Which are the major Foreign Invasions in India? What were the major consequences of Foreign Invasions? What were their major contributions? Read further to know.
India is frequently referred to as an “Invaders Paradise” by historians.
The instability that existed within our nation is cited as one of the main causes of foreign invasions in India
Foreign Invasions in India is consistent since the beginning of time from the Aryan Invasion to the British Invasion and it brought with it the ominous imprints that each left behind.
Foreign Invaders in India
India was frequently attacked by successive waves of outsiders in the past. India was, to put it mildly, one of the invaders’ favourite destinations. Invaders desired to colonise India primarily because of its enormous wealth, agricultural potential, the spice trade, fertile river valleys, etc. Each foreign conqueror in India ruthlessly exploited the populace since India had an abundance of human resources.
The following information is about the foreign invaders who came to India in chronological sequence.
- Aryan Invasion (1800-1500 BCE)
- Persian invasions(535 BC )
- Alexander’s Invasion(336 BC -323 BC)
- Invasion of Seleucid(305 -303 BC)
- Indo-Greek Invasion (180 BC)
- Huna Invasion(458 AD)
- Arab Invasion by Mohammed Bin Kasim (712 AD)
- Turkish Invasion by Mahmud of Ghazni (1001 AD)
- Turkish Invasion by Muhammed of Ghur (1175 AD)
- Mongol Invasion (1206-1368 AD)
- The Invasion of Mughals (1526-1761 AD)
- The Invasion of Nadir Shah (1736 -1747 AD)
- The European Invasions
Details of Foreign Invasion in India
Each of the following foreign invasions in India will be discussed here.
The Aryan Invasion
Aryans are thought to have invaded India for the first time ever.
They are a collection of Indo-European nomadic tribes. As the Aryans invaded and settled in the Indus River Valley, the Indus Valley Civilization was flourishing in the Indo-Gangetic Plains. They eventually colonised the Deccan region as well as moving towards the South of India. According to legend, each of these occurrences took place between 1800 and 1500 B.C.
Influence and Results of the Aryan Invasion
It is obvious that the Aryan Conquest left a lasting impression on Indian culture. Here is a list of a few of them:
- The first group to divide society into the four major castes of Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas, and Shudras were the Aryans.
- There were numerous sub-castes that were further classified into the four main castes.
- Untouchables were all individuals who did not belong to a subcaste. They were regarded as the lowest-ranking members of society.
- A person’s occupation was decided by his caste.
- The majority of the inhabitants spoke Sanskrit or other comparable languages following the Aryan Conquest.
North West India had several small tribal republics in the early half of the sixth century BC. There was no centralised authority to reconcile these warring tribes. The political unrest in the region was exploited by the Achaemenid kings of Iran or Persia. The founding member of the Achaemenid dynasty, Cyrus, and his son Darius I gained portions of Punjab and Sindh.
It was considered to be the most populated and productive part of the Achaemenid empire. Also included in the Achaemenid army were people from India. Northwestern India was ruled by the Persians for about two centuries. During this time, there must have been frequent communication between the two areas. Perhaps increased trade and commerce between Persia and India as a result of Skylax’s maritime trip.
Alexander or Greek Invasion
Alexander the Great’s invasion of India was one of the earliest significant foreign incursions. Alexander III was the state of Macedon’s first Greek ruler. But over time, he is claimed to have taken control of the majority of the Ancient World. In 326 B.C., he also invaded India. In the Battle of Jhelum, also known as Hydaspes, which took place close to the Jhelum River’s banks, he overcame King Porus. Alexander’s army advanced after capturing much of the Punjab region. Yet the Nanda Empire, which ruled over North and East India, was fully prepared to engage its army in combat.
The tired Alexander’s soldiers made the decision to abandon the attack, citing the formidable Nanda Empire force. Alexander’s conquest of India came to a halt as a result.
Impact and Consequences of Alexander’s Invasion
- It provided a direct connection between India and the European nations.
- Regarding the cultural impact, the Greek invasion of India was responsible for the founding of the Indo-Greek Gandhara School of Art.
- Before the Greek Invasion, the majority of north India was governed by petty kingdoms. The destruction of the minor kingdoms, however, allowed the Mauryan Empire to quickly seize control of all of northern India after the invasion.
- Four important commercial routes became accessible after the Greek invasion.
- The history of Alexander’s invasion made it easier for historians to follow the sequence of events that took place in ancient India.
Invasion of Seleucid
From 305 and 303 B.C., the Seleucid army is claimed to have invaded India. Emperor Chandragupta Maurya of the Maurya Empire engaged the Seleucus I Nicator of the Seleucid Empire in combat. By putting their differences aside and negotiating a peace, both parties gained from the war’s end. As a result, Seleucid started to focus more on his western incursions. Alexander the Great’s general at the time was Seleucid. He later succeeded in retaking a sizable portion of Alexander’s former conquests.
Impacts and Consequences
- The signing of the Indus Valley Treaty.
- The Mauryan Empire’s dominance and power were increased in India as a result of this invasion.
- Magasthenes advocated for cordial and mutually beneficial diplomatic relations.
- The Seleucid army benefited from the gift of war elephants in other conflicts and wars.
Beginning of the Greek invasion of India In 180 B.C., the Graeco-Bactrian king Demetrius invaded India. He took control of the majority of Punjab and the southern regions of Afghanistan. For roughly 30 years, the Indo- Greek Kingdom ruled. The cultures of the people who lived during this time were a fusion of Greek and Indian.
Impact and Consequences of the Indo-Greek Invasion
- During this time, a blend of Greek and Indian cultures flourished.
- The Greek king engraved images of Indian gods on the coins in circulation at the time to placate the Indian populace.
- Since the majority of the kings were Buddhists during the Indo-Greek era, Buddhism flourished.
The Hephthalites were the nomadic savages or tribes that inhabited the area around China (the Sanskrit name of which is Hunas). According to studies, the Hunas ruled from Khotan in Central Asia to the Persian border. Two Huna branches moved in the direction of the west. The Hunas split into two groups, one travelling to the Roman Empire and the other to India. The White Hunas were the name given to the Huna branch that migrated to India. About a hundred years after the Kushanas invaded, the Hunas began their invasion of India. The Huna tribe was regarded as one of the most belligerent and ruthless tribes in historical investigations. There were two significant Huna invasions.
Impact and Consequences of the Huna Invasion
- The Hunas had first overthrown the Gupta Empire’s hegemony in India and over their feudatories.
- In the ashes of the Gupta Empire, little kingdoms started to flourish and thrive.
- With the Huna invasion, which entirely destroyed the Gupta economy, the trade ties between the Guptas in India and the Roman
- Empire deteriorated as well. Cities with a rich cultural heritage and economy, like Pataliputra or Ujjain, suffered as a result.
- Under the later Guptas, sociopolitical and economic conditions also declined.
- One of the most important consequences of the Huna invasion was ethnic mingling in India.
- The martial arts of the Hunas were originally brought to Indian civilization.
Mohammad Bin Kasim’s Arab Invasion
Mohammed Bin Kasim commanded the first Arab invasion of India that was successful, which took place in the year 712 AD. There had previously been 16 unsuccessful efforts by other Muslim Arab monarchs to take over the wealthy nation. Sindh and areas of Punjab were subjugated by Mohammad Bin Kasim. He was unable to extend his success past Hyderabad and Multan, though.
Impacts and Consequences of Mohammed Bin Kasim’s Arab Invasion
- Mohammed Bin Kasim’s attack on India allowed for greater religious tolerance in the nation.
- As a result, there is now a connection between Indian subcontinental Vedic civilisation and Islamic civilization.
- Cultural and value exchanges between the two cultures grew in importance.
- Around this time, several outstanding Indian literary masterpieces were translated into Arabic.
Invasion of the Turks by Mahmud of Ghazni
The riches and fertile Gangetic plains of India enticed Mahmud of Ghazni into making the decision to invade. He is alleged to have launched about 17 raids and assaults against India between 1001 and 1025 AD. History demonstrates that Mahmud of Ghazni was more concerned with robbing and stealing wealth than with establishing his rule.
Consequences and Impacts of Mahmud of Ghazni’s Invasion
- The lives of residents in the northern regions of the country were forever changed by his incursions. Moreover, Punjab was given to a sultan of the Ghazni Dynasty.
- Thousands of great temples were pillaged for their entire contents.
- He helped chess become more popular in India.
- Even though he frequently pillaged India’s wealth, he showed interest in establishing libraries and other buildings and had respect for intelligent people.
Turkish Invasion by Muhammed of Ghur
Between 1175 to 1206, Shihabud Din Muhammad of Ghori, or Muhammad of Ghur attacked India several times. Despite earlier Muslim conquests, it was Muhammad Ghori who, after numerous assaults, was able to establish the Muslim Empire in the nation. The Turkish invasion of Muhammad Ghur, when combined with the earlier incursions carried out by Mahmud of Ghazni, proved to have a major impact on medieval Indian history.
Impacts and Consequences of Muhammad of Ghur’s Ottoman Invasion
- Little princely states’ rule came to an end as a result of the invasion of Ghori.
- During their rule, a centralised administration policy was initially implemented.
- Trade ties with other countries expanded significantly.
- The Slave Dynasty gradually developed to its full potential.
The most significant Mongol invasions include the invasion of Chengis khan and Timur.
Attack of Chengiz Khan
The Mongol invasion of India is thought to have included Chengiz Khan’s invasion of India. In the year 1221, he engaged in conflict with Jalal-ad-realm Din. The Sultanate of Delhi’s Iltumish was in charge during the time.
Impacts and Consequences of Chengiz Khan’s Invasion
- He is honoured to have established the first postal service in history.
- Despite the fact that his rule is notorious for bloodshed, he promoted trade and religious freedom.
- He even made efforts to stop torturing his subjects.
Timur Lane, an Uzbek commander of the Mongols, claimed to be a descendant of Genghis Khan and converted to Islam.
In August 1398, Timur led a sizable cavalry force of 92,000 soldiers in a march towards India. Muhammad Shah, the final Tughlaq sultan, was in power when he landed in Delhi.
In 1399, Timur landed in Delhi as a conqueror. He consented to save the lives of the people in return for a sizable ransom.
Timur ordered a widespread killing, which resulted in the destruction of Delhi, but the Hindus rebelled as a result of the soldiers’ actions when gathering supplies. Timur only spent 15 days in Delhi before he withdrew with a significant number of slaves and loot. In doing so, he left behind tales of terror and destruction, as well as starvation and pestilence, and installed Khizar Khan as governor of Multan, Lahore, and Dipalpur.
Impacts and Consequences of Chengiz Khan’s Invasion
- The nation of India was in disarray when Timur fled.
- The complete destruction of grain stocks and standing crops caused famine and plague, and it took Delhi more than 50 years to recover from the damage.
- Many cities and sizable villages had been put to rubble, thousands of innocent people had been mercilessly slaughtered, and the regional government had been totally upended.
The Mughal invasion
After Babur defeated Ibrahim Lodhi of the Delhi Sultanate in the first battle of Panipat in the year 1526, the Mughals entered India. For over 200 years, the Mughals dominated the Indian subcontinent. Despite their arrival as conquerors, the Mughals did not live or rule as one. Under their rule, various magnificent works in the arts, literature, sculpture, and administrative procedures were produced.
Impacts and Consequences of the Mughal Invasion
- Expanded commercial connections with other nations. During this time, Indian products were in high demand.
- The Mughal era saw the construction of some of the world’s greatest architectural marvels, including the Taj Mahal, Red Fort, Agra Fort, and others.
- Road construction is promoted by the Mughals for infrastructure.
- Human rights were respected by administrative policies.
Nader Shah’s invasion of India
The King of Persia and founder of the Iranian Afsharid dynasty of Persia, Nadir Shah (1736–47), first attacked Northern India before marching into Delhi. In the Battle of Karnal, his army easily defeated the Mughals, and as a result, it later took control of the Mughal capital.
None of Aurangzeb’s successors was able to fill the void that his passing left in the Mughal empire. Because of ongoing battles for the throne and ministerial betrayal, the empire had weakened.
King of Persia Nadir Shah, who came up through the dacoit ranks, saw an opening in the weak nation. Then, in 1738, Nadir Shah invaded India. When a Persian diplomat was insulted by Mughal emperor Muhammad Shah at Delhi’s royal court, the invasion was authorised.
The Governor of Punjab asked the Mughal empire to strengthen Punjab’s defences before Nadir Shah reached the Khyber Pass, but the then-Mughal emperor Muhammad Shah ignored his honest plea. Muhammad Shah, sensing a danger shortly after Nadir Shah entered Punjab, dispatched Khan Dauran and Nizam-ul-Mulk to lead the Mughal army against Nadir Shah. Muhammad Shah was forced to take command of the army himself after both were beaten.
At Karnal, when the two armies battled, the Mughal forces were quickly surrounded and defeated.
The Mughal army was in disarray after its defeat. By serving as a middleman, The Nizam convinced Nadir Shah to go back to Persia in exchange for 20 million rupees. Nizam impressed the Mughal emperor, who gave him the title of “Amir-Ul-Umra” and made him prime minister.
Consequences and Influence
- The entire city of Delhi was destroyed, pillaged, looted, and ruined by Nadir Shah’s troops.
- The Peacock throne built by Shah Jahan was transported by Nadir Shah. The legendary “Koh-i-noor” diamond was also taken by him.
- In addition, he stole 6 million rupees’ worth of cash, 600 million rupees’ worth of jewellery, and 10 million rupees’ worth of gold.
- The damage this invasion did to the Mughal Empire was disastrous. Mughal lands were seized by the Persians.
Between 1748 and 1758, Ahmad Shah Abdali repeatedly invaded India and attacked Delhi, following in Nadir Shah’s footsteps.
The European & British Invasions
Vasco Da Gama’s arrival in Portugal in 1498 marked the beginning of the colonisation of India, but it wasn’t until the advent of the East India Company (British) that India became a true colony. The British initially arrived in India for trade but later ruled it for nearly two centuries. The British used trade to take over and govern the entire Indian subcontinent, plundering it of all its riches and goodness.
European Invasion: Its Consequences and Influence
- They stripped India of all its resources through economic exploitation.
- They provided sovereignty to the nation, and they were responsible for the introduction of modern transportation and communication systems.
- The emergence of numerous social reform movements led by eminent people.
Foreign Invasions in India is consistent since the beginning of time from the Aryan Invasion to the British Invasion. India eventually gained independence from all of these powers despite being conquered and ruled by numerous different world leaders. We now lead proud lives, reflecting on the past while working daily to elevate the stature of our nation. Foreign invasions contributed to the Indian subcontinent’s political union as well as the expansion of trade, commerce, art, and culture.
Article Written By: Atheena Fathima Riyas