The South Indian Dynasties
Little is known about the prehistory and early history of the Dravidian south. At the beginning of the South Indian Iron Age (500 BC), a megalithic culture developed with a uniform black and red ceramic, which was only replaced by pottery with Roman influence in the 1st century AD. That in the 2nd century BC Andhra empire, which originated in BC, has been little explored. The Shatavahana dynasty, which ruled large areas of southern India until the 3rd century AD, already knew a high degree of court culture. Finds of Roman coins at more than 50 sites show lively trade connections with the West.
According to All Public Libraries, the most important south Indian dynasty is that of the Pallava (4th – 8th centuries), who ruled first in what is now Andhra Pradesh, then near Madras (Kanchipuram, Mahabalipuram) and was able to rely on the fertile areas of the south Indian east coast. Like the Gupta, the Pallava also cultivated classical Sanskrit. Their cultural influence extended to Southeast Asia. They found their greatest rivals and imitators in the Calukya dynasty of Badami. This dynasty ruled the important highlands of the Decan from the 6th to 8th centuries (and again from the 10th to 12th centuries), imitating the architectural style and culture of the Pallava and often undertook campaigns in the fertile coastal lowlands. The most important Calukya king, Pulakeshin II (608–642), fought against both Hashavardhanafrom Kanauj as well as against the Pallava. The Calukya were replaced in their supremacy on the Dechan by the Rashtrakuta, whose center of power was further to the north. The important Rashtrakuta king Krishna I (around 756-773) is the builder of the Shiva temple Kailasanatha of Elura. On the east coast, the Cola replaced the Pallava. From the 9th to the 12th centuries they ruled over large areas of South India and Ceylon and had a great influence on Southeast Asia. The cola king Rajendra I (1014–35) undertook a naval expedition against the Indonesian kingdom of Srivijaya, presumably to defend the trade interests of the cola empire in Southeast Asia. Kulottunga I.(1070–1120) united the Cola dynasty with the eastern branch of the Calukyadynasty, the Calukya of Vengi. In this way a powerful dynasty emerged that ruled the largest and most fertile part of southern India until 1310. After the decline of the Cola, Calukya and Rashtrakuta as well as small dynasties such as the Hoysala of Karnataka, another great empire emerged after 1370, named after its capital Vijayanagar, which was in the middle of the subcontinent and from which the coast in the east and the highlands in the West could be ruled.
The first attempts to form an Islamic state in India arose in Sind in the 8th century, but this empire of Arab conquerors soon fell apart. The Afghan-Turkish ruler Mahmud of Ghazni undertook several raids to India around 1000, where he put an end to the Gurjara-Pratihara empire, but was only able to extend his rule over some parts of the northwest. The Ghasnavid Empire was destroyed in 1187 by the Ghorids , who conquered the Punjab and Sind. General Qutb-ud-din Aibak († 1210)founded the Sultanate of Delhi in 1206 ; this was the first starting point for the formation of an Islamic state. The sultanate was secured under the Khilji dynasty. Ala-ud-din Khilji (1296-1316) led a strict regiment, strengthened the state administration and extended his rule far south. The incursion of Timur (sack of Delhi in 1398) led to the collapse of the Delhi Sultanate. Smaller Islamic states were founded all over India. The formation of a great Islamic empire only succeeded the Mughals in the 16th century. Babur , a descendant of Timur , defeated the numerically superior army of the Sultan of Delhi, Ibrahim Lodi , who died in the battle of Panipat (1526). Baburowed this victory to the skillful use of his field artillery, with whose help he then subjugated various other local rulers. After Babur’s death, his son Humayun (* 1508, † 1556) initially lost the newly won empire to the Afghan Sher Shah ; he went into exile in Persia and had to conquer his empire again in the fight against Sher Shah’s successor (second battle of Panipat 1555). Humayun died shortly afterwards, and his son Akbar , the most important of the Mughal rulers (1556–1605), conquered almost all of India. Since he was the son of a Rajput princess himself, he succeeded in capturing most of the Rajputs to win for yourself. He pursued a policy of tolerance towards the Hindus and was thus able to expand his empire without much resistance. His successors, Shah Jahan and Jahangir,followed the same policy. But Aurangseb (1658–1707) wanted to establish an Islamic state according to the rules of the Koran and reintroduced the poll tax for non-Muslims, which Akbar had abolished. He had to fight against the resistance of the Hindus in many parts of the country. Especially the Marathas on the Dechan under their leader Shivajichallenged the Mughal. The rise of the Marathas and the decline of the Mughal Empire in the 17th and 18th centuries, the renewed invasions of Afghan conquerors and the strengthening of the European invaders led to a change in the balance of power.