India Brief History

By | November 1, 2021

It is often said that India is not a country but a continent. From north to south and from east to west, people and languages ​​differ. Just like customs and traditions. There are few countries in the world that are as diversified as India. A trip in the country gives memories for life and leaves no one untouched.

Here you encounter a rarely seen poverty, which for us visitors is sometimes very difficult to deal with, and here are people with enormous wealth. Here are the Himalayas’ snow-capped peaks, deserts, steppes and miles of sandy beaches. The contrasts are great. Encounters with different religions provide strong experiences and memories.

According to A2zgov, there are few countries in the world that can exhibit such an extensive people’s life, so many colorful religions and such a varied nature within the country’s borders. That is why India is one of the most interesting and fascinating countries to visit.

You can visit India as many times as you like and still always experience something new!

India history in brief

India history older

The name “India” comes from the river Indus, which today mostly flows through Pakistan. Along the river, one of the earliest high cultures in history, the Indus culture (Harappa culture), developed.

History of India, before Christ

2 600 – 1 700 f Kr

In the desert-like lands near the border with Pakistan, remnants of a several thousand-year-old, advanced urban culture with well-ordered burnt brick buildings have been found. Researchers assume that it may have been dravids who lived here. The Indus people used a hieroglyph-like writing, which until now has been difficult to interpret.

The Vedic religion, the Indo-European religion, named after its sacred writings, the Vedas, came to dominate religious life in India until around the 600s BC, when a number of reformist and rebellious sects and movements emerged, including Buddhism, which reached its heyday during The ruler of Maurya Ashoka in the 200s BC. During his reign, Buddhism spread to Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia. In India, however, Buddhism then weakened so much that it almost disappeared.

1 500 BC

Researchers believe that the Indus culture perished due to the invasion of Indo-Europeans, Aryans, which began in the 1500s BC and lasted for a long time. With the help of horse-drawn tanks, the Indo-Europeans spread across India from the northwest. From around the ninth century BC, the northern and central India dominated, but also had influence in the south

1,000 BC

Indraprashta, the first Delhi is founded

563 – 483 BC

Long lived Siddhartha Gautama, the founder of Buddhism

326 BC

Alexander the Great invades India and defeats King Porus of Punjab

321 – 185 BC

India is ruled by the kings of Maurya. The largest of these was King Ashoka, whose empire covered almost all of India except the southernmost part. It was not until modern times that such large parts of the Indian subcontinent were governed centrally as then. King Ashoka was a strong supporter of Buddhism and spread it over large parts of Asia

319 BC – 510 BC

During the North Indian Gupta Empire, Hindu culture experienced a literary and artistic golden age

History of India, after Christ – 1946

the 700s

The first Muslim rulers occupied the northwestern part of India


The Chola Empire originates in southern India


During this period, India itself was subjected to Muslim invasion attempts


Destroy Mahmoud of Gazhni, a Muslim leader from the Afghanistan Somernath Temple in the state of Gujarat


A Muslim empire was founded, the Delhi Sultanate, which was followed by, among others, the Lodhi Dynasty and the Mughal Empire. With them came new ideas in art, literature and architecture


The Hindu leader in Delhi loses the city to the Muslim leader Mohammed of Ghori, which means that the Hindu rule over the city is lost


Mohammed was killed by Ghori during a prayer service in the town of Ghazni


Founded the mighty Vijayanagar Empire. The ruins of the capital can today be viewed outside the city of Hampi in the state of Karnataka


The Muslim leader Timur invades Delhi under the pretext that the sultans have been too lenient with the Hindus. Before the Battle of Delhi, he had tens of thousands of Hindu prisoners of war executed


Guru Nanak was born in a small village outside Lahore, Pakistan. He founded the Sikh religion, which today has millions of followers


The Portuguese Vasco da Gama found the sea route to India. His ship docked in present-day Kerala and immediately began trading with the locals

1510 Portuguese troops occupy Goa

1526 Babur, a descendant of Genghis Khan, became the first great mogul in the Delhi Sultanate. He ruled during the years 1526 – 1530

1530 The new great mogul becomes Humayun, who rules during the years 1530 – 1556

1540 The great mogul Humayun is defeated at the Battle of Kanauj


The Hindu general Hemi captured Delhi after Humayum’s remarkable death. However, the Hindus were only allowed to rule Delhi for a few months, after which they were defeated by the Muslim leader Akbar in the second battle of Panipat.

1556 – 1606

Great mogul after Humayun became Akbar. He was the most powerful of all the great moguls and was called Akbar the Great. He reigned between the years 1556 – 1605

17th century

During this century, fierce competition arose between the French and British East India Companies. These worked with strong, if necessary also military, support from their respective governments


The British Queen Elisabeth I grants the British East India Company its first trading permit with India


The first British merchant ship led by Sir James Lancaster sails for India

1605 – 1627 Jehangir is appointed new great mogul after Akbar’s death. He rules over the years

1627 – 1658 Shah Jahan is appointed new great mogul. He reigned during the years 1627 – 1658


The work of building the Taj Mahal tomb on the commission of the great mogul Shah Jahan begins when his wife Mumtaz dies

1658 – 1707

Aurangzeb, Shah Jahan’s younger son who had his older brother murdered to gain power, becomes a new big mogul. He reigned during the years 1658 – 1707

18th century By the middle of this century, the British, due to superior military strength and business acumen, managed to drive away most of the French and thus secure their rule in India.


The great mogul Aurangzeb, who is considered the last of the mighty great moguls, died. His death leads to a gradual collapse of the empire
After the collapse of the Mughal Empire , the British East India Company had begun a ruthless exploitation of the Indian population, but by the end of the century the British state had the company’s extensive powers curtailed. At the same time, the British continued to conquer ever larger parts of India


Iranian leader Nadir Shah plunders Delhi and robs the gemstone-adorned “Peacock Throne”, which has never been found, and the Koh-i-Nohr diamond, now part of the British Crown Jewels

1757 The first British military victory in India takes place during the Battle of Plassey


The First War of Independence against the British took place. In the absence of a national leader, Indian freedom fighters ask the last great mogul Bahadur Shah Safar to proclaim himself emperor of India


After the bloody sepoy uprising, which began as an uprising among native soldiers in English service, the British government took control of the country. Under pressure, agreements were made with local princes, Maharajas, and soon the British had, in practice, conquered all of India.


Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born in Porbandar (in the state of Gujarat). He later became known as Mahatma Gandhi. Mahatma means “Great Spirit”


India becomes an empire and the country became more closely linked, both economically and culturally, to Britain. With the support of the big landowners, such as tax collectors, the British laid the foundation for the uneven land distribution that still prevails in the Indian countryside


The Indian National Congress was formed, which later came to be known as the Congress Party. This party led the freedom struggle against the English. The foremost Indian nationalist was Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (Mahatma Gandhi), a Western-educated lawyer but with a way of life based on Hindu tradition. Thanks to this he was able to talk to the English in their way and at the same time mobilize the poor masses in the countryside


In fear of Hindu domination in a future independent state, the Muslims formed the All India Muslim League

India history, modern 1947 – 1999


The Muslim League refused to join a Hindu-dominated state, so two independent states were proclaimed on August 15, the predominantly Hindu but secular, Indian Union and the predominantly Muslim Pakistan. Great concern arose, between seven and fifteen million people moved between India and Pakistan. Contradictions between Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims led to carnage in both countries. The
Congress Party, which led the freedom struggle, gained a dominant position after independence and its leader Jawaharlal Nehru became the country’s first prime minister. His personality came to shape politics and he advocated a form of “Indian socialism”, a mixed economy governed by five-year plans and a tightly regulated private industry.

The first conflict over Kashmir breaks out between India and Pakistan


Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated in New Delhi on January 30 by Nathuram Godse, a fanatical Hindu nationalist, in protest of the partition of India


The first democratic elections were held in Rajasthan, which for centuries has been ruled by kings (Maharajas).


War between India and China over border demarcation in the northeast and Ladakh


Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru dies of a heart attack


The second war breaks out between India and Pakistan. The conflict this time concerns a disputed area in the state of Gujarat


Nehru’s daughter Indira Gandhi was appointed party leader and prime minister. She soon proved to be an uncompromising ruler. Under her leadership, the Congress Party weakened and split


The third war between India and Pakistan breaks out since Western Pakistan demanded independence. The new country will be called Bangladesh


A state of emergency was imposed after a court convicted Indira Gandhi of violating election laws. Opposition leaders and critics of the regime were imprisoned, and press censorship was introduced. Her son Sanjay was given wide powers, including a family planning campaign, which also included forced sterilizations


In the new election, the opposition won. Power went to Morarji Desai, leader of the Janata Party, the People’s Party, a coalition in which the parties were most united by their aversion to Indira Gandhi


The governing coalition split


In the new election, the Congress Party regained power


In June, the most important shrine of the Sikhs, the Golden Temple in Amritsar, was invaded by Indira Gandhi to arrest terrorists. Many were killed and the operation aroused disgust even among Sikhs without sympathy for the terrorists. A few months later, Indira Gandhi was assassinated by two of her Sikh bodyguards,
Rajiv Gandhi, Indira’s son, succeeding her as leader. Great hope was placed on him as a new leader with the ability to get order in the country, but his party was soon drawn into various scandals. The most famous was the Bofors affair with bribery. Several ministers were forced to resign, including VP Singh, known for his fight against corruption. He was later expelled from the Congress party


The Congress party again lost power in the election and VP Singh, who had formed a new party in 1988, was allowed to form a government with the support of the Hindu-religious right-wing party BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) and the two Communist parties. However, the Congress Party was still the largest single party


The coalition government broke down and new elections were announced


Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated during an election rally in the state of Tamil Nadu. This gave the Congress Party many votes of sympathy and in the election in May the party won government power. PV Narasimha Rao was appointed party leader and prime minister

Economic reforms, separatist aspirations and religious contradictions came to dominate Rao’s time in power. His government was also hit by scandals. Rao himself was accused of weakness, indecision and even corruption


Major clashes between Muslims and Hindus after religious Hindu fanatics demolished a mosque in the city of Ayodhya, in the state of Uttar Pradesh, which was built on a Hindu temple


In the parliamentary elections, the BJP received the most seats and the party leader Atal Behari Vajpayee was commissioned to form a government. No other party wanted to cooperate with the BJP and instead a coalition government was formed of 13 parties that merged in the United Front, the United Front, with Janata Dal and two communist parties as the main representatives. However, the term of office was short, less than a year, and new elections were announced


In the new election in February / March, the BJP again became the largest party. The president of the party was Kocheril Raman Narayanan. AB Vajpayee was allowed to form a minority government. In order to hold a government together with about 20 parties of the most diverse ideologies, the BJP was forced to tone down its Hindu nationalist rhetoric. However, fears were raised fairly immediately that a BJP-led government would intensify the conflict with neighboring Pakistan

In May, India conducted a number of nuclear tests in the desert in the state of Rajasthan. Pakistan conducted its own test explosions shortly afterwards. The outside world protested against this military escalation and both countries were subjected to economic sanctions from the West


In the spring, the conflict in Kashmir intensified again after thousands of Muslim guerrillas crossed the border from Pakistan. For a couple of months, fierce battles were fought before Indian forces gained the upper hand

The state of war in Kashmir created a wave of patriotism that favored the BJP in this autumn’s new elections where the party won 182 seats and formed a government, the National Democratic Alliance, with 23 other parties. Together they got a reassuring majority

India Brief History