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Histrory of Latehar District

Latehar was a part of Palamu till 2001. So when we discuss about history of Latehar, we should consider the historical account of Palamu as a whole. The district of Palamu was constituted on 01 January 1928. Its headquarter Daltonganj was named after Colonel Dalton, the Commissioner of Chotanagpur during British rule. The area was inhabited by the autochthones adivasis like Chero, Oraon and Kharwar. Oraon ruled a part of Palamu from Rohtasgarh. The Chero reigned in Palamu for more than 200 years. Among the important Chero rulers, mention may be made of Raja Medini Rai (1662-1674). He extended his sway over South Gaya and large parts of Hazaribagh and Sarguja. Medini Rai's memory has survived more for his justice than for his conquests. He built one of the Palamau forts (the lower fort). His son Pratap Rai built a fort near his father's fort, which still exist in Betla.

The influence of Mughals extended to Palamu during the reign of Emperor Akbar, when Palamu was invaded by Raja Man Singh in 1574. The troops left by him were however driven out in 1605, when Akbar died. In 1629 Shahjehan appointed Ahmad Khan as Subedar of Patna and Palamu was given to him as Jageer. He imposed tribute on Chero rulers, but they refused to pay the tribute and hence Palamu faced three successive invasions of Muslims.

The quarrel among the claimants of rights of kingship on Palamu gave way to the British to invade Palamu for the first time in 1772 and the fort of Palamu was captured. In 1832 the Cheros and Kharwars raised their voice against administration. The insurgents were however defeated in an engagements with the British forces near Latehar.

During 1857 movement Palamu was the most severely affected zone of Chotanagpur plateau. The brothers Nilambar and Pitambar, the chief of Bhogta clan of Kharwar tribe were holding ancestral Jagirs. Taking advantage of the movements against British rule they made up their minds to declare themselves to be independents and were joined by many Chero Jagirdars. They jointly attacked on British supporters. 'O' Malley (1907) has narrated that Nilambar and Pitambar were eventually captured, tried and hanged. Palamu played important role in freedom movement of the country. A momentous event was the visit of Mahatma Gandhi along with Shri Rajendra Prasad to Daltonganj on 11th January 1927. The August disturbances in 1942 had their echoes in Palamau as well. Railway lines were dismantled, telegraph lines were cut a large number of people both at the district headquarters and the interior were arrested.

Thus it is evident that Latehar as a part of Palamau has undergone the impacts of Chero rule, British rule, Muslim infusion, Jamindari and Jagirdari Pratha various freedom movements etc. time to time.

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