a region of SW central Asia: from the 16th century ruled by the Moguls, Afghans, Sikhs, and British successively; since 1947 disputed between India, Pakistan, and China; 84 000 sq km (33 000 sq miles) in the northwest are held by Pakistan and in part known as Azad Kashmir (Free Kashmir), part as the Northern Areas; an area of 42 735 sq km (16 496 sq miles) in the east (the Aksai Chin) is held by China; the remainder was in 1956 officially incorporated into India as the state of Jammu and Kashmir; traversed by the Himalaya and Karakoram mountain ranges and the Rivers Jhelum and Indus; a fruit-growing and cattle-grazing region, with a woollen industry. Capitals: (Jammu and Kashmir) Srinagar (summer), Jammu (winter); (Azad Kashmir) Muzaffarabad; (Northern Areas) Gilgit
from Sanskrit Kashypamara "land of Kashyap," said to be the name of a renowned sage. Related: Kashmiri.
1680s, "shawl made of cashmere wool," from the old spelling of Kashmir, Himalayan kingdom where wool was obtained from long-haired goats. As a name for this kind of woolen fabric, favored for shawls, etc., it is attested from 1822.
A state of India, in its extreme north. When mainly Hindu India became independent of Great Britain in 1947, many of its predominantly Muslim areas split off as Pakistan. Kashmir, a mainly Muslim area, remained part of India, which led to persistent conflicts between India and Pakistan.