According to Hindu mythological scriptures, Sialkot is believed to be founded by Raja Sul. At that time Sialkot was named as Sakala or Sagala. According to the Greek historical point of view, when the city was known as Sagala, the city was one of the most productive Silk regions of the Achaemenid Empire. Punjab had earned a reputation of being one of the richest provinces, beside Gandhara, of the Persian Empire. Sagala was one of the capitals, of the Indo-Greek Kingdom. The Indo-Greek king, Menander, ruled in Sialkot during the 2nd century. It is a popular belief that the city was re-founded by Raja Salivahan when it became a part of Kashmir under the kingdom of Raja Sama Dutt. Raja Salivahan built a fort known as Sialkot Fort and gave the place its present name. He was of Sia caste (a Jat clan of Scythian origins), and it is believed that the word "Sialkot" means the 'Fort of the Sia’.
Sialkot became a part of the Muslim Sultanate of Delhi when the Afghan noble Sultan Shahab-ud-Din Ghauri conquered Punjab in 1185. Sialkot then became a part of the Muslim Mughal Empire which was of Central Asian origin. At the end of the Mughal dynasty Sialkot was appropriated by a powerful family of Pashtuns from Multan, Afghanistan and Swat, the Kakazai, and another family from Quetta. In 1748, the four districts of Gujrat, Sialkot, Pasrur and Daska were given to the Afghan Pashtun ruler, Ahmed Shah Durrani, and the area was amalgamated into the Afghan empire. Afterwards, the city was held strongly by a Pashtun clan till the occupation of the Sikhs who ruled for a period of about 40 years followed by the British. Sialkot was annexed by the British after the Second Anglo-Sikh War in 1849.
The British laid the foundation of the Sialkot cantonment in 1849 which was completed in 1852. Murray College, Sialkot was established in 1889. Its alumni include Dr Muhammad Iqbal and Faiz Ahmad Faiz.
-Murray College Sialkot
Sialkot-Narowal railway line was opened in 1915.
The city played an important role during the Pakistan Movement. The national poet of Pakistan, who spearheaded the movement for an independent country, Dr. Muhammad Iqbal was born in Sialkot in 1877. In May 1944, the historic Sialkot Convention was held here. This convention is widely regarded as the landmark event which catapulted the All India Muslim League into prominence in the British-Indian Punjab. Battle of Chawinda was the biggest tank battle since the Battle of Kursk in World War II.
After the independence of Pakistan from the British Empire in 1947, thousands of Muslims escaped from anti-Muslim riots in India and settled in Pakistan. Muslims from Pathankot and Gurdaspur and from other parts of East Punjab came to Sialkot as refugees and settled here. Ever since, Sialkot has gradually become one of the major industrial centers of Pakistan and is well-known for its manufacture and export of surgical instruments, musical instruments, sports goods, leather goods, textile products and other light manufactures. During the Second Kashmir War in 1965, the Lahore-Sialkot region was attacked by the Indian Army which, despite numerical superiority managed only to capture some outlying areas in the sector. The people of Sialkot came out in full force to support the troops of the Pakistan Army to repel the invasion by India. In fact, the armored battles in the Sialkot sector in 1965 were the most intense since the Second World War. In 1966, the Government of Pakistan awarded the Hilal-i-Istaqlal to the citizens of Sialkot, Lahore and Sargodha for their courage and bravery during the 1965 war between Pakistan and India. Again, during the Indo-Pak War of 1971, the region witnessed bitter battles, most importantly, the Battle of Basantar in the Sialkot-Shakar Garh area. The major Indian counter-offensive came in this area where, two large Pakistani tank regiments,...