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History of Karnataka
The Vijayanagara Empire

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The Sangama Dynasty (1336 – 1485 A. D.):
Sangama was the first of the four dynasties that ruled Vijayanagara in succession.

The first ruler of this dynasty was Sangama’s eldest son Harihara I (1336 – 1356 A.D.) He founded the new kingdom in collaboration with his four brothers.

He established his control over the valley of Tungabhadra, portions of Konkana and Malabar Coast. With the disappearance of Hoysala power Harihara was able to assume the status of an independent sovereign.

The grant to Sringeri matha, in which Harihara is mentioned as ruler of the whole country between the eastern and western seas, as well as the inscription of 1348 stating that Vidya Nagara was his capital, shows his improved political status after the death of Ballala IV.

Harihara set up an efficient and orderly government, ensuring the enjoyment of peace and security by his subjects. The appointment of his brothers as viceroys over different regions helped the centralization of administration.

The establishment of the Bahamani Sultanate at Gulbarga in 1347 checked the northward expansion of Vijayanagara Kingdom.

Harihara I was succeeded by Bukka I, (1356 – 1377 A.D.) the most distinguished among the Panchasangamas.

He set up upon himself the task of destroying the hostile elements so that he could consolidate and strengthen the new state.

The Shambuvaraya Kingdom of Arcot region was conquered and the Reddis of Kondavidu was subdued. Kumara Kampana, the son of Bukka, destroyed the Sultanate of Madhura in 1371 and the entire peninsula to the south of Tungabhadra was brought under the sway of Vijayanagara.

Bukka had to fight with the Bahamani Sultans twice, once during the period of Muhammad I and another at the time of Mujahid. Goa was captured during Bukka’s reign and the rulers of Malabar and Ceylon paid tribute to him.

It is admirable that in spite of grave political challenges and ceaseless wars, Bukka was able to pay attention to the work of reconstruction and rehabilitation.

Under his direction the city of Vijayanagara was enlarged and strengthened. In 1368 he heard a complaint of Jains against the Vaishnavas and reconciled the two sects. He is said to have sent a mission to the Emperor of China.

Harihara II (1377 – 1404 A.D.) extended his dominions in Konkana beyond Goa to Chaul. His son Virupaksha quelled the wide spread rebellion in the Tamil region.

In Andhra Harihara II was able to defeat the Reddis of Kondavidu and the Velamas of Rajakonda, thereby making himself the master of the peninsula to the south of the river Krishna.

On the death of Harihara II the succession to the throne was disputed. Virupaksha I ruled for only a few months and was followed by Bukka II (1404 – 1406 A.D.) Finally Devaraya I (1406 – 1422) came to the throne. He had to fight against the Reddis of Kondavidu, Velamas of Rajakonda and the Bahamani Sultan of Gulbarga.

Amidst these difficulties Devaraya I proved himself capable of retaining his control over the vast territories inherited by him. Devaraya I was followed by his sons Ramachandra (1422) and Vira Vijaya (1422 - 24) whose rule was not eventful.

to be continued....

Arthikaje,
Mangalore

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