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Newsletter for February 2017
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History Of Koh-i-noor Diamond
|Weight||105.602 carats (21.1204 g)|
|Mine of origin||Kollur Mine, Guntur District, Andhra Pradesh, India|
Hortenso Borgia (17th century)
Levie Benjamin Voorzanger (1852)
|Original owner||Kakatiya dynasty|
|Owner||Queen Elizabeth II in right of the Crown.|
Legend has it that the diamond
originally belonged to the
Pāṇḑavas. The diamond probably
came from the Kollur mines, near
the village in the present-day
Guntur district of Andhra
The first confirmed historical mention of the Koh-i Noor by an identifiable name dates from 1526. Bābur mentions in his memoirs, the Nābur-Nāmah, that the stone had belonged to an unnamed Raja of Gwalior, who was compelled to yield his prized possession in 1294 to 'Alā'uddīnKhiljī. It was then owned by the Tughlaq dynasty, Lodī dynasty, and finally came into the possession of Bābur himself in 1526. He called the stone 'the Diamond of Bābur' at the time, although it had been called by other names before he seized it from Ibrāhīm Lodī.
When the Tughlaq dynasty replaced the Khiljī dynasty in 1320 AD, Ghiyāth al-Dīn Tughluq sent his commander Ulūgh Khān in 1323 to defeat the Kākatīya king Prātaparuḑra. Ulūgh Khān's raid was repulsed but he returned in a month with a larger and determined army. The unprepared army of Kakātīya was defeated this time and the diamond was seized by the champion army of the Delhi Sultanate.
Both Bābur and Humāyūn mention in their memoirs the origins of 'the Diamond of Bābur'. This diamond was with the Kachhwaha rulers of Gwalior and then inherited by the Tomara line. The last of Tomaras, Man Singh Tomar, negotiated peace with Sikandar Lodī, Sultan of Delhi and became a vassal of the Delhi Sultanate.
Humāyūn had much bad luck throughout his life. Sher Shāh Sūrī, who defeated Humāyūn, died in the flames of a burst cannon. Humāyūn's son, Akbar, never kept the diamond with himself and later only Shāh Jahān took it out of his treasury. Akbar's grandson, Shāh Jahān was overthrown by his own son, Aurangzēb.
Shah Jahan, famous for building the Taj Mahal in Agra, had the stone placed into his ornate Peacock Throne. His son, Aurangazēb, imprisoned his ailing father at nearby Agra Fort. Legend has it that he had the Koh-i-Noor positioned near a window so that Shāh Jahān could see the Tāj Mahal only by looking at its reflection in the stone. Aurangazēb later brought it to his capital Lahore and placed it in his own personal Bādshāhī Mosque. There it stayed until the invasion of Nādir Shāh of Iran in 1739 and the sacking of Agra and Delhi. Along with the Peacock Throne, he also carried off the Koh-i Noor to Persia in 1739. It was allegedly Nādir Shāh who exclaimed Koh-i Noor! when he finally managed to obtain the famous stone, and this is how the stone gained its present name. There is no reference to this name before 1739.
The valuation of the Koh-i Noor is given in the legend that one of Nādir Shāh's consorts supposedly said, "If a strong man should take five stones, and throw one north, one south, one east, and one west, and the last straight up into the air, and the space between filled with gold and gems, that would equal the value of the Koh-i Noor."
After the assassination of Nādir Shāh in 1747, the stone came into the hands of his general, Ahmad Shāh Durrānī of Afghanistan. In 1830, Shujāh Shāh Durrānī, the deposed ruler of Afghanistan, managed to flee with the diamond. He went to Lahore where Ranjīt Singh forced him to surrender it; in return for this, Ranjīt Singh won back the Afghan throne for Shah Shujā'.
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