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  • The Baro-Bhuyans were warrior chiefs and landlords in medieval Bengal and Assam who maintained a loosely independent confederacy. In times of aggression by external powers, they generally cooperated in defending and expelling the aggressor. In times of peace, they maintained their respective sovereignty. In the presence of a strong king, they offered their allegiance. In general, they were in control of a group of villages, called cakala, and the more powerful among them called themselves raja. Baro denotes the number twelve, but in general there were more than twelve chiefs or landlords, and the word baro meant many. Thus, Bhuyan-raj denoted individual Bhuyanship, whereas Baro-Bhuyan denoted temporary confederacies that they formed. The system of Baro-Bhuyan confederacy is a relic of the erstwhile Kamarupa kingdom. The "parcelization" of power, which was an effect of settling North Indian adventurers, became prominent during the 9th century reign of Balavarman III of the Mlechchha dynasty. Whereas the central Kamarupa kingdom fragmented, the system of small chieftains remained.