The history of Uttarakhand goes down to the stone age. The are evidences of the people living in the Stone Age in the state of Uttarakhand in India.
Uttarakhand was visited by pilgrims, scholars, hermits and great emperors, such as the Kushanas, Kudinas, Kanishka, Samudragupta, Katuria, Palas, Chandras and Pawaras for its heavenly natural beauty and its mention in almost all the great vedas and purans and relationship with the great legendary epics of Mahabharata and Ramayana.
Paintings on the rocks of the stone age period have been found in Lakhu Udyar Almora, Kimni village and Gyarkhya gufa in Chamoli districts. The paintings unearthed belong to the Mesolithic period.
Some of Archaeological finding unearthed in the Malari village of Chamoli Uttarakhand support the existence of early Vedic (1500 bc) practices in the area.
The Stone Age at Uttarakhand are also depicted by the inscriptions in the Gupta Brahmi and Sankha scripts. Palaeolithic stone tools (hundreds of thousands of years old), and megaliths indicate that the mountains of the region have been inhabited by humans since prehistoric times.
In the Puranic period, the mid Himalayan region of Garhwal and Kumaon used to be known by the name Kedarkhand and Manaskhand. The various depictions in the literatures of the Puranic period in Uttarakhand are all centred around the mighty river Ganga.
Early scriptures mention a number of tribes that inhabited the Garhwal and Kumaun regions such as the Akas, Kol-Munds, Nagas, Paharis (Khasas), Hephthalites (Hunas), Kiratas, Gujjars, and Aryans.
Garhwal once a part of the Mauryan Empire was unified in the 15th century, by king Ajai Pal who merged the 52 principalities of the Garhwal region. Garhwal remained consolidated for about 915 years. Srinagar was then the capital of consolidated Garhwal.
At the start of the 18th Century Garhwal is faced with famine and is devastated by earthquakes. The people are faced with widespread agony and hunger.
Taking advantage of this situation the Gurkhas attack Gadhwal. The gadhwali's are defeated by the Gurkhas. There is wide spread loot and agony during this period. The Gurkhas rule Garhwal from 1804-1815 with an iron hand.
The Britishers come to war against the Gurkhas in the year 1814. The bloody Gurkha rule comes to an end.
Some part of the territories of Pauri then known as British Garhwal and Dehradun go to BritishIndia. The two region were given to the Britishers in return of their help during the Gurkha invasion in the 19th century.
Tehri Garhwal is formed. Tehri now became the new capital of the State.
The Britishers too ruled over Uttarakhand with an iron hand. The unfair and unpopular labour practices of Coolie and UtarBegar are forced upon the people of Garhwal.
The prestigious Garhwal Rifles is formed under the British. The Garhwal Rifles fight valiantly against the Germans in France and thus earning two Victoria Crosses for their bravery.
Garhwal Battalion join the INA (Indian National Army) and fight bravely against the Britisher.
The Quit India Movement reaches Uttarakhand and the people of Uttarakhand now actively participate in the movement. Congress activists and a peasant movement force the King of Tehri Garhwal to abdicate the throne in favour of unification with the rest of India. Tehri-Garhwal and rest of Uttarakhand is integrated into a newly independent India as a district of Uttar Pradesh.
P.C. Joshi of the Communist Party of India advocates separates statehood for the U.P. hill districts.
On independence state of Tehri Garhwal was merged along with the other small princely states and the state of Uttar Pradesh was formed. Due to distant governance and plain politics the hill state was completely neglected in terms of economic and social Leaders like P.C Joshi and others, started to push for the separate state.
The state was given third hand treatment by the then government and there was a complete lack of relief and rehabilitation during the earthquake (in the Tehri area in 1993).
The government extended caste based reservation onto the hills. The popular Chipko Movement was successfully initiated by the common people living in the hills to save the forests and other natural resources there. The building of Tehri Dam was seen as as a serious ecological damage to the hills and was resisted by the people.
The demand for a separate state was now ripe in the air which burst heavily on the UP government when peaceful protesters were abused in Muzaffarnagar in 1994 by the Uttar Pardesh state police. The agitation now spread like wild fire and finally in August, the new government of India announced a separate statehood for Uttarakhand.
The initial name for the state was Uttarakhand which was renamed to Uttaranchal which was finally changed to Uttarakhand again in 2006.*Ref Wiki Pages and book history of Uttarakhand