Pune’s diverse history is closely linked to the ascent of the Maratha empire of the 17th and 18th centuries, during which time it became the political seat of the Indian subcontinent. With the fall of the Peshwa rule in 1818, Pune was soon established by the British as a military base, and by the 19th and 20th centuries the city had turned into a hotbed of political unrest against the British rule.

Some of the earliest references to Pune city date back as far as to the 8th century as Punya-Vishaya (Sacred News). By the 13th century, Pune had come to be known as Punawadi.


8th century

Evidence of copper plates from the Rashtrakota Dynasty refer to the region as Punya or Punaka and depict an agricultural settlement. The confluence of the two rivers, Mula and Mutha, made it a fertile region that continued to prosper as a centre for agriculture and horticulture.

9th to 14th century

The region was encompassed in the vast Yadava empire ruled by the Seuna Maratha dynasty. Maratha culture was established and Marathi became the court language. Today Marathi is the state language and Pune is the cultural capital of Maharashtra.

14th to 17th century

Under the Muslim Delhi Sultanate, the region became a part of the Mughal empire.
The rulers introduced new administrative practices, but did not try to change social practices or influence local culture.

17th and 18th century

The region gained popularity with the rise of the Marathas. Shivaji was crowned King in 1649 and continued to be a popular and revered figure in the state. Later, the Peshwas, titled administrators of the Maratha Kings, turned rulers and built temples and palaces including the Shaniwarwada, now a heritage monument and tourist attraction.

19th and early 20th century

The British anglicised the city ‘s name to Poona. Surrounded by verdant hills and blessed with moderate climate, Pune earned the sobriquet ‘Queen of the Deccan’. The game of badminton was originally called Poona, named after the town in which it was invented. India’s third oldest college, The Deccan College was established in Poona in 1821, followed by Asia’s third oldest engineering institute, the College of Engineering, Pune in 1854. Poona became an educational hub and dubbed the ‘Oxford of the East’.
The Raja Bahadur textile mill established in 1893 sowed the first seeds of industrialisation.
The city was home to many social, religious and political reformers, including the brief period during which Mahatma Gandhi lived under house arrest at the Aga Khan Palace, which now houses memorials and a small museum.

20th century - Post-Independence

Poona became the Southern Command headquarters of the Indian army and witnessed the National Defence Academy being established here. Industrialisation was encouraged and the region saw the growth and development of several industrial parks. Domestic and international companies invested in the area, making the most of a large pool of manpower.
Poona was officially renamed Pune in the year 1978. With over a dozen auto manufacturers and hundreds of autos ancillary firms, Pune became the ‘Detroit of the East’. Simultaneously the government and local chambers of commerce – the Maharatta Chamber of Commerce Industries & Agriculture (MCCIA) gave a fillip to the IT and IT-eS sector, by setting up software technology parks.
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