as long as 75,000 years ago(Tamil Nadu) and hominids (Homo Erectus) fromabout 500,000 years ago. TheIndus ValleyCivilization, which spread and flourished in the north-western part of theIndian subcontinentfrom c. 3300to 1300 BCE, was the first major civilization inIndia.A sophisticated and technologically advanced urbanculture developed in theMature Harappanperiod,from 2600 to 1900 BCE. ThisBronze Agecivilizationcollapsed at the beginning of the second millenniumBCE and was followed by theIron AgeVedicCivilization, which extended over much of theIndo-Gangetic plainsand which witnessedthe rise of major polities known as theMahajanapadas.In one kingdom,Magadha,MahaviraandGautama Buddhawere born in the 6th or 5th century BCE, who propagated their Shramanicphilosophies.Almost all of the subcontinent was conquered by theMaurya Empireduring the 4th and3rd centuries BCE. It subsequently became fragmented, with various parts ruled bynumerousMiddle kingdomsfor the next 1,500 years. This is known as the classical period of India, during which India is estimated to have had thelargest economyof theancient and medieval world, controlling between one third and one fourth of the world'swealth up to the 18th century.Much of Northern and Central India was once again united in the 4th century CE, andremained so for two centuries thereafter, under theGupta Empire.This period, of Hindureligious and intellectual resurgence, is known among its admirers as the "Golden Age of India." During the same time, and for several centuries afterwards, Southern India, under the rule of theChalukyas,Cholas,PallavasandPandyas, experienced its own golden age.During this period aspects of Indian civilization, administration, culture, and religion(HinduismandBuddhism
The southern state of Keralahad maritime business links with the Roman Empire fromaround 77 CE. Islam was introduced in Kerala through this route by Muslim traders.Muslim rule in the subcontinent began in 712 CE when the Arab generalMuhammad binQasimconqueredSindhandMultanin southernPunjab,
However, the one dredged piece of wood in question was found in an area of strong ocean currents. Neolithic agriculture cultures sprang up in the Indus Valley regionaround 5000 BCE, in the Lower Gangetic valley around 3000 BCE, and in later SouthIndia, spreading southwards and also northwards into Malwa around 1800 BCE.Tools crafted by proto-humans have been discovered in the north-western part of thesubcontinent that have been dated back two million years.