Based on some recent readings - here is my list of the Key Events in the history of the sub-continent prior to 1800
1. Indus River Civilization begins 5000-6000 years ago.
2. Earliest Vedas are written.
3. Cities of Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa flourish (3000-1500 BCE). Bronze working techniques 4. were a feature of each of the city’s technology.
5. Decline of Indus River Civilizations in 1500 BCE. Reasons still unknown.
6. The Aryan invasion of India begins around 2000BC. Local Dravidian population are driven into the Deccan plateau.
7. Aryan invaders introduce Caste System in India. Hindu civilization flourishes in Ganges valley after 1400 BC.
8. Aryan Hindus extend power throughout India from 1000-600 BC. Aryan influence is felt as far away as Ceylon (modern day Sri Lanka).
9. Period of the Mahajanapandas c. 600 BC. 16 Kingdoms and republics dominate the Ganges Valley.
10. Life of the Buddha – the Enlightened one: 560-483BC. Buddhist doctrine rises in opposition to Hinduism especially
11. Life of Mahavira or Jina (Victor): 540-468BC. Followers are the ultra-pacifist Jains.
12. Kingdoms of Magadha, Kosali and Kagi as well as the Republic of Vrjji dominate India c. 500BC.
13. Sinhalese begin colonization of Ceylon in 483BC (led by the Hindu price Vijaya). Start of the clash with native Tamil people (a struggle which continues today).
14. Persian territories in India move towards independence c. 350BC.
15. Alexander the Great reaches the Indus Valley. He defeats Porus the most influential ruler of the Punjab at the Battle of Hydaspes River in 326BC. However after his main troop body refuses to proceed further Alexander turns backward. Greek governors are left in the conquered territory.
16. Chandragupta takes power of the Nanda throne in 323 BC. He founds the Mauryan dynasty and drives out the Macedonian Greeks. The influential Arthasastra, a manual of Politics, is written during his reign.
17. Chandragupta blocks an invasion led by Seleucid Greeks in 305BC. In 286 BC Chandragupta will die.
18. Asoka, the grandson of Chandragupta wins control of the Mauryan throne in 274BC. His forces will campaign in both the Ganges Valley and the Deccan Plateau. After the carnage at Kalinga (100,000 people) killed Asoka will adopt Buddhism and become both a man of peace and a patron of Art and architecture.
19. Seleucid Greeks continue raids into India around 208-206BC. Mauryan Empire has all but disappeared.
20. Second wave of Greek influence in India 200-195BC. New Greeks are heavily influenced by Bactrian culture.
21. After a century of foreign influence the Hindu Kingdom of Andhara and its leader Vikramaditya establish Indian influence in the northern and central regions of the sub-continent.
22. Pallava family spreads Andharan influence south and eastwards during the 3rd century AD.
23. Founding of Gupta dynasty in Magadha c. 320AD. Chandragupta the dynasty’s founder claims descent from the Mauryans.
24. Magahda influence expands into Nepal, Assam, the Punjab and Gandhara during the reign of Chandragupta’s son Samudragupta.
25. Andhra Kingdom defeated by Magadha in 350AD. The latter are the new power in India, Magadha influence will spread to Malwa, Saurashtra and Gujarat.
26. Magadha in decline in the 6th century AD. Rise of the Hunas under Toramana. In 510AD the Hunans will take Malwa.
27. The Chola kingdom are driven South in 575AD by a rejuvenated Pallava dynasty,
28. Rise of the Pushyabhuti dynasty founded by Harsha (606AD). Pushyabhuti will brind together many of India’s smaller kingdoms.
29. The Gurjaras conquer Rajputana in 650AD. Gurjaras are a central Asian people.
30. The Chola Kingdom, a once powerful entity in Southern India is in decline after a defeat at the hands of Northern forces in 650AD.
31. Muslim forces press westward into India. They are stopped by the Gurjaras in Gujarat in 712AD. Further Muslim attacks fail in 740AD.
32. Pala dynasty is established in Bengal in 750AD. Dynasty will expand into the Punjab.
33. Chola power in Southern India grows under King Vijayala between 836-870AD.
34. Pratihara becomes the dominant state in Northern India between 890-910.
35. Chola power in India is destroyed in 953 by the Rashtrakuta king Krishna III.
36. Forces of Sabuktagin of Ghazani move into India. Peshawar falls in 990.
37. Mahmud of Ghazani, a champion of Islam, is the new regional strong man. In 1014 his troops will take Thaneswar followed by Kanauj four years later. In 1025 Mahmud’s troops will move on Gujarat killing 50,000 Hindus in the process.
38. Chola’s are back once again as a force in Southern India from 1062-1070. A marriage of convenience that brings the Cholas into an alliance with the Chalukya kingdom will further extended Cholan influence into the Deccan plateau.
39. Muslims defeated in Gujarat by Hindu forces in 1178.
40. Muhammad of Ghor takes Delhi in 1193 as fighting continues between Hindu and invading Muslim forces.
41. After putting down several anti-Muslim rebellions in India Muhammad of Ghor is assassinated in 1206.
42. The Mongols raid India between 1260 and 1269.
43. Muslim forces under the general Malik Kufar expand into the Deccan Plateau in the early 14th century.
44. Madura becomes an independent Muslim sultanate in 1311. Madura is a Southern Deccan kingdom. It will dominate southern India in the late 14th century.
45. Revolt against the authority of Delhi by Muslim governors in the Mid 14th century.
46. Delhi’s Lodi dynasty takes Jaunpur and controls the Ganges Valley by 1487.
47. Indian naval fleet defeats Portuguese fleet off Chaul in 1508.
48. Between 1520-1529 Babur, the Mogul leader, will take Delhi, defeat Indian troops at Khanua and Gogra, conquer Bihar and Bengal and establish himself as the first Mogul Emperor of India. Babur was a descendant of both Genghis Khan and Tamerlane. He will die in 1530.
49. Mogul leader Humayun fails to take Gujarat in 1536.
50. Sher Khan leads rebellions against Moguls. Humayun is forced to flee India in 1539. He will take power in Afghanistan.
51. Humayun invades Punjab and Delhi after death of Sher Khan. He will restore Mogul rule in 1555 but pass away the year after.
52. Akbar, the son of Humayun defeats Hindu forces at Panipat in 1556. Battle further strengthens Mogul authority. Akbar will take Malwa in 1562 and Rajputana in 1567.
53. Akbar’s forces take Gujarat in 1573. By 1595 his forces will also have expanded Mogul control to Kashmir, Sind, Orissa and Baluchistan.
54. Akhbar, who was famous for his era of religious toleration, dies in 1605. His son Jahangir will take power in the same year.
55. British East Indian company begins trade in India (at Surat) in 1608.
English army having defeated the Portuguese off the Gujarat coast begin armed movement into India in 1612.
56. Death of Jahangir in 1627. He will be succeeded by Jahan who will build the famous Taj Mahal at Agra.
57. Several Deccan states fall to Mogul forces between 1633 and 1636.
58. Establishment of Maratha state by Prince Sivaji in mid 17th century.
59. Rebellion by four sons sees the fall of Jahan in 1658. His son Aurangzeb will take power and rule over the Mogul Empire until 1707. Aurangzeb will actively persecute Hindus.
60. Maratha forces take the Mogul port of Surat in 1664. Maratha forces will further defeat Moguls and secure independence by 1674.
61. Rajput rises up successfully against Mogul rule between 1675-1679.
62. India is ravaged in the 1680’s as war between Moguls and Maratha’s continue.
63. French East India Company establishes a base in Calicut in 1701.
64. War between the Mogul leader Bahadur Shah and the Sikhs breaks out in 1710.
65. Deccan kingdoms start winning independence from the Moguls in the early 18th century.
66. Independent kingdom of Hyderabad founded in the Deccan in 1724.
67. Maratha forces defeat Moguls at Delhi in 1737.
68. Persians under Nadir Shah attack and loot Delhi in 1739. Moguls are powerless to stop them.
Britain and France fight the First Carnatic War between 1744 and 1748. The war is largely inconclusive although the Brits do gain control of Madras from the French.
69. Britain and France continue fighting for control of parts of India in Second Carnatic War (1749-1754). British general Robert Clive will emerge from the war with substantial military credentials.
70. More than one hundred British prisoners die in the Black Hole of Calcutta incident in 1756. Survivors are rescued by Clive’s troops who then go ahead and defeated a French backed Bengali force (under Nawab Suraja) at Plassey.
71. Afghan invaders under Ahmad Shah take Delhi in 1757.
72. Treaty of Paris ends Seven Years war in 1763. French East India Company disbanded. Britain is now the dominant European power active in India. French keep Pondicherry (it will fall to British forces in 1778).
73. Britain fight war of expansion against the Indian powers of Maratha and Mysore kingdoms in the 1770s, 1780s and 1790s. The Wars will result in considerable British expansion in the sub-continent.
74. Ranjit Singh unites Sikhs in 1799 as they begin a war of control for the Punjab.By 1802 most of the Punjab will be in Sikh hands.