Important Dynasties of India

Maurya Dynasty (300 B.C.–184 B.C.)
Chandragupta Maurya (324–300 B.C.)—He founded the Maurya Empire in India with the help of Kautilya. He was a military genius and an eminent statesman.
Ashoka the great (273–236 B.C.)—Coronation in 269 B.C. He was the son of Bindusara. He conquered; Kalinga in 261 B.C. This was killed the soldier in him and he embraced Buddhism.
Kushan Dynasty (40–176 A.D.)
Kanishka (78–101 or 102 A.D.)—He is known as a great empire builder. Like Ashoka he patronized Buddhism. He patronized the Gandhara School of Art. The famous Indian physician Charak and Bhuddhist lawyer Nagarjuna lived during his reign. Ashwaghosh a Buddhist monk also lived in his time.
Gupta Dynasty (320–550 A.D.)
The great rulers in this dynasty are : Chandra Gupta I. (2) Samudra Gupta, (330 –375 A.D.). Also known as Napoleon of India, (3) Chandra Gupta II. (375–413 A.D.) (Vikramaditya), and (4) Skanda Gupta (455–477 A.D.). The Gupta period is described as the golden period in the history of ancient India. Among the great personalities of the period mention may be made of Kalidas. The famous dramatist, Arya Bhatta, the famous astronomer and mathematician. Varahamihir and Brahmagupta also belonged to this age.
Vardhana or Pushyabhuti Dynasty (560–647 A.D.)
The greatest king of this dynasty was Harsha Varadhan (606–647 A.D.). He was a great patron of art and literature. He himself was a man of letters having written two great books ‘Naga Nandin’ and ‘Ratnavali’. He was the last great Hindu ruler of India. Huen Tsang a Chinnese pilgrim, visited India during his reign.
Ghazni Dynasty (962–1116 A.D.)
Mahmud Ghazni (997–1030)—He was a great conqueror. He invaded India 17 times. His invasions weakened the Indian rulers and paved the way for Muslim rule in India. The famous Persian poet Firdausi, the writer of ‘Shahnama’ lived in his court.
Ghori (1186–1206 A.D.)
Mohammed Ghori (1186–1206)—He was defeated by Prithviraj, the ruler of Ajmer and Delhi at the first Battle of Tarain. He however, defeated Prithviraj at the Second Battle of Tarain in 1192. This marked the beginning of permanent Muslim rule in India.
Slave Dynasty (1206–1290 A.D.)
Qutubuddin Aibak (1206–1210 A.D.)—He was the founder of the Slave Dynasty. He commenced the building of the Qutub Minar which was later completed by Altamash (1211–1236) who was succeeded by Razia Begum, (1236–1239 A.D.) his daughter.
Khilji Dynasty (1290–1320 A.D.)
Ala-ud-din Khilji (1296–1316 A.D.)—He was the most distinguished ruler of this dynasty. He was a great conqueror and his empire extended to the far south. He was famous for control of
Tughlaq Dynasty (1320–1414 A.D.)
Mohammed Tughlaq (1325–1351 A.D.)—He was the most distinguished ruler of this dynasty. He was known for his learning and also for mixture of sagacity and madness. His transfer of capital from Delhi to Daulatabad has been described by historians as an act of madness.
Lodhi Dynasty (1451–1526 A.D.)
Ibrahim Lodhi (1517–1526 A.D.)—He made some mark in extending his dominions. He was a cruel ruler. He was defeated by Babur in 1526 at the First Battle of Panipat, and the foundations of Mughal rule in India were laid.
Mughal Rulers (1526–1857)
Babur (1526–1530 A.D.) founded the Mughal rule in India in 1526 by defeating Ibrahim Lodhi—He however, did not live long was and succeeded by his son Humayun (1530–1540 and 1555– 1556 A.D.) in 1530. Akbar (1556–1605 A.D.) was the most capable and distinguished ruler of the Mughal dynasty. His son Jahangir (1605–1627 A.D.) followed in his foot steps to some extent. Jahangir was succeeded by Shahjahan (1627–1659 A.D.) whose reign is described as the golden period in Mughal history. His son Aurangzeb (1659–1707 A.D.) was the last great Mughal emperor. But with him began the downfall of the Mughal empire on account of his policy of intolerance which alienated the Hindus especially the Rajputs.
Causes of the Downfall of the Mughal Empire
(1) The Empire had become too unwieldy to be managed.
(2) Aurangzeb’s policy of religious intolerance antagonized the Hindus.
(3) The successors of Aurangzeb were not competent rulers.
(4) The rivalry, intrigues and corruption led to administrative chaos.
(5) Attacks of Nadir Shah and Ahmed Shah Abdali reduced it to a small size.
(6) It had not struck deep roots in the Indian soil.
Suri Dynasty (1540–1555 A.D.)
Sher Shah Suri (1540–1545 A.D.)—Rule provides an interragnum between two phases of Mughal rule in India. Sher Shah defeated Humayun and forced him into exile. He carried out notable reforms in administration.
The Marahattas (1649–1818 A.D.)—The Marahatta power rose in the latter half of the 17th century. The Marahattas organised their power under the leadership of Shivaji (1627-80). He was an able ruler and commander. During the Peshwa period, the Marahatta power spread through the major part of India. But at a time when the Marahatta power was at its zenith and promised to establish its sway over the whole of India, the forces of Ahmad Shah Abdali badly defeated the Peshwa forces in 1761 at the Battle of Panipat. Though the Marahattas were defeated at the hands of Ahmad Shah Abdali, neither of the two parties could maintain its sovereignty over India. On the contrary this battle made the field clear for the establishment of British East India Company’s rule in India.
The Peshwas (1708–1818)—After the death of Shivaji, Peshwas continued their struggle. They did succeed to a great extent in their struggle. A major portion of Indian peninsula came under their control at the outset of British hold. But due to internal conflict and subsequent weakening of power they succumbed to British power which had been gaining momentum.
Important Dynasties in the South
Chalukyas— Pulkeshin I was the founder of this dynasty. He made Kanchi or Modern Badami his capital. His grandson Pulkeshin II (609–642) was the most distinguished ruler of this dynasty. He measured swords with king Harsha and defeated him on the bank of the Narmada.
Cholas—Parantoka I was the founder of this dynasty in 947. Chola rule reached its high water mark of glory under Raja Rajadeva, the Great and his son Rajendra Choladeva I. The Cholas established their supremacy even outside India.
Bahmani Muslim Kingdom (1346–1526 A.D.)—The Muslim Kingdom was established in the Deccan during the reign of Mohammed Tughlaq and founded in 1347 by a brave soldier, named Zafar Khan. The most illustrious person of this kingdom was Mahmud Gawan, a persian who was a minister for a long time. He was killed and after that the kingdom was split into five independent states : (1) Bedar, (2) Berar, (3) Ahmednagar, (4) Bijapur, (5) Golkunda.
Vijayanagar Empire (1336–1565 A.D.)—Harihar and Bukka were the founders of this dynasty in 1336. The greatest rulers of this dynasty were Deva Raya II and Krishna Deva Raya. The glory of Vijayanagar empire was smashed at the Battle of Talikota in 1565 when the Deccan Sultanates fought and defeated Ramraja and killed him.

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