The first inhabitants in Sikkim were the Lepchas or Rong (ravine folk). They originally came from Assam and Myanmar. During 1200 AD many other clans from Tibet have arrived. The Namgyal clan that arrived in the 1400s steadily won political control over Sikkim. In 1642, Phuntsog Namgyal (1604-1670) became the Chogyal (king). He presided over a social system based on Tibetan Lamaistic Buddhism. His descendants reigned over Sikkim for more than 330 years. Sikkim lost much of its boundaries during the 1700s when it was continuously attacked by Nepal and Bhutan. Eventually, Nepalese came to Sikkim and settled there as farmers. By the 1800s, Sikkim’s population was culturally very complicated with heavy internal turmoil. Between 1814 and 1815, Sikkim backed the British in a successful war against Nepal, and reclaimed some of its lost territory. In 1835, the British East India Company assimilated the health resort of Darjeeling from Sikkim. Sikkim violently withstood attempts to bring it under British rule but in 1861 it became a British colony. Sikkim’s independent status was recognized. Britain and China also signed a convention recognizing the border between Sikkim and Tibet in 1890. Later, the British installed a political office to help the Chogyal of Sikkim run the internal and external affairs of the kingdom. Sikkim’s independence from Britain was eventually transferred to the Indian government when India gained independence in 1947. A popular vote for Sikkim to join the Indian Union failed and Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru agreed to a special protectorate status for Sikkim. From 1962 when India went to war with China until the Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, who had carefully preserved Sikkim’s status as an independent protectorate, died in 1964, Sikkim went through many political risks. In early 1970 the anti-monarchy Sikkim National Congress Party demanded fresh elections backed by greater representation of the Nepalese settlers. In 1973, anti-royalty riots in front of the palace led to a formal request for protection from India. India worried that an unstable Sikkim would invite Chinese to act on its claims that Sikkim was part of Tibet, and therefore part of China. The Indian government appointed a Chief administrator, Mr. B. S. Das, who effectively wrested the control of the country away from the Chogyal. Frosty relations between the Chogyal and the elected Kazi (Prime Minister) Lhendup Dorji resulted in an attempt 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. Matters came to a head in 1975 when the Kazi appealed to the Indian Parliament for representation and change of status to statehood. On April 14, 1975, a referendum was held, in which Sikkim voted to merge with the union of India. Sikkim became the 22nd Indian State on April 26, 1975. On May 16, 1975, Sikkim officially became a state of the Indian Union and Lhendup Dorji became head of State (chief minister)

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