Who was the first ruler of India

India's history

The national state of India has only existed in its current borders since its independence in 1947. In many ways shaped by the rule of the Mughals and British colonial rule, the main cultural origins of India lie in the Indus Valley civilization.

Prehistory and Classical Period in India

The Indus Valley civilization was one of the earliest advanced civilizations of mankind. The Indus Valley runs along the Indus River, which also flows through what is now Pakistan. Archaeological finds show that there was already 2,500 BC along the river. There were large city systems with their own sewer systems. The people of this civilization even had their own script, which has not yet been deciphered. Around 1,700 BC It fell apart in an unfathomable way.

In the following, the Vedic time period (from approx. 1,500 - 500 BC) is considered to have shaped today's forms of culture and religion in India. At this time the so-called Vedas were created, a collection of philosophical writings. In many ways, some elements of these scriptures form the basis for the Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism religions that arose in India.

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In the 4th century. v. A first Indian empire of the Maurya dynasty emerged. After their ruler Ashoka had conquered almost the entire Indian subcontinent, he turned to Buddhism, which he tried to spread in his own country and far beyond. His death led to the disintegration of the great empire into many small kingdoms and principalities. It was not until the Gupta dynasty in the 4th century AD that the numerous small states were reunited to form a large empire in northern India. The decline of the Gupta dynasty and the beginning of Arab conquests in the 8th century AD mark the transition to the period of the Indian Middle Ages and the subsequent Mughal rule on the subcontinent.

Middle Ages and Indian Mughal Empire

Along with the Arab conquests, Islam came to northern India for the first time. But it was not until the invasion of Islamic groups from Central Asia that Muslim rule dominated northern India in the 12th century. The Sultanate of Delhi was able to extend its sphere of influence over southern India for a short time, but the Mongol invasion at the end of the 14th century weakened the supremacy of the Sultanate immensely and led to regional empires being strengthened again.

In the 16th century, the Muslim rulers fully recovered and founded the Mughal Empire, which dominated northern India for the next 200 years and lasted until 1857. Important rulers such as Akbar, Jahangir, Shah Jahan and Aurangzeb not only continuously expanded the borders, but also created a functioning state and administrative system and also promoted art, literature and architecture. Probably the most famous example of the masterful architecture of the Mughal times is the Taj Mahal in Agra. Mughal Mughal Shah Jahan built the mausoleum for his wife Mumtaz Mahal as a token of his love and admiration.

Visit the historical capital of the Mughal Empire: Fathepur Sikri (UNESCO)!

Colonial times and Indian independence

The age of European expansion began around 1500. Now the French, Dutch and British began to set up bases for overseas trade in India. In 1756 the British East India Company gradually succeeded in taking control of large parts of the subcontinent from its 3 bases in Calcutta, Madras and Bombay.

Around 1857 and 1858, a large part of the population of India rose against British domination by the British East India Company. This uprising was triggered by those Indians who served in the BEIC military. After the suppression of the protests, the BEIC was disbanded and India was placed under full British control. Therefore, all British monarchs between 1877 and 1947 also carried the title Empress of India or Emperor of India (Kaiser [in] of India). The magnificent colonial buildings shape the image of numerous cities in India to this day and are the destination of numerous tourists.

In 1885 the Indian National Congress (Congress Party) was founded in Bombay, which was initially not supposed to demand the independence of India, but primarily more political rights for the local population. It was not until the disillusionment with the superiority of colonial rule due to the horrific events at the beginning to the middle of the 20th century in Europe and around the world that a remarkable independence movement emerged. Above all, the non-violent resistance to British colonial rule, led by Mohandas K. Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru, led to India's independence in 1947.

Colonial flair in the Darjeeling region ...

Modern times in India

India's independence was followed by the secession of the regions in which the majority of the population was dominated by Muslims in East & West Pakistan. In 1950 India was declared a republic through the adoption of a constitution that was significantly influenced by Bhimrao Ambedkar. In the dispute over border regions, there were two wars between India and West Pakistan from 1947 to 1949 and in 1965.

In 1971 India then supported independence movements in East Pakistan, which again led to war with West Pakistan. As a result, the Muslim state of Bangladesh was founded. The internal political table dominated the Congress Party at the federal level until the early 1970s. Initially under the leadership of Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru from 1947 to 1964.

In 1966 his daughter Indira Gandhi became Prime Minister and began to expand her position of power. This led to a strengthening of opposition movements at the national level. In 1975 a court found Indira Gandhi guilty of electoral fraud in the 1971 election. But instead of complying with the opposition's demands for resignation, it declared a state of emergency and ruled by decree until 1977.

As a result of these repressive policies, the Congress Party lost the 1977 elections and for the first time a left-wing coalition ruled, led by the Janata Party until 1980. That year, Indira Gandhi and the Congress Party succeeded in coming to power again. During her second term as Prime Minister, the conflict with Sikhist separatists in the north-western region of Punjab intensified.

In 1984 it escalated and Indira Gandhi was murdered in the course of this. Her son Rajiv Gandhi then takes over the official business. He remained Prime Minister for a few years, but then lost the 1989 elections. Shortly after Rajiv Gandi came back to power with the Congress Party in 1991, he too was murdered. Instead of him, R.V.N. Rao takes over government affairs and primarily initiates the country's economic liberalization.

An upswing in Hindu nationalism in India has been evident since the 1980s. The political arm of the movement, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) even led the government coalition in India between 1998 and 2004 and provided the head of government. In 2004 Sonia Gandhi won the election with the Congress Party. However, she renounced the office and left it to Manmohan Sing, who is India's prime minister to this day. Here you get an overview of the different religions in India.