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Sikhs history - Sikh Kingdom Era

 

As mentioned in the previous section, the Sikhs became strong enough to rule the area of Punjab by 1760s. They even conquered the capital of Lahore in the 1770s. However, they were divided into 12 different groups under the local leaders. They were all independent of each other as there was no main leader.

Maharaja Ranjeet Singh filled that whole. He was born in 1780 and he conquered Lahore in 1799, at the age of 19. He gained more and more territory every year he ruled Punjab for 40 years. He had a vast empire by the time he died in 1839 at the age of 59. His kingdom was so vast that he had to divide his kingdom into 4 different states, and he appointed Governors for those states. He won territory in far away places. In fact, the present day boundaries between Pakistan and Afghanistan and also between Northern India and China were defined his kingdom. He was so strong that invaders from Afghanistan stopped attacking India very year. On the east, the Tibet Government, or present day China, signed a peace treaty with him. In the South, the British also signed a peace treaty with him, which defined his kingdom's boundaries.

He was a very kind and fair ruler and he never gave the capital punishment to anybody during his 40 year rule. He would go to common people in the evening and at night in disguise to find out their problems and their feelings about his kingdom. He would change his policies based on the true feedback from the people. The British were very impressed with his personality. He also had many European Generals, especially French, in his army. Even the Russian Government sent their ministers to his kingdom.

The Sikhs went through religious persecution for more than 50 long years, as described before. Maharaja Ranjeet Singh's kingdom gave them the opportunity to settle down into civilian life. The Sikh community prospered during his time. He built many Gurdwaras during his period. He put all the Gold on Sikhism's most sacred place in Amritsar, that's why it is now known as Golden Temple.

Maharaja Ranjeet Singh died in 1839 at the age of 59.