The Punjab, also spelled Panjab, is called the land of "five rivers". In prehistoric times, one of the earliest known cultures of South Asia, the Indus Valley civilisation was located in the region.
The epic battles described in the Mahabharata are described as being fought in what is now the present-day State of Haryana and historic Punjab.In 326 BC, Alexander the Great invaded Pauravas and defeated King Porus.In 711–713 CE, 18-year-old Arab General Muhammad bin Qasim of Taif, a city in what is now Saudi Arabia, came by way of the Arabian Sea with Arab troops to defeat Raja Dahir. The General then led his troops to conquer the Sindh and Punjab regions for the Islamic Umayyad Caliphate. Qasim was the first to bring Islam to the region.The period was also notable for the emergence of Guru Nanak (1469–1539), the founder of Sikhism. In 1758, Punjab came under the rule of Marathas who captured the region by defeating Afghan forces of Ahmad Shah Abdali.After the death of Ahmad Shah, the Punjab was freed from the Afghan yoke by Sikhs between 1773 and 1818.Six years later the British East India Company was given an excuse to declare war and in 1849, after two Anglo-Sikh wars, the Punjab was annexed by the British. At the time of partition in 1947, the province was split into East and West Punjab. East Punjab (48%) became part of India, while West Punjab (52%) became part of Pakistan.