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The history of Gujarat, began with settlements of the Indus Valley Civilisation that have been found in the region. With the discovery of large Harappan site of Dholavira in Kutch District, the history of Gujarat dates back to 5000 BC. Lothal (early Harappan town dating back to 3000 BC) has been established as the oldest known port of the world. Gujarat's coastal cities, chiefly Bharuch, served as ports and trading centers in the Nanda, Maurya, Satavahana and Gupta empires as well as Western Kshatrapas period. After the fall of the Gupta empire in the 6th century, Gujarat flourished as an independent Hindu/Buddhist states. The Maitraka dynasty, descended from a Gupta general, ruled from the 6th to the 8th centuries from their capital at Vallabhi, although they were ruled briefly by Harsha during the 7th century. The Arab rulers of Sindh sacked Vallabhi in 770, bringing the Maitraka dynasty to an end. The Gurjara-Pratihara Empire ruled Gujarat after from the 8th to 10th centuries. As well as, for some periods the region came under the control of Rashtrakuta Empire and Pala Empire. In 775 the first Parsi (Zoroastrian) refugees arrived in Gujarat from Greater Iran.
During the 10th century, the native Chaulukya dynasty came to power. Under the Chaulukya dynasty, Gujarat reached to its greatest extent. From 1297 to 1300, Allauddin Khilji, the Turkic Sultan of Delhi, destroyed Anhilwara and incorporated Gujarat into the Delhi Sultanate. After Timur's sacking of Delhi at the end of the 14th century weakened the Sultanate, Gujarat's Rajput Muslim governor Zafar Khan Muzaffar asserted his independence, and his son, Sultan Ahmed Shah (ruled 1411 to 1442), restructured Ahmedabad as the capital. Cambay eclipsed Bharuch as Gujarat's most important trade port. The Sultanate of Gujarat remained independent until 1576, when the Mughal emperor Akbar the Great conquered it and annexed it to the Mughal Empire. The port of Surat become the prominent and main port of India during Mughal rule. Gujarat remained a province of the Mughal empire until the Marathas occupied eastern and central Gujarat in the 18th century; Western Gujarat (Kathiawar and Kutch) were divided among numerous local rulers.
Later in the 18th century, Gujarat came under control of the Maratha Empire who dominated the politics of India. Pilaji Gaekwad, first ruler of Gaekwad dynasty, established the control over Baroda and much of Gujarat. After the Battle of Panipat in 1761, all Maratha generals established themselves as an autonomous government while keeping the nominal authority of the Peshwas of Pune and the Chhatrapati in Satara. The British East India Company wrested control of much of Gujarat from the Marathas during the Second Anglo-Maratha War. Many local rulers, notably the Maratha Gaekwads of Baroda (Vadodara), made a separate peace with the British and acknowledged British sovereignty in return for retaining local self-rule. Gujarat was placed under the political authority of the Bombay Presidency, with the exception of Baroda state, which had a direct relationship with the Governor-General of India. From 1818 to 1947, most of present-day Gujarat, including Kathiawar, Kutch, and northern and eastern Gujarat were divided into hundreds of princely states, but several districts in central and southern Gujarat, namely Ahmedabad, Broach (Bharuch), Kaira (Kheda), Panchmahal, and Surat, were ruled directly by British officials. Mohandas Gandhi, considered India's "father of the nation", was a Gujarati who led the Indian Independence Movement against the British colonial rule. Gujarat was formed by splitting Bombay state in 1960 on linguistic lines. From 1960 to 1995, Indian National Congress retained power in Gujarat Legislative Assembly while other political parties ruled for incomplete terms in the 1970s and 1990. Bharatiya Janata Party has been in the power since 1998
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