History of Quetta


The area was originally inhabited by Kasi, of Pashtun tribe, The first detailed account of Quetta is from the 11th century when it was captured by Mahmud of Ghazni during one of his invasions of the Indian sub-continent. In 1543, the Mughal emperor Humayun rested in Quetta on his retreat to Persia, leaving his one-year-old son Akbar in the city until his return two years later. The Khan of Kalat ruled Quetta until 1556, when the Persians conquered the city, only to have it retaken by Akbar in 1595. In 1828 the first westerner to visit Quetta described it as a mud-walled fort surrounded by three hundred mud houses. Although the city was occupied briefly in 1839 by the British during the First Afghan War, it was not until 1876 that Quetta became part of the British Empire, with Robert Sandeman being made the political leader for Baluchistan. The arrival of British troops led to the establishment of road and rail links and the introduction of schools, mainly for strategic purposes.

The British made the largely Pashtun area part of British Balochistan. In April 1883 it was combined with Pishin into a single administrative unit.

By the time of the earthquake on 31 May 1935, Quetta had developed into a bustling city with a number of multi-storey buildings. The earthquake, the epicentre of which was close to the city, destroyed most of the city infrastructure and killed an estimated 40,000 people. In the years since the city has been rebuilt mainly with local funds. Structures are now generally earthquake resistant comprising single storey structures built with bricks and re-inforced concrete.

On joining Pakistan, Quetta was made the capital city of the newly created province of Balochistan before it was combined with other Balochi states (Kalat, Makran, Lasbela and Kharan) to form the Baloch province. Quetta was to remain the capital of the province until 1971.


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