Ancient History of Thane
The History of Thane district can be divided into four major periods, The Early Hindu period partly mythic and partly historic, coming down to about AD 1300 and properly called Ancient period;
The Muslim period lasting from 1300 to 1660 the Maratha period from 1660 to 1800; and the British period since 1880. The chief interest in the history of Thane district is that, with comparatively few and short breaks, some of its ports, Sopara, Kalyan, Thane or Sanjan, has from pre-historic times, taken a leading part in the foreign commerce of Western India. From pre-historic times the Thane coast has had relation with land beyond the Indian Ocean.
From B.C. 2500 to B.C. 500 there are sign of trade with Egypt, Phoenicia and Babylon; from B.C.250 to A.D. 250 there are dealing with, perhaps settlements of, Greeks and Parthians; from A.D. 250 to A.D. 640 there were Persian alliance and Persian settlements; from A.D. 700 to A.D. 1200 there were Musalman trade relations and Musalman settlements from Arabia and Persia; in 1530 there was part of conquest by the Portuguese; and in 1664 the settlement of British.
The Thane district forms part of North Konkan also called Aprant (The western end) later known as Puri-Konkan after its capital Puri. The earliest known fact in the history of Thane coast & incidentally of Apranta belongs to engraving of Ashoka edicts an basalt bouldes at sopara about six milles north of vasai. According to Buddhist writting sopara was a royal seat & great center of commerce during the life line of Gautam Buddha (B.C. 540)
In Shilharas regime Thane city was described as pretty town by the Arab writers. The merchants who carried on the Thane trade were local Hindu, Muslman & Parsi traders. The shilaharas ruled over North Konkan for move than 400 years. They gave liberal patronage to art & Culture the temple at Ambarnath which is still extant testify the architectural & Sculptural skill of the age.
During Moghul period, Turk rulers had destroyed many temples & Churches of which they made mosques for Muhammad. Under the emperor of Delhi, a religous officer or kazi governed by a military officer or malik & Thane.
Under the strong rule of Muhammad Tughlak the Moghul’s maintained their supremacy in north Konkan. In spite of this two Hindu chiefs held territory on the direct rought between Daulatabad & the coast. Mahadev chief of Baglan & the chief of Jawhar, who in 1341 was recognized by the Delhi court as the lord of twenty-two forts & of a country yielding a yearly revenue of Rs.9,00,000 in one of its stone inscription dated A.D. 1464 that the Hindu Chief of Bhiwandi had power to make land grants.
Portuguese history would be incomplete without the mention of Vasai. The Portuguese remain in possession of Vasai for roughly two hundred years from 1535 to 1739. Nuno da Cunha, who was generally described as the founder of vasai. Timber was sent from vasai to mecca to help the Egyption to build a fleet.Thane coast was famous for its ship building. The ships built between 1550 & 1600 great ships built at Agashi & Vasai made many voyages to Europe.
The Portuguese power passed into the hands of Maratha after a long siege by Chimaji Appa, the brother of Peshwa Bajirao I
For about sixty-four years, from 1739 to 1802 Vasai remained under the Maratha finally, in 1802 by the Treaty of vasai it became a British possession & in 1818 it was incorporated in the Bombay Presidency.
In 1670’s the great Maratha warrior was defeated in 1670’s by the Portuguese forces at sea. But later Shivaji defeated them on land & took several forts to his reign.
Shivaji rocked the Mughal Empire & inflicted several defeats upon the kingdom of Bijapur & Golconda. To prove his equality over the Moghal emperor. Shivaji was crowned the title of Chhatrapati in June 1674 at Raigad fort. Shivaji started levying chauth cess he adopted the system for his own purposed & developed into a profitable instrument for the expansion of his Swarajya.
Maratha – Portuguese
Vengaon near Karjat was part of Thane district was the birth place of famous Nana Saheb. Thane had no share in the 1857 mutinies. Vasudev Balvant Phadke was in Thane jail and was to be removed to the Andamans.
The oppressive vernacular press act. the huge expenditure incurred during the second Afgan war, the lowering of the age-limit for admission of Indian to Indian civil services & the opening of the Muhammedan Anglo Oriental college at Aligarh all these events took place in Lord Lyttons unblessed regime which left sad memories in the peoples mind.
Under the British rule the trade of the district had developed from 411 lakhs of import & 330 lakhs of exports in 1805 to 2357 lakhs of imports & 2921 lakhs of export in 1881 an increased of about seven fold.