Shillong is the capital and hill station of Meghalaya, also known as "The Abode of Clouds", one of the smallest states in India. It is the headquarters of the East Khasi Hills district. It is said that the rolling hills around the town reminded the European settlers of Scotland. Hence, they would also refer to it as the "Scotland of the East".
Shillong has steadily grown in size since it was made the civil station of the Khasi and Jaintia Hills in 1864 by the British. In 1874, on the formation of Assam as the Chief Commissioner's Province, it was chosen as the headquarters of the new administration because of its convenient location between the Brahmaputra and Surma valleys and more so because the climate of Shillong was much cooler than tropical India. Shillong remained the capital of undivided Assam until the creation of the new state of Meghalaya on 21 January 1972, when Shillong became the capital of Meghalaya, and Assam moved its capital to Dispur in Guwahati. In 2016, it was voted "India's Favorite Hill Station" by HolidayIQ.com.
As the legend goes, Shillong was named after a boy called 'Aahlad', who was born to a virgin mother in a village near Bisi. This boy later became a handsome youth and was made the local deity; and the place was named after him.
Shillong was capital for composite Assam during the British regime and later till a separate State of Meghalaya was formed. David Scott, the British civil servant of the East India Company, was the Agent of the Governor-General North East Frontier. During the First Anglo-Burmese War the British authorities felt the need for a road to connect Sylhet and Assam.The route was to traverse across the Khasi and Jaintia Hills. David Scott overcame the difficulties his administration faced from the opposition of the Khasi Syiems — their chiefs and people. Impressed by the favorable cool climate of Khasi Hills, they negotiated with the Syiem of Cherra in 1829 for a sanatorium for the British. Thus began the consolidation of British interests in the Khasi-Jaintia Hills.
A serious uprising by the Khasis against foreign occupation of their land followed. It began early in 1829 and continued till January 1833. Eventually the Khasi confederate chiefs were no match against the military might of the British. David Scott negotiated for the surrender of the leader of the Khasi resistance, Tirot Sing, who was then taken to Dacca (present day Dhaka) for detention. After the resistance of the Khasis a political agent was posted in the hills, with its headquarters at Cherrapunjee. But the climatic condition and facilities of Cherrapunjee did not make the British happy, they then moved out to Shillong, which was then known as "Yeddo". The name "Shillong" was later adopted, as the location of the new town was below the Shillong Peak.
In 1874, a separate Chief Commissionership was formed with Shillong as the seat of administration. The new administration included Sylhet, now a part ofBangladesh. Also included in the Chief Commissionership were the Naga Hills (present day Nagaland), Lushai Hills (present day Mizoram) as well as Khasi, Jaintia and Garo Hills. Shillong was the capital of composite Assam till 1969 when the autonomous state of Meghalaya was formed. In January 1972 Meghalaya was made a full-fledged state.
The Shillong Municipal Board has a long history dating back to 1878, when a proclamation was issued constituting Shillong and its suburbs, including the villages of Mawkhar and Laban, into a station under the Bengal Municipal Act of 1876. Inclusion of the villages of Mawkhar (S.E. Mawkhar, Jaiaw and part of Jhalupara and Mawprem) and Laban (Lumparing, Madan laban, Kench’s Trace and Rilbong) within the Municipality of Shillong was agreed to by Hain Manik Syiem of Mylliem under the agreement of 15 November 1878. But, there is no trace of Shillong in the British era maps dating back to 1878, up to 1900.
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