India - Indian History

Indian history starts with evidence of human activity in the southern state of Tamil Nadu 75,000 years ago. Evidence of Homo Erectus activity dates back to 500,000 years.

The Indus Valley Civilization, along the river Indus in the North West of India, was a very advanced culture that existed from 3000 to 1300 BCE. This was , the first major Indian civilization.

Harappa and Mohanjadaro had a very sophisticated and technologically advanced urban culture during the Bronze age, from 2600 to 1900 BCE. This civilization was destroyed aroun 1800 BCE presumably by floods caused by tectonic activity.
They were followed by the Vedic Civilization during the Iron Age, extending down the Indo-Gangetic plains. This civilization was the seed of the Hindu way of life. This period witnessed the rise of the Mahajanapadas as the dominating political power. Mahavira, the founder of the Jain sect and Gautama Buddha who founded Budhism were born in the 6th or 5th century BCE.

The Maurya Empire conquered the entire subcontinent between the 4th and 3rd centuries BCE. For the next 1500 years, India saw fragmented kingdoms various smaller kings and rulers. This is the classical period in Indian History. This time India was the largest economy of the ancient and medieval world. India controlled a third world's wealth till the 18th century.

The Gupta empire united most of the North and Central India in the 4th century CE, and lasted for two centuries. This period is also called the Golden Age of India, for the Hindu religion and phiolosophy got a major revival during this period. Around the same time South India saw great rulers from the Chalukya, Chola, Pallavas and Pandya empires prosper and progress. Indian civilization, styles of administration, Indian culture, Hinduism and Buddhism spread to much of Asia during this 'Golden Period' in Indian History.

Kerala, in the south of Indiaand the Roman empire had maritime links dating back to 70 CE. Islam came to Kerala, through Muslim traders.Islamic rule in India started with the Arab general Muhammad bin Qasim who conquered Sindh and Multan in southern Punjab in 712 CE.Several successive invasions from Central Asia, between the 10th and 15th centuries CE led to many Muslim empires in the subcontinent, examples include the Delhi Sultanate and the Mughal Empire.

The Mughal empire spread to most parts of north Indian Subcontinent, bring with it the middle-eastern architecture and art. Around the same time, flourished the Vijayanagara Empire in the South, the Maratha Empire in the West and the Ahom Kingdomint the North-Eastern India. The slow decline of the Mughal Empire in the early eighteenth century, saw the the Afghans, Balochis, Sikhs and the Marathas taking over large parts in the north west until the British East India Company conquered much of South Asia.
India was gradually conqured by the British East India Company starting mid 1800s and over the next 100 years. Autrocities committed during the East India Company rule resluted in the First War of Indian Independence. The British Crown took over the administration of the subcontinent after this. This resulted in rapid development of infrastructure and complete looting of Indian Wealth by the Crown, leading to a dramatic decline of the Indian economy. India started its independence struggle in the begining of the 20th century. Under the leader ship of Mahatma Gandhi, Indian National Congress fought a bloodless battle of wits which culminated in Indian independence from the United Kingdom, in 1947. However the British did manage to partition the subcontinent into India and Pakistan using religion as a weapon.

Post Independence, India became the world's largest democracy, while Pakistan declined to become a military state. India and Pakistan fought three major wars and one minor war mainly over territorial rights over the Indian state of Kashmir.