Gilgit-Baltistan is a non-self-governing territory under Pakistani control and was formerly known as the Northern Areas. It is the northernmost political entity within the Pakistani-controlled part of the former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir. It borders Pakistan's Khyber Pukhtunkhwa province to the west, Afghanistan's Wakhan Corridor to the north, China to the northeast, the Pakistani-administered state of Azad Jammu & Kashmir (AJK) to the south, and the Indian-administered state of Jammu and Kashmir to the southeast. The territory became a single administrative unit in 1970 under the name "Northern Areas" and was formed by the amalgamation of the Gilgit Agency, the Baltistan District of the Ladakh Wazarat, and the states of Hunza and Nagar. With its administrative center at the town of Gilgit, Gilgit-Baltistan covers an area of 72,971 km² (28,174 mi²) and has an estimated population approaching 1,000,000. Pakistan considers the territory separate from Kashmir, whereas India and the European Union consider the territory as a part of the larger disputed territory of Kashmir that has been in dispute between India and Pakistan since 1947.
The isolation associated with the Karakoram Mountains ensured that Gilgit-Baltistan, traditionally known as Bolor, developed and preserved its unique history, cultural values and traditional political identity. Over the centuries, the region of Gilgit-Baltistan came under the control of the Durrani Empire of Afghanistan and experienced four centuries of Muslim rule under the Mughals (until 1751) and the Afghan Durranis, who ruled until 1820. Between 1832 and 1860, the region of Gilgit-Baltistan was conquered by the Sikhs and the Dogras who administered the region as part of the ‘Princely State of Kashmir and Jammu’ under the tutelage of the British Crown. Between 1935 and 1947 the territory of Gilgit-Baltistan was given to the British on lease in order to enable them to keep watch on the... [continues]
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