The Indus Valley Civilization, one of the oldest in the world, dates back to 3300 BC. This was followed by the Vedic Civilization of the Indo-Aryans. The origin of the Indo-Aryans is under some dispute. Most scholars today believe in some form of the Indo-Aryan migration hypothesis, which proposes that the Aryans, a semi-nomadic people, possibly from Central Asia or northern Iran, migrated into the north-west regions of the Indian subcontinent between 2000 and 1500 BCE. The nature of this migration, the place of origin of the Aryans, and sometimes even the very existence of the Aryans as a separate people are hotly debated. The merger of the Vedic culture with the earlier Dravidian cultures (presumably of the descendants of the Indus Valley Civilization) apparently resulted in classical Indian culture, though the exact details of this process are controversial. The births of Mahavira and Buddha in the 6th century BCE mark the beginning of well-recorded Indian history. For the next 1500 years, India produced its classical civilization, and is estimated to have had the largest economy of the ancient world between the 1st and 15th centuries CE, controlling between one third and one quarter of the world's wealth up to the time of the Mughals, from whence it rapidly declined during British rule.
Incursions by Arab and Central Asian armies in the 8th and 12th centuries were followed by inroads by traders from Europe, beginning in the late 15th century. The British East India Company was established in 1600 CE (during the reign of AKBAR himself) (who reigned India from 1556-1605).From 1757, the British East India Company had begun colonising parts of India and by 1858, the British Crown had assumed political control over virtually all of India. Indian armed forces in the British army played a vital role in both the World Wars. Nonviolent resistance to British colonialism led, by Mohandas Gandhi, Vallabhbhai Patel and Jawaharlal Nehru brought independence in 1947. The subcontinent was partitioned into the Secular Democratic Republic of India and the smaller Islamic Republic of Pakistan. A war between the two countries in 1971 resulted in East Pakistan becoming the separate nation of Bangladesh. In the 21st century, India has made impressive gains in economic investment and output, and stands as the world's largest democracy with a population exceeding 1 billion, is self sufficient in terms of food, and is a fast-growing, economically strong country, with the fourth largest economy (PPP) in the world.
Human civilizations in India are some of the earliest recorded, and were contemporaries of civilizations in ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt. India's history essentially includes the entire Indian subcontinent, including the more recent nations of Pakistan and Bangladesh. India is also inalienably linked with the history and heritage of the other South Asian nations like Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bhutan. Outside of South Asia, India's history, culture and politics often overlap with neighbouring countries such as Iran, Afghanistan and Turkestan. In turn, India's culture, economy and politics has had an influence on the history and culture of the nations in South East Asia, East Asia and Central Asia, such as Indonesia, Cambodia, Thailand, China, Tibet and Afghanistan over thousands of years. After Arab incursions into India during the early part of the second millennium CE, similar quests for access to India's fabled wealth strongly influenced the history of medieval Europe, after the landing of Vasco Da Gama. Christopher Columbus discovered America whilst searching for a new route to India, and the British Empire gained much of its resources after the incorporation of India as the 'Jewel in the Crown', from the late 18th century to 1947.