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History of India - The coming of the Europeans

European colonies in India were set up by several European nations beginning at the beginning of the 16th century. Rivalry between reigning European powers saw the entry of the Portuguese, Dutch, British and French among others. The fractured debilitated kingdoms of India were gradually taken over by the Europeans and indirectly controlled by puppet rulers. By the 19 th century, the British had assumed direct and indirect control over most of India . The Portuguese were the first Europeans to arrive in India in 1498. The closing of traditional trade routes in western Asia by the Ottomans and rivalry with the Italian states set Portugal in search of an alternate sea route to India . The first successful voyage to India was by Vasco da Gama in 1498, when he arrived in Calicut , Kerala. He proceeded to Goa . The Portuguese established a chain of outposts along India 's west coast and on the island of Sri Lanka in the early 16th century. Goa was their prized possession an

History of India - Islamic Rulers

The Deli Sultanate refers to the many Muslim dynasties that ruled in India from 1206 to 1526. Several Turkish and Afghan dynasties ruled from Delhi : the Slave dynasty (1206-90), the Khilji dynasty (1290-1320), the Tughlaq dynasty (1320-1413), the Sayyid dynasty (1414-51), and the Lodi dynasty (1451-1526). During the last quarter of the twelfth century, Muhammad of Ghor invaded the Indo-Gangetic plain, conquering in succession Ghazni, Multan , Sindh, Lahore , and Delhi . Qutb-ud-din Aybak, one of his generals proclaimed himself Sultan of Delhi. In the 13th century, Shams ud din Iltumish (1211 - 1236), a former slave-warrior, established a Turkic kingdom in Delhi, which enabled future sultans to push in every direction; within the next 100 years, the Delhi Sultanate extended its way east to Bengal and south to the Deccan, while the sultanate itself experienced repeated threats from the northwest and internal revolts from displeased, independent-minded nobles. The sultanate was in co

History of India - Classical Age

After the collapse of the Gupta Empire in the 6th century, India was ruled by numerous regional kingdoms. From the mid-seventh to the mid-thirteenth centuries, regionalism was the dominant theme of political or dynastic history of South Asia . A minor line of the Gupta clan continued to rule Magadha after the disintegration of the empire until ultimately ousted by the Vardhana king Harsha, who established an empire in the first half of the seventh century. The White Huns established themselves in Afghanistan by the first half of the fifth century, with their capital at Bamiyan. They were responsible for the downfall of the Gupta dynasty but much of the Deccan and southern India were largely unaffected. The classical age in India began with the resurgence of the north during Harsha's conquests around the 7th century and ended with the fall of the Vijayanagar Empire in the South due to pressure from the invaders to the north in the 13th century. This period produced some of

Decline of India

There was a time in the history of India when scientific and technological innovation flourish. This golden era of science ended by the end of the 6 th century A.D. Ancient India attracted many invaders, rulers and nations because of the wealth and fame. Some went back, some stayed and some become rulers. But the decline of the glory is not only caused by invaders but also by divisions within the society. India enjoyed relative peace from the beginning of the Maurya Empire (321 B.C – 184 B.C) to end of Gupta Empire (240 A.D. – 550 A.D.). The time of the Gupta Empire is referred to as Golden Age of India in science, mathematics, astronomy, religion and Indian philosophy. The peace and prosperity created under leadership of Gupta’s enabled the pursuit of scientific and artistic endeavors. The invaders from northwest (Hunas) drained empire's resources and decline of India began. The caste system which stratify the society into hierarchical list of Jatis or caste and sub

Astronomy in Ancient India

Early cultures identified celestial objects with gods and spirits. They related these objects and their movements to predict things like rain, drought, seasons, and tides. The movements of Sun and Moon are used in calendars to measure the day, month and year. It is important to agricultural societies as they need to know the time to plant and harvest. Ancient societies also believed that the position of some celestial bodies have an impact on the human beings. The astronomy and the astrology of India are based upon the stars and the time it takes to make one full orbit around the Sun, relative to the stars. The earliest references to astronomy are found in the Vedas which are dated around 3000 B.C. to 1000 B.C. By 500 AD, ancient Indian astronomy has emerged as an important part of Indian studies and its affect is also seen in several treatises of that period. In some instances, astronomical principles were borrowed to explain matters, pertaining to astrology, like casting of a ho

Physics in Ancient India

Indians in the Vedic era classified the material world into five basic elements: earth, fire, air, water and ether/space. From the 6th century BC, they formulated systematic atomic theories, beginning with Kanada and Pakudha Katyayana. Indian atomists believed that an atom could be one of up to 9 elements, with each element having up to 24 properties. They developed detailed theories of how atoms could combine, react, vibrate, move and perform other actions, as well as elaborate theories of how atoms can form binary molecules that combine further to form larger molecules, and how particles first combine in pairs, and then group into trios of pairs, which are the smallest visible units of matter. This parallels with the structure of modern atomic theory, in which pairs or triplets of supposedly fundamental quarks combine to create most typical forms of matter. In the late Vedic era(9th–6th century BC), the astronomer Yajnavalkya, in his Shatapatha Brahmana , referred to an early conc

Medicines of Ancient India

Ayurveda as a science of medicine owes its origins in ancient India . The literal meaning of the Sanskrit word Ayurveda is the science of life or longevity. Ayurveda constitutes ideas about ailments and diseases, their symptoms, diagnosis and cure, and relies heavily on herbal medicines, including extracts of several plants of medicinal values. Ayurveda was formally organized into eight sections or branches called Astanga (eight-armed) Ayurveda. They are Kayachikitsa Tantra(Internal Medicine), Shalya Tantra(Surgery) - Shalakya Tantra( Ears, eyes, nose and throat), Kaumarabhritya Tantra ( Pediatrics ), Agada Tantra( Toxicology), Bajikarana Tantra( Purification of the genetic organs), Rasayana Tantra( Health and Longevity), and Bhuta Vidya( Spiritual Healing). Ancient scholars of India like Atreya, and Agnivesa have dealt with principles of Ayurveda as long back as 800 BC. Their works and other developments were consolidated by Charaka who compiled a compendium of Ayurvedic prin