PESHAWUR, a province in the extreme N.11". of British India, which takes its name from tho town of Peshawur. The district lies between lat. 33° 43' and 34° 31' N., and long. 25' and 72° 47' E.; has an area of 1928 square miles, and a population in 1868 of 523,152. Its British military cantonment is in 1st. 34° 0' 15' N., and long. 71° 34' 45" E. The town of Peshawur has about 60,000 inhabitants. It is bounded on the north by the ranges which link the Safed Koh to the Hindu Kush, on the west and south by con tinuations of the same mountains, on the south east by the Indus, and on the north-east by the hills of Buner and Swat. Peshawur, down to the time of Akbar, bore its old name of Parashara, under which form it is mentioned by Abul Fazl and Baber, and still earlier by Abu Rihan and the Arab geographers of the tenth century.
Six centuries before Christ, the tribes of Peshawur repulsed an army sent from Persia to collect tribute, which the princes of Hindustan formerly paid, but which had been withheld by Sinkol, then ruler of the country. In the fifth century B.C., they prevented a Rajput sovereign from establishing himself on the Indus. He was named Keda Raja, contemporary with Hystaspes, father of Darius. Subsequently. they opposed Alexander in his advance against Porus. One of the rock edicts of Asoka is in the vicinity of Shergarh in Yusufzai. About B.G. 165, Pashpa mitra persecuted the Buddhists, and the Greeks reappeared on the Indus, under Menander, king of Bactria. His successor, Eucratides, n.c. 145, annexed to his kingdom the Kabul and Peshawur valleys, with a part of the Panjab and Sind, B.c. 80. Khorasan, Afghanistan, Sind, and the Panjab were united under a ruler of the Saka or Sacd Scythians. Other Saka tribes and princes followed ; but Indian princes of Lahore and Dehli recon quered their Trans-Indus territories of Kabul, Peshawur, etc., which they retained till about the seventh century of the Christian era. In 978 A.D., Jaipal, raja of Lahore, advanced from Peshawur to attack Sabaktagin, governor of Khorasan, under the titular sway of the Samani princes. Jaipal was utterly defeated, and Sabak tagin took possession of Peehawur, which he garrisoned with 10,000 horse.
Peshawur proper is divided into two por tions, one lying on the right bank of the Kabul river, and adjoining the Khatak and Afridi hills, which run down to a point at Attock ; the other a triangular-shaped tract, of which the two sides are marked out by the Kabul river and one of its tributaries, the Bara, and the base by the Khaibar hills. This is the
most highly cultivated spot in the whole valley ; in the centre of it stands the city. Its climate is very hot in summer, the thermometer frequently reaching or 112° in the shade. The heat is, however, occasionally mitigated by the breeze from the neighbouring mountains, and as the country, naturally fertile, is well watered by the Indus, the Kabul river, the Bara, and some other streams of less importance, and is, moreover, well cultivated, it is amazingly productive. Scented rice, grown on the banks of the Bara river, is exported, and commands a high price. The district yields iron ore, gold dust, antimony, talc, lignite, and rock salt. Its present name was given to it by the emperor Akbar, modifying its ancient designation of Parashara. Its position has exposed it to invasions from the west, and it is now enclosed on the north and west by hill tribes of Pathan or Afghan descent, professing Muhammadanism, with democratic institutions, and partly nomade habits, and pressed for land. The Peshawur population also is mostly Muhammadan (481,447), with 27,408 Hindus, 2014 Sikhs ; Gujar, 10,384 ; Brahmans, 2185 ; Kshatriya, 6398 ; Bania, 3444 ; Arora, 11,957 ; Mughal, 21,428 ; Kashmiri, 12,238. The principal clan of the Pathans is the Yusufzai (82,170), who retain all the individual freedom, patriarchal institutions, and jealousy of personal aggrandizement, which are the original characteristics of the Afghan mountaineers. As soldiers they are not inferior to any of the in dependent tribes. They are the most martial of all the British subjects on the frontier, and the history of many generations attests their military exploits. Participators in every war that has convulsed the Peshawur valley, and always the recusant subjects of the Sikhs, they literally turned their swords into ploughshares, and became right good lieges of the British.—Lt.-Col. MacGregor, High Asia, ii. 548-590 ; Aitcheson's Treaties ; Gdz. ; Prinsep by Thomas ; Records, Govt. qf India. See Panjab.