India

History of India

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Perspective


The history of India begins with the advent of farming and pastoralism around 7,000 BCE. Its archaeological finds prove the domestication of wheat and barley and the raising animals for food. By 4,500 BCE, the Indus Valley Civilization arose alongside ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia and flourished for 600 years. In so doing, it became known for its city planning, mud-brick homes, and its well-designed drainage system and water supply.

Drought devastated the Indus Valley Civilization and its people, who were supplanted by Indo-Aryan tribes from Central Asia. Their Vedic period (1500-500 BCE) was named after the vedas, large collections of hymns. Their varna system, which became the caste system, was a hierarchy of priests, warriors, peasants, and what later became Untouchables. Vedic texts were no longer written once a new culture arose around 600 BCE, which included small states as well as larger states with cities. These included the development of the new ascetic movements of Jainism and Buddhism. They did so largely in opposition to the growing influence of Brahmanism and the old Vedic priesthood and its ritual. But the old Vedic Brahmanism survived and blended itself with other native religions to become Hinduism.

Most of India was conquered by the Maurya Empire during the 4th and 3rd centuries BCE, and innovation flourished. Along with rise of Prakrit and Pali literature in the north rose Tamil Sangam literature of the south. In addition, Wootz steel was made in the south and exported abroad. Following this, the Gupta Empire brought forth the classical or “Golden Age of India”. This included a Hindu religious and intellectual renaissance, enlightened governance, and a vibrant culture. Both Hinduism and Buddhism spread to much of Asia with growing trade. Similarly, Indian influence grew throughout the Middle East, the Mediterranean, and Southeast Asia, where Indianized kingdoms were established.

Beginning in the 7th century, the Tripartite War raged for several centuries among the Pala, Rashtrakuta, and Gurjara-Pratihara Empires. In this, Imperial states arose in southern India, and the Chola dynasty conquered southern India and parts of Southeast Asia in the 11th century. In addition, there was a cultural renaissance that added Indian mathematics (including Hindu numerals) to the Islamic development of mathematics and astronomy.

The history of India was changed profoundly with the Islamic conquest that brought the Delhi Sultanate to north India. In this period, the wealthy Bengal Sultanate emerged as a major power, lasting more than 300 years. Other powerful Hindu states emerged, such as the Vijayanagara and Rajput states. Sikhism arose in the 11th century.

Early modern India began with the Mughal Empire conquest of most of India. The Mughal period saw the beginnings of industrialization, and India became the biggest economy and manufacturing power in the world. But the Mughals suffered a gradual decline in the early 18th century, as territorial warring consumed large areas.

In the 17th century, India was gradually annexed by the East India Company, acting on behalf of the British government. The Indian Rebellion of 1857 raged in north and central India. This led to the demise of the East India Company and the assumption of direct rule by Britain, in what came to be know as the Raj. After World War I, an independence movement was launched by the Indian National Congress and led by Mahatma Gandhi. Its strategy was nonviolence. Later, the All-India Muslim League demanded a separate Muslim-majority nation state. As a result, the empire was partitioned in August 1947 into the Dominion of India and Dominion of Pakistan, each becoming independent.

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Index

Ancient India: SocietyEnvironmentSouth IndiaCultureReligion: Buddhism: Siddhartha GautamaRiseSpreadMiddle WayFour Noble TruthsThree Precious Jewels | Hinduism: Hindu-Muslim SynthesisBeliefsDeitiesWritingsEpicsUpanishads | Jainism: Mahavira | Sikhism | Economy: Decline | Indus Valley Civilization: SocietyEconomy | Early Vedic Age: SocietyReligion | Later Vedic Age: SocietyReligion | Chola Dynasty | Kushan Empire: Society | Maurya Empire: Power: ProgressionGovernanceEconomy | Gupta Empire: SocietyCultureClassical AgeLiteratureScience and TechnologySculptureReligionPowerEconomy | Delhi Sultanate: SocietyCulturePower | Mughal Empire: SocietyCulturePowerAhmad KhanBaburAkbarAurangzebThe BritishCivil War | The Raj: SocietyPowerOriginsNationalismReformersGandhiStruggleNew SystemHindu-Muslim DividePartitionEconomy | Modern India: SocietyPowerJawaharlal NehruIndira GandhiRajiv GandhiGovernanceEconomy | Bangla Desh | Pakistan: Power


Ancient India


history of Ancient India

Ancient India: Index

history of Ancient India | society

Society

history of Ancient India | environment

Society: Environment

history of Ancient India | South India

Society: South India

culture of Ancient India

Culture

history of India | religion

Religion

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religion of India | religion

Religion: Buddhism

Siddhartha Gautama

Buddhism: Siddhartha Gautama

religion in India | rise of Buddhism

Buddhism: Rise

religion in India | spread of Buddhism

Buddhism: Spread

 religion in India | Buddhism | Middle Way

Buddhism: Middle Way

religion in India | Buddhism | Four Noble Truths

Buddhism: Four Noble Truths

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religion in India | Buddhism | Three Precious Jewels

Buddhism: Three Precious Jewels

religion in India | Hinduism

Hinduism

Hindu-Muslim synthesis

Hinduism: Hindu-Muslim Synthesis

Hinduism | beliefs

Hinduism: Beliefs

Hinduism: deities

Hinduism: Deities

Hinduism | writings

Hinduism: Writings

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Hinduism | epics

Writings: Epics

Hinduism | Upanishads

Writings: Upanishads

Jainism

Jainism

Jainism | Mahavira

Jainism: Mahavira

Sikhism

Sikhism

history of Ancient India | economy

Economy

Up to Index

history of Ancient India | economy | decline

Economy: Decline

Indus Valley Civilization


Indus Valley Civilization

Indus Valley Civilization

history of India | Indus Valley Civilization | society

Society

history of India | Indus Valley Civilization | economy

Economy

Vedic Age


Early Vedic Age

Early Vedic Age

Early Vedic Age | society

Early Vedic Age: Society

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Early Vedic Age | religion

Early Vedic Age: Religion

Later Vedic Age

Later Vedic Age

Later Vedic Age | society

Later Vedic Age: Society

Later Vedic Age | religion

Later Vedic Age: Religion

Chola Dynasty


history of India | Chola Dynasty

Chola Dynasty

Kushan Empire


history of India | Kushan Empire

Kushan Empire

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history of India | Kushan Empire | society

Society

Maurya Empire


Maurya Empire

Maurya Empire

history of India | Maurya Empire | power

Power

history of India | Maurya Empire | progression of power

Power: Progression

history of India | Maurya Empire | governance

Power: Governance

history of India | Maurya Empire | economy

Economy

Up to Index

Gupta Empire


Gupta Empire

Gupta Empire

history of India | Gupta Empire | society

Society

history of India | Gupta Empire | culture

Culture

history of India | Gupta Empire | Classical Age

Culture: Classical Age

history of India | Gupta Empire | literature

Culture: Literature

history of India | Gupta Empire | science and technology

Culture: Science and Technology

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history of India | Gupta Empire | sculpture

Culture: Sculpture

history of India | Gupta Empire | religion

Religion

history of India | Gupta Empire | power

Power

history of India | Gupta Empire | economy

Economy

Delhi Sultanate


Delhi Sultanate

Delhi Sultanate

Delhi Sultanate | society

Society

Up to Index

Delhi Sultanate | culture

Culture

history of ancient India | Delhi Sultanate | power

Power

Mughal Empire


Mughal Empire

Mughal Empire: Index

history of India | Mughal Empire | society

Society

history of India | Mughal Empire | court culture

Culture

history of India | Mughal Empire | power

Power

Up to Index

Mughal Empire | Ahmad Khan

Power: Ahmad Khan

Mughal Empire | Babur

Power: Babur

Mughal Empire | Akbar

Power: Akbar

Mughal Empire | Aurangzeb

Power: Aurangzeb

Mughal Empire | the British

The British

Mughal Empire | civil war

Civil War

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The Raj


The Raj

The Raj: Index

history of India | The Raj | society

Society

history of India | The Raj | power

Power

history of India | The Raj | origins

Power: Origins

history of India | The Raj | nationalism

Power: Nationalism

history of India | The Raj | nationalism | reformers

Nationalism: Reformers

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Mohandas Gandhi

Reformers: Mohandas Gandhi

history of India | The Raj | nationalism | struggle

Nationalism: Struggle


history of India | The Raj | nationalism | new system

Nationalism: New System

history of India | The Raj | Hindu-Muslim Divide

Nationalism: Hindu-Muslim Divide

history of India | The Raj | partition

Power: Partition

history of India | The Raj | economy

Economy

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Modern India


history of Modern India | society

Society

history of Modern India | power

Power

Jawaharlal Nehru

Power: Jawaharlal Nehru

Indira Gandhi

Power: Indira Gandhi

Rajiv Gandhi

Power: Rajiv Gandhi

history of Modern India | governance

Power: Governance

history of Modern India | economy

Economy

Bangla Desh and Pakistan


history of India | Bangla Desh

Bangla Desh

history of India | Pakistan

Pakistan

history of India | Pakistan | power

Pakistan: Power


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