Gilgit was an important city on the silk ros=ad along which buddhsim was spread from South Asia to the rest of asia. It is considered as a Buddhism corridor from which many Chinese monks came to Kashmir to learn and preach Buddhism
Brogpa trace their settlement from Gilgit into the fertile villages of Ladakh through a rich corpus of hymns, songs, and folklore that have been passed down through generatione The Dards and Shinas appear in many of the old pauranic lists of peoples who lived in the region, with the former also mentioned in Ptolem accoun] of the region. Two famous travellers, faxain and traversed Gilgit according to their accounts.
|“||The former rulers had the title of Ra, and there is reason to suppose that they were at one time Hindus, but for the last five centuries and a half they have been Moslems. The names of the Hindu Ras have been lost, with the exception of the last of their number, Shri Buddutt. Tradition relates that he was killed by a Mohammedan adventurer, who married his daughter and founded a new dynasty, since called Trakhàn, from a celebrated Ra named Trakhan, who reigned about the commencement of the fourteenth century. The previous rulers—of whom Shri Buddutt was the last—were called Shahreis||”|
A Dance at Gilgit by G. W. Leitner, 1893
Gilgit was ruled for centuries by the local Trakhàn Dynasty, which ended about 1810 with the death of Raja Abas, the last Trakhàn Raja. The rulers of Hunza and Nager also claim origin with the Trakhàn dynasty. They claim descent from a heroic Kayani Prince of Persia, Azur (also known as Shamsher), who secretly married the daughter of the king Shri Badat. She conspired with him to overthrow her cannibal father. Sri Badat’s faith is theorised as Hindu by some and Buddhist by others. However, considering the region’s Buddhist heritage, with the most recent influence being Islam, the most likely preceding influence of the region is Buddhism. Though the titular Sri and the name Badat denotes a Hindu origin of this ruler.
Prince Azur Jamshid succeeded in overthrowing King Badat who was known as Adam Khor (literally man-eater), often demanding a child a day from his subjects, his demise is still celebrated to this very day by locals in traditional annual celebrations. In the beginning of the new year, where a Juniper procession walks along the river, in memory of chasing the cannibal king Sri Badat away.]
Azur Jamshid abdicated after 16 years of rule in favour of his wife Nur Bakht Khatùn until their son and heir Garg, grew of age and assumed the title of Raja and ruled, for 55 years. The dynasty flourished under the name of the Kayani dynasty until 1421 when Raja Torra Khan assumed rulership. He ruled as a memorable king until 1475. He distinguished his family line from his step brother Shah Rais Khan (who fled to the king of Badakshan, and with whose help he gained Chitral from Raja Torra Khan), as the now-known dynastic name of Trakhàn. The descendants of Shah Rais Khan were known as the Ra’issiya Dynasty
|“||The period of greatest prosperity was probably under the Shin Ras, whose rule seems to have been peaceable and settled. The whole population, from the Ra to the poorest subject lived by agriculture. According to tradition, Shri Buddutt’s rule extended over Chitral, Yassin, Tangir, Darel, Chila, Gor Astor, Hunza, Nagar and Haramosh all of which were held by tributary princes of the same family.||”|
The area had been a flourishing tract but prosperity was destroyed by warfare over the next fifty years, and by the great flood of 1841 in which the river Indus was blocked by a landslip below the Hatu Pir and the valley was turned into a lake. After the death of Abas, Sulaiman Shah, raja of Yasin, conquered Gilgit. Then, Azad Khan, Raja of Punial, killed Sulaiman Shah, taking Gilgit; then Tair Shah, Raja of Buroshall (Nagar, took Gilgit and killed Azad Khan. Tair Shah’s son Shah Sakandar inherited, only to be killed by Gaur Rahman, Raja of Yasin of the Khushwakhte Dynasty, when he took Gilgit. Then in 1842, Shah Sakandar’s brother, Karim Khan, expelled Gaur Rahman with the support of a Sikh army from Kashmir. The Sikh general, Nathu Shah, left garrison troops and Karim Khan ruled until Gilgit was ceded to Gulab Singh of Jammu and Kashmir in 1846 by the Treaty of Amritsar and Dogra troops replaced the Sikh in Gilgit.
Nathu Shah and Karim Khan both transferred their allegiance to Gulab Singh, continuing local administration. When Hunza attacked in 1848, both of them were killed. Gilgit fell to the Hunza and their Yasin and Punial allies, but was soon reconquered by Gulab Singh’s Dogra troops. With the support of Gaur Rahman, Gilgit’s inhabitants drove their new rulers out in an uprising in 1852. Gaur Rahman then ruled Gilgit until his death in 1860, just before new Dogra forces from Ranbir Singh, son of Gulab Singh, captured the fort and town In the 1870s Chitral was threatened by Afghans Maharaja Ranbir Singh was firm in protecting Chitral from Afghans the Mehtar of Chitral ask for help, In 1876 Chitral accepted the authority of Jammu Clan and in reverse get the protection from the Dogras who have in the past took part in many victories over Afghans during the time of Gulab Singh Dogra.
Main article: Gilgit Agency
In 1877, in order to guard against the advance of Russia, the British Government, acting as the suzerain power of Kashmir, established the Gilgit Agency. The Agency was re-established under control of the British Resident in Jammu and Kashmir. It comprised the Gilgit Wazarat; the State of Hunza and Nagar; the Punial Jagir; the Governorships of Yasin, Kuh-Ghizr and Ishkoman, and Chilas.
The Tajiks of Xinjiang sometimes enslaved the Gilgiti and Kunjuti Hunza
In 1935, the British demanded Jammu and Kashmir to lease them Gilgit town plus most of the Gilgit Agency and the hill-states Hunza, Nagar, Yasin and Ishkoman for 60 years. Maharaja Hari Singh had no choice but to acquiesce. The leased region was then treated as part of British India, administered by a Political Agent at Gilgit responsible to Delhi, first through the Resident in Jammu and Kashmir and later a British Agent in Peshawar
Jammu and Kashmir State no longer kept troops in Gilgit and a mercenary force, the Gilgit Scouts, was recruited with British officers and paid for by Delhi. In April 1947, Delhi decided to formally retrocede the leased areas to Hari Singh’s Jammu and Kashmir State as of 15 August 1947. The transfer was to formally take place on 1 Augt.
Main articles: Indo-Pakistani War of 1947 and Kashmir Conflict
Gilgit Scouts progressed with other Pakistani troops from north through High Himalayas and contributed in attacking of Skardu in summer 1948, pushing further towards Ladakh area.
After Pakistani advances of early 1948, Indian troops gathered momentum in late 1948. Finally, India asked for UN intervention, and a ceasefire was agreed on 31 December 1948. This conflict left Pakistan with roughly two-fifths of Kashmir along with Gilgit and Baltistan, leaving three-fifths of Kashmir along with Jammu and Leh to India.