The early history of Ahmednagar starts from 240B.C. when the vicinity is mentioned in the reference to the Mauryan Emperor Ashok. It was not place of any district importance but small hamlets did lay in the neighbourhood of the present city and were regarded as important by-pass places in between Junner and Paithan.
The Andhrabrityas – the name of the dynasty of the ruling kings whose powers lasted from B.C. 90 to A.D. 300 and who at the time ruled the Deccan held Ahmednagar in their sway. After that The Rashtrakuta Dynasty ruled over Ahmednagar till about 400 A.D. and by the early Chalukya & Western Chalukya kings till 670 A.D. The Rashtrakuta kings then ruled Ahmednagar from 670 to 973 A.D. Govind III (785 to 810) was the mightiest of the Rashtrakutas whose kingdom stretched from Marwar and Rajputana in the north to Tungabhadra river in the south. Then followed the Western Chalukyas whose dynasty ruled from 973 to 1190 A.D. The caves and temple at Harishchandragad in Akola Tahsil were carved and built during this period.
After the Western Chalukyas , Ahmednagar passed on to the Deogiri Yadavs who ruled from 1170 to 1310. Deogiri ( modern Daulatabad) sventy-four miles north east of Ahmednagar was the capital city of Yadavs. The most notable minister and statesman of this time was Hemadri who invented modi script (comparable to the running English script) and is still being studied by the intelligentsia . Hemadri was indeed a genius and is created with the idea of constructing buildings without the help of lime stone and mortar. His main idea in this is to place well cut stones of medium size across each other and filling upon each other in particular angles in such a manner that walls would be erected forming the shape of temple. Twenty six such temples scattered over the whole district bear a testimony to this. His engineering intelligence is still worth emulating by others.
The famous king of Yadav was Ramdeorao and his name is mentioned in the great literacy works of saint of Dnyandeo in this Dnyaneshwari, the contemporary of king. This Hemadri was the minister of this most reputed king. Otherwise strong & brave ; the military unpreparedness of king late to his defeat at the hands of Alladin Khilaji, the commander-in-chief of the Moghal king of Delhi, Jallalnddin Khilaji at Devgiri in 1294. This was the first ever invasion of the Musalman kings in the South across the Vindsya mountains. This victory at the very invasion gave a fillip to the Muslim ambition of establishing Muslim stronghold in the Deccan. After repeated invasions the Adam domination came at end in 1318. Maharashtra the began to be ruled by governors appointed from Delhi and stationed at Deogiri. In 1338 Mohommed Tughlak, the emperor of Delhi made Deogiri his capital and changed its name to Daulatabad or the Abode of Wealth. Later on the Tughlak left Daulatabad and the disorderly noblemen of the Emperor harassed the people looting them and burning their houses and palatial buildings. These cruelties laid to a revolt among the Muslim nobleman & leader of one of factions, An Afgan soldier Alladin Hasan Gangu was successful in overthrowing the power of Delhi emperors and establishing an independent sovereign kingdom named after his Brahmin preceptor Gangu Brahmin at Gulbarga in 1347. The kingdom is known as Bahamani or Brahmin kingdom. This kingdom lasted for 150 years ruled by 13 kings after Hasan Gangu Bahamani. Administration was commendable & the frame setup by Hasan Gangu proved to be great strength. It was followed by the succeeding kings, when at last a great famine fell in 1460. It was repeated in 1472 & 1473. During this time the noble men became rather strong & disobedient. To face this administrative calamity, Mohamed Gawan who was prime minister contemplated to bring about a drastic change in the administration. The noble men were greatly disturbed and influenced king. They leveled various charges against Mohamed Gawan. The king was weak enough to believe the charges and foolish enough to order the minister’s execution, a loss which Bahamani power never recovered. Thus poor Gawan put to death in 1487.
Thereafter the Bahamani kingdom was divided into five independent kingdoms. Ahmednagar was one of them , kown as Nizamshahi. Mohmad Gawan was succeeded in the office of Bahamani minister by Nizam-ul_mulk Bhairi and about the year 1485 Bhir and Ahmednagar were added to his estates. The management of this area was made over to the minister’s son Malik Ahmad, the founder of the Nizamshahi Dynasty of Ahmednagar. First of all Malik Ahmed made his headquarter at Junnar in Poona district.
In 1486 Nizam-ul-mulk was assassinated and Malik Ahmed became the Prime Minister of the Bahamani Kingdom. While Malik Ahmed was away from the king, the king ordered one of his generals Jahangir Khan to march against Malik Khan. While Jehangir Khan did take upon himself this task Malik Khan was almost unprepared and had a little army with him. But with great courage and unusual tactics, he defeated Jehangir Khan and army of Bahamani kingdom on the open grounds east of Ahmednagar on 28th of May 1490. This victory was called the victory of the garden because on that spot Ahmed Nizam built a palace and laid out a garden. From this time onward Ahmed Nizam continued to attack Daulatabad to lay the country waste. His headquarter, Junnar was far off from Daulatabad , so in 1494 he laid the foundation of a city close to the victory gardens (Bagh Nizam) upon the left bank of Sina river and called it after himself, Ahmednagar. In two years the city is said to have rivaled Bagdad & Cairo splendour.
Ahmed Nizam was still not at peace with himself and wanted to take revenge on the Bahamani forces. He was at last successful in 1499 when captured the fort of Daulatabad and stationed his army there. To commemorate this victory Ahmed Nizam raised a wall round the Bagh Nizam( this is the present fort of Ahmednagar) and in it built a palace of red stones. Ahmed Nizam dies in 1508 and was succeeded by his seven year old son Burhan. Ahmed Nizam was indeed a great man , that he could establish an independent kingdom clearly shows his qualities and statesmanship. By his kindness, peaceful demeanour & efficiency, he could win the loyalty of the local and foreign Muslims and also of the Maratha peasants and worriers. Since his origin was Hindu, he found no difficulty in wining over the confidence of Brahmins who were highly regarded by the Hindus. Ahmed Nizam was also a great swordsman, Administrator & general.
Burhan Nizam Shaha ( 1508 to 1553)
Since Murrah Nizam Shah was a seven-year-old child, Mukamil Khan Dakhani was appointed as the king’s protector of competent politics. In the year 1553, Murshidabad Nizam Shah died in the age of fourteen.
Husain Nizam Shah ( 1553-1565)
Hussain Nizam Shah succeeded his father in the thirteenth year of his age. There were two parties, the Abyssinians embracing Hussain Nizam Shah’s cause and the Dakhanis- both Muslmans and Hindus that of his brother Abdul Kadar, who at last was deserted by his party & left Ahmednagar & took refuge with the king of Bearar. The other brothers fled to their uncle at Bijapur.
Hussain Nizam Shah built Ahmednagar fort with stones. The fort was originally built of Mud. Now as new addition a ditch surrounding the fort was also built to keep the enemy at a safe distance from the stone wall. Ram Raja , the hindu king of Vijaynagar often attacked the Ahmednagar fort and persued Hussain right upto Junnar.
The Adil Shah of Bijapur often helped Ram Raja against Hussain Nizam shah. The Adil Shah and Hussain Nizam shah often marched against each other and tried to take revenge. Ram raja played the role of making these Muslim kings fight against one another.
Hussain Nizam shah could see the futility of nursing ill feelings against one another amongst the Muslim kings. He therefore entered into league with the kings of Bijapur, Bedar and Golkouda against Ram raja in 1564.
The united army of 4 kings defeated Ram raja in 1565 at Rakshastagadi. Hussain Nizam Shah’s elephant Gulam Ali caught Ram Raja,in his trunk and brought him to Hussain Nizam Shah, who beheaded him. Seeing the head of their king, Ram raja, which was struck on the point of a Lance. Ram raja’s army fled to Vijaynagar. The allies attack Vijaynagar and looted it and sacked and plundered the city. After this Hussain Nizam shah died at Ahmednagar, he left four sons & four daughters.
Murtaza Nizam Shah ( 1565-1588)
Murtaza Nizam Shah, Hussein’s son received the throne when he was a minor. Rajkumar treated his father with hatred and while he was going to take bath, he closed the doors and lit a big fire under the windows. In 1588, Raja fell asleep because of a fierce battle.
Miran Hussain Nizam Shah ( 1588)
Miran Hussain was appointed as the Prime Minister of Mirza Khan, but did not take any care except Sukhbir and Sukhdev. Mirza Khan advised Miran Hussain to kill male members of the royal family. According to Miran Hussain, he killed fifteen commanders. After some days, Miran Hussain decided to punish Mirza Hussain for his death sentence.When Mirza Hussain heard this, he captured the king and summoned the cousin Ibrahim and Ismail from Pune. While going inside the fort, the new King, along with many officers and soldiers.
They gathered in the door and demanded to go to meet Miran Hussain. When Mirza Khan saw this, he cut the head of Miran Hussein to the bastion.
Ismael Nizam Shah ( 1588 to 1590)
Jamal Khan acknowledged Ismael as Nizam shah. Jamal Khan put to death all foreign Musalmans, but had to spent most of his time career in fighting. When Emeror Akbar Knew about the restlessness in the Deccan, he recalled Burhan Nizam (father of Ismael Shah) and allowed him to start for the Deccan. Soon after this Jamal Khan was killed in one of the battles. Burhan Nizam captured his son and confined him to prison.
Burhan Nizam Shah (II) 1590 to 1594
Burhan Nizam Shah was advanced in age and gave himself to pleasures and excesses. Nothing important happened during his reign except a few skirmishes here and there. Before his death on March 15, 1594 he appointed Ibrahim his successor.
Ibrahim Nizam Shah 1594
By his father’s advice Ismael Nizam appointed Mian Manju Dakhani his tutor to be his Prime Minister Two parties one led by Mian Manju and the other led by Yekhlas Khan, a partisan of Ismael arose in Ahmednagar and a sort of civil war loomed large on the horizon, The Adil Shah always wanted to conquer Ahmednagar, so knowing this he marched to Ahmednagar borders. Yekhlas Khan wanted to fight but Mian Manju proposed to conclude peace so that the whole forces of the Deccun might joint to meet Emperor Akbar’s intended invasion. The king who was given to drinking persisted in an attack on the Bijapur Army and was shot in the head in the action which followed. Thus ended his rule of four months.
Ahmed (II) 1594-95
After Ibrahim Nizam Shah’s death most of the Abyssinians felt that the king’s only son Bahadur, an infant in arms should be proclaimed under the regency of Chand Bibi, his father’s aunt, Mian Manju was opposed to this Instead it was agreed to bring Ahmed, the son of Shah Tahir (who clamied tobe the son of Muhammed Khudabanda brother of Husain Nizam Shaha,) a boy of twelve years who was imprisoned at Daulatabad. This Ahmed was crowned as Nizam Shah on 6th of August 1594. The Chiefs divided the kingdom among themselves and removing Bahadur, the late king Ibrahim’s son from the charge of his aunt sent him by force to the fortress of Chavand.
Soon a quarrel arose among the chiefs and bloodshed became the rule of the day Mian Manju wanted to overcome all the disorder and so he wrote a letter to Prince Murad, Emperor Akbar’s son who was then in Gujrat to march his army to Ahmednagar, Murad who was waiting for an opportunity to invade Deccan promptly accepted this invitation.
While Murad was on march to Ahmednagar many noblemen left Yekhlas Khan and joined Mian Manju . Mian Manju now repented of his earlier mistake of sending an invitation ot Prince Murad and decided to resist Prince Murad in the interest of Nizam Shahi So he marched out of Ahmednagar with Ahmed in his possession and requested Chand bibi to accept regency and protect the fort and repulse the attack of Prince Murad. Yekhalas Khan also escaped.
Chand Bibi accpeted this regency and proclaimed Bahadur Shah king of Ahmednagar, Prionce Murad attacked the fort of Ahmednagar but his attack was bravely repulsed by Queen Chand Bibi. At last she gave Prince Murad and he withdrew.
In 1599 Akbar dispatched Prince Danyal Mirza and Khan Khanan to ahmednagar Prince Danyal laid siege to the fort Sultana Chand Bibi could not bring about an effective resistance . So she decided to negotiate terms with Prince Danyal. But Hamid Khan, one of the noblemen in the fort ran cut in the streets saying that Chand Bibi was in treaty with the Moguls for the delivery of the apartment and put her to death. Thereupon the Moguls entered the fort and conquered it Bahadur was arrested and sent to Delhi and afterwards confined in the fort of Gwalior. Then Emperor Akbar made over Khandesh Ahmednagar to Prince Danyal.
Murtaza Nizam Shah (1600-1613)
Even though Emperor Akbar appointed his officers to look after the Deccan state, Nizam Shah’s officials refused to believe him. They had lost their independence, declaring Murtaza, the son of Shah Ali King, king. Thus ended the Nizam Shahi in 1636.
Moghals or the rule of Delhi (1636 to 1759)
Shivaji. The Maratha king who rose on powers attacked Ahmednagar and its neighborhood. For the Moghals, Shivaji was a regular terror. Though he did not really possess a strong and large army shivaji’s army resorted to guerrilla warfare and harassed the Moghal army.
Shah Jahan appointed Aurangzeb as the viceroy in 1636 and again in 1650. Shivaji personally invaded Ahmednagar in 1657 and in 1665. At other times Shivaji’s minister and generals attacked Ahmednagar intermittently.
Aurangzeb tried to put an end to the independent kingdom of the Marathas but he never succeeded in this and at last died in Ahmednagar on 21 st of February 1707. His attempts to put down the Maratha failed tragically Shortly after this the fall of the Moghal power in Deccan was completed by the revolt of Chin Killich “Khan (Nizam-ul-Mulk) , the governor of Malva. Ahmednagar was one of the parts of the Deccan which became subject to the Nizam and remained in his hands till his death in 1748.
The Rule of the Marathas (1759 to 1817)
After the death of Nizam-ul-Mulk there issued a quarrel between his two sons Salabat Jung Ghazi-ud-din . In this political mess the Nizam’s commandant Kavi Jung betrayed the fort of Ahmednagar to the Peshwa, the minister of the Maratha power War followed between the Nizam & the Peshwas & the Nizam was defeated in 1760 at Udgir. Besides other concessions the Nizam confirmed the grant of Ahmednagar and Dualatbad and also gave up the greater part of the province of Ahmednagar, the Nizam was again defeated by the Maratha in 1795 at Kharda. After the death of Sawai Madhavrao Peshwa in 1795, quarrels arose among the Maratha Noblemen. In 1797 Daulatrao Sindia took the fort of Ahmednagar from Bajirao Peshwa, as a price of his help to him to raise him to the post of Peshwa. The famous statesman Nana Fadnavis was imprisoned in Ahmednagar fort in 1797 by Sindia . At last he was released in 1798 but sorely discouraged, Nana Fadnavis died in 1800.
Bajirao Peshwa was continuously harassed by Yeshwantrao Holkar and Daulatrao Sindia,. So he concluded a treaty with the British for the safety of his Ministership, on 31 st December 1802 at Bassein. Now the noblemen had to fight with the British might. General Wellesley attacked Ahmednagar city and captured it. Then he laid a siege to Ahmednagar fort on 9th of August 1803 and captured it of 12 th of August 1803. General Wellesley then returned the fort of the Peshwa soon i.e in 1803 . The Holkar also came to terms with the British. There was widespread disorder in the area due to famine and hundreds were looted, murdered and massacred by the Pendharis . There was a rebellion against the British rule by common people headed b6y Trimbakji Dengale of Sangamner. The British troops soon brought the circumstances under control with the help of their disciplined soldiers . At last a treaty was concluded with Bajirao Peshwa at Poona by Virtue of which the Ahmednagar Fort was handed over to the English.
British Rule (1817 to 1947 )
When the British Government took possession of Ahmednagar much of it was almost ruined. Many former rich areas were depopulated because of famine and continuous fighting between the British soldiers and the freedom fighters. They continued to rise in arms taking resort to villages and the hills and mountains-mostly Parner, Jamgao and Akola areas. The Kolies and the Bhils harassed the British troops intermittently. Raghoji Bhangria headed this mutiny. AT last he was caught at Pandharpur in 1847 and was immediately hanged.
During the great freedom Struggle of 1857 (Which the British call Sepoys’ Mutiny ) Ahmednagar was a scene of considerable disturbance. The active freedom fighters were about 7000 Bhils under the leadership of Bhagoji Naik. They were active in the hilly t5racks and especially in the Parner, Jamgao, Rahuri, Kopargaon and Nasik areas. But at last all these attempts to rise against the British failed and the slavery came to stay. By about 1880 it was almost quiet everywhere.
Lokmanya Tilak organized political movement in the whole of India and was put behind bars by the British Government. But he passes away in 1920 Mahatma Gandhi took up the leadership in 1920 and carried on the responsibility of organizing Civil Disobedience Movements. Thousands offered Satyagraha and courted arrest. The Satyagraha Movements were launched many times between 1920 to 1941. The last unarmed Movement was spontaneously started by all the Indians throughout the length and breadth of the country from 9th of August 1942 upto 1944. All the leaders of India including Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Patel, Rajendra Prasad, Maulana Azad, Subhash Chandara Bose, DR. Syed Mahmood, Shankarrao Deo, were arrested Most of the leaders excepting Gandhi were kept in the Ahmednagar Fort. Jawaharlal Nehru , wrote his famous book. “ The Discovery of India” in Ahmednagar Fort.