The Sikh Empire was a powerful reign formed under the leadership of Maharaja Ranjit Singh in Panjab. The massive impact in such a short period of time was and has never been seen again. Foundations of the Sikh Empire can be traced to as early as 1707 as this was the year of Aurangzeb’s (the last effective Mughal emperor) death and the start of the downfall of the Mughal Empire. The Sikh Empire is also known as Sikh Khalsa Raj, Sarkar-i-Khalsa or Panjab Empire. It extended from Khyber Pass in the west (mountainous pass connecting Afghanistan and Pakistan), Kashmir in the north (northern most geographical area of India), Sindh in the South (a province in current day Pakistan) and Tibet in the east. The actual empire existed from 1799 through 1849. Ranjit Singh’s capture of Lahore from its Afghan ruler and the expulsion of Afghans from Panjab marked the beginning of the Sikh Khalsa Raj. The foundation of Khalsa was replicated during the unification of the separate Sikh misls. Misls were sovereign states of the Sikh Confederacy that rose during 18th century in Panjab. Ranjit Singh was proclaimed as Maharaja of Panjab in April of 1801 to coincide with Vaisakhi, creating a unified political state. Ranjit Singh rose to power in a very short period, from a leader of a single misl to finally becoming the Maharaja of Panjab. He began to modernize his army, using the latest training as well as weapons and artillery. Not only is his legacy in strength as a maharaja of an empire but also in his Sikh faith and the rebuilding of the Harmandir Sahib in Amritsar. After the death of Ranjit Singh, the empire was weakened by internal divisions and political mismanagement. Finally, by 1849 the state was dissolved after the defeat in the Anglo-Sikh wars.
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