Shillong is the capital and Hill station of Meghalaya, one of the smallest states in India. It is the headquarters of the East Khasi Hills district and is situated at an average altitude of 4,908 feet (1,496 m) above sea level, with the highest point being Shillong Peak at 6,449 feet (1,966 m). Shillong is the 330th most populous city in India with population of 143,007 according to the 2011 census. It is said that the rolling hills around the town reminded the European settlers of Scotland. Hence, Shillong is known as "Scotland of the East". The population density of the state of Meghalaya in the 2000s decade is 342 people per sq mile.
It has steadily grown in size and significance since it was made the civil station of the Khasi and Jaintia Hills in 1864 by the British. In 1874, on the formation of Assam as a Chief Commissioner's Province, it was chosen as the headquarters of the new administration because of its convenient location between the Brahmaputra and Surma valleys and more so because the climate of Shillong was much cooler than tropical India. Shillong remained the capital of undivided Assam until the creation of the new state of Meghalaya on 21 January 1972, when Shillong became the capital of Meghalaya and Assam moved its capital to Dispur in Guwahati.
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