The Sahiwal District has been settled from the pre-historical era. Harappa is an archaeological site, about 35 km (22 mi) west of Sahiwal, that was built approximately 2600 BCE. The area was part of South Asian empires and in crossroads of migrations and invasions from Central Asia. The pastoral tribes of this barren expanse did not appear to have paid more than a nominal allegiance to the Muslim rulers, the population for the most part remained in a chronic state of rebellion. Sahiwal is located close to Pakpattan, a famous medieval town and Muslim Sufi pilgrimage site. The Pakpattan owes its sanctity and modern name, 'the holy ferry', to the shrine of the great Muslim Sufi Fariduddin Ganjshakar Shaikh-ul-Islam, Farid-ul-Hakkwa-ud-Din, Shakar Ganj (1173–1265) which was visited by old great traveller and historian Ibn Batuta in 1334. The native population converted to Islam by Sufi missionaries. After the decline of the Mughal Empire, the Sikh took control of Sahiwal. The inhabitants were treated benevolently during Sikh rule. The district came under direct British rule in 1849, when the district was officially formed with its headquarters at Pakpattan.
The district was expanded to include the trans-Ravi portion in 1852, and the district headquarters were moved to Gogera. In 1865, when the railway was opened, a village on the railway, was named Montgomery and became the capital of the district.
During the Indian Rebellion of 1857, there was a general uprising of the Muslim population of Sahiwal, the District formed the scene of the only uprising which took place north of the Sutlej. Before the end of May 1857, emissaries from Delhi crossed the river from Sirsa and Hisar, where open rebellion was already ripe, and met with a ready reception from the Kharals and various other Muslim tribes. The District authorities, however, kept down the threatened uprising till August 26, 1857 when the prisoners in jail made a desperate attempt to break loose. At the same time Ahmad Khan, a famous Kharal leader, who had been detained at Gogera, broke his arrest, and, though apprehended, was released on security, together with several other suspected chieftains. On September 16 they fled to their homes, and the whole country rose in open rebellion. Kot Kamalia was sacked; and Major Chamberlain, moving up with a small force from Multan, was besieged for some days at Chichawatni on the Ravi. The situation at the civil station remained critical till Colonel Paton arrived with substantial reinforcements from Lahore. An attack which took place immediately after their arrival was repulsed. Several minor actions followed in the open field, until finally the rebels, driven from the plain into the jungles of the interior, were utterly defeated and dispersed. The British troops then inflicted severe punishment on the insurgent clans, destroying their villages, and seizing large numbers of herds.
The predominantly Muslim population supported Muslim League and Pakistan Movement. After the partition of India in 1947, the minority Hindus and Sikhs migrated to India while the Muslim refugees from India settled in the Sahiwal district.
Part or or all of this text stems from the original article at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sahiwal