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Punjab is said to have derived its name from the five rivers that flow through this region. The Indus, the Sutlej, the Beas, the Ravi and the Ghaggar which water this state make it a part of the northern fertile plain. Prior to Persian period this region was known by different names at different times. Probably, at the height of its glory it was known as Sapta Sindhu, land of the seven rivers, namely Sindhu (Indus), Vitasta (Jehlum), Asuhi (chenab), Purshin (Ravi), Vipasa (Beas), Satadru (Sutleg) and Saruri (Saraswati). The last one is a dried up stream now and its traces are found in the present seasonal streams that flow near Pehowa in Haryana. During Greek occupation, the territory had shrunk into the area covering the five rivers.

It was a region that formed parts of the Indus Valley civilization. The Aryans settled in this region in about 1500B.C. It was in about 900B.C that the battle of Kurukshetra mentioned in the Epic Mahabharata was believed to have taken place in Kurukshetra. During this period the region formed small principalities ruled by chieftains. In 326BC Alexander the Great of Macedonia invaded Punjab. After this was the rule of Chandragupta Maurya that lasted till about 1st century A.D. By 318A.D the Gupta dynasty exercised their influence. They were followed by the Huns in about 500A.D.  By 1000A.D the Muslims invaded Punjab led by Mahmud of Ghazni. In 1030A.D the Rajputs gained control of this territory. In about  1192A.D the Ghoris defeated the Chauhans and ruled till the establishment of the Mughal rule, a spirit of religious liberation led to the rise of the Militant Sikh power. In the early, 19th century the British established their influence. After independence this region witnessed mass migration and distribution of property. In 1947 when India was partitioned, the larger half of Punjab went to Pakistan. In 1966 the Indian smaller half was further divided into three: Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh.

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