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History of India

The period from 1707AD, the year when Aurangzeb died, to 1857, the year of the Indian Uprising, saw the gradual increase of the European influence in India. The Europeans had been filtering into India for a long time before they actually decided to set up shop here. Even though the British got away with the jackpot, the real pioneers to reach India were the Portuguese.

Full of crusading and commercial zeal, Vasco da Gama was the first known European to reach India in 1498, even before the Mughals arrived here. When Vasco da Gama docked his ship in Calicut, he announced that he came in search of "Christians and spices" and the very first people he met here were Christians, who were descendants of those who had settled in India way back in the 4th century AD.

The country was influenced by many invasions, the Arya or Aryans (1500BC) as they are known today, are the first invaders. Aryans were a group of nomadic tribes who had originally inhabited the steppes of Central Asia, in particular the region between the Caspian Sea and the Black Sea. Tall, fair haired, with clear cut features, they spoke a group of languages which have become known as Indo-European. They settled in the region to the north west of India, known as the Punjab. They brought with them new ideas, new technology and new gods, this is one of the most important epochs in Indian history. With time, the Aryans were engaged in struggle with the dark skinned people or Dasyus. The Dasyus were the Dravidians. The superiority of the Aryans resulted in the Dravidian submission.

The second great invasion into India occurred around 500 BC, when the Persian kings Cyrus and Darius, pushing their empire eastward, conquered the prized Indus Valley. After centuries of obscurity, doubt and conjecture, India came into the full light of recorded history with the invasion of Alexander the Great of Macedonia in 327 BC. Although Alexander crossed the Indus and defeated an Indian king, he turned back without extending his power into India.