and the Vijayanagara rulers. In 1472, the Bahamanis conquered Belgaum before ceding it to the Bijapur Sultans in 1489. The most prominent Bijapur ruler was Asad Khan, who ruled from Belgaum for about 38 years (from 1511 to 1549) and built several of the city’s monuments such as the Safa Masjid and the Fort. After the fall of the Bijapur Empire, it was the turn of the Mughals who handed over the city to the Savanur Nawab. The Marathas captured Belgaum in 1754-and ruled till 1818 when the British captured the city and made it a district headquarter.

During India’s freedom struggle Belgaum was a major centre – it was here that Tilak launched the Home Rule League in 1916. Also, the All India Congress Session held in Belgaum in 1924 was significant – it was the only session to be presided over by Mahatma Gandhi and the only session to be held in Karnataka.

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