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Medieval India

Period of South Asian history / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Medieval India refers to a long period of post-classical history of the Indian subcontinent between the "ancient period" and "modern period". It is usually regarded as running approximately from the breakup of the Gupta Empire in the 6th century CE to the start of the early modern period in 1526 with the start of the Mughal Empire, although some historians regard it as both starting and finishing later than these points. The medieval period is itself subdivided into the early medieval and late medieval eras.

The Mehrangarh Fort was built in medieval India during the reign of Jodha of Mandore

In the early medieval period, there were more than 40 different states on the Indian subcontinent, which hosted a variety of cultures, languages, writing systems, and religions.[1] At the beginning of the time period, Buddhism was predominant throughout the area, with the short-lived Pala Empire on the Indo Gangetic Plain sponsoring the Buddhist faith's institutions. One such institution was the Buddhist Nalanda mahavihara in modern-day Bihar, India, a centre of scholarship and brought a divided South Asia onto the global intellectual stage. Another accomplishment was the invention of the Chaturanga game which later was exported to Europe and became Chess.[2] In Southern India, the Tamil Hindu Kingdom of Chola gained prominence with an overseas empire that controlled parts of modern-day Sri Lanka, Malaysia, and Indonesia as oversees territories, and helped spread Hinduism and Buddhism into the historic cultural area of Southeast Asia.[3] In this time period, neighboring regions such as Afghanistan, Tibet, and Southeast Asia were under South Asian influence.[4]

During the late medieval period, a series of Islamic invasions from modern-day Central Asia, Afghanistan and Iran conquered massive portions of Northern India, founding the Delhi Sultanate which ruled until the 16th century.[5] As a consequence, Buddhism declined in South Asia, but Hinduism survived and reinforced itself in areas conquered by Muslim empires. In the far South, the Vijayanagara Empire resisted Muslim conquests, sparking a long rivalry with the Bahmani Sultanate. The turn of the 16th century would see introduction of gunpowder and the rise of a new Muslim empire—the Mughals, as well as the establishment of European trade posts by the Portuguese colonists.[6] Mughal Empire was one of the three Islamic gunpowder empires, along with the Ottoman Empire and Safavid Persia.[7][8][9] The subsequent cultural and technological developments transformed Indian society, concluding the late medieval period and beginning the early modern period.

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