The Ahoms, the descendants of the Shan dynasty (of China), inhabited the Assam valley during medieval times. The Ahoms, together with the Shans of Burma and Eastern China and the Siamese, were members of the Tai race. The state of Assam is believed to derive its name from this dynasty. King Sukapha of this dynasty invaded Assam from the east in 1228. The successors of Sukapha ruled the region for a century and a half. They gradually extended their power westward, down the valley of the
Brahmaputra. During the reign of the Mughal emperor
Aurangzeb, the Ahom kings ruled the entire Brahmaputra valley. The dynasty attained the height of its power under King Rudra Singh, who is said to have ascended the throne in 1695.
The following century saw the decline in the power of the Ahoms, because of internal rivalries and the pressure of outside invaders.