SOUTH ASIA—Timeline of Historical Periods
Indus River Civilization
- Development of urban grain-growing civilization on the Indus River;
- Two main cities: Harappa and Mohenjo-daro;
- Undeciphered proto-Dravidian script;
- Destroyed by climate, invasion of non-Indus peoples
ca. 1750-1000 BCE
- Migration into northwest India of nomadic herding tribes from Iranian plateau;
- Indo-European language;
- Oral religious traditions preserved in Vedas, oldest of which, the Rig Veda, predates migration
ca. 900 BCE
- Early Hinduism characterized by rituals belief in reincarnation, dharma, karma and division of society into four classes (varnas)
Invasion of Alexander the Great
- Domination of North India by Chandragupta, extended to south by grandson, Ashoka.
Development / Diffusion of Sanskritic culture
- Major texts of Hindu tradition take shape: Mahabharata, Ramayana, codification of laws, grammar, science, arts;
- Gods Shiva, Vishnu major figures;
- Spread of Sanskritic culture to South India
Invasions of North India
- Invasions by Central Asian tribes: Bactrian Greeks; Sakas; Kushans, who establish a dynasty, ca. 78 BCE-200 CE
- Matured Hindu tradition expressed in poetry, drama [Kalidasa]; art, temple architecture; philosophy [Vedanta]; new forms of devotional [bhakti] worship.
- Guptas dominate North India at beginning of 'classical' period.
ca. 455-528 CE
Invasion of Huns
- Successive invasions of Huns and other Central Asian tribes destroy Gupta empire.
Rajput Dynasties (North India); Regional Dynasties (South India)
- Warlike clans appear in Rajasthan
Arabs take Sind
- Paliava dynasty dominates south; continuing conflict with Cholas, with Cheras, Pandyas
Raids of Mahmud of Ghazni
- Invasions of Muslims from Central Asia lead to political dominance of Muslims in North India and introduction of Persian culture, Islamic religion into South Asia.
- Turko-Afghan chieftains establish sultanate at Delhi; dominate North India
- Rise of the Hindu kingdom in South India;
- Independent of Muslim rulers until destruction of capital city in 1565.
Portuguese traders in India
- Mughal empire unifies North and parts of South India under its rule;
- Amalgam of Persian and Indian culture created in its courts and territories.
European traders in India
- Establishment of trading outposts in India: Dutch (1609); English (1612); French (1674)
Battle of Plassey
- Victory over Nawab of Bengal gives East India Company control of Bengal and begins expansion of British power in India.
- Political dominance of British introduces Western culture, language, methods of government, technology into urban administrative centers.
- Direct British rule over India
Modern South Asia
Independence from British rule/ Partition: India and Pakistan
- Independence from British rule and Partition of British India into modern counries of India and Pakistan (East and West)
Bangladesh (formerly East Pakistan)
- War between East and West Pakistan results in separation of Pakistan into two states: Pakistan and Bangladesh
Consultants: Leonard A. Gordon, Senior Research Scholar, and Judith Walsh, Research Scholar, South Asia Institute, Columbia University