The territory of Himachal Pradesh was historically made of Hindu kingdoms that could trace their antiquity to ancient times, the oldest being Kangra, Kulu, and Chamba. All through history they battled each other and foreign invaders, and retained their independence for the most part, till the 19th century when they came under the British. The Khulassat-ut-Tawarikh from the 17th century describes some of these hill-states and their defiance of the Mughal empire under Aurangzeb:
- The King of Kahlur by reason of the strength afforded by this river (Sutlej), the inaccessibility of the hills, and the security of his residence — the city of Bilaspur is his seat of government — swerves from obedience to the imperial officers.
- Though Gualiar [Guler] is a small country, yet its Raja has often defied the imperial officers by reason of the strength of the river (Beas) and inaccessibility of the hills.
- The Ravi issues from the mountains of Mani Mahesh, a dependency of the country of Chamba, which is a place sacred to Mahadev and has the snow and climate of Kashmir and Kabul, and produces many sweet and delicious fruits. The Kings of this place breathe the spirit of independence on account of the extent of their country, its large population, the inaccessibility of the hills, and the strength of their fastnesses, as this river forms a barrier to the imperial army. The integrity of Himachal was broken for the first time when some of these states raised the standard of rebellion against the British in 1848. As noted in the Life of John Lawrence: "It will be remembered that, unlike the inhabitants of the plains, who had not only acquiesced in but welcomed our rule, the hill chiefs were naturally more or less discontented with the loss of their ancient privileges; and the flame which had been smouldering now burst out simultaneously in different directions. At the other extremity of the hill country, the Katoch chief raised the standard of revolt, seized his ancestral palace at Teera and some adjoining forts, and fired a royal salute announcing the disappearance of the British Raj. At the same time the Raja of Jaswan, lower down in the hills, and the Raja of Datarpur, and the Bedi of Una, from the plain country, rose up against us. Dividing his force into two parts, Lawrence sent Barnes at the head of one of them against the Katoch chieftain, while he himself, with five hundred of the Sikh corps and four guns, moved down the Jaswan valley against the other insurgents. The success of both expeditions was complete." It had only been two years since the Anglo-Sikh war, yet the British could command the loyalty of Sikh troops and deploy them against their neighbours, the Rajputs of Himachal. It was a success in military recruitment demonstrated earlier with Gorkhas and military classes in other parts of India. Another Rajput state called Nurpur also rebelled against the British, under the leadership of the famous Ram Singh Pathania. In the end all these states were extinguished and their territories merged into neighbouring Punjab. The Katoch dominions formed the Kangra district, Jaswan and Datarpur merged into Hoshiarpur district, while parts of Nurpur went to Gurdaspur district. These territories were once again united with the rest of HP only in 1966 after the battle for integrated Himachal. Rampur-Bushahr, Sadanand Chandel of Bilaspur, Thakur Hira Singh of Baghal, and Mukand Lal of Suket, all forming Praja Mandals in these states which because of a shared history and geography, and working to a common cause, naturally became associated with one another leading to the proposal of a united and democratic Himalayan Prant. The princely rulers also favored the cause of a united Himalayan province, partly to preserve the socio-cultural milieu of the hills, and partly to guarantee a constitutional position for themselves in the new state. The name Himachal Pradesh was chosen at the historic Solan conference in 1948, presided over by Raja Durga Singh of Bhagat princely state, and attended by Praja Mandal representatives. By the middle of that year all the Himalayan states in the region had merged together to form Himachal Pradesh.....with the exception of Bilaspur and Nalagarh.