India and South Asia 500 CE

This period of India's history has seen the rise of the Gupta dynasty, under whom ancient Indian civilization reaches its peak.

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What is happening in India and South Asia in 500CE

North India: the Gupta empire

The central Asian powers, the Scythian and the Kushana, which once ruled much of northern India, have vanished. Another great Indian empire has arisen, that of the Gupta. The period of the Gupta empire is often seen as the one of the most brilliant in ancient India’s history.

The Gupta emperors rule northern India directly, and, through political and family ties with the Vataka in the Deccan, have had great influence in central India as well. By this date, however, both the Guptas’ and the Vakatas’ power is in decline, as fierce invasions by the Huns from central Asia weaken them, and subordinate kingdoms assert their independence.

The Gupta preside over one of the most productive periods of Indian civilization. Advances are being made in many fields of science, art and literature. Most notably, it is probably about now that Indian mathematicians develop the decimal system of numbers. This system will be crucial to future mathematical and scientific progress in world history.

South India

The kingdoms of the south, the Pandyas, Chola and the newly powerful Pallavas, continue to develop their maritime trade. At this time, the trade with the west is in decline as the Roman Empire retreats from its former glory, but this is more than made up for by the growing trade with South East Asia, which expands in response to the growing economic demands of south China.

Next map: India and South Asia, 750 CE

Dig Deeper

The Gupta Empire of Ancient India

The history and civilization of Ancient India

The Deccan Empires

The Steppe Peoples of Central Asia

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Classical India in 380 CE with details about the Gupta empire

Classical India in 500 CE

Medieval India in 565 CE

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