is a hilly strip in the eastern part of the country about 300 km long
(east-west) and 100 km wide, with a total area of about 22,429 kmē.
The population numbered 2,175,000 in 2000. The state is bounded on the
north by Assam and by Bangladesh on the south. The capital is
Shillong, which has a population of 260,000.
About one third of the state is forested. The Meghalaya subtropical
forests ecoregion encompasses the state; its montane forests are
distinct from the lowland tropical forests to the north and south. The
forests of Meghalaya are notable for their biodiversity of mammals,
birds, and plants.
Meghalaya was formed by carving out the two districts of the state of
Assam: the United Khasi and Jaintia Hills, and the Garo Hills on 21
January 1972. Prior to attaining full statehood, Meghalaya was given a
semi-autonomous status in 1970.
The Khasi, Garo, and Jaintia tribes each had their own kingdoms, until
they came under the British administration in the 19th century. Later,
the British incorporated Meghalaya into Assam in 1835. The region
enjoyed semi-independent status by virtue of a treaty relationship
with the British Crown.
When Bengal was partitioned on 16 October, 1905 by Lord Curzon,
Meghalaya became a part of the new province of 'Eastern Bengal and
Assam'. However, when the partition was reversed in 1912, Meghalaya
became a part of the province of Assam. At the time of Independence of
the country in 1947, the present day Meghalaya constituted two
districts of Assam and enjoyed limited autonomy within the state of
On 3 January, 1921 in pursuance of Section 52A of the Government of
India Act of 1919, the Governor-General-in-Council declared the areas
now in Meghalaya, other than the Khasi States, as "backward tracts".
Subsequently however, the Government of India Act of 1935 regrouped
the backward tracts into two categories, namely, "excluded" and
"partially excluded" areas in place of backward tracts.
At the time of Independence of the country in 1947, the present day
Meghalaya constituted two districts of Assam and enjoyed limited
autonomy within the state of Assam.
The Assam Reorganization (Meghalaya) Act, 1969 accorded an autonomous
status on the state of Meghalaya. The Act came into effect on April
2nd 1970, and an Autonomous State of Meghalaya was created within the
State of Assam. The Autonomous state had a Legislature in accordance
with the Sixth schedule to the Constitution. The Legislature had 37
In 1971, the Parliament passed the North-Eastern Areas
(Reorganization) Act, 1971, which conferred full statehood on the
Autonomous State of Meghalaya. Meghalaya attained statehood on 21
January 1972, with a Legislative Assembly of its own.