India History


Remains of humanoid beings indicate that India was populated from Africa in a period ranging between 200,000 and 600,000 years. The first human settlers are estimated to have settled on the subcontinent 12,000 years ago. The first confirmed settlements date from the VII millennium BC. n. and. and are now known as Bhimbetka rock shelters, in the current territory of the state of Madhia Pradesh.

The transition from farming communities to more complex urban communities began between the Mehrgarh period and 3000 BC. n. and. This period marked the beginning of an urban society in India, known as the Indus River Valley culture, also called “Harappan civilization”, which reached its maximum development between the 19th and 19th centuries BC. n. and. It was centered between the Sarasuati and Indo rivers (in present-day Pakistan and Afghanistan).

In the same period, Majavira (549-477 BC) founded the Yaina religion. Towards the IV century a. n. e., Gautama Buddha created the Buddhist religion as opposed to the ritualistic Vedic religion (which used the Sanskrit language, which by that time was already a practically dead language).

Both doctrines were simple and preached in the pracritical language, which helped their acceptance among the masses. While Yainism had limited impact, Buddhism spread to Tibet, Sri Lanka, and Southeast Asia.

Beginnings of India

Around 500 BCE, the Indus Valley region was invaded by Darius I, the Persian king, who turned India into a satrapy of the Achaemenid Empire. The Persians designated Taksila as the capital, but its influence was marginal and lasted only 150 years.

Alexander the Great defeated them in the 4th century BC. n. e., crossing the mountains of the Hindu Kush, invading what is now Pakistan. However the costly campaigns against the forces of Magadha and the discouragement in his troops, forced Alexander to retreat after having reached the Beas river in Panjab. He appointed Greek governors to govern the newly acquired province, opening trade routes between India and Greece. The kingdom of Alexander the Great occupied the northern portion of the Indian peninsula and became a major maritime nation that traded with Egypt and Southeast Asia.

In the III century a. n. e., most of South Asia was conquered by Chandragupta Maruya to unite them with the Mauryan Empire, which flourished under Asoka the great. From the 3rd century n. e., the Gupta dynasty led the Empire to a period of prosperity known as the ancient “Golden Age of India”. The Chalukya, Chola, and Vijayanagara Empires developed in the southern part of India. Science, technological advances, engineering, art, logic, languages, literary works, mathematics, astronomy, religion and philosophy had a period of prosperity and development under the patronage of these kings.

Following invasions from Central Asia between the 10th and 12th centuries, much of northern India fell under the rule of the Delhi Sultanate and later the Mughal Empire. Under the reign of Akbar the Great, India enjoyed extensive cultural and economic progress, as well as a time of religious harmony. Gradually, the Mughal emperors expanded their empires to cover much of the subcontinent. However, in northeast India, the dominant power was the Ahom kingdom of Assam, one of the few kingdoms that resisted the rule of the Mughals. During the fourteenth century The first major threat to Mughal imperial power came from the Rajput king Maha Rana Pratap of Mewar, and later from a Hindu state known as the Maratha Confederacy, which in the 18th century dominated much of the territory of India, a country located in Asia according to MATHGENERAL.

Arrival of the Europeans

The pursuit of wealth and power drew Europeans to the shores of India. In 1498, Vasco de Gama, the Portuguese navigator reached Calicut (now Kozhikode, Kerala) on the western coast. In search of spices and converts to Christianity, the Portuguese challenged Arab supremacy in the Arabian Sea and the Persian Gulf. In 1510 the Portuguese seized Goa, a city that became the center of their commercial and political power in India and which they controlled for nearly four and a half centuries.

Since the 16th century, various European powers, such as Portugal, the Netherlands, France, and the United Kingdom, established trading posts and later took advantage of internal conflicts to establish colonies in the country. By 1856, most of India was under the control of the British East India Company. A year later, a nationwide insurrection of military units and rebel kingdoms, known as the “First Indian War of Independence” or the “Sepoy Mutiny”, seriously challenged control of the company, although they were eventually defeated. As a result of the instability, India was brought under the direct control of the British Crown.

British colonialism

The decisive colonization of the British in India begins with the Battle of Plassey in 1757 after defeating the Nawab Siraj Ud Daulah, which allowed them to occupy the Bengal region. This region became a protectorate under the administration of the Company. From this state the British expanded their influence to other regions of India to the point that by 1850 they had under their dominance most of the Indian subcontinent. In 1857 the Rebellion of the Sepoys —Indian soldiers in the service of the British— in the north and center of India and its subsequent defeat, caused that the British Parliament transferred the political and administrative power of the Company to the Crown, this being the direct administrator of the British colonies in that region until its independence.

Independence Movement

In the 20th century, a nationwide struggle for independence was encouraged by the Indian National Congress and other political organizations. Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi concentrated millions of people in various national campaigns of civil disobedience under a policy of non-violence.

On August 15, 1947, India gained independence from British rule, at the same time that Muslim-majority areas separated to form an independent state, Pakistan. On January 26, 1950, India became a republic and a new Constitution came into force.


Since independence, India has faced various problems of religious violence, classism, the Naxalite movement, terrorism, and insurgencies from separatist regions, especially in Jammu, Kashmir, and northeast India. Since the 1990s terrorist attacks have affected many Indian cities. The territorial disputes with China, which in 1962 led to the Sino -Indian War, have not been resolved ; and with Pakistan, which resulted in several wars in 1947, 1965, 1971 and 1999. India was one of the founders of the United Nations (like British India) and the Non-Aligned Movement.. In 1974, India conducted an underground nuclear test and in 1998 another five tests, making it a nuclear state. Since the beginning of 1991, major economic reforms have transformed India into one of the fastest growing economies in the world, increasing its global influence.

India History