In ancient times the region of Odisha was the center of the Kalinga kingdom, although it was temporarily conquered (c.250 BC) by Aśoka and held for almost a century by the Mauryas. With the gradual decline of Kalinga, several Hindu dynasties arose and built temples at Bhubaneswar, Puri, and Konarak. After long resistance to the Muslims, the region was overcome (1568) by Afghan invaders and passed to the Mughal empire.
After the fall of the Mughals, Odisha was divided between the Nawabs of Bengal and the Marathas. In 1803 it was conquered by the British. The coastal section, which was made (1912) part of Bihar and Orissa Province, became in 1936 the separate province of Orissa. In 1948 and 1949 the area of Orissa was almost doubled and the population was increased by a third with the addition of 24 former princely states. In 1950, Orissa became a constituent state of India. The English spelling of the state's name was officially changed to Odisha in 2011. Odisha is governed by a chief minister and cabinet responsible to an elected unicameral legislature and by a governor appointed by the president of India.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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