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India

Babur, a descendant of Timur and Genghis Khan, swept through the region in 1526, establishing the Mughal Empire - one of the richest single dynasties ever to have existed.

Often employing brutal tactics to overpower their empire, the Mughals ruled a vast amount of the Indian subcontinent, and prospered under Akbar the Great.

The Mughals slowly began to disintegrate throughout the 1700s, with the Indian Rebellion of 1857 that caused their eventual collapse - marking an immense social change over India.

Lines began to blur between commercial and political dominance in the early 18th century, and a number of European trading companies set up coastal outposts for their trading companies, including the East India Company.

In the aftermath of the rebellion a power shift within the British Crown came to light, and subsequently India was colonized and ruled by Britain throughout much of the 19th and 20th centuries.

During the British Raj (the age of ruling over India) the large province of Bengal was split into two halves, with the western half primarily Hindu, and the eastern largely Muslim.

Persistent famines were common during this period, with the worst ever recorded being the Great Famine of 1876-78 in which nearly 10 million perished, followed by one of almost equal proportions in 1899. Despite the widescale loss, the population continued to boom, reaching 389 million people by 1941 - up from 125 million in 1750.

Although the number of British forces in India were small, they managed to control two-thirds of the subcontinent directly.

A push for independence grew steadily in the early 1900s, along with tensions between the Hindus and Muslims. As a minority, the Muslims were cautious, due to the prospect of an almost exclusive Hindu-based government, and tensions between the two flared.

Mohandas Gandhi took the leadership role of the Indian National Congress in 1920, and called for unity between the Hindus and Muslims. Gandhi's approach was that of non-violence, and he was well-known for his restraint and moderation, as well as inspiring movements for civil rights and freedom across the entire world.

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This page was last updated on July 12, 2016.