Shillong (Khasi Shillong) is the capital of Meghalaya, one of the smallest states in India. It is also the district headquarters of East Khasi Hills District and is situated at an altitude of 4,908 ft (1,496 m) above sea level. The city has a population of approx. 260,000 according to the 2001 census. Shillong has steadily grown in size and significance in its own traditional way from a mere village as it used to be when it was made the new civil station of Khasi and Jaintia Hills in 1864 by British. It remained the summer capital of Eastern Bengal and Assam for many years. 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 Valley 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 in January 21, 1972 when Shillong became the capital of Meghalaya and Assam moved its capital to Dispur.