||It has been suggested that Rana (title) be merged into this article or section. (Discuss) Proposed since April 2009.|
Raja (also spelled rajah, from Sanskrit राज rāja- and Urdu: راج, nominative rājā) is an Indian term for a monarch, or princely ruler of the Kshatriya varna. The female form, the word for “queen”, mainly used for a raja’s wife, is rani (sometimes spelled ranee), from Sanskrit राज्ञी rājñī, or ratu, dato, datuk, or datu in Southeast Asia. The title has a long history in the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia, being attested from the Rigveda, where a rājan- is a ruler, see for example the (dāśarājñá), the “battle of ten kings”.
Sanskrit rājan- is cognate to Latin rēx (genitive rēgis), Gaulish rīx, Gaelic rí (genitive ríg), etc., originally denoting heads of petty kingdoms and city states. It is ultimately derived from a PIE *h3rēǵs, a vrddhi formation to the root *h3reǵ- “to straighten, to order, to rule”. The Sanskrit n-stem is secondary in the male title, apparently adapted from the female counterpart rājñī which also has an -n- suffix in related languages, compare Old Irish rígain and Latin regina. Cognates of the word Raja in other Indo-European languages include English reign and German reich.
Raja, the lower title Thakore and many variations, compounds and derivations including either of these were used in and around South Asia by most Hindu, Muslim and some Buddhist and Sikh rulers, while Muslims also used Nawab or Sultan, and still is commonly used in India. In Pakistan, Raja is still used by many Jats and Muslim Rajput clans as hereditary titles. Raja is also used as a given name by Hindus and Sikhs. The lands ruled by a raja is called a Rajahanate.
 Rajas in the Malay world
Costume of a family belonging to Principalía during the 19th century. Picture taken from the exhibit in Villa Escudero Museum in San Pablo Laguna, Philippines.
- In the Indonesian language, the word raja means “king”. Many of the leaders of local tribes and old kingdoms had that title before Indonesia became an independent nation. Various traditional princely states in Indonesia still style their ruler Raja, or did so until their abolition after which the title became hollow, e.g., Buleleng on Bali.
- The ruler of the state of Perlis, Malaysia, is titled the Raja of Perlis. Most of the other state rulers are titled sultans. Nevertheless, the raja has an equal status with the other rulers and is one of the electors who designate one of their number as the Yang di-Pertuan Agong every five years.
- In the Philippines, Italian historian Antonio Pigafetta relates in his document of the first circumnavigation that when the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan reached on March 28, 1521, the island-port of Mazaua in Mindanao he was met by Raia Siaiu, the King of Mazaua and Raia Calambu, the King of Butuan. Magellan entered into the first recorded blood compact (cassi cassi was the Malayan term Magellan used) with Raia Siaiu. When the Spanish fleet, led by Miguel López de Legazpi, arrived in Manila, they were met by the King of Manila, Rajah Sulaiman III. In the south of the country, various subdivisional princes among the Moro peoplesare still given the titles Rajah or Maharajah.
- All of the major kingdoms in the Philippines (which inclueded the Kingdoms and Principalities in Luzon Visayas and some parts of Mindanao, excluding the Sultanate of Maguindanao) were annexed by the Spanish Empire in the 16th century.
- Upon the Christianization of most parts of the Philippine Archipelago, the Rajas and Datus (king) of the pre-Hispanic kingdoms and principalities retained their right to govern their territory under the Spanish Empire. King Philip II of Spain, in a law signed June 11, 1594, commanded the Spanish colonial officials in the Archipelago that these native royalties and nobilities be given the same respect, and privileges that they had enjoyed before their conversion. Later, the Filipino royals and nobles formed part of the exclusive, and elite ruling class, called the Principalía (Noble Class) of the Philippines.
 See also
- ^ “It is not right that the Indian chiefs of Filipinas be in a worse condition after conversion; rather they should have such treatment that would gain their affection and keep them loyal, so that with the spiritual blessings that God has communicated to them by calling them to His true knowledge, the temporal blessings may be added and they may live contentedly and comfortably. Therefore, we order the governors of those islands to show them good treatment and entrust them, in our name, with the government of the Indians, of whom they were formerly lords. In all else the governors shall see that the chiefs are benefited justly, and the Indians shall pay them something as a recognition, as they did during the period of their paganism, provided it be without prejudice to the tributes that are to be paid us, or prejudicial to that which pertains to their encomenderos.” Felipe II, Ley de Junio 11, 1594 in Recapilación de leyes, lib. vi, tit. VII, ley xvi. Also cf. Emma Helen Blair and James Alexander Robertson, The Philippine Islands (1493-1898), Cleveland: The A.H. Clark Company, 1903, Vol. XVI, pp. 155-156.The original text in Spanish (Recapilación de leyes) says: No es justo, que los Indios Principales de Filipinas sean de peor condición, después de haberse convertido, ántes de les debe hacer tratamiento, que los aficione, y mantenga en felicidad, para que con los bienes espirituales, que Dios les ha comunicado llamándolos a su verdadero conocimiento, se junten los temporales, y vivan con gusto y conveniencia. Por lo qua mandamos a los Gobernadores de aquellas Islas, que les hagan buen tratamiento, y encomienden en nuestro nombre el gobierno de los Indios, de que eran Señores, y en todo lo demás procuren, que justamente se aprovechen haciéndoles los Indios algún reconocimiento en la forma que corría el tiempo de su Gentilidad, con que esto sin perjuicio de los tributos, que á Nos han de pagar, ni de lo que á sus Encomenderos. Juan de Ariztia, ed., Recapilación de leyes, Madrid (1723), lib. vi, tit. VII, ley xvi. This reference can be found at the library of the Estudio Teologico Agustiniano de Valladolid in Spain.
- Indian Princely States, the most comprehensive, specialised site on (princely) (e)states in British India
- Royal Ark – India (more elaborate, on a smaller number of dynasties)
- WorldStatesmen- Indian princely states, here K-Z
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