The birth of Mahavira and Buddha in the 6th century BCE (The 5th and 6th centuries BC were a time of empires, more essentially, times of learning and philosophy) celebrate the beginning of a well-documented Indian history.
It is during this period that Hinduism first arose. In the fifth century, large parts of India were united under Ashoka who later converted to Buddhism and in his reign it spread to other parts of Asia. Hinduism took its shape in the reign of the Mauryas which primarily informs the religion down to the present day.
Invasions by the Arab and Central Asian armies in the 8th and 12th centuries saw Muslim rulers coming into India which saw the advent of the religion Islam .
By the eleventh century Islam determinedly established itself as a political force; the North Indian dynasties of the Lodhis, Tughlaqs, and numerous others, whose remnants are evident in Delhi and scattered in other places around North India, were finally succeeded by the Mughal empire, under which India once again achieved a large measure of political unity.
India shaped up its classical civilization for the next 1500 years, and is estimated to have had the largest economy of the ancient world between the 1st and 15th centuries CE, controlling one third and one quarter of the world’s wealth up to the time of the Mughals.
The late 15th century saw the entry of traders from Europe during which The British East India Company was established (during the reign of Akbar, 1556-1605) with the intention of favouring trade opportunities in India. The Royal Charter effectively gave the newly created Honourable East India Company (HEIC) a 21 year control on all trade in the East Indies.
The Company changed from a commercial trading undertaking to one which virtually ruled India as it attained supportive governmental and military functions. From 1757,it began colonising parts of India and by 1858, the British Crown suppossedly took political control over almost all of India.
Indian armed forces in the British army played an important role in both the World Wars. Nonviolent confrontation to British colonialism led, by Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, Vallabhbhai Patel and Jawaharlal Nehru brought independence to India in 1947.
The subcontinent was partitioned into the Secular Democratic Republic of India and the smaller Islamic Republic of Pakistan. A war between the two countries in 1971 paved way for East Pakistan becoming a separate nation of Bangladesh.
In the 21st century, India has made remarkable gains in political and economic environments, and stands as the world’s largest democracy with a population exceeding 1 billion, is self sufficient in terms of food, and is a fast-growing, economically strong country, with the fourth largest economy in the world.