Kerala Plus Two History Notes Chapter 2 Kings, Farmers and Towns
600 BC to 600 CE
1. The long period of 1500 years after the end of the Harappan Civilization was an important period in Indian history. During this period many important things happened in different parts of the Indian subcontinent. Rigveda was written.
Agricultural settlements came up in places like North India, the Deccan Plateau, and parts of Karnataka. There were new burial systems in Deccan and South India. Huge stone constructions were made. “Mahasiia’was one of them. Along with dead bodies, many iron tools and weapons were also buried.
2. The Dawn of Early Nations:
Big nations known as ‘Mahajanapadas’ came into existence during this period.
3. The Coming of Cities and Towns:
This was the period of the 2nd Urbanization in Indian history.
4. Increased use of Iron:
As the use of iron increased, forests were cleared. It led to the spread of agriculture. Iron weapons increased the importance of warriors.
5. Spread of Coin (Currency) system:
The use of metal coins helped the development of trade and commerce.
6. The political history of India from BCE 600 is also the history of fights between the Mahajanapadas for power and sovereignty. The final victory in these fights was Magadha’s. Magadha became the number one among 16 Mahajanapadas. Magadha included the present Patna and Gaya districts in Bihar.
7. With the advent of the Maurya Empire, the growth of Magadha reached its peak. The period of the Maurya Empire can be considered as a new era in Indian history. It was one of the most powerful and extensive empires in ancient India.
8. Asoka was the greatest among the Maurya Emperors. The main event during his reign was the Kalinga War and his conversion to Buddhism. It was after a bloody war in 261 BCE that he conquered Kalinga, which is known as Orissa today.
9. The Mauryas organized an extensive administration. The Mauryan Empire was quite large with extensive areas. There were different regions like mountainous areas, deserts, boundary regions and extensive shores.
10. Following the collapse of the Mauryan Empire, some political instability took place in North India. The North Eastern Region of India was occupied by the Greeks, Sakas, Parthians and Kushanas.
The administration in the Ganges Plain was captured by the Sungans. Kalinga (Orissa) came under the power of Chedi dynasty. The rule of Western Deccan went to the Satavahanas.
11. After the fall of the Mauryan Empire, many small States came into existence. By the 4thh Century CE, some big nations also began to appear. The most important of them was the Gupta Empire. Many of these nations depended on the feudal lords, called Deputies, for administering their territories.
These feudal lords lived by controlling the land and collecting produce from the people. They gave the kings loyalty and also military support. Sometimes some powerful Lords conquered the weaker ones and themselves became kings.
TimeLine – 1
Important political and economic events.
- BC 600-500: Urbanization of the Ganges Plain, Mahajanapadas (Settlements), Sealed Coins.
- BC 500-400: The Magadh rulers unify their administration.
- BC 327-325: Alexander from Macedonia attacks.
- BC 321: Chandragupta Maurya comes to power.
- BC 273-232: The rule of Emperor Asoka.
- BC 185: The end of the Mauryan Dynasty.
- BC 200-100: Indo-Greek rule in the North-Western Region; In South India Cholas, Cheras and Pandyas; in Deccan Satavahanas.
- BC 100: Sakas from Central India come to power.
- AD 78: Kanishka comes to power.
- AD 100-200: The earliest inscriptions of Satavahanas and Sakas making land- gifts.
- AD 320: The beginning of the Gupta Dynasty
- AD 335-375: The Reign of Samudragupta
- AD 375-415: Chandragupta II; in the Deccan Vakatakas
- AD 500-600: The rise of Chalukyas in Karnataka and Pallavas in Tamil Nadu.
- AD 606-647: Reign ofHarshavajdhana in Kanuj; the Chinese Pilgrim Huantsang comes to India seeking Chinese Religious Books.
- AD 712: Arabs conquer Sindh
TimeLine – 2
Developments in ancient epigraphy
- AD 1784: Asiatic Society is established in Bengal.
- AD 1810: Colin Mackenzie collected more than 8000 inscriptions in Sanskrit and Dravidian languages.
- AD 1838: James Prinsep reads Asoka’s inscriptions in Brahmi language.
- AD 1877: Alexander Cunningham published some of the inscriptions of Asoka.
- AD 1886: The first Issue of the Journal called ‘Epigraphia Karnatica’, which discussed things about the South Indian inscriptions on lithic surfaces and copper plates, was published.
- AD 1888: The First Issue of “Epigrapia Indika” was published.
- AD 1965-66: D.C. Sircar published Indian Epigraphy and Indian Epigraphical Glossary.