In ancient times, Uttar Pradesh was known as the Madhya Desh. This area is
said to have been occupied by the group of people referred to as "Dasas" by the
Aryans. Their main occupation of these inhabitants was agriculture. Till BC 2000
the Aryans had not settled in this region. It was through the conquest that the
Aryans occupied this area and laid the foundations of a Hindu civilization. The
ancient Hindu kingdom of Kosala in Ayodhya, where Lord Rama of the Ramayana
reigned is believed to have been located in the modern Uttar Pradesh. Lord
Krishna, revered as the eighth Avatara of Vishnu, is believed to have been born
in the city of Mathura. The regions of Uttar Pradesh was also said to have been
the ancient Panchala country. The great war of the Mahabharata between the
Kauravas and Pandavas was said to have been fought here. Besides the Kurus and
Panchalas the Vatsas, the Kosis, Hosalas, Videhas etc formed the early region of
Uttar Pradesh. It was during the Aryan inhabitation that the epics of
Mahabharata, Ramayana, the Brahamanas and Puranas were written.
During the reign of Ashoka, the works for public welfare were taken up. Due to rich resources, there was active trade within and outside the country. The rule of the Magadha Empire brought Buddhism and Jainism into this region. This period witnessed administrative and economic advancement. The Kushanas exercised their power over this region till 320AD. The territory was passed into the hands of the Guptas during whose rule, the Huns invaded this region.
After the decline of the Guptas, the Maukharis of Kannauj gained power. During the rule of Harshavardhana, Kannauj was an important city. After his rule, political chaos led the Muslims to invade Utter Pradesh, even though the society was dominated by the Rajputs, jats and other local chiefs. In 1016AD Mahmud of Ghazni laid his eyes on the wealth of Kannauj. He was followed by Mohammad Ghori. After the Mughals the Jats, the Rohillas, and the Marathas established their rule. By 1803, the British controlled this region and annexed it by 1856. It was in the Uttar Pradesh, the first struggle for liberation from the British rule was unleashed. The revolt was suppressed and from then onwards till independence, it remained under British dominance. In 1950 the state was organized and named as Uttar Pradesh.