History of India

YearDynastyLanguages Spoken and Notes
1500BC - 600BCJanapada

No written records. Sanskrit was later written using the Brahmi script, a derivative of Aramaic (Syriac), of the same family as Arabic and Hebrew. It eventually evolved into today's Deva‑nagari script ("Divine writing") used to write modern day Hindi.

Sanskrit, the Indo-"Aryan" speech of the nobles of India, related to the Persian language of "Iran".
The Vedic period that followed the flood.
600BC - 400BCMahajanapadas

Gautama Buddha was said to have been born at this time, traditionally speaking "noble" Sanskrit. Buddha was said to have been opposed to its use in his preaching, however, preferring the Prakrit ("common speech") instead. Later his words were written using the Kharosthi script, another Aramaic-derived alphabet.

Magadhi Prakrit and Sanskrit. 16 traditional Tribes.
About 380BC the Persian (Parthian) empire reigned throughout India at the time of Queen Esther. The Persian language is known as Pahlavi,

At this time the "Bhagavad‑Gita" ("The Blessed One's Song") was thought to have been first written down in Sanskrit as a section inside the "Maha‑bharata" ("Great Story"), using the Brahmi script.
"Bog" subsequently became the name for "God" amongst the northern Scythian tribes (modern day Russia) while "Bharat" or "Bharata" became the common Indian name for "India".

345BC - 321BCNanda

Kingdom of Magadha, a short-lived empire in North-East India. It was the time of Alexander the Great, followed by one of his generals, Seleucus in Syria, speaking Greek and Aramaic.

Sanskrit and Magadhi Prakrit.
322BC - 180BCMauryaSanskrit and Magadhi Prakrit.

Buddhist King Ashoka issues edicts using three languages and four scripts Sanskrit (Brahmi) and Magadhi (Kharosthi), Aramaic and Greek.

150BC - 400Indo-Scythians

Eurasian Nomads from the north.

Scythian, Greek, and Pali. Pali was a Magadhi related language, using the Kkarosthi script.
30 - 375Kushan

traditionally said to be from China

Greek prior to 127AD then the language of Bactria, using a Greek script. Diplomatic relations with China (Han dynasty), Persia, Rome, and Aksum dynasty in Northern Ethiopia.
240 - 590Gupta

traditionally said to be from Bangla Desh in the east

Sanskrit and various Prakrits
606 - 647Harsha Vardhana
730 - 1036Gurjara Pratihara

traditionally said to be from Madhya Pradesh in Central India

Sanskrit and various Prakrits
831 - 1311ChandelaSanskrit
977 - 1186Ghaznavids

Turkic peoples from Ghazni in Afghanistan

Persian and Turkic
1206 - 1526Delhi Sultanate

Turkic peoples initially from Ghor in Afghanistan

Persian and Turkic
1526 - 1857Mughal

Turko-Mongol initially then with marriage alliances changing culture to Indo-Persian.


Golden Temple built in 1589 followed by Taj Mahal built in 1643.
In 1626, Red Fort for the Army Camp in Delhi refers to the "Urdu Bazar", the Army Marketplace outside the camp with its language becoming the official language.

1674 - 1818Maratha

Central India

Marathi and Sanskrit
1644 - 1947British

1644 Fort St George built at Madras (Chennai), a trading settlement

1665 Humphrey Cooke becomes first British Governor of Bombay (Mumbai) after Portuguese King grants port to King Charles II as part of wedding dowry of daughter, Catherine of Braganza

1690 Calcutta in Bengal founded from three small villages by East India Company with Fort William built in 1712.

1803 Delhi and the Deccan Plateau ceded to British where the Peshwa (Prime Minister) of Maratha fled for protection after being defeated in a battle with one of the Maratha chiefs.

1818 Maharashtra surrenders to British

1828 Assam annexed (Kachari Kingdom) and then in full in 1838

1843 Sindh in modern day Pakistan captured by Charles Napier following Muslim insurrections.

1849 Sikh Empire in Punjab region defeated after two wars 1845-46 and 1848-49. The Sikh army surrender at Rawalpindi, with Afghan allies chased out of India.

Robert Clive (1725-1774) also known as Clive of India, was a British officer and privateer who established the military and political supremacy of the East India Company in Bengal. The Nawab of Bengal and small French contingent defeated by him in battle in 1757 after East India company officials killed in "Black Hole of Calcutta".

In 1800, British refer to language of Urdu Bazar now simply as Urdu and use a Persian word Hindustani as the language of the country.

1818 Victory over Maratha Empire with capture (and pensioning) of their peshwa (prime minister)

1858 Shah rebellion of 1857 followed by British Raj (Rule). Railways Telegraph Roads Irrigation

1947 - TodayRepublic

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