The Khasi and Jaintia Hills in the Bengal Gazetteer, 1907
|Capital||Jaintia Rajbari, Jaintiapur|
|Prabhat Ray Syiem Sutnga|
|Rajendra Singh Syiem Sutnga|
The Jaintia Kingdom was a kingdom in present-day Bangladesh and North-East India. It was annexed by the British East India Company in 1835. All the Pnar Rajahs of the Jaintiapur Kingdom are from the Syiem Sutnga clan, a Pnar clan which claims descent from Ka Li Dohkha, a divine nymph.
One theory says that the word "Jaintia" is derived the shrine of Jayanti Devi or Jainteswari, an incarnation of the Hindu goddess Durga. Another theory says that the name is derived via Pnar (the tribe of the rulers) from Sutnga, a settlement in the modern day Jaintia Hills of Meghalaya; the myth of Jayanti Devi was probably created after the Hinduisation of the Jaintia kingdom.
The capital, Jaintiapur, now ruined, was located on the plains at the foot of the Jaintia Hills; it appears there may have been a summer capital at Nartiang in the Jaintia Hills, but little remains of it now apart from a Durga temple and a nearby site with many megalithic structures.
The origin of the Jaintia kingdom is unknown, but the Jaintia people share a megalithic culture with the related Khasi people on the Shillong plateau which is of uncertain age, but their common oral history claims that they settled the region in the distant past. After the 17th century invasion by the Kachari king Satrudaman, the Jaintia kingdom came under increasing Kachari and Ahom political influence.
Sometime after 1676, the Raja of Jaintia attempted to rebel against the Mughal Empire. The Akhbarats note that the Raja had gathered 1500 infantry and began plundering the nearby region and led a siege against the fort in Sylhet. In response, the Mughals sent the general, Shaista Khan, the nobleman; Iradat Khan and Raja Tahawar Singh (also known as Kunwar Tahawurr Asad) of Kharagpur Raj in Bihar. Together, they were able to defeat the Jaintia Raja and bring the kingdom back under imperial control.
The British came into contact with the Jaintia kingdom upon receiving the Diwani of Bengal in 1765 (Gurdon 1914:xiv). Jaintiapur, currently in Bangladesh, was the capital. The kingdom extended from the hills into the plains north of the Barak river (Gait 1906:253). The quarries in their possession were the chief supplier of lime to the delta region of Bengal, but with the British, the contact was not very smooth, and they were attacked in 1774. Subsequently, the Jaintias were increasingly isolated from the plains via a system of forts as well as via regulation of 1799 (Gurdon 1914:xiv-xv).
The kingdom was finally annexed on 15 March 1835 (Gait 1906:302). The king was handed over his property in Sylhet along with a monthly salary of Rs 500. The British administered the plain areas directly and the hill region indirectly via a system of fifteen dolois and four sardars. The fifteen administrators were free to adjudicate on all but the most heinous crimes.