Vedic Expansion - Ancient India for Kids

Vedic expansion

Ganges River
Ganges River

After the Vedic people moved into the Ganges valley about 800 BC, they were further from West Asia and Central Asia and had less contact with those people. They began to mix more with the Indian people and the Indian gods became mixed with the Indo-European gods. The Vedic conquest of the Ganges is remembered in the Mahabharata, first told about this time.

But still the Vedic people did not control all of India. Southern India was ruled by a bunch of independent kings who did not have to do what the Vedic people wanted. Stories of fights between the Vedic people and the southerners are told in the Ramayana.

Persian archers
Persian archers

In the 500s BC, part of north-western India (modern Pakistan) was conquered by the Persians under their kings Cyrus and Darius. The Persians were also Indo-Europeans, but they had left their homeland later and settled in modern Iran. The Persians never really controlled India very well - they made the Indians pay tribute in gold to Persia, but they didn't really tell them what to do.

Meanwhile, the Vedic people continued to rule north-eastern India. Seeing how the Persians formed a big empire, the Vedic people also began to put together bigger empires. As the Mahabharata says, this was a time "where big fishes ate little fishes." In the 400s BC, this was where Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha, lived and started the faith of Buddhism.

To find out more about the Indo-Europeans or Aryans in India, check out this book from or from your library:

Early India : From the Origins to AD 1300, by Romila Thapar (University of California Press 2004). For adults, and a little dry.

There's also a good article on this, with some recent citations, on Wikipedia.

Alexander the Great

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