Sikkim • northeastern state of India

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Sikkim is a small state in North India, in the Himalayas, located between Nepal and Bhutan. Sikkhim is the state with the fewest inhabitants of the entire Indian confederation.

The kingdom of Sikkim was founded in the 17th century and was ruled by Buddhist monk-kings until the arrival of the English around 1890.

The state is traditionally one of the poorest. The climate and the relief favor neither industry nor agriculture. Despite this, Sikkim has been one of the fastest growing states since the turn of the century. Tourism is encouraged and agriculture is mainly organic.

History of Sikkim

One of the oldest historical traces in Sikkim relates the passage of a Hindu sage named Padmasambhava (still known as guru Rinpoche), founder of Tibetan Buddhism in the 8th century AD.

The region, inhabited by Tibetan pastoralists or farmers, left few historical traces until the end of the Middle Ages.

The kingdom of Sikkim

In 1642, Phuntsog Namgyal, a Buddhist priest highly respected by his contemporaries, founded the kingdom of Sikkim. The first wars with neighboring states successively opposed Sikkim to Bhutan and Tibet, for reasons of succession to the throne. Then, at the beginning of the 18th century, Sikkim was the object of numerous Nepalese raids on its territory and benefited from the aid of China. At the end of these conflicts, the Chinese Qing dynasty established its control over the region of Sikkim.

The geographical location of the kingdom has always exposed it to invaders. A buffer zone between India and China, Sikkim is a strategic location for both countries.

Colonization of India by the British Empire

After the British seized power over the whole of India, Sikkim sought to ally with them to fight a common enemy, Nepal. But relations between the British Empire and Sikkim soon deteriorated, and the colonizers annexed the region of Darjeeling and that of Morang to India in 1853. As a result, the king of Sikkim became a vassal of the British. At the beginning of the 20th century, Sikkim was part of the Indian princely states, attached to the British crown but enjoying a certain autonomy.

Indian Independence

The states of Sikkim and Bhutan not being part of the "Indian States" and their fate would be regulated separately from the other states at the time of the independence of the peninsula.

Ways were raised in the following years to ask for the attachment of Sikkim to India but this position was not unanimous. Clashes then occurred between the partisans of independence and those of the attachment to India. Following Indian intervention to restore calm, a treaty was concluded in 1950, under which Sikkim became an Indian protectorate. Foreign policy, defense and diplomacy fell to India while Sikkim retained autonomy for internal affairs. Unrest again developed in the early 1970s and in 1975 Sikkim became the 22nd state of the Indian union and royalty was abolished.

Video gallery • India, Sikkim