Indian Timeline (1510-1947 A.D.)

1510: Portuguese Catholics conquer Goa to serve as capital of their Asian maritime empire, beginning conquest and exploitation of India by Europeans.

1526: Mughal conqueror Babur (1483-1530) defeats the Sultan of Delhi and captures the Koh-i-noor diamond. Occupying Delhi, by 1529 he founds the Indian Mughal Empire (1526-1761), consolidated by his grandson Akbar.

1542: Portuguese Jesuit priest Francis Xavier (1506-1552), most successful Catholic missionary, lands in Goa. First to train and employ native clergy in conversion efforts, he brings Christianity to India, Malay Archipelago and Japan.

1556: Akbar (1542-1605), grandson of Babur, becomes third Mughal Emperor at age 13. Disestablishes Islam as state religion and declares himself impartial ruler of Hindus and Muslims; encourages art, culture, religious tolerance.

1565: Muslim forces defeat and completely destroy the city of Vijayanagara. Empire's final collapse comes in 1646.

1569: Akbar captures fortress of Ranthambor, ending Rajput independence. Soon controls nearly all of Rajasthan.

1588: British ships defeat the Spanish Armada off the coast of Calais, France, to become rulers of the high seas.

1589: Akbar rules half of India, shows tolerance for all faiths.

1595: Construction is begun on Chidambaram Temple's Hall of a Thousand Pillars in South India, completed in 1685.

ca 1600: "Persian wheel" to lift water by oxen is adopted, one of few farming innovations since Indus Valley civilization.

1600: Royal Charter forms the East India Company, setting in motion a process that ultimately results in the subjugation of India under British rule.

1605: Akbar the Great dies at age 63. His son Jahangir succeeds him as fourth Mughal Emperor.

1613-14: British East India Company sets up trading post at Surat.

1615-18: Mughals grant Britain right to trade and establish factories in exchange for English navy's protection of the Mughal Empire, which faces Portuguese sea power.

1619: Jaffna kingdom is annexed and Sri Lanka's ruling dynasty deposed by Portuguese Catholics who, between 1505 and 1658, destroy most of the island's Hindu temples.

1627-80: Life of Sivaji, valiant general and tolerant founder of Hindu Maratha Empire (1674-1818). Emancipates large areas confiscated by Muslims, returning them to Hindu control. First Indian ruler to build a major naval force.

1630: Over the next two years, millions starve to death as Shah Jahan (1592-1666), fifth Mughal Emperor, empties the royal treasury to buy jewels for his "Peacock Throne."

1647: Shah Jahan completes Taj Mahal in Agra beside Yamuna River. Its construction has taken 20,000 laborers 15 years, at a total cost equivalence of US$25 million.

ca 1650: Robert de Nobili (1577-1656), Portuguese Jesuit missionary noted for fervor and intolerance, arrives in Madurai, declares himself a brahmin, dresses like a Hindu monk and composes Veda-like scripture extolling Jesus.

1658: Zealous Muslim Aurangzeb (1618-1707) becomes Mughal Emperor. His discriminatory policies toward Hindus, Marathas and the Deccan kingdoms contribute to the dissolution of the Mughal Empire by 1750.

1660: Frenchman Francois Bernier reports India's peasantry is living in misery under Mughal rule.

1675: Aurangzeb executes Sikh Guru Tegh Bahadur, beginning the Sikh-Muslim feud that continues to this day.

1679: Aurangzeb levies Jizya tax on non-believers, Hindus.

1688: Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb demolishes all temples in Mathura, said to number 1,000. (During their reign, Muslim rulers destroy roughly 60,000 Hindu temples throughout India, constructing mosques on 3,000 sites.)

ca 1725: Jesuit Father Hanxleden compiles first Sanskrit grammar in a European language.

1751: Robert Clive, age 26, seizes Arcot in modern Tamil Nadu as French and British fight for control of South India.

1761: Afghan army of Ahmad Shah Durrani routs Hindu Maratha forces at Panipat, ending Maratha hegemony in North India. As many as 200,000 Hindus are said to have died in the strategic eight-hour battle.

1764: British defeat the weak Mughal Emperor to become rulers of Bengal, richest province of India.

1769: Prithivi Narayan Shah, ruler of Gorkha principality, conquers Nepal Valley; moves capital to Kathmandu, establishing present-day Hindu nation of Nepal.

1773: British East India Company obtains monopoly on the production and sale of opium in Bengal.

1784: Judge and linguist Sir William Jones founds Calcutta's Royal Asiatic Society. First such scholastic institution.

1786: Sir William Jones uses the Rig Veda term Aryan ("noble") to name the parent language (now termed Indo-European) of Sanskrit, Greek, Latin and Germanic tongues.

1787-95: British Parliament impeaches Warren Hastings, Governor General of Bengal (1774-85) for misconduct.

1787: British Committee for the Abolition of the Slave Trade is formed, marking the beginning of the end of slavery.

1792: Britain's Cornwallis defeats Tipu Sahib, Sultan of Mysore and most powerful ruler in South India, main bulwark of resistance to British expansion in India.

1799: Sultan Tipu is killed in battle against 5,000 British soldiers who storm and raze his capital, Srirangapattinam.

1803: Second Anglo-Maratha war results in British Christian capture of Delhi and control of large parts of India. 1803: India's population is 200 million.

1809: British strike a bargain with Ranjit Singh for exclusive areas of influence.

1820: First Indian immigrants arrive in the US.

1825: First massive immigration of Indian workers from Madras is to Reunion and Mauritius. This immigrant Hindu community builds their first temple in 1854.

1828: Ram Mohan Roy (1772-1833) founds Adi Brahmo Samaj in Calcutta, first movement to initiate religio-social reform. Influenced by Islam and Christianity, he denounces polytheism, idol worship; repudiates the Vedas, avataras, karma and reincarnation, caste and more.

1831: British Christians defeat Ranjit Singh's forces at Balakot, in Sikh attempt to establish a homeland in N.W. India.

1833: Slavery is abolished in British Commonwealth countries, giving impetus to abolitionists in United States.

1835: Civil service jobs in India are opened to Indians.

1835: Macaulay's Minute furthers Western education in India. English is made official government and court language.

1835: Mauritius receives 19,000 immigrant indentured laborers from India. Last ship carrying workers arrives in 1922.

1837: Britain formalizes emigration of Indian indentured laborers to supply cheap labor under a system more morally acceptable to British Christian society than slavery, illegal in the British Empire since 1833.

1837: Kali-worshiping Thugees are suppressed by British.

1838: British Guyana receives its first 250 Indian laborers.

1840: Joseph de Goubineau (1816-1882), French scholar, writes The Inequality of Human Races. Proclaims the "Aryan race" superior to other great strains and lays down the aristocratic class-doctrine of Aryanism that later provides the basis for Adolf Hitler's Aryan racism.

1843: British conquer the Sind region (present-day Pakistan). 1845: Trinidad receives its first 197 Indian immigrant laborers.

1846: British forcibly separate Kashmir from the Sikhs and sell it to the Maharaja of Jammu for pounds1,000,000.

1849: Sikh army is defeated by the British at Amritsar.

1850: First English translation of the Rig Veda by H.H. Wilson, first holder of Oxford's Boden Chair, founded "to promote the translation of the Scriptures into English, so as to enable his countrymen to proceed in the conversion of the natives of India to the Christian religion."

1851: Sir M. Monier-Williams (1819-99) publishes English-Sanskrit Dictionary. His completed Sanskrit-English Dictionary is released in 1899 after three decades of work.

1853: Max Muller (1823-1900), German Christian philologist and Orientalist, advocates the term Aryan to name a hypothetical primitive people of Central Asia, the common ancestors of Hindus, Persians and Greeks. Muller speculates that this "Aryan race" divided and marched west to Europe and east to India and China around 1500 bce. Their language, Muller contends, developed into Sanskrit, Greek, Latin, German, etc., and all ancient civilizations descended from this Aryan race.

1856: Catholic missionary Bishop Caldwell coins the term Dravidian to refer to South Indian Caucasian peoples.

1857: First Indian Revolution, called the Sepoy Mutiny, ends in a few months with the fall of Delhi and Lucknow. 1858: India has 200 miles of railroad track. By 1869 5,000 miles of steel track have been completed by British railroad companies. In 1900, total track is 25,000 miles, and by World War I, 35,000 miles. By 1970, at 62,136 miles, it has become the world's greatest train system. Unfortunately, this development depletes India's forest lands.

1860: S.S. Truro and S.S. Belvedere dock in Durban, S. Africa, carrying first indentured servants (from Madras and Calcutta) to work sugar plantations. With contracts of five years and up, thousands emigrate over next 51 years.

1869-1948: Lifetime of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, Indian nationalist and Hindu political activist who develops the strategy of nonviolent disobedience that forces Christian Great Britain to grant independence to India (1947).

1876: British Queen Victoria (1819-1901), head of Church of England, is proclaimed Empress of India (1876-1901).

1876-1990: Max Muller, pioneer of comparative religion as a scholarly discipline, publishes 50-volume Sacred Books of the East, English translations of Indian-Oriental scriptures.

1877-1947: Lifetime of Sri Lanka's Ananda Coomaraswamy, foremost interpreter of Indian art and culture to the West.

1879: The "Leonidas," first emigrant ship to Fiji, adds 498 Indian indentured laborers to the nearly 340,000 already working in other British Empire colonies.

1885: A group of middle-class intellectuals in India, some of them British, found the Indian National Congress to be a voice of Indian opinion to the British government. This was the origin of the later Congress Party.

1888: Max Muller, revising his stance, writes, "Aryan, in scientific language, is utterly inapplicable to race. If I say Aryas, I mean neither blood nor bones, nor hair nor skull; I mean simply those who spoke the Aryan language."

1893: Swami Vivekananda represents Hinduism at Chicago's Parliament of the World's Religions, first ever interfaith gathering, dramatically enlightening Western opinion as to the profundity of Hindu philosophy and culture.

1894: Gandhi drafts first petition protesting the indentured servant system. Less than six months later, British announce the halt of indentured emigration from India.

1896: Nationalist leader, Marathi scholar Bal Bangadhar Tilak (1857-1920) initiates Ganesha Visarjana and Sivaji festivals to fan Indian nationalism. He is first to demand complete independence, Purna Svaraj, from Britain.

1900: India's tea exports to Britain reach 137 million pounds.

1905: Lord Curzon, arrogant British Viceroy of India, resigns.

1906: Muslim League political party is formed in India.

1906: Dutch Christians overtake Bali after Puputan massacres in which Hindu Balinese royal families are murdered.

1909: Gandhi and assistant Maganlal agitate for better working conditions and abolition of indentured servitude in S. Africa. Maganlal continues Gandhi's work in Fiji.

1912: Anti-Indian racial riots on the US West Coast expel large Hindu immigrant population.

1913: New law prohibits Indian immigration to S. Africa, primarily in answer to white colonists' alarm at competition of Indian merchants and expired labor contracts.

1914: US government excludes Indian citizens from immigration. Restriction stands until 1965.

1917: Last Hindu Indian indentured laborers are brought to British Christian colonies of Fiji and Trinidad.

1918: Spanish Influenza epidemic kills 12.5 million in India, 21.6 million worldwide.

1919: Brigadier Dyer orders Gurkha troops to shoot unarmed demonstrators in Amritsar, killing 379. Massacre convinces Gandhi that India must demand full independence from oppressive British Christian rule.

1920: Gandhi formulates the satyagraha, "firmness in truth," strategy of noncooperation and nonviolence against India's Christian British rulers. Later resolves to wear only dothi to preserve homespun cotton and simplicity.

1920: System of indentured servitude is abolished by India, following grassroots agitation by Mahatma Gandhi.

1923: US law excludes citizens of India from naturalization.

1924: Sir John Marshall (1876-1958) discovers relics of the Indus Valley Hindu civilization. Begins large-scale excavations.

1927 & 34: Indians permitted to sit as jurors and court magistrates.

1928: Hindu leader Jawaharlal Nehru drafts plan for a free India; becomes president of Congress Party in 1929.

1931: Dr. Karan Singh is born, son and heir apparent of Kashmir's last Maharaja; becomes parliamentarian, Indian ambassador to the US and global Hindu spokesman.

1939: Mohammed Ali Jinnah calls for a separate Muslim state.

1941: First US chair of Sanskrit and Indology established at Yale Univ.; American Oriental Society founded in 1942.

1942: At sites along the lost Sarasvati River in Rajasthan, archeologist Sir Aurel Stein finds shards with incised characters identical to those on Indus Valley seals.

1947: India gains independence from Britain August 15. Pakistan emerges as a separate Islamic nation, and 600,000 die in clashes during subsequent population exchange of 14 million people between the two new countries.

(adapted from the Hindu Time Line site.)