History of India

YearDynasty, Languages Spoken and Notes
1500BC - 600BCJanapada Dynasty

It was the Vedic period that followed the flood.
Sanskrit was the main language, the Indo-"Aryan" speech of the nobles of India, related to the language of "Iran".

No written records exist until the Ashoka edicts in 256BC.

600BC - 400BCMahajanapadas 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).

About 380BC the Persian (Parthian) empire reigned throughout India at the time of Queen Esther.

Also at this time the "Bhagavad‑Gita" ("God's Song") is thought to have been composed in Sanskrit as a section inside the "Maha‑bharata" ("Great Story").

"Bog" became the name for "God" amongst the northern Scythian tribes (modern day Russia) while "Bharat" or "Bharata" became the common name for "India".

350BCNanda Empire

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 - 180BCMaurya 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. 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.

150BC - 400Indo-Scythians

Eurasian Nomads from the north. Scythian, Greek, and Pali are the common languages.

30 - 375Kushan Empire

traditionally said to be from China. Greek is commonly used, and after 127AD the language of Bactria in north-west India (modern day Pakistan) was written using a Greek script. Diplomatic relations formed with China's Han dynasty, Persia, Rome, and Aksum dynasty in Northern Ethiopia.

240 - 590Gupta Empire

traditionally said to be from the east (modern day Bangla Desh)

606 - 647Harsha Vardhana Dynasty
730 - 1036Gurjara Pratihara Dynasty

traditionally said to be from Madhya Pradesh in Central India

831 - 1311Chandela Dynasty
977 - 1186Ghaznavid Dynasty

Turkic peoples from Ghazni in Afghanistan speaking Persian and Turkic

1206 - 1526Delhi Sultanate

Turkic peoples initially from Ghor in Afghanistan

1526 - 1857Mughal Empire

Turko-Mongol dynasty initially, then with marriage alliances changing their culture to Indo-Persian.
Golden Temple was built in 1589 followed by the Taj Mahal built in 1643.
In 1626, the Red Fort for the Army Camp at Delhi refers to the "Urdu Bazar", the Army Marketplace outside the camp, and its language becomes their official language.

1674 - 1818Maratha Empire ruled through Central India speaking the Marathi language.
1644 - 1947British Empire
  1. 1644 Fort St George built at Madras (Chennai), a trading settlement
  2. 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
  3. 1690 Calcutta in Bengal founded from three small villages by East India Company, with Fort William built in 1712.
  4. 1757 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. After East India company officials killed in "Black Hole of Calcutta" in 1757, the Nawab of Bengal and small French contingent defeated by him in battle.
  5. 1803 Delhi and the Deccan Plateau ceded to British after the Peshwa (Prime Minister) of Maratha Empire fled to the British for protection when he was defeated in a battle with one of the Maratha chiefs.
    British now refer to Delhi's language of Urdu Bazar simply as "Urdu" and use a Persian word "Hindustani" as the language of the country.
  6. 1818 Maharashtra, capital of the Marathi Empire, surrenders to British after the capture (and pensioning) of their Peshwa (Prime Minister).
  7. 1832 Annexes Kachari Kingdom (part of Assam) and then Assam in 1838.
  8. 1843 Sindh in modern day Pakistan captured by Charles Napier following Muslim insurrections.
  9. 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.
  10. 1858 Shah rebellion of 1857 was followed by British Raj (Rule) over all India. Railways Telegraph Roads Irrigation
1947 - TodayRepublic of India becomes an independent nation within the British Commonwealth of Nations
Its Seven main Prime Ministers have been:
  1. Jawaharlal Nehru 1947-1964
  2. Indira Gandhi (his daughter) 1966-1977 and 1980-1984
  3. Rajiv Gandhi (her son) 1984-1989
  4. PV Narasimha Rao 1991-1996
  5. Atal Bihari Vajpayee 1998-2004
  6. Manmohan Singh 2004-2014
  7. Narendra Modi since 2014

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