After the decline of Kalyani Chalukyas at the beginning of the 12th century, Prola II (1110-1158 CE) declared himself independent from the Chalukyas and established the Kakatiya dynasty. Prola used the title of Reddi in his inscriptions.The first of the Reddy clans came into prominence during this period. The Reddy chiefs were appointed as generals and soldiers under the Kakatiyas. Reddys were among the feudatories of Kakatiya ruler Pratapa Rudra. During this time, the Reddys carved out feudal principalities for themselves. Prominent among them were the Munagala Reddy chiefs. Two inscriptions found in the Zamindari of Munagala at Tadavayi, two miles west of Munagala - one dated 1300 CE, and the other dated 1306 CE show that the Munagala Reddy chiefs were feudatories to the Kakatiya dynasty. The inscriptions proclaim Annaya Reddy of Munagala as a chieftain of Kakatiya ruler Pratapa Rudra.
The Reddy feudatories fought against invading muslim sultans and defended the region from coming under muslim rule. Eventually, the muslim army of the Delhi Sultanate invaded Warangal and captured Pratapa Rudra. After the death of Pratapa Rudra in 1323 CE and the subsequent fall of the Kakatiya empire, the Reddy chiefs became independent. Prolaya Vema Reddy proclaimed independence and established the Reddy kingdom in Addanki.
The Reddy dynasty (1325 - 1448 CE) ruled coastal and central Andhra for over a hundred years. The Reddy chieftains who were feudatories to the Kakatiya dynasty became independent after the death of Kakatiya ruler Pratapa Rudra in 1323 CE and the subsequent fall of the Kakatiya empire. ProlayaVema Reddy proclaimed independence and established the Reddy kingdom in Addanki. The Reddy dynasty that first rose to power came from the Pantakula or the Panta Vamsa Reddys. Prolaya Vema Reddy was the first king of the Reddy dynasty. Prolaya Vema Reddy was part of a coalition of Telugu rulers who overthrew the invading muslim armies and then established independent kingdoms of their own.The capital of the Reddy kingdom was Addanki which was moved to Kondavidu and subsequently to Rajahmundry.His reign was characterized by restoration of peace, patronage of arts and literature, and all round development. Errana, the translator of Ramayana, lived during this period.
Extent of rule
They ruled coastal and central Andhra for over a hundred years from 1325 to 1448 CE. At its maximum extent, the Reddy kingdom stretched from Simhachalam to the north, Kanchi to the south and Srisailam to the west. The initial capital of the kingdom was Addanki. Later it was moved to Kondavidu and subsequently to Rajahmundry. The Reddys were known for their fortifications. Two major hill forts, one at Kondapalli, north west of Vijayawada and another at Kondavidu near Guntur stand testimony to the fort building skill of the Reddys.he forts of Bellamkonda, Vinukonda and Nagarjunakonda in the Palnadu region were also part of the Reddy kingdom. The dynasty remained in power till the middle of the 15th century and was supplanted by the Gajapatis of Orissa, who gained control of coastal Andhra. The Gajapatis eventually lost control of coastal Andhra after the death of Gajapati rulerKapilendra. The territories of the Reddy kingdom eventually came under the control of the Vijayanagara Empire.
The post-Kakatiya period saw the emergence of the Reddy kingdom (established in 1325 CE) and the Vijayanagara Empire (established in 1336 CE) Initially, the rising kingdoms of Vijayanagara and the Reddy kingdom were locked up in a territorial struggle for supremacy in thecoastal region of Andhra. Later, they united and became allies against their common archrivals – the Bahmani sultans and the Recherla Velamas of Rachakonda who had formed an alliance. This political alliance between Vijayanagara and the Reddy kingdom was cemented further by a matrimonial alliance. Harihara II of Vijayanagara gave his daughter in marriage to Kataya Vema Reddy’s son Kataya. The Reddy rulers of Rajahmundry exercised a policy of annexation and invasion of Kalinga (modern day Orissa). However, the suzerainty of Kalinga rulers was to be recognized. In 1443 CE, determined to put an end to the aggressions of the Reddy kingdom, the Gajapati ruler Kapilendra of Kalingaformed an alliance with the Velamas and launched an attack on the Reddy kingdom of Rajahmundry. Veerabhadra Reddy allied himself with Vijayanagara ruler Devaraya II and defeated Kapilendra. After the death of Devaraya II in 1446 CE, he was succeeded by his son, Mallikarjuna Raya. Overwhelmed by difficulties at home, Mallikarjuna Raya recalled the Vijayanagara forces from Rajahmundry. Veerabhadra Reddy died in 1448 CE. Seizing this opportunity, the Gajapati ruler Kapilendra sent an army under the leadership of his son Hamvira into the Reddy kingdom, took Rajahmundry and gained control of the Reddy kingdom. The Gajapatis eventually lost control of coastal Andhra after the death of Kapilendra. The territories of the Reddy kingdom eventually came under the control of the Vijayanagara Empire.
Later, Reddys became the military chieftains of the Vijayanagara rulers. They along with their private armies accompanied and supported the Vijayanagara army in the conquest of new territories. These chieftains were known by the title of Poligars. The Reddy poligars were appointed to render military services in times of war, collect revenue from the populace and pay to the royal treasury. The chieftains exercised considerable autonomy in their respective provinces. The ancestors of the legendary Uyyalawada Narasimha Reddy - who led an armed rebellion against the British East India company, were poligars. The famous Vellore Fort was built in the 16th century by Bommi Reddi who was a chieftain of the Vijayanagara rulerSadasiva Raya. Reddys were historically dominant in the province of Rayalaseema – part of modern day Andhra Pradesh. By the end of the 16th century, during the regime of the Vijayanagara King Aliya Ramaraju, when the Vijayanagara empire was declining, several poligar chieftains from Rayalaseema declared their independence and continued to rule over their territories.
Once independent, the erstwhile chiefs of the Vijayanagara empire indulged in several internal squabbles for supremacy in their areas. This constant warring between powerful feudal warlords for fiefdoms and power manifests itself even in modern day Rayalaseema in the form of a brutally violent phenomenon termed as “factionalism”, “factional violence” or simply “faction”. Thus the origin of factionalism in Rayalaseema can be traced to the Poligar chieftains of the medieval period.
During this period, Reddys ruled several "samsthanams" (dominions) in the Telangana area. They ruled as vassals of Golkonda sultans. Prominent among them were Ramakrishna Reddy, Pedda Venkat Reddy and Immadi Venkat Reddy. In the 16th century, the Pangal fort situated in Mahbubnagar district of Andhra Pradesh was ruled by Veera Krishna Reddy. Immadi Venkat Reddy was recognized by the Golkonda sultan Abdullah Qutb Shah as a regular provider of military forces to the Golkonda armies. The Gadwal samsthanam situated in Mahbubnagar was ruled by King Somasekhar Ananda Reddy also known as Raja Somanadri. The famous Gadwal fort was built in 1710 CE by Raja Somanadri. Reddys continued to be chieftains, village policemen and tax collectors in the Telangana region, throughout the Golkonda rule.