Runjeet Singh, called the "Lion of the Punjab," founder of the Sikh kingdom; born in Gugaranwalla, India, Nov. 2, 1780. His father, a Sikh chieftain, died in 1792, and the government fell into the hands of his mother. At the age of 17, however, Runjeet rebelled against his mother's authority, assumed the reins himself, and began a career of ambition. The Shah of Afghanistan granted him possession of Lahore, which had been taken from the Sikhs, and Runjeet soon subdued the small Sikh states to the N. of the Sutlej. He organized his army after the European model with the help of French and English officers, and steadily extended his powers, assuming the title of rajah in 1812. He gradually increased his territory until he was ruler of the entire Punjab, and in 1819 had already assumed the title of Maharajah, or king of kings. In 1836 he suffered a heavy defeat from the Afghans, but until his death he retained his power over 20,000,000 subjects. He died in Lahore, June 27, 1839.

Entry from Everybody's Cyclopedia, 1912.