Indian History

Prehistoric India

The Indian prehistoric era is one of the most fascinating and intriguing eras to read about. Though there is speculation about when it originated, historians quote the approximate period from 200000 B.C to about 3500 - 2500 B.C. It is estimated that the first humans to set their foot in the Indian sub continent between 200000 B.C and 40000 B.C. Pre historic India has been divided into four major eras.

These are: Stone age, Paleolithic era, Mesolithic era and Neolithic era, Bronze age.

Maurya Period

One of the greatest empires in the history of India was the Maurya Empire. It approximately lasted from 322 - 185 B.C. Originating from the kingdom of Magadha in the Indo-Gangetic plains (modern Bihar, eastern Uttar Pradesh and Bengal) in the eastern side of the Indian subcontinent, the empire had its capital city at Pataliputra (modern Patna). The Empire was founded in 322 BC by Chandragupta Maurya, who had overthrown the Nanda Dynasty and rapidly expanded his power westwards across central and western India taking advantage of the disruptions of local powers in the wake of the withdrawal westward by Alexander the Great's Greek and Persian armies. By 320 BC the empire had fully occupied Northwestern India, defeating and conquering the satraps left by Alexander.

Early Middle Kingdoms - The Golden Age

The middle period was a time of notable cultural development. The Satavahana, also known as the Andhra, was a dynasty which ruled in southern and central India starting from around 230 BC.
These are : Northwestern hybrid cultures, Roman trade with India, Gupta rule

Late Middle Kingdoms - The Classical Age

The Classical Age in India began with the Guptas and the resurgence of the north during Harsha's conquests around the 7th century, and ended with the fall of the Vijayanagar Empire in the South, due to pressure from the invaders to the north in the 13th century. This period produced some of India's finest art, considered the epitome of classical development, and the development of the main spiritual and philosophical systems which continued to be in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism.

Islamic Sultanates

After conquering Persia, Islamic Caliphate incorporated parts of what is now Pakistan around 720 CE. They were keen to invade India, which was the richest classical civilization, with a flourishing international trade and the only known diamond mines in the world. After several wars over three centuries between various north Indian kingdoms and the Caliphate, short lived Islamic empires (Sultanates) were established and spread across the northern subcontinent over a period of a few centuries.

The Mughal Era

In 1526, Babur, a Timurid descendant of Timur and Genghis Khan, swept across the Khyber Pass and established the Mughal Empire. However, his son Humayun was defeated by the Afghan warrior Sher Shah Suri in the year 1540, and Humayun was forced to retreat to Kabul. After Sher Shah's death his son Islam Shah and Hindu king Samrat Hem Chandra Vikramaditya, who had won 22 battles from Punjab to Bengal and had established a secular Hindu Raj, ruled North India from Delhi till 1556, when Akbar's forces defeated and killed Hemu in the Second Battle of Panipat on 6th Nov. 1556. The Mughal Dynasty ruled most of the Indian subcontinent by 1600; it went into a slow decline after 1707 and was finally defeated during the 1857 War of Independence also called the Indian Rebellion of 1857.

Post-Mughal Period

The post-Mughal era was dominated by the rise of the Maratha suzerainty as other small regional states emerged, and also by the increasing activities of European powers. The Maratha Kingdom was founded and consolidated by Shivaji. By the 18th century, it had transformed itself into the Maratha Empire under the rule of the Peshwas. By 1760, the Empire had stretched across practically the entire subcontinent. This expansion was brought to an end by the defeat of the Maratha by an Afghan army led by Ahmad Shah Abdali at the Third Battle of Panipat (1761). The last Peshwas, Baji Rao II, was defeated by the British in the Third Anglo-Maratha War.

Colonial Era

In 1640, the East India Company established an outpost at Madras. In 1661 the company obtained Bombay from Charles II and converted it to a flourishing center of trade by 1668. English settlements developed in Orissa and Bengal. In 1690 Job Charnock, an agent of the East India Company established a factory in Bengal; almost a decade later the factory was fortified and called Fort William. Three adjoining villages Sutanati, Kalikata and Govindpuri were developed into a single area called Calcutta. Calcutta became a trading centre for East India Company.The British East India Company had been given permission by the Mughal emperor Jahangir in 1617 to trade in India.[56] Gradually their increasing influence led the Mughal emperor Farrukhsiyarto grant them dastak or permits for duty free trade in ,Bengal in 1717.The Nawabs of Bengal,Siraj Ud Daulah, the de facto ruler of the Bengal province, opposed British attempts to use these permits. This led to several battles like-Battle of Plassey,Battle of Buxar etc

Independence Movement

The Indian independence movement was a movement from 1857 (in many cases, even pre-dating 1857) until August 15, 1947, when India got independence from the British Raj. The movement involved many political and social organizations and armed and unarmed struggle. Many political ideas also added to the movement. Perhaps the most famous person in it was Mohandas Gandhi.