The History of India and the Indian culture is complicated because of the many different ethnic groups, religions and languages on the Indian sub-continent.  Since the earliest cultures along the Indus and Ganges Rivers, India has grown to be over 1 billion people and its surrounding areas combine for nearly another 1 billion. India is the world's largest democracy and one of the world's most powerful economies.  Understanding its history will be vital for people interested in doing business or anyone involved in politics during the 21st century.  The AP World History Course is designed to test your knowledge of Indian history from the Indus River Valley Civilization to the current age and it  tends to divide its information in six categories.  These categories are politics, economics, religion, social life, intellectual life, and art.  Often the AP exam also expects students to know how the geography of a place influences the historical developments over time. 

In India, Hinduism and Buddhism are the dominant forces throughout its history and they continue to be a very powerful layer of culture even today. Click on the Indian dynasty time periods to the right to learn more about each of the Indian dynastic periods.

The region referred to as India actually encompassed an area so large it is called the Indian or South Asian sub-content. Today the sub-continent is divided into several nations but historically it has been one large culture although rarely united under a single dynastic ruler.  The dominent countries today are India which is the largest and dominated by Hindu culture, Pakistan which is primarily Muslim and Bangledesh which is also Muslim.  


History of India


Commonly divided into Ten Periods


1. Indus Valley Civilization: led by the city states of Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa


2. Aryans (2500BC – 322BC)‏


Hinduism and regional kingdoms develop


3. The Mauryan Empire (322BC – 188BC)‏


Spread of Buddhism and the first Indian Empire started by Chandragupta


4. Gupta Period (320AD – 480AD)‏


Golden Age of India


5. Muslim Invasions (1175AD – 1300AD)‏


Muslims Turks from Afghanistan invade and begin to re-unite India into small kingdoms


6. Delhi Sultanate is the largest of these kingdoms ruled by Muslim Turks


7. Mughals – most powerful of Indian dynasties controlled most of today’s India, Pakistan and Bangladesh


8. European Imperialism (1500AD – 1850AD)‏


Portuguese, French, Dutch, and English centers of rule dominated by Corporations not countries


9. English Imperialism – ruled as an English colony for almost 100 years


10. Independence and Democratic India – Muslim and Hindu political groups push for and eventually gain independence from European Imperialism. Today India is one of the most important, powerful countries in the world and is rapidly growing in influence


This satelite image illustrates the Himalayan Mountains and the Kush Mountains that separate the Indian sub-continent from the rest of Asia.  You should also notice the Indus River in today's Pakistan and the Ganges River in India.