History of India . An
overview : The people of
India have had a continuous civilization since 2500 B.C., when the
inhabitants of the Indus River valley developed an urban culture based
on commerce and sustained by agricultural trade. This civilization
declined around 1500 B.C., probably due to ecological changes.
During the second
millennium B.C., pastoral, Aryan-speaking tribes migrated from the
northwest into the subcontinent. As they settled in the middle Ganges
River valley, they adapted to antecedent cultures.
The political map of
ancient and medieval India was made up of myriad kingdoms with
fluctuating boundaries. In the 4th and 5th centuries A.D., northern
India was unified under the Gupta Dynasty. During this period, known as
India's Golden Age, Hindu culture and political administration reached
Islam spread across
the Indian subcontinent over a period of 500 years. In the 10th and 11th
centuries, Turks and Afghans invaded India and established sultanates in
Delhi. In the early 16th century, descendants of Genghis Khan swept
across the Khyber Pass and established the Mughal (Mogul) Dynasty, which
lasted for 200 years. From the 11th to the 15th centuries, southern
India was dominated by Hindu Chola and Vijayanagar Dynasties. During
this time, the two systems--the prevailing Hindu and Muslim--mingled,
leaving lasting cultural influences on each other.