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Some historians love to refer to India as ‘Invaders Paradise’. When we look into it from the historical perspective, it is indeed true. Since ancient times, India had been constantly attacked by invaders from time to time. One of the major reasons for the foreign invasions in India is attributed to the instability that occurred within our country. Beginning from Aryan Invasion to the British Invasion, our country had seen it all, while carrying with it, the impending prints that each foreign invasion left it with. However, the history, geography and culture of our country is so impenetrable that none of the foreign invaders could rule for long. With time, the picture of Foreign Invaders in India also changed. Check out the article, to know more details about the Foreign Invaders in India.
Foreign Invaders in India
During ancient times, India was under constant attack by foreigners one after the other. To say the least, India was one of the favourite places of the invaders. It was majorly due to the immense wealth, agricultural possibilities, spices, fertile river valleys, etc that invaders wanted to colonize India. As India was abundant in human resources , each of the foreign invaders in India, heavily exploited the population also.
In this article, we have tried the best to incorporate the foreign invaders in India in their chronological order itself. Have a read till the end.
- Aryan Invasion
- Alexander or Greek Invasion
- Invasion of Seleucid
- Indo-Greek Invasion
- Invasion by Chengiz Khan
- Arab Invasion by Mohammed Bin Kasim
- Turkish Invasion by Mahmud of Ghazni
- Turkish Invasion by Muhammed of Ghur (Mu’izz al-Din of Ghurid Dynasty)
- The Invasion of Mughals
- The European Invasions
Details of Foreign Invaders in India
In the following section we will learn each of the following Foreign Invaders in India in a little detailed manner. This will help you in your competitive exam preparations as well as boost your General Knowledge.
The Aryan Invasion
It is believed that the first ever foreingn invasion of India was by the Aryans.They are a group of nomadic Indo-European tribes. The Indus Valley Civilization was blooming in the Indo-Gangetic Plains when the Aryans attacked and colonized the Indus River Valley.Over time, they moved towards the South of India and invaded the Deccan region also. All of these instances are said to have occurred between 1800 B.C to 1500 B.C.
Effects and Impact of Aryan Invasion
The Aryan Invasion clearly had a lasting impact on Indian Culture. Some of it are listed below:
- Aryans were the first people, who classified the population based on four major castes- Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and Shudras.
- The four major castes were further subdivided into many sub castes.
- All the people who did not belong to any sub caste were called the untouchables. They were considered to be the lowest rank people in the society.
- The caste of a person determined his occupation.
- After the Aryan Invasion, most of the population spoke Sanskrit or other related languages.
Alexander or Greek Invasion
One of the first major Foreign Invaders in India dates back to the Invasion of Alexander, The Great. Alexander III was initially a Greek Ruler who ruled the state of Macedon. However, with due course of time, he is said to have conquered most parts of the Ancient World. Likewise, he invaded India in 326 B.C. He defeated King Porus in the Battle of Jhelum (otherwise called Hydaspes) near the banks of river Jhelum. The army of Alexander conquered much of the Punjab region and marched further. However, the NandaEmpire who was in power in the North and East India was full fledged to face his army in the battle. The Alexander’s army who were exhausted decided to withdraw from the invasion, citing the emmassive army of the Nanda Empire. Hence ended the conquest of Alexander in India.
Effects and Impact of the Invasion of Alexander
- It established a direct link between India and the European countries.
- As far as the cultural effect is considered, the Greek Invasion of India led to the establishment of the Gandhara School of Art which is of Indo-Greek fashion.
- Most of the parts of north India was under the rule of smaller kingdoms before the Greek Invasion took place. However, after the invasion, it helped the Mauryan Empire to establish power in the entire northern India easily with the downfall of the smaller kingdoms.
- The Greek invasion opened the doors of four major trade routes.
- The history of the invasion by Alexander helped the historians to track events that occurred in ancient India in a chronological fashion.
Invasion of Seleucid
The Seleucid army is said to have invaded India between 305 B.C to 303 B.C. In the battle , Seleucus I Nicator, of the Seleucid Empire, fought against Emperor Chandragupta Maurya, of the Maurya Empire. The war ended with mutual benefits by signing a treaty between the two sides. By this, Seleucid began to concentrate more on his invasions of the west. Meanwhile Seleucid was a general of Alexander the Great. He went on to reclaim large parts of territory that was conquered by Alexander previously.
Effects and Impact of the Invasion Seleucid
- Signing of the Indus Valley Treaty.
- This invasion strengthened the power and domination of the Mauryan Empire in India.
- Friendly and mutually beneficial diplomatic relations were put forth by Magasthenes.
- Gift of war elephants to the Seleucid army helped in other wars and battles.
Indo – Greek invasion of India started Graeco-Bactrian king Demetrius invaded India in 180 B.C. He conquered Southern parts of Afghanistan and Majority of Punjab. The Indo- Greek Kingdom ruled for about 30 years. People who lived during this period practiced a mix of Indian and Greek culture.
Effects and Impact of the Indo-Greek Invasion
- A mix of Greeka and Indian culture flourished during this period.
- In order to appease the Indian population, the Greek kings inscribed pictures of Indian deities in the coins that were used during the period.
- Buddhism flourished during the Indo-Greek rule as most of the kings were buddhists.
Invasion by Chengiz Khan
The invasion of India by Chengiz Khan is considered to be a part of the Mongol invasion of India. He battled the kingdom that was ruled by Jalal-ad-Din in the year 1221. During this time the Iltumish of Delhi Sultanate was in power.
Effects and Impact of the Invasion of Chengiz khan
- He is honoured to have introduced the first ever postal system in the world.
- Even though his reign is known for blood-shed, he encouraged religious freedom and trade during his time.
- He even took measures to eliminate torture of his subjects.
Arab Invasion by Mohammed Bin Kasim
The first successful attempt to invade India made by Arabs was led by Mohammed Bin Kasim in the year 712 A.D. Before this, there were 16 failed attempts made by other muslim rulers of theArabs who wanted to conquer the rich country. Mohammed Bin Kasim conquered Sidh and regions of Punjab. However, he was not able to continue his victory beyond Hyderad and Multan.
Effects and Impact of Arab Invasion by Mohammed Bin Kasim
- The attack of Mohammed Bin Kasin of India opened the doors of religious tolerance in the country.
- This led to the relation between the Islamic civilization and the vedic civilization of the Indian subcontinent.
- Exchange of cultures and values between the two cultures became prominent.
- Many great Indian literary works were converted into Arabic Language during this period.
Turkish Invasion by Mahmud of Ghazni
Mahmud of Ghazni decided to invade India allured by its wealth and fertile gangetic plains. He is said to have made almost 17 raids and attacks towards India during the period from 1001 A.D to 1025 A.D. It is evident from history that Mahmud of Ghazni was more interested in looting and plundering the wealth than conquering the kingdom.
Effects and Impact of Invasion by Mahmud of Ghazni
- His invasions had a lasting impact on the lives of people in the northern parts of the country. Also, Punjab was annexed to a ruler under the Ghazni Sultanate.
- Mahmud of Ghazni Looted thousands of magnificent temples of all their wealth.
- He pioneered the spread of chess in India.
- Even though he looted India of its wealth many times, he took interest in building libraries and buildings and had respect for learned men.
Turkish Invasion by Muhammed of Ghur (Mu’izz al-Din of Ghurid Dynasty)
Muhammad of Ghur or Muhammad Ghori or Shihabud Din Muhammad Ghori invaded India various times from 1175-1206 AD. Even though there had been muslim invasions earlier, it was Muhammad Ghori who could build a Muslim Empire in the country after a series of invasions. Coupled with the earlier raids done by Mahmud of Ghazni , the turkish invasion of Muhammed Ghur proved to have an impact in medieval Indian history.
Effects and Impact of Turkish Invasion by Muhammed of Ghur
- The invasion of Ghori led to an end of the rule of small princely states.
- A centralized administration policy was first followed during their reign.
- The trade connections with the outer world grew enormously.
- The Slave Dynasty slowly grew to its ultimate capability.
The Invasion of Mughals
The Mughals invaded India in the year 1526, when Babur defeated Ibrahim Lodhi of the Delhi Sultanate in the first battle of Panipat. The Mughals ruled the Indian subcontinent for about two centuries. Even though Mughals came as conquerors, they did not live or rule as one. Their reign saw some of the splendid works in arts, literature, sculpture and administrative practices.
Effects and Impact of the Invasion of Mughals
- Increased trade ties with other countries. Indian goods were in high demand during this period.
- Some of the greatest masterpieces of architecture like Taj Mahal, Red Fort, Agra Fort, etc were built during the Mughal rule.
- Mughals encourage building roads for infrastructure.
- The administrative policies respected human rights.
The European & British Invasions
Even though Portugal was the first country to colonize India with the arrival of Vasco Da Gama in 1498, it was not until the arrival of the East India Company (BRITISH) that India was truly a colony. The British came to India for trade purposes but later went on to rule the country for almost 2 centuries. Through trade, the British conquered and ruled the entire Indian subcontinent looting it of all the goodness and richness.
Effects and Impact of the European Invasion
- The economic exploitation carried out by them drained India of all its wealth.
- They brought sovereignty within the country,
- Modern means of communication and transport were first introduced during the British rule.
- Rise of many social reform movements that were led by eminent people.
Lets Wind Up
Though our Great Nation was invaded and ruled by many different rulers of the world, ultimately India became independent of all these powers. We now live with our heads high, reminiscing about our past and striving each day to increase the glory of our country.
We hope that this topic of the foreign invaders in India was helpful for all the aspirants aiming for different competitive examinations. By this, we aimed to help all the aspirants out there, who are struggling to complete the Indian History syllabus. Stay tuned with us to get more such topics in easily understandable options. Keep Reading and Keep Learning!