Sylhet was an expanded commercial center from the ancient period, hich explains its original namesake. Sylhet was probably inhabited by Indo-Aryan Brahmins, though ethnically the population would also have traces of Assamees. It has also been suggested that the Ancient Kingdom of Harikela was situated in modern Sylhet.
Sylhet was ruled primarily by local chieftains as viceroy of the kings of Pragjyotishpur. There is evidence to suggest that the Maharaja Sri Chandra, of northern Bengal, conquered Bengal in the 10th century, although this is a much disputed topic amongst Bangladeshi historians and archaeologists. This was a period of relative prosperity and there is little evidence to suggest this was marred by wars or feuds. Sylhet was certainly known by the rest of India, and is even referred to in the ancient Hindu sacred Tantric text, the Shakti Sangama Tantra, as 'Silhatta'. The last chieftain to reign in Sylhet was Govinda of Gaur. Sylhet was previously a Hindu kingdom, controlled by the Rajas. One of the most renowned Bengali warriors was Shaikh Jalal of Sylhet, who entered Sylhet to battle against Raja Gaur Govind, with 313 followers, but the Raja had 100,00 men, which led to a hostile battle leading the Raja to be defeated, and the entire region falling to Shaikh Jalal (d. 1357).