|Year||Dynasty, Languages Spoken and Notes|
It was the Vedic period that followed the flood.
No written records exist until the Ashoka edicts in 256BC.
Due to their perishable nature, also an insistence on pronouncing (and explaining) the words correctly, it is unclear as to when the Vedas were first written down. The oldest surviving manuscripts in Nepal date to c. 1040.
|600BC - 400BC||Mahajanapadas 16 traditional Tribes.
Gautama Buddha was said to have been born at this time in Nepal, traditionally speaking "noble" Sanskrit. Buddha was said to have been opposed to its use in his preaching, however, preferring the Prakrit ("common speech") of Magadha, a language also known as Pali. Magadha was an important region in north-east India (modern day Bihar state).
Pataliputra, modern day Patna, is a city thought to have been built towards the end of Buddha's life. It became the capital city for many of India's succeeding dynasties up until the time of the Delhi Sultanate in 1200. It is situated 1,000 kilometres to the east of Delhi.
|About 380BC the Persian empire reigned throughout India at the time of Queen Esther (Esther 1:1).
"Bog" became the name for "God" amongst the northern Scythian tribes (modern day Russia) while "Bharat" or "Bharata" became the common name for "India".
A short-lived empire in the Magadha region. It was followed by Alexander the Great's invasion. His empire was subsequently ruled by one of his generals, Seleucus in Syria, with Greek and Aramaic becoming common languages throughout his empire.
|322BC - 180BC||Maurya Empire
Starting about 256BC, Buddhist King Ashoka issued over 30 copies of Prakrit ("common speech") edicts on pillars and cave walls in the Brahmi script, except in north-west India where Kharosthi, Aramaic and Greek alphabets were used.
These are the earliest writings in India in existence. The Brahmi script is thought to be a derivative of Aramaic (Syriac), the same family as Arabic and Hebrew, though in most cases Brahmi (and its derivatives) are written from left to right. Later it evolved into today's Deva‑nagari script ("Divine writing") used to write modern day Hindi.
In north-west India (modern day Pakistan) the ancient kingdom of Gandhara used the Kharosthi script, another Aramaic-derived alphabet, and written from right to left.
|150BC - 400||Indo-Scythians
Eurasian Nomads from the north. Scythian, Greek, and Pali are the common languages.
|30 - 375||Kushan Empire
traditionally said to be from Western China.
His capital city was Purushapura, Peshawar (today part of Pakistan, just inside its border with Afghanistan). The Greek language was commonly used at first, but after 127AD the Bactrian language of Eastern Persia took over, using a Greek script. Diplomatic relations formed with China's Han dynasty, also with Persia, Rome, and the Aksum dynasty in Northern Ethiopia.
The year 148 saw the first documented translation of Buddhist scriptures from various Indian languages into Chinese, with Kushan monks travelling along the Silk Road.
|240 - 590||Gupta Empire
traditionally said to be from the east (i.e. modern day Bangla Desh). Prakrit and Sanskrit are the common languages.
|606 - 647||Harsha Vardhana Dynasty|
|730 - 1036||Gurjara Pratihara Dynasty
traditionally said to be from Madhya Pradesh in Central India
|831 - 1311||Chandela Dynasty|
|977 - 1186||Ghaznavid Dynasty
Turkic peoples from Ghazni in Afghanistan speaking Persian (their lingua franca) and Turkic (the language of their military).
In 683 Arab armies brought Islam to Afghanistan. About 200-300 years later, Ghazni (about 400 kilometres west of Peshawar) was conquered and rebuilt and for nearly the next two hundred years (from 977 till 1163) the city was said to be the "dazzling capital" of the Ghaznavid Empire. In 1021 Shah Mahmud annexed Lahore about 500 kilometres south-east of Peshawar, making it his second capital. Today Lahore is in modern Pakistan, just inside the border from India.
|1206 - 1526||Delhi Sultanate
Muslim Turkic peoples, initially from Ghor in Afghanistan, speaking Persian.
In 1210 when General Qutb al-Din Aibak died unexpectedly in Lahore during a sport game the local nobles appointed Aram Shah to be his successor. Other nobles, in opposition, proposed Iltutmish as firstly Aibak called him a son and secondly he had a distinguished record of service. Iltutmish marched to Delhi about 400 kilometres south-east of Lahore where he seized power, and later defeated Aram Shah's forces. He became the first Muslim sovereign to rule from Delhi.
|1526 - 1857||Mughal Empire
Founded by Babur 1483-1530 a descendant of Genghis Khan through his mother and Timur (Tamburlaine the Great) through his father. A Turko-Mongol dynasty initially, but with marriage alliances the culture changed to Indo-Persian.
The Golden Temple was built in 1589 in Amritsar, about 450 kilometres north-west of Delhi and about 50 kilometres east of Lahore, just inside the Indian border. It became the pre-eminent site of Sikhism.
It was followed by the Taj Mahal, built in 1643 in Agra about 200 kilometres south of Delhi as a tomb for the shah's wife, and then the shah himself.
In 1626 the Red Fort at Delhi, a newly built residence for the Mughal Emperor, made first documented reference to "Urdu" Bazar, the marketplace language of the "Horde" (or the "Camp").
|1674 - 1818||Maratha Empire ruled through Central India speaking the Marathi language.
In 1719, Marathas marched to Delhi after defeating
Subsequently the Maratha empire invaded Bengal six times from 1741-1748. In a peace agreement in 1751, the Nawab of Bengal became a tributary to the Marathas until 1758 when it came under the British East India company.
|1644 - 1947||British Empire
Stalin is said to have observed that it was ridiculous . . . that a few hundred Englishmen should dominate India. Actually, the “few hundred” numbered just over a thousand, of whom one-fifth were at any time either sick or on leave. This, over a population of about 300 million in what is now India, Pakistan, Myanmar, and Bangladesh. Although certainly not as cruel as the Belgians in the Congo, the servants of the Raj and their compatriots (families, businessmen, missionaries, etc.)— about 100,000 in 1900 —were viewed as “lofty and contemptuous.” And they had their moments of cruelty as well.
|1947 - Today||Republic of India becomes an independent nation within the British Commonwealth of Nations
Its Seven main Prime Ministers have been:
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