Prior to 1642 Sikkim and much of the area surrounding it – Nepal to its west, Bhutan to its East, Tibet to the North and Bengal to the south, was Lepcha territory.
The reign of the Namgyal dynasty
Sikkim was an independent kingdom ruled by the Chogyals (Kings) until 1975 when it became the 22nd state of the Indian Union. The Chogyals ruled Sikkim for 300 years and the history of Sikkim's Chogyals dates back to the 17th century, when three holy men at Yoksum in West Sikkim, consecrated the first Chogyal
1. 1642 A.D. - Chogyal Phunstok Namgyal
Ascended the throne and was consecrated the first Chogyal of Sikkim, the capital was at Yoksum, present day West Sikkim.
2. 1670 A.D. - Tensung Namgyal
Shifted capital to Rabdenste from Yoksum
3. 1700 A.D. - Chakdor Namgyal
Pendi Ongmu (a half-sister) tried to dethrone Chakdor , who had
to flee to Lhasa, but was reinstated as king with the help of Tibetans.
4. 1717 A.D. - Gyurmed Namgyal
Sikkim was attacked by Nepalese.
5. 1733 A.D. - Phunstok Namgyal
Nepalese attacked Rabdenste-the capital of Sikkim.
6. 1780 A.D. - Tenzing Namgyal
Chogyal fled to Tibet and died there.
7. 1793 A.D. - Tsughphud Namgyal
Capital shifted from Rabentse to Tumlong. Treaty of Titalia in 1817 between Sikkim and British India was signed in which territories lost to Nepal were restored to Sikkim. Darjeeling was gifted to British India in 1835. Two Britishers, Dr. Campbell and Dr. Hooker captured by the Sikkimese in 1849. Hostilities between British India and Sikkim and a treaty was signed in which Darjeeling was annexed to British India.
8. 1863 A.D. - Sidkeong Namgyal
9. 1874 A.D. - Thutob Namgyal
Claude White appointed as the first Political Officer of Sikkim in 1889. Capital shifted from Tumlong to Gangtok in 1894.
10. 1914 A.D. - Sidkeong Namgyal
11. 1914 A.D. - Tashi Namgyal
Treaty between India and Sikkim was signed in 1950.
12. 1963 A.D. - Palden Thondup Namgyal
Sikkim became 22nd state of India on 16th May, 1975. Institution of the Chogyals came to an end.
In 1947, after the British withdrew from India, a special treaty was signed with the Indian Prime Minister, Jawahar Lal Nehru giving Sikkim special status. In 1955, democratic progress brought about the institution of the Sikkim Council as a legislative body, under the 1955 Constitution, consisting of a President nominated and appointed by the ruler and Councillors. The Crown Prince travelled to New York in 1960, met and married a rich
American, Hope Cooke. The wedding was performed in Gangtok according to Strict Buddhist rites. The old ruler Tashi Namgyal died in 1963 and the Crown Prince Palden Thondup Namgyal who ascended the throne in 1964 who also died of cancer on 30th, Jan 1982 in America. Troubles arose in 1973 that had been brewing a year earlier, when the Sikkim National Congress demanded fresh elections and more representation for the Nepalese. Riots in front of the palace led to a request to India for protection, and the election of Kazi Lhendup Dorji never popular with the Chogyal. An attempt was made by the Chogyal to block the meeting of the Legislature. The Kazi was elected by the Council of Ministers which was unanimous in its opposition to the retention of the Monarchy. Matter came to a head in 1975 when the Kazi appealed to the Indian Parliament for representation and change of status to statehood.
The Kazi was elected the Chief Minister, ruling with the aid of cabinet. During the 1977 elections, to the Lok Sabha unopposed on the Congress ticket, the Kazi, later, after the change in the Government of India, joined the Janata Party.
On 13th August 1979, the Assembly was dissolved and the Government resigned a few days later. On 8th August, Sikkim came under President's rule. Fresh elections were held on 12th October 1979 expiry of the validity of the President Proclamation. A ministry headed by Mr. Nar Bahadur Bhandari, leader of the Sikkim Sangram Parishad came into power from 18th October, 1979. Then the Assembly comprised of 32 members of which 17 were general seats, 12 seats are reserved for Scheduled tribes including mainly, Lepchas and Bhutias, two for Scheduled Castes and one for Sangha (Monasteries).
Originally, Sikkim Sangram Parishad had won 16 seats in the House, then the strength of the ruling party was increased to 21 and others were eight members from Congress (Revolutionary), one from Sikkim Prajatantra Congress and two Independents.
In the Assembly election held on 17th Nov. 1994, the Sikkim Democratic Front was returned to power and its leader Dr. Pawan Chamling was insta1led as the Chief Minister of Sikkim.
The Sikkim Democratic Front is the ruling party and the largest political party in Sikkim. Led by party president and Sikkim Chief Minister, Dr. Pawan Chamling, the party has been ruling in the state since 1994. The SDF consolidated its position in 1999 and also won the 2004 assembly elections winning 31 of the 32 seats.
Courtesy: Mr. N.G Khangsharpa (Editior) Sikkim A to Z ( A Hand Guide book on Sikkim
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