The Sikh Empire was established following the capture of Lahore by Maharaja Ranjit Singh from its Afghan ruler, Zaman Shah Durrani. The subsequent and progressive expulsion of Afghans from Punjab, and the unification of the separate Sikh misls also played a role in the formation of the Empire. Ranjit Singh succeeded in the creation of a unified political state and was proclaimed as Maharaja of Punjab on 12 April 1801.
It is believed that he had the second best army in Asia, the first being that of the English East India Company. Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s reign focussed on reformation and modernization. He invested the wealth of the state in general prosperity. He also respected all religions. There was an inflow of people from all over North India to join Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s army.
The Sikh territories that lay in the undivided Punjab were later taken over by the British. Some regions were confiscated even before Ranjit Singh’s death in 1839.
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