India and South Asia 200 CE

The Kushana empire of ancient India is important to world history as a center for the spread of Buddhism.

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What is happening in India and South Asia in 200CE

The Kushana

The Scythians’ power has been eclipsed by that of the Kushana, another central Asian people who invaded north west India in the first century CE. The Kushans have created one of the great empires of the time, and their kings have presided over a period of commercial expansion, urban growth and artistic achievement. The Kushana are Buddhists, and their realm is pivotal to the spread of Buddhism into central Asia and eastern Asia, to China and beyond. Also, Mahayana Buddhism is established as a separate branch of the religion under Kushan patronage. In the cultural sphere, the art style developed under Kushan patronage, a mix of Indian, Persian and Greek elements, will have a long-lasting impact on Indian sculpture and painting.

Elsewhere in northern India

Beyond the Kushana empire, northern India continues to be covered by states of varying size, mostly kingdoms but also some republics. Both Hinduism and Buddhism flourish here, as they do in the Satavahana kingdom. This has expanded over a large area, and the wealth and power of the Satavahana kings is reflected in the construction of spectacular cave temples.

Southern India

By this time in the subcontinent’s history the kingdoms of southern India have become fully established, and are frequently at war with one another. Overseas trade with both the Roman Empire and South East Asia means that commerce plays an important role, and a comparatively dense network of towns is appearing. Within these towns, merchant and craft guilds are powerful; banking is important and a fully developed money economy is in operation.

Next map: India and South Asia, 500 CE

Dig Deeper

The history and civilization of ancient India

The Gandhara civilization

The Deccan Empires

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Classical India in 150 CE

World Trade in 200 CE

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