The Kingdom of Mysore was a kingdom in southern India, traditionally believed to have been founded in 1399 in the vicinity of the modern city of Mysore. The kingdom, which was ruled by the Wodeyar family, initially served as a vassal state of the Vijayanagara Empire. With the decline of the Vijayanagara Empire (c. 1565), the kingdom became independent. The 17th century saw a steady expansion of its territory and during the rule of Narasaraja Wodeyar I and Chikka Devaraja Wodeyar, the kingdom annexed large expanses of what is now southern Karnataka and parts of Tamil Nadu to become a powerful state in the southern Deccan.
The kingdom experienced sustained growth in per capita income and population, structural change in the economy, and increased pace of technological innovation, and reached the height of its economic and military power and dominion in the latter half of the 18th century under the de facto ruler Haider Ali and his son Tipu Sultan. During this time, it came into conflict with the Marathas, the Nizam of Hyderabad, the Kingdom of Travancore and the British, which culminated in the four Anglo-Mysore Wars. Success in the first Anglo-Mysore war and a stalemate in the second was followed by defeat in the third and fourth. Following Tipu's death in the fourth war of 1799, large parts of his kingdom were annexed by the British, which signalled the end of a period of Mysorean hegemony over southern Deccan. The British restored the Wodeyars to their throne by way of a subsidiary alliance and the diminished Mysore was transformed into a princely state. The Wodeyars continued to rule the state until Indian independence in 1947, when Mysore acceded to the Union of India.
Even as a princely state, Mysore came to be counted among the more developed and urbanised regions of India. This period (1799 - 1947) also saw Mysore emerge as one of the important centres of art and culture in India. The Mysore kings were not only accomplished exponents of the fine arts and men of letters, they were enthusiastic patrons as well, and their legacies continue to influence music and art even today.