India Early History


The presence of people from the early Paleolithic is attested by the Soanien cultural group, which spread from the Caucasus to Pakistan and India. The oldest phase of this group of forms is inter alia. proven by rubble and chopping equipment. East of the Indus Valley, stone implements that are worked on both sides and are similar to the Acheuléen culture stage can be found, which have (as yet unexplained) connections to East Africa. Numerous finds (especially microliths) and cave drawings indicate more highly developed hunting techniques (harpoon fishing, domesticated dogs) in the Mesolithic (since 8000 BC). While in Central and South India the evidence of settlement in the Neolithic are limited to sporadic finds, can be found in the northwest of the subcontinent for the period around 3000 BC. A large number of Neolithic cultures are documented by BC (slash and burn in the mountains, rural settlements in the river valleys, domesticated chickens, pigs, goats, cattle). The archaeological layers of the cultures in Quetta, Nal-Nundar, Amri and Mehi-Kulli corresponding to this period lead, among others. a typical buff-colored ceramic, that of the Praharappa group (Amri, Kot Diji, Kalibangan) a red product. The subsequent Harappa culture (especially ceramics with black painting on a red coating) led to the Chalcolithic period (Copper Stone Age , around 2000 BC).

According to Programingplease, the probably oldest archaeological site in Navdatoli in Central India on the Narmada River, with round buildings (storehouses) and rectangular dwellings, is representative of the culture, which is widespread in numerous regional forms. Their lowest layers contained wheat, the upper (about 1500–1000) on the other hand legumes and v. a. Rice. Ceramic vessels with a red coating and black painting (1700–1200) were also found. These also occur in northern India together with a “gray painted ware” that spread there in the late Vedic period (1000–600 BC). Simultaneous finds (copper tools, first iron tools, image of a horse in clay) suggest that the bearers of this culture were semi-nomads of the Indo-European language group. The gray ceramic was gradually replaced by a shiny black variant, around 600 BC And extended into the Maurya period (4th – 3rd century BC) (Indian art).

Aryan immigration

In the 2nd half of the 2nd millennium BC BC (around 1200) Aryan shepherd warriors (Aryans) immigrated to north-west India, who were able to conquer large areas through their superior war techniques (chariots). They called themselves arya (“noble”); their origin has not yet been finally clarified; the question of whether they contributed to the demise of the Harappa culture cannot be answered unequivocally either. Their religious ideas are in the Vedas (Veda , handed down), the main sources of early Indian history. The caste system (caste). The political organization of the immigrants adapted to the circumstances of the slow penetration of the north Indian plain; Brahmins played an important role as sacrificial priests and advisers at the numerous small royal courts.


After the new culture had penetrated the entire Ganges plain, a center of culture and power formed in the east of the plain, in Magadha (in today’s Bihar). Worked here around the middle of the 1st millennium BC Chr. Buddha , the displaced with his new doctrine the Brahmin sacrificial priest, and Mahavira (Jaina), and here the dynasty of the Maurya took place from 4th to 3rd century their power base. With control over the most important trade routes, a well thought-out state administration and finally the claim to a universal Indian monarchy, this dynasty had a means of power at its disposal that far exceeded the possibilities of its predecessors. The state textbook Arthashastra , the Edicts of Ashoka, the third and most important Maurya ruler, and finally the reports of the Greek envoy Megasthenes convey a clear picture of this state.

The Maurya Empire emerged shortly after the incursion of Alexander the Great in northwest India (327-325 BC) and formed a counterpoint to the Seleucid Empire. After the decline of the Maurya empire, which began after the death of Ashoka(232 BC), the Graecobactrian king Demetrios I succeeded from 183 BC. To occupy India in the south as far as Kathiawar and Gujarat, in the east as far as the capital Pataliputra (Patna). The Greek rulers, among whom Menander , who promoted Buddhism, stood out, could only hold out in north-west India until they were in the 1st half of the 1st century BC. Succumb to the Saken from the north, the first of the Indoskythian empires founded. After an interim Parthian rule in the 1st century AD, in which King Gondophernes gained greater importance, the Tocharian Kushana established an empire that, under King Kanishka, included northern India and Kashmir as well as present-day Afghanistan and Turkestan.

Gupta dynasty

After the decline of the great Buddhist empires, a Brahmanic renaissance made itself felt in India. Many small royal houses took advantage of the decay of the great empires and instead of the Buddhist monastic orders, which were a burden even for larger states, the Brahmanas, who underpinned the legitimacy of the ruling houses through ritual and advice. From the midst of these small rulers, the Gupta dynasty (Gupta) rose in the 4th century, who knew how to bind various royal houses through a kind of feudal system, to spread a new court culture and to gain reputation by cultivating classical Sanskrit procure. For the Gupta too, Magadha was the basis of their power.

Samudragupta (about 335-375) subjugated large areas of southern India. Under Candragupta II. (375-413 / 15), who was nicknamed Vikramaditya (Sun of Strength), the Gupta era reached its political and cultural climax. The Gupta empire was destroyed by the incursions of the Huns under their kings Toramana and Mihiracula (502-528). These were not in a position to establish an Indian empire for their part; under King Hashavardhanavon Kanauj (606–647) achieved another bloom for a few decades. After his death, numerous small dynasties formed in northern India, each trying to continue the tradition in their own way. In the 9th century the Gurjara-Pratihara (Gujar) succeeded in conquering large parts of the northern subcontinent and establishing a great empire (center Kanauj), which formed a Hindu bulwark against the advancing Islamic conquerors until the beginning of the 11th century.

India Early History