India and South Asia 30 BCE

The Mauryan empire has vanished, and ancient India sees a new chapter in its history with invasions from Central Asia.

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What is happening in India and South Asia in 30BCE

Since 200 BCE the Maurya empire has vanished from the geo-political scene in ancient India. In its place a multiplicity of kingdoms have sprung up across northern India. These have proved no match for a people from central Asia, the Scythians, who now dominate much of this region. They have formed the first of the great empires in Indian history to originate in central Asia.

In the northwest of the subcontinent the mingling of Greek, Indian and central Asian influences have led to the rise of the Gandhara culture. In this region, Greek, Middle Eastern and Indian philosophies and religions rub shoulders with each other, and artistic techniques and motifs from the different areas combine to produce new styles. The Gandhara culture will have a large impact on all later Indian and Persian civilization.

In central India, a powerful kingdom ruled by the Satavahana dynasty, has emerged, the first of a series of important kingdoms based in the Deccan. It has come under strong attack from the Scythians (or “Sakas”, as they are called in India). The bone of contention between the two states is the west coast, with its growing Indian ocean trade with the Mediterranean world.

In South India the leading chiefdoms, the Cheras, Cholas, Pallavas and Pandyas, are beginning to transform themselves into organized kingdoms. The economy retains pastoral elements but is shifting more towards settled farming. The introduction of rice into this area is providing a spur to economic and population growth. Inscriptions testify to the spread of trade, towns and the religions of the north, Hinduism and Buddhism.

Next map: India and South Asia, 200 CE

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