Pyuthan was one of 24 small kingdoms in the Chaubisi Rajya confederation before Prithvi Narayan Shah unified modern Nepal in the second half of the 18th century. Since Dang Deukhuri District to the south and Salyan District to the west belonged to another confederation called Baise Rajya, Pyuthan was a western outpost of the Chaubisi and probably a defense perimeter defended by forts, for example at Okharkot. Pyuthan is the home district of Mohan Bikram Singh (1935-), a founder of the Communist Party of Nepal. Singh's organizational work in Pyuthan and other districts of Rapti Zone laid the basis for the area becoming the so-called "heartland" of the Maoist insurgency 1996-2006 that cost over 12,000 lives but was instrumental in transforming the country from a kingdom ruled by the Shah dynasty into a republic. Other prominent communist leaders from Pyuthan include Mohan Baidhya, Lila Mani Pokhrel, Bamdev Gautam and Navraj Subedi. Pyuthan is also the home district of Anirudra Sharma (Parliament 1959-1960), Sibraj Subedi (former minister and Parliament 1991-1998), Mukti Prasad Sharma of Nepali Congress Party (Parliament 1991-1914) and Khem Raj Pandit of the conservative and royalist Rastriya Prajatantra Party.