The lush green and historic Swat Valley lies between 34°-40′ to 35° N latitude and 72′ to 74°-6′ E longitude and is part of the Provincially Administrated Tribal Area (PATA) of the North-West Frontier Province of Pakistan. The valley is an integral part of the strategic and significant region where three parts of the Asian continent–South Asia, Central Asia and China, meet.
The names found in ancient sources for Swat are Udyana and Suvastu because of the scenic beauty of the valley and the name of the river respectively.The historical and cultural remains of the area provide evidence about human activities covering a large span of time.
Alexander the Great came here in 327 BC en route India and conquered Bazira and Ora. At his departure the inhabitants of the area threw off Greek yoke, and enjoyed either independent or semi-independent status subsequently. In the meantime Buddhism penetrated here and Swat became center of Buddhist/Gandhara civilization. The Turki Shahis incorporated Swat in their kingdom but at the decline of their power it remained exposed to Hindu Shahis’ influence.
In early tenth century CE/AD, the Muslims occupied Swat. Consequently, Afghans from different tribes, commonly called Swati Pukhtun, came and settled here. They remained independent of the neighboring powers.
The Yusufzais conquered Swat in the first quarter of the sixteenth century and emerged and remained dominant segment. Instead of forming a government they lived in the tribal fashion, divided into two dalas (factions) headed by their own tribal chiefs called Khans and Malaks. The Swat Yusufzai enjoyed freedom and neither had paid taxes to Delhi or Kabul not yielded obedience to any foreign law or administrative system. They fought Akbar's mighty arms for years and incurred great losses over them.
The people of Swat not only fought the British in the historic battle of Ambela in 1863 but frequently raided British controlled territories and provided asylum to anti-British elements. When British forces were sent against Umara Khan of Jandol to relieve their garrison in Chitral in 1895 the Swatis commanded all the three main passes leading to Swat: Morah, Shahkot and Malakand. In spite of tough resistance, the British, however, succeeded in making their way by a stratagem. They established garrisons at Malakand and Chakdara and created the Agency of Dir and Swat, commonly called Malakand Agency, in 1895 for protecting their strategic interests. Political Officer later Political Agent was posted in Malakand for dealing and communicating through him with the local states (Dir, Chitral and later Swat as well) and the tribes. The rulers and tribal chiefs in the Agency were paid subsidies for pro-British services and role. The Swatis, however, rose en mass in 1897 to oust the British from Malakand and Chakdara under the leadership of Sartor Faqir, but in vain.
The left-bank lower valley was brought under loose British control and protectorate in 1895, but the rest of the left-bank valley continued to enjoy independent status till the emergence of Swat State. The right-bank valley was, however, already made part of Dir State during the years 1879–1881 and hence remained part of Dir State since then but with the interval for the years 1907–1911. The Shamizai, Sebujni and Nikpi Khel sections, however, made common-cause and put an end to Dir’s authority over the area, in March 1915. They constituted five-member council to look after the affairs of their area and finally brought Abdul Jabber Shah from Sithana and installed him as king of Swat, 24 April 1915.
Abdul Jabbar Shah remained in power for more than two years, but on 2 September 1917 the jarga broke relations with him and asked him to go back. On his departure the jarga installed Miangul Abdul Wadud as the next king. He ruled till 1949 and extended and consolidated the state. He abdicated in favor of his son Miangul Abdul Haq Jahanzeb on 12 December 1949, with which Jahanzeb became the next ruler and ruled till the merger of the state in 1969.
During Abdul Wadud and Jahanzeb’s reign Swati territories forming part of Swat State enjoyed an amazing peace and development in the fields of education, health and communication.