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  • Circa 3000-1700 B.C. Harappan civilization of the Indus Valley marks earliest farming communities in the region.

  • 1500-600 B.C. Vedic states in the north establish the basis of Hinduism and the caste system.

  • 326 B.C. Alexander the Great's army halts at the Indus.

  • 322-185 B.C. Mauryan state in North India; conversions to Buddhism under Asoka (reigned 272-232 B.C.).

  • A.D. 319-540 Gupta empire reunites northern India.

  • 300-900 Pallava empire in Dravidian southern India.

  • 900-1300 Chola empire in southern India.

  • 1206-1400s Islamic Delhi sultanates established in north.

  • 1510 Portuguese establish first European coastal settlement in India.

  • 1526 Mughal conquest of Delhi (returned permanently in 1555).

  • 1556-1605 Akbar extends Mughal power.

  • 1600 Founding of British East India Company.

  • 1658-1707 Aurangzeb conquers south for Mughal empire.

  • 1739 Persian sacking of Delhi and removal of the Peacock Throne accelerates Mughal decline.

  • 1757 Clive defeats Nawab of Bengal at Battle of Plassey, establishing British rule in Bengal.

  • 1790s-1820s British extend power in southern, western, and central India.

  • 1856-57 Indian "Mutiny": uprising against British. British sacking of Delhi and expulsion of Mughals.

  • 1858 Dissolution of East India Company; India to be ruled directly from London.

  • 1877 Queen Victoria declared Queen-Empress of India.

  • 1885 Foundation of the Indian National Congress.

  • 1890s Bengal famine and plague epidemics.

  • 1903 British capital moved from Calcutta to Delhi.

  • 1905 Division of Bengal provokes boycott campaigns against British.

  • 1906 Muslim League founded.

  • 1915 Gandhi returns to India.

  • 1919 Amritsar massacre galvanizes Indian nationalist opposition to British.

  • 1930 Gandhi leads salt march to protest British taxation policies.

  • 1935 Government of India Act gives measure of local self-government to India, but retains British power at the center.

  • 1939-45 World War II: India threatened by Japanese advance in Southeast Asia.

  • 1942 Gandhi announces "Quit India" campaign and is imprisoned.

  • 1946 Labor government in Britain announces future independence for India, with Mountbatten as new viceroy.

  • 1947 British leave India. Partitioning into separate states of India and Pakistan. Massacres of refugees across new frontiers. Nehru becomes independent India's first prime minister.

  • 1948 Gandhi assassinated by a Hindu fundamentalist.

  • 1964 Death of Nehru.

  • 1966 Nehru's daughter, Indira Gandhi, becomes prime minister.

  • 1975 Indira Gandhi declares State of Emergency but is ousted from power in the 1977 elections.

  • 1980 Indira Gandhi regains power.

  • 1984 Indian army besieges Sikh temple at Amritsar. Indira Gandhi assassinated by Sikh bodyguards in revenge.

  • 1984-89 Indira Gandhi's son Rajiv is prime minister.

  • 1991 Assassination of Rajiv Gandhi by a Tamil separatist. Liberalization of the economy by reducing government controls, privatizing, and drastically reducing import tariffs and taxes.

  • 1992 BJP-led attack on mosque at Ayodhya.

  • 1996 BJP Hindu fundamentalist party wins electoral majority and forms coalition government.

  • 2002 Threat of nuclear war with Pakistan over Kashmir averted by international mediation. Gujarat sees tensions between Hindu and Muslim nationalists inflamed.

  • 2004 National elections held; in an unforeseen victory, the Congress-led alliance wins and forms the UPA (United Progressive Alliance) government. Manmohan Singh becomes the new prime minister of India.

  • 2005 India's $575-billion economy grows by a whopping 8.2%.

  • 2008 Mumbai is rocked by a multi-pronged terrorist attack which focuses on high-profile tourist locations. Terrorists, who have trained in Pakistan under Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) operatives, kill 166 innocent people from India, the U.K., U.S., Israel, and other countries, and cause extensive damage to the landmark Taj Mahal Palace and Oberoi hotels.
  • 2009 In the largest election turnout in human history, the Congress Party is given the go-ahead to continue its program of reforms and governance along nonpartisan lines. Manmohan Singh is retained as prime minister and in the days after election results are announced, India's stock exchange becomes the best performing in the world.
  • Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.