The history of India traces back to prehistoric times nearly 500,000 years ago. There is evidence of some of the world’s earliest humans and civilizations in the region. The area’s first civilization was believed to be the Indus Valley Civilization, which lived in the area from about 3300 to 1300 BC. These people were thought to be Dravidians and later migrated to the southern part of the region. There is also evidence of a more advanced civilization from about 2600 to 1900 BC, which was during the Bronze Age.
During the 6th and 5th centuries BC, Aryan tribes moved into the eastern part of the region and formed civilizations along the Yamuna and Ganga Rivers. The area featured an advanced society with a system of labor, states, and a population with growing wealth.The Maurya Empire conquered the region in the 4th and 3rd centuries BC, which resulted in parts of the region falling under the rule of various Middle kingdoms for a millennia and a half. Many believe that during this time, India had the world’s largest economy of the ancient world due to its population.
The northern and central parts of the region united under the Gupta Empire, which saw rise to the Hindu religion. This was known as the Golden
Age of India. The southern area also saw growth, and the Hindu and Buddhist practices in that region spread to Asia. India conducted business with the Roman Empire beginning around 77 AD.
The spread of Islam began in the continent in approximately the 8th century AD. There were several invasions of the region in the area that is now Pakistan, as well as several from Central Asia through the 15th century. Muslim empires formed including Delhi Sultanate and the Mughal Empire. It was during this time that Central Asian styles of art and architecture were brought to India. As the Mughal Empire began to struggle at the beginning of the 18th century, groups such as the Balochis, Afghans, and Sikhs moved into the area and took control.
Midway through the 18th century, parts of India were taken over by the British East India Company. The response was the Indian Rebellion in 1857, followed by a period of rapid development. However, the region also experienced economic decline. It was not until the 20th century that independence again became an issue. The Indian National Congress, in conjunction with the Muslim League, fought for independence from the United Kingdom and by 1947, was free from British rule. Unfortunately, there was also tension between the Hindu and Muslim people in the region. It was during this struggle for independence that Mahatma Gandhi became a noted figure, encouraging the people of the region to live in harmony, and religious and social tolerance.
Following half a decade of socialist control, the modern Republic of India is a country that has embraced economic reforms and now has one of the world’s fastest growing economies. It has a culture brimming with performance art, architecture, and literature, much of which embraces its rich history.