Traditions and Encounters, AP Edition (Bentley), 5th Edition

Chapter 15: India and the Indian Ocean Basin

Interactive Map Quiz


Map A. States of Postclassical India

The postclassical era of Indian history is characterized by the rise and fall of smaller kingdoms, none of which could compare with the earlier Mauryan or Gupta empires in terms of unity. Under the aegis of Harsha Vardhana, in the seventh century Northern India was unified for a brief time. In southern India, the Chola kingdom reigned over the region of Tamil Nadu, from the first century CE, although the kingdom did not reach its height until the tenth century under the reigns of Rajaraja and Rajendra Chola.
The Delhi Sultanate that controlled much of the subcontinent from 1200 to 1526 was a collection of Islamic kingdoms. In the late twelfth century, Muhammad of Ghor, a Persian conqueror swept into India and eventually conquered Delhi in 1192. He was murdered in 1206, and one of his general's proclaimed himself the sultan of Delhi in 1211. The Islamic empire spread quickly, taking control of Bengal, as well as north and central India, by the end of the century. Only the Vijayanagar remained impervious to attacks from the empire until the sixteenth century. By that time, however, the Delhi Sultanate itself was under siege from Babur of the Mughals, who was able to defeat and conquer Ibrahim Lodi, the last of the Delhi Sultans, in 1526.

How did the northern and southern parts of India differ, from about 7th century CE to the 17th CE, in terms of political structures and stability?


In what ways did the basic principles of Islam and Hinduism clash so profoundly? In which areas of India did Islam sink the deepest roots? Why?


What parts of Southeast Asia adopted different aspects of Indian culture and what were they?


Your book has implied that the strong, centralized states (governments) that supplied order and stability to large areas benefited societies in China, Persia, Arabia, and the Mediterranean regions. Do you think this is true for India during the period from 600-1500 C.E.? Why or why not? Do you think that healthy, long-distance trade depended upon the existence of a strong state, in India and elsewhere?

Traditions & Encounters, 5e
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