The Largest Empires In The History Of India

Statue of Chandragupta Maurya, founder of the Maurya Empire, in New Delhi, India.
Statue of Chandragupta Maurya, founder of the Maurya Empire, in New Delhi, India.

Throughout Indian history, the subcontinent has seen the birth of some of the greatest and most vast empires in the ancient world some of these dynasties covered an area that is almost twice the size of current country of India. For instance the empire of Maurya covered an area of 5 million square kilometers and was in existence in the year 250 BC. On the other hand, the Maratha Empire was relatively recent and small in size covering an area of 2.5 million kilometers square and flourished between 1674 and 1818. Maratha dynasty was responsible for reestablishing of Hindu culture and religion in India.

The Largest Empires In The History Of India

Maurya Empire

It was the biggest and earliest empire in the, which was established by an Indian dynasty. The Maurya Empire began in 250 B.C.E and occupied an area of approximately 5,000,000 square kilometers.It emerged as a result of a combination of states in the northern India that created one state. Apparently, it developed during the time of the rise of Alexander the Great. Chandragupta Maurya was the founder of Maurya Empire. The policies and laws of the empire were formulated by Chanakya ministers, which led to the empire to thrive. The empire also signed treaties with the generals of Alexander the great where it conquered territories in Iran and Afghanistan.During the reign of Ashoka, Chandragupta's grandson, the Empire had conquered most of the Indian subcontinent. Further, Ashoka was well-known for embracing and reestablishing Buddhism after the conquest of Kalinga.

Mughal Empire

It was established in 1690 CE and occupied an area of 4,000,000 square kilometers. It was an empire that ruled parts of the Indian Subcontinent, Afghanistan, and Balochistan. The Mughal Empire was established by the Mongol ruler when he overpowered Ibrahim, the Sultan of Afghanistan. Further, the Mughal Empire was referred as the "Gunpowder Empire", which preserved features of the Mongol customs, and embraced Islam into the empire. Additionally, higher taxes were imposed to meet the lifestyle of this emperor although there were no gains to the taxpayers. Economic wealth was considered a threat to the state security and therefore created internal dissatisfaction which partly contributed to the downfall of the empire.

Gupta Empire

The Gupta Empire was based in the Magadha region, and it conquered most of South Asia. It was established in 400 CE and occupied an area of around 3,500,000 square kilometers. This Empire was under the rule and leadership of Gupta. Apparently, at this time when Gupta Empire emerged, India prospered in its golden age and its height of its civilization where much of its popular literature and science were documented. However, during the Gupta Empire, social classes became inflexible and rigid, and the devolution of power to local leaders intensified. The Empire became stable, and it pushed out intruders such as the Huns for around two centuries.The main accomplishments of the Gupta Empire were intellectual and artistic achievements. Further, astronomical, and mathematical theories were first exposed during the reign of Gupta Empire. Unfortunately, the Gupta Empire collapsed because of constant disintegration and assault from local leaders.

Imperial Legacies

India has had some of the greatest empires dating back to the 250 BCE. The Mauryan Empire was the earliest and covered the widest area of approximately 5 million square kilometers. The rulers were the Mauryan dynasty from starting from around 320 to 185 BC. The founder was Chandragupta Maurya. Other empires covered a relatively much smaller geographical location.

The Largest Empires In The History Of India

RankEmpireApproximate maximum extent (Area in km²)Approximate date of maximum extent
1Mauryan Empire5,000,000250 BCE
2Mughal Empire4,000,0001690 CE
3Gupta Empire3,500,000400 CE
4Republic of India (for comparison)3,287,263Present
5Delhi Sultanate3,200,0001312 CE
6Maratha Empire2,500,0001760 CE
7Kushan Empire2,000,000200 CE
8Empire of Harsha1,000,000648 CE

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