1. If Kohinoor was a person it would see rise and fall of empires through thousands of years of history. Kohinoor which in Farsi or Persian language means ‘Mountain of Light’, is one of the oldest and biggest diamonds in the history of the world. The ownership and possession of this diamond reflects the rising and falling of powers and Empires in history. The diamond is mentioned in Sanskrit script in Syamantaka in Central Asia, and it dates back to about five thousand years. The first recorded mention of it is in 1304 AD, in the Christian Calendar, when Raja of Malwa, who was a Hindu king, mentioned it. At that time it belonged to the Muslim Emperor of India Allaudin Khilji, who ruled much of India from Delhi at that time. In 1339 the diamond was taken back to Samarkand where it stayed for 300 years. It was mentioned again in 1526 in Baburnama which was the autobiography of Mogul ruler of India, Babar. During the period of Muslim rule of India from about 12th Century, Nadir Shah who was the ruler of Iran, conquered India and took Kohinoor to Persia, now called Iran, as a prize for winning the war against India. When he was assassinated in 1747 his general, Ahmad Shah Durrani, took control of the diamond. His descendant, Shah Shuja Durrani, brought it back to India. It was in eighteen fifties that Britain began to consolidate its overseas Empire and when East India Company, as a private enterprise using Indian soldiers commanded by the British, defeated the Sikh Empire of Punjab in 1849, and Queen Victoria assumed control of the conquered territories of India. The Prince of Punjab was required to present the diamond to Queen Victoria in 1850. Queen Victoria had the diamond reshaped in 1852 by a Dutch jeweler, Mr. Cantor, who cut the diamond down much further from it former size to 108.92 carats. She decreed that it should be worn only by a female head of British State. The present Queen Elizabeth of England wore it in 1953 at her coronation at Westminster Abbey. Queen Elizabeth II oversaw much of the dismantling of the Empire with independence of most of the colonies in the Nineteen Fifties and Sixties. The diamond has been passed on only by conquest. It has never been sold and its estimated value is about 12 billion dollars or more. The glittering diamond, now a part of the British Crown lies in the Tower of London for display. India lays claim to the diamond.


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