History of India
According to consensus in modern genetics, anatomically modern humans first arrived on the Indian subcontinent from Africa between 73,000 and 55,000 years ago. However, the earliest known human remains in India date to 30,000 years ago. Settled life, which involves the transition from foraging to farming and pastoralism, began in Greater India around 7,000 BCE. At the site of Mehrgarh, presence can be documented of the domestication of wheat and barley, rapidly followed by that of goats, sheep, and cattle. By 4,500 BCE, settled life had spread more widely, and began to gradually evolve into the Indus Valley Civilization, an early civilization of the Old world, which was contemporaneous with Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. This civilization flourished between 2,500 BCE and 1900 BCE in what today is Pakistan and north-western India and was noted for its urban planning, baked brick houses, elaborate drainage, and water supply.In the early second millennium BCE, persistent drought caused the population of the Indus Valley to scatter from large urban centers to villages. Around the same time, Indo-Aryan tribes moved into the Punjab from regions further northwest in several waves of migration. The resulting Vedic period was marked by the composition of the Vedas, large collections of hymns of these tribes whose postulated religious culture, through synthesis with the preexisting religious cultures of the subcontinent, gave rise to Hinduism. The concept of Varna, a social grouping system which divided people into different groups based on their occupations and abilities, such as priests, warriors, merchants, and tradesmen, was created during this time. Towards the end of this period, around 600 BCE, after the pastoral and nomadic Indo-Aryans spread from the Punjab into the Gangetic plain, large swaths of which they deforested to pave way for agriculture, a second urbanization took place. The small Indo-Aryan chieftaincies, or janapadas, were consolidated into larger states, or mahajanapadas. The urbanization was accompanied by the rise of new ascetic movements in Greater Magadha, including Jainism and Buddhism. These movements gave rise to new religious concepts, which opposed the growing influence of Brahmanism and the primacy of rituals, presided by the Brahmin priests, that had come to be associated with Vedic religion.Most of the Indian subcontinent was conquered by the Maurya Empire, during the 4th and 3rd centuries BCE. From the 3rd century BCE onwards, Prakrit and Pali literature in the north and the Tamil Sangam literature in southern India started to flourish. In the 3rd century BCE, Wootz steel originated in south India and was exported to foreign countries. During the Classical period, various parts of India were ruled by numerous dynasties for the next 1,500 years, among which the Gupta Empire stands out. This period, witnessing a Hindu religious and intellectual resurgence, is known as the classical or Golden Age of India. During this period, many aspects of Indian civilization, administration, culture, and religion (Hinduism and Buddhism) spread to much of Asia, while kingdoms in southern India began to have maritime business links with the Middle East and the Mediterranean. Indian cultural influence spread over many parts of Southeast Asia, which led to the establishment of Indianised kingdoms in Southeast Asia (Greater India).The most significant event between the 7th and 11th centuries was the Tripartite struggle centered on Kannauj that lasted for more than two centuries between the Pala Empire, Rashtrakuta Empire, and Gurjara-Pratihara Empire. Southern India saw the rise of multiple imperial powers from the middle of the fifth century, most notably the Chalukya, Chola, Pallava, Chera, Pandyan, and Western Chalukya Empires. The Chola dynasty conquered southern India and successfully invaded parts of Southeast Asia, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, and Bengal in the 11th century. In the early medieval period, Indian mathematics, including Hindu numerals, influenced the development of mathematics and astronomy in the Arab world.Islamic conquests made limited inroads into modern Afghanistan and Sindh as early as the 8th century, followed by the invasions of Mahmud Ghazni. The Delhi Sultanate was founded in 1206 CE by Central Asian Turks who ruled a major part of the northern Indian subcontinent in the early 14th century, but declined in the late 14th century,
and saw the advent of the Deccan Sultanates. The wealthy Bengal Sultanate also emerged as a regional and diplomatic power, lasting over three centuries. This period saw the emergence of several powerful Hindu states, notably Vijayanagara, Gajapati, and Ahom, as well as Rajput states, such as Mewar. The 15th century saw the advent of Sikhism. The early modern period began in the 16th century, when the Mughal Empire conquered most of the Indian subcontinent, becoming the biggest global economy and manufacturing power, with a nominal GDP that valued a quarter of the world GDP, superior to the combination of Europe's GDP. The Mughals suffered a gradual decline in the early 18th century, which provided opportunities for the Marathas, Sikhs, Mysoreans, and Nawabs of Bengal to exercise control over large regions of the Indian subcontinent.From the mid-18th century to the mid-19th century, large regions of India were gradually annexed by the East India Company, a chartered company, acting as a sovereign power on behalf of the British government. Dissatisfaction with the Company rule in India led to the Indian Rebellion of 1857, which rocked parts of north and central India, and led to the dissolution of the company. India was afterward ruled directly by the British Crown, in the British Raj. After World War I, a nationwide struggle for independence was launched by the Indian National Congress, led by Mahatma Gandhi, and noted for nonviolence. Later, the All-India Muslim League would advocate for a separate Muslim-majority nation-state. The British Indian Empire was partitioned in August 1947 into the Dominion of India (present day Republic of India) and Dominion of Pakistan (present day Islamic Republic of Pakistan and People's Republic of Bangladesh), each gaining its independence.