Continuities and Changes in South Asia

Categories: Trade And Commerce

In 1450, India was a divided land. Lack of central unified power had caused the frequent invasions from foreign armies or groups such as that of the Muslims, which slowly occupied and ruled the region, the Portuguese, Aryas, and Turkish armies. Yet the impact that the Europeans had settled in this divided subcontinent is diverse and had changed India immensely with their distinct ideas and culture. Impact of British rule had been widespread through the country and had not only affected their political and culture, but also the religious, social, and economic state of India forevermore.

India developed into a divided land, due to political and geographic separation, and consisted of small kingdoms that’d drive away various invaders. The small Muslim population controlled most of the political power whose rulers imposed a tax against all non-Muslims affecting almost the entire population. India at this time only holds a small portion of the oceanic trade, but with the Muslims in the north, items were traded from the Middle East and its nearby regions.

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However, by the 1500’s, the Indian Ocean trade grew and linked India to Southeast Asia, Africa, and even to the European nations.

Europeans, especially the Portuguese, were in need for rare materials and in search of trade in the early 16th century. Ports were deployed by Europeans, African natives, and India in order for goods and other cultural advancements to be introduced. Europeans slowly began to administer and control the trade along the Indian Ocean and soon, The East India Company was established in the 1600’s due to Britain’s economic power.

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Over time, the Scientific Revolution which resulted to the development of the Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution stimulated the requirement for new colonies and raw materials. In 1858, Britain took control over India and passed a British rule by the title of The British Raj which brought passengers to South Asia along with their cultural methods, customs, technology advancements, and power competence. The British soon began to obtain resources for their industrial needs and replaced local leaders whom assembled factories and textiles industries leading the natives of India to despise the British.

Colonies from many European nations were located throughout the subcontinent bringing along beneficial and difficulties in relations of dissimilar political ideas. European paid Indian soldiers to fight against other fellow Indians. Not only that, but ammunition pack also required them to remove the bullet with the process of biting it and consuming animal fat which belonged to cows. Cows were an animal sacred to the native. After switching to pigs, the Muslim residents were discontent as well.

This intrusion from the foreign Europeans concluded the Indians with the desire of independence. Unfortunately, the contrasting Indians did not unite to fight off the trespassers, but instead rivaled against each other. Over periods of time, Indian nationalist movements continued to surface. Although the Nationalist movements did not contribute a big role in gaining independence to the country, they did bring a sense of Nationalism among the people. It was because of this Nationalism and Unity among Indians that caused the British to finally evacuate the country leaving behind a Secular Democracy of India.

India went through an immense conversion from the impact of the arrival of the Europeans in the 16th century. With its abundance of resources and population, it became a benefit to the Europeans to conquer and colonize. New conflicts were created between them such as that of the Sepoy Rebellion which lasted till the First World War. Superior technology, political ideas, various customs, cultural methods were accommodated within the region transforming the nation and changing the course of history.

Updated: Nov 01, 2022
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Continuities and Changes in South Asia. (2016, Dec 15). Retrieved from

Continuities and Changes in South Asia essay
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