MULTAN, or MOOLTAN, a city, district and division of British India, in the Punjab. The city is 4 m. from the left bank of the Chenab, near the ancient confluence of the Ravi with that river. It has a station on the North-Western railway. Pop. (1901), 87,394. The city is enclosed on three sides by a wall, but open towards the south, where the dry bed of the old Ravi intervenes between the houses and citadel. Large and irregular suburbs have grown up outside the wall since the annexation in 1849. Within the city proper, narrow and tortuous streets, often ending in culs de sac, fill almost the whole space; but one broad bazaar runs from end to end. The principal buildings include the shrines of two Mahommedan saints and the remains of an ancient Hindu temple. The cantonments form the headquarters of a brigade in the 3rd division of the northern army. Multan has manufactures of carpets, silk and cotton goods, shoes, glazed pottery and enamel work, and an annual horse fair. It is moreover one of the most important trade-centres in the Punjab. It is a station of the Church Missionary Society.
The DISTRICT OF MULTAN occupies the lower angle of the Bari Doab, or tract between the Sutlej and the Chenab, with an extension across the Ravi. Area, 6107 sq. m. The population in 1901 was 710,626, showing an increase of 11-7% in the preceding decade, due to the extension of irrigation. The principal crops are wheat, millets, pulse, oil-seeds, cotton and indigo. There are factories for ginning and pressing cotton. Indigo is made only by native processes. Irrigation is largely conducted by inundation channels from the boundary rivers, but the centre of the district is barren. The district is traversed by the main line of the North-Western railway from Lahore, 2 " Considerable diversion was created in the city to-day JMay I, 1840] by the appearance of the new penny-post devices for envelopes, half-sheet letters, and bits of sticking-plaster for dabbing on to letters. . . . [The elephants on the Mulready cover] are symbolic of the lightness and rapidity with which Mr Rowland Hill's penny-post is to be carried on. ... Withal the citizens are rude enough to believe that these graphic embellishments will not go down at the price of is. 3d. per dozen for the envelopes, . . . and of is. id. per dozen for the . . sticking-plaster." This banter is from the money article of an eminent daily paper.
which crosses the Sutlej by the Empress Bridge opposite Bahawalpur. It is also entered by the branch from Lyallpur to Khanewal junction, crossing the Ravi.
The early Arab geographers mention Multan as forming part of the kingdom of Sind, which was conquered for the caliphate by Mahommed bin Kasim in the middle of the 8th century. On the dismemberment of the Mogul Empire in the middle of the 18th century, Multan fell to the Afghans, who held it with difficulty against the Sikhs. At length, in 1818, Ranjit Singh after a long siege carried the capital by storm; and in 1821 he made over the administration of Multan with five neighbouring districts to Sawan Mai, who raised the province to a state of prosperity by excavating canals and inducing new inhabitants to settle. After the establishment of the council of regency of Lahore, difficulties arose between Mulraj, son and successor of Sawan Mai, and the British officials, which led to his rebellion, and culminated in the second war and the annexation of the whole of the Punjab. The city of Multan, after a stubborn defence, was carried by storm in January 1849. The district at once passed under direct British rule, and order was not disturbed even during the Mutiny.
The DIVISION OF MULTAN is the south-western division of the Punjab. It was abolished in 1884, but reconstituted in 1901. Its area is 29,516 sq. m. and its population in 1901 was 3,014,675. It includes the six districts of Mianwali, Jhang, Lyallpur, Multan, Muzaffargarh, and Dera Ghazi Khan.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)