Andhra has a great ancient history with several references in epics like
Mahabharata, Ramayana, Puranas, and Buddhist Jataka Tales. It is believed that
the people of Andhra Pradesh basically belonged to the Aryan race. They are said
to have migrated to the south of the Vindhyas, where they mixed up with the
The Early Andhra Pradesh
The earliest historical evidence can be seen in the writings of Megasthenes, who visited the Court of Chandragupta Maurya (322-297 BC). Buddhist books reveal that Andhras established their kingdoms in the Godavari Valley at that time. Ashoka referred in his 13th rock edict (232 BCE) that Andhra was under his rule.
The next dynasty that ruled Andhra Pradesh was the Satavahana dynasty (2nd century BC to 2nd century A.D), also known as the Andhras. They were ruling much of central and southern India at that time. They established their capital at Amravati on the banks of river Krishna. They were very much indulged in international trade with both eastern Asia and Europe. The Satavahana kings were followers of Buddhism and they worked towards the welfare of this religion. After the fall of Satavahanas, Andhra Pradesh was ruled by many small dynasties. Among these small dynasties, the popular one was the Ikshvaku.
Andhra achieved an identity and a distinction of its own in the reign of the Eastern and Western Chalukyas, the Rashtrakutas and the early Cholas. By the end of the 12th century, there were several local kingdoms, namely the Hoysalas, Kakatiyas and Yadavas. The 12th and the 13th centuries saw the emergence of the Kakatiyas. The Kakatiya temples, dedicated mostly to Shiva, reveal in their construction a blending of the styles of North India and South India which influenced the political life of the Deccan. The empire reached its peak under the king Krishnadevaraya in the early part of 16th century. Telugu literature reached new heights during this time. Excellent Vijayanagar monuments were built across South India including Lepakshi, Tirupathi and Sri Kalahasthi in Andhra Pradesh. This dynasty had to face several Muslim invasions. Later on, after the demolition of Hampi, the kings of Hindu Vijayanagar kingdom, shifted their base to Chandragiri near Tirupati.
The Muslim Expansion
A grand alliance of the sultanates of Ahmadnagar, Bijapur, Golconda and Bihar was formed and the Vijayanagar army was defeated on 23rd January, 1565 by the Deccan sultans at the battle of Talikota. Subsequently, in the middle of 16th century, the Muslim Qutb Shahi dynasty emerged. The foundation of the modern city of Hyderabad was laid by the Qutub Shahis of Golcunda. They were defeated by the son of the Moghal emperor Aurangzeb in 1687, who seized Golconda. He appointed Asaf Jah the governor of Deccan. Later, when the Mughal Empire was decaying under Aurangzeb's successors, the Asaf Jahis were collecting power to become independent rulers under the title of Nizam. Five years after the death of Aurangzeb, in 1707, Hyderabad was declared independent by its Viceroy and thus, established the Asaf Jahi dynasty of Nizams. The Nizams helped the British against Tipu Sultan of Mysore and therefore they were rewarded a certain degree of autonomy even at the time when the British dominated all India. The Nizams were also involved in the Anglo-French wars in the Deccan. But, finally they had enter into a subsidiary alliance with the British in 1800.
Andhra Pradesh is one of the first states in India which was formed only on the linguistic basis. After India's independence the Telugu-speaking people were distributed in about 21 districts. Out of them 9 were in the Nizam's Dominions and 12 in the Madras Presidency. On October 1, 1953, 11 districts of the Madras State were consolidated to form a new Andhra State with Kurnool as capital. Later, on November 1, 1956 the State Reorganization Commission recommended to enlarge the Andhra State by adding nine districts which were in the Nizam's Dominion. The city of Hyderabad, became the capital of the enlarged Andhra Pradesh.