The name "Assam" may be derived from the Sanskrit term "Asom" that means unparalleled, or one with no equal. The term "Asom" in Sanskrit also means undulated or uneven. The rugged nature of the land of Assam may also be a reason for her name. In addition, the Ahoms ruled Assam for six hundred years till the early part of the 19th century. The words "Mom" and "Asom" are pronounced similarly, and hence the Ahoms may also have given Assam its names.
The ancient kingdom of Kamarupa once covered the present state of Assam. Pragjyaisha, the capital, was located near Guwahati. Kamarupa is mentioned as a frontier kingdom and tributary of the Gupta Empire in the Allahabad inscription of Samudra Gupta (A.D. 330-375).
Until the 1200's, the area was ruled by a succession of dynasties, including the Salastamba, the Brahmapala, and the Bhuyan. The Ahoms, a Thai-Buddhist tribe from the southeast, arrived in the area in the early 1200'5. They deposed the ruler of the time and established a kingdom with its capital in Sibsagar. By 1353, the Moms controlled a major part of the area, which they renamed Assam. The Ahoms adopted the language and Hindu religion of the conquered people and ruled Assam for about 500 years
Internal dissension led to the fall of the Ahom kingdom. In 17711 the British East India Company gave military assistance to the Ahom ruler to quell a revolt. In return, the Company received commercial privileges.
The Ahom Dynasty gradually decayed until a Burmese invasion in 18171 which lasted five years killing one in every three people finishing it off. The British threw out the Burmese and Assam became a part of British India in 1826.
When India and Pakistan became independent in 19471 Assam was divided between the two countries, most of Assam going to India. The old enmities between hill and plain, Hindu and Muslim, tribal and Non-tribal rose and Assam progressively separated into seven northeastern states of today.