Who is Yayati

What is the historical origin of Yadavas?

What is the historical origin of Yadavas?

Lord Brahma had a son named Atri and Atri had a son named Soma or Chandra (the moon god). Budha was the son of Soma.

Lord Brahmā had another son named Marīci and Marīci had a son named Kaśyapa . Vivasvān (the sun god) was the son of Kaśyapa. Vivasvān became Vaivasvata Manu was born . Vaivasvata Manu had a daughter named Ilā .

So Budha begat a son named in her womb Purūravā .

Then in Purūravā's line were kings like Nahusha and Yayati born . Yayati's eldest son was Yadu .

Yadu's descendants were called Yadavas known .

This line was also referred to as Mādhava and V nachi after the kings Madhu and Vṛṣṇi.

(Sources: SB 9.1, SB 9.17, SB 9.18, SB 9.23)

Yayati's youngest son was Puru. Puru's descendants became known as Pauravas, the same lineage became known as Bharat Vanshi (after King Bharat), Kaurvas (after King Kuru), Pandavas (after King Pandu), etc.

From my reading of Mahabharata, Yadavas do not seem to be a strong or prominent clan in India prior to the ascension of Shri Krishna.

Yayati asked the eldest son, Yadu, to take his age and transfer the youth of Yadu to him. Yadu refused his father's request. Yayati then cursed Yadu. Later the curse was removed from Indra, as in RV 4.30.17 mentioned, what is explained in this answer. Yayati did not appoint Yadu as the main king and gave only a few areas from the south ( druhyuṁ dakṣiṇato yadum ~ SB 9.19.22). This is the same as earlier yudhistra, he was not made king of Hastinapura but Indraprastha.

But Yadu gained popularity, famous for its own virtues.

SB 9.23 mentions many famous Chakravarati kings in Yadavas before the ascension of Lord Shri Krishna:

Kartavirya Arjuna (Er [Kārtavīryārjuna, also known as ShashtrAjuna] became the emperor of the whole world, consisting of seven islands ~ SB 9.23.24. No other king in this world could Kārtavīryārjuna in terms of sacrifice, charity, austerity, mystical power, education (Strength or Mercy ~ SB 9.23.25. He defeated and imprisoned Ravana. He eventually died by Lord Parashurama.)

Madhu (After him his lineage is called Madhavas ~ SB 9.23.29. Hence Lord Krishna is called Madhav.)

Vrishni (After him his lineage is called Vrishneyas ~ SB 9.23.29. Hence Lord Krishna is called Vrisney. His name is mentioned in Bhagavad Gita 10.37.)

Śaśabindu (had fourteen riches and fourteen great jewels. So he became the emperor of the world. ~ SB 9.23.30-31)

So your understanding seems wrong. Yadavas were one of the strongest and most famous clans.

Rather, most of the other tall houses of Bharata seem to view Yadavas with a little disdain.Is it true?

Who are tall houses? Yadavas were also from Chndra Vanshi Kshatriyas and Yadu was the older brother of Puru (whose descendants were Kaurvas / Pandavas). So Yadavas were not inferior by birth or power (as described in the section above).