Empire Builders and Invaders Chapter 2

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Empire Builders and Invaders Chapter 2

  • Asoka, the Great Mauryan Ruler

  • 326 BC Alexander the Great of Macedonia invaded the Indus Valley , abandoned plans to conquer the Ganges Valley and withdrew from India when soldiers threatened mutiny, Empire known as Maurya in lower Ganges Valley, this empire reached its height from 270-232

  • Asoka regretted violent actions, Asoka embraced Buddhism, Mauryan Empire extended over India, resolved to rule empire peacefully

  • Short sermons etched on stone pillars, exhorted people to speak the truth, to care for poor and old

  • Buddhism established thread of unity in empire

  • Less able rulers followed Asoka within fifty years, empire at end

  • Next 4-5 hundred years history is scanty, several invasions

Gupta Empire

  • 4th century AD, lasted 200 years of peace and order in India

  • Culture flourished

  • Mathematicians develop concept of zero and decimal system

  • Astronomers made accurate observations of heavenly bodies

  • Worked out calendar

  • Physicians made numerous advances in using herbs in medicine

  • Surgeons developed great skills in plastic surgery and setting bones, also realized connection between lack of cleanliness and infection

  • Literary productions- playwright and poet Kalidasa

  • Held firm control over Ganges River valley

Declined in 500 AD- India became a patchwork of small kingdoms

  • Governors represent local monarchs rule towns and cities, responsible for justice, trade, commerce and tax collection, council of elders conduct day to day government, caste councils oversaw caste duties, strongest allegiance to village

The Muslim Conquest

  • 7th century Muhammad founded Islam

  • Single god- Allah

  • Muslims conquered Near East including North Africa and Spain

  • Honored sacred figures in Judaism and Christianity – Abraham, Moses, Jesus

  • Rely on Koran- holy book

  • Muslims eat all meat but pork

  • Do not recognize caste system

  • Holy war-Jihad- important part of Islamic doctrine , vandalized Hindu temples- despised idol worship

  • Refuse to recognize anything valuable in Hinduism

The Reign of Moguls (mogul means powerful or important person)

  • 1200-1500 seat of Turkish Muslim power in Delhi Northern India

  • Sultan – Muslim ruler- controlled region until 1526- leader killed in battle by Muslim invaders from Afghanistan

  • Baber descended from Genghis Khan

  • Baber’s grandson- Akbar ruled from mid 1500 to 1605- one of the greatest leaders of all time, genius general and administrator

  • Extended his rule across most of Indian subcontinent

  • Allowed Hindu princes to rule small principalities

  • Abolished the jizya- head tax

  • Efficient civil service

  • Reformed land tax system

  • Provincial governors were to be responsible for tax collections

  • Had a tolerant view of religion

  • Gradually Akbar lost faith in Islam, tried to establish faith called Divine Faith – he was the prophet

  • Motives political and religious

  • Spread Persian culture in India, Persian official court language, adopted Persian manners and dress, art- example- Taj Mahal- tomb for wife of Akbar’s grandson

Decline of Mogul Power

  • Two empires following Akbar continued his policies (Jahangir, Shah Jahan)

  • Aurangzeb followed Shah 1658-1707 strict Muslim, wars costly, civil service deteriorated, corrupt, Hindus subject to tax, after his death empire disintegrated

  • Stage set for Western Dominance

Asoka or Ashoka means “painless, without sorrow

After bitter war against Kalinga where 100,000 deaths and 150,000 deportations took place the Emperor Asoka had regrets and philosophically moved towards the idea of non-violence and conquest through persuasion. After this war Asoka faced a persona crisis where he was filled with remorse and strived to find meaning in his life


  • Met the son of a perfume seller who was a Buddhist mon

  • Rejected violence

  • Gave gifts to local community

  • Created a new political order

  • Idea of citizenship

  • Carved edits in stone

These edits were the forerunner of the UN Declaration of Human Rights

  • All humans are family

  • Created first animal rights laws

  • Police enforced the laws

  • Ideal- to protect all living things

This was an “Empire of the Spirit not the Sword”

Greatest Pillar Edit- 8 fold path and philosophy of non violence

  • This was the core of his personal morality and politics

  • There is a shift from religion and magic to reason and morality that effected all aspects of life- economy, society, politics, religion

Flag of India

  • Asoka wheel of law / righteousness

Last days of his life were a mystery

Timeline India

2500 Indus Valley civilization

2000 Collapse of Indus Valley civilization

1500 Aryan people

326 BC Alexander the Great crosses Indus River into India

Next 4-500 years of history scanty

320-550- Gupta Empire

500- Decline of Gupta Empire

7th century- Islam founded

1200-1500- Turks in power (Muslim)

1526 Mogul Empire

Mid 1500-1605 Akbar

1600 European trading posts established

1638 Taj Mahal structure begins to be built

1658-1707- costly wars, decline

1750 Robert Clive

1763 French Indian War

1773 British Govrt. Oversees East India Company

1856 Parliament established school system, recruits must serve oversees

1857 Sepoy Mutiny

1858 British control India

1876 Queen Victoria Empress of India

1885 India National Congress

1890s Growing industries in India

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