Any Indian kingdom that could have been a colonising invading power

Nov 2012
3,847
#1
Was there an Indian kingdom in your opinion which could have been a global colonising power. That is potential to launch invasions and conquer parts in areas outside the Indian subcontinent and go on to be a major international power(had it attempted to do so)? Please answer this question based on the actual facts based on their strenghts and weakness that we know about these kingdoms?

Also give reasons as to why Indian kingdoms generally did not consider doing this.
 

Rosi

Historum Emeritas
Jul 2008
6,242
#3
Was there an Indian kingdom in your opinion which could have been a global colonising power. That is potential to launch invasions and conquer parts in areas outside the Indian subcontinent and go on to be a major international power(had it attempted to do so)? Please answer this question based on the actual facts based on their strenghts and weakness that we know about these kingdoms?

Also give reasons as to why Indian kingdoms generally did not consider doing this.
I think they were simply not bothered. Global colonisation happened as a consequence of something -- primarily, competition within Europe. Though that's simplistic. But one has to bear in mind that it was a chain of events, borne out of necessity, that led to European explorers discovering the New World and new routes to the Old World. If, let's say, Constantinople hadn't fallen in 1453 and European trade with Asia had gone on as usual, the ensuing events would have been different.

India perhaps did not experience that necessity?
 
Nov 2012
3,847
#4
yes

But what surprises me is not that. Most world empires like Genghis, Alexander, Darius, Cesar etc. were not just for economic reasons(which ofcourse you would benefit if you invaded and win a foreign territory) but also personal ambitions of these rulers. The kind of drive that Hannibal(even though he finally failed), Alexander, Khalid ibn Walid etc. showed to conquer and enlarge their empires, was also many times responsible for their incredible feats.


I would be very surprised to know that no Indian rulers in 5,000 years had this drive to conquer distant lands and colonise them(with or without purpose of benefits, just to enhance their prestige). Why and how can this be possible? If someone can throw more light on this?
 
May 2012
1,628
On a chain of Extinct Volcanoes
#5
First of all , what I gathered from historum , the reasons why the Indian emperors cared to venture out of subcontinent was
1. Lack of necessity - As Rosi said , the Indian land had always been full of natural resources , full of fresh water , forests , substantial mineral resources ...
2.And coincidentally , Geography of India plays a paramount role in further confining the need of Indian empires to go out of the subcontinent.
On east , beyond the plains of Assam , we have impenetrable and stark terrain covered by one of the thickest forests and chain of hills [ modern day states of Arunachal pradesh , Manipur, nagaland , Mizoram] , which made it almost impossible to go beyond them in earlier days and it is no coincidence that Arunachal pradesh has the llowest density of pouplation of all Indian states . And the ever swelling mighty Brahmaputra and its tributaries which pose a humongous challenge . Till date , Indian army is not in complete hold of the North eastern states and they are abodes for many extremist activities.
SO no Eastward expansion possible.

Coming to North and North East , lies the greatest mountain ranges of the world , which till date stands as an unconquerable natural feature on this earth . And that is the main reason why two ancient civilizations , placed so near to each other did not have any worthy contact.
So northward expansion

And now the North west and West . To get into the central Asia or Persia from the subcontinent , one has to cross the cold and super dangerous mountain chains like Hindukush and Karakorum [ which are extensions of Himalayas] and the deserts of Balochistan and Cholistan [ through which Alexander's arduous return journey happened in which most of his men were lost ] .
And also the fact that when one faces mostly harsh terrains beyond the frontiers of Subcontinent making them unworthy for any indian emperor to desire who himself controls a rich and a suitable land and in contrary , it is always a super prize for the people of the stark terrain to invade and loot the riches of a rich land [ and so Darius , Alexnader , Selecus , Genghiz , Timur , Babur , Nadir shah , Ahmad Durrani... ]
In side note the Indian emperors had an eye for their surrounding empires in Indian subcontinent and they had honor in conquering the Indian empires , not the outlying ones [ who , the ancient Indians treated as mlecchhas [ the uncivilized ]

So North West and West expasion.

In the south , south east and south west , India has oceans and the Indian empires , in one case , as already posted by a historumite had imposed its will by flexing its muscles]


3. And finally the fact that the armies of powerful Indian empires had elephants as their backbones completes the link about why Indian rulers never ever gave a try to come out of their land.All the vicinity zones in the frontiers of the subcontinent are unsuitable to start campaigns using elephants .

The only Indian empire that controlled a formidable part of the Central Asia[ was the Kushanas [ at their peak , their empire extended into the Central Asia comprising whole of Bactria , Ferghana [ i,e. the modern day Afghanistan , Kygystan , Tajikistan and Uzbekistan ] to the north of Deccan and to east until pataliputra [ modern day PAtna , Bihar, India] . And it is no surprise that they had the best breeding grounds to produce horses which formed their core of the army that controlled the parts of Central Asia substantiated by the fact that they were expert horse riders , and at the same time , had enough elephantry divisions to fight the subcontinent empires in order to hold such diverse regions . [ They had to compete with two powerful empires in India i.e Satavahanas and western Kshatrapas]



Hope this helps :)
 
Last edited:
Nov 2012
282
Forum
#7
Pallava scripts are similar to south east asian scripts maybe they did conquer some over sea areas we dont know of.
:)
They were at pinnacle of power much before the imperial cholas.
 
Nov 2012
3,847
#9
Yes

But why not South west. As in kingdoms in Kerala were excelling in trade with most of middle east and Africa. Why did they not try invading these lands with all those coffers filled up. I mean a place like Madagascar, Eastern Africa, Yemen(Aden), Oman etc. could have been easily taken by them with a strong naval war. They could have also gained a lot of traffic through is allowing them to gain more revenue.

Anyways I agree the terrain issues but what about ambition. I dont see an Indian King ever saying "I want to be a global conquerer." The lack of will itself is difficult to understand. Moreover, how did so many Buddhist monks go and then spread Buddhism all over China, Japan, Korea etc. Surely they had fewer means than the army of their lands did right?
 

Mangekyou

Ad Honorem
Jan 2010
7,884
UK
#10
First of all , what I gathered from historum , the reasons why the Indian emperors cared to venture out of subcontinent was
1. Lack of necessity - As Rosi said , the Indian land had always been full of natural resources , full of fresh water , forests , substantial mineral resources ...
2.And coincidentally , Geography of India plays a paramount role in further confining the need of Indian empires to go out of the subcontinent.
On east , beyond the plains of Assam , we have impenetrable and stark terrain covered by one of the thickest forests and chain of hills [ modern day states of Arunachal pradesh , Manipur, nagaland , Mizoram] , which made it almost impossible to go beyond them in earlier days and it is no coincidence that Arunachal pradesh has the llowest density of pouplation of all Indian states . And the ever swelling mighty Brahmaputra and its tributaries which pose a humongous challenge . Till date , Indian army is not in complete hold of the North eastern states and they are abodes for many extremist activities.
SO no Eastward expansion possible.

Coming to North and North East , lies the greatest mountain ranges of the world , which till date stands as an unconquerable natural feature on this earth . And that is the main reason why two ancient civilizations , placed so near to each other did not have any worthy contact.
So northward expansion

And now the North west and West . To get into the central Asia or Persia from the subcontinent , one has to cross the cold and super dangerous mountain chains like Hindukush and Karakorum [ which are extensions of Himalayas] and the deserts of Balochistan and Cholistan [ through which Alexander's arduous return journey happened in which most of his men were lost ] .
And also the fact that when one faces mostly harsh terrains beyond the frontiers of Subcontinent making them unworthy for any indian emperor to desire who himself controls a rich and a suitable land and in contrary , it is always a super prize for the people of the stark terrain to invade and loot the riches of a rich land [ and so Darius , Alexnader , Selecus , Genghiz , Timur , Babur , Nadir shah , Ahmad Durrani... ]
In side note the Indian emperors had an eye for their surrounding empires in Indian subcontinent and they had honor in conquering the Indian empires , not the outlying ones [ who , the ancient Indians treated as mlecchhas [ the uncivilized ]

So North West and West expasion.

In the south , south east and south west , India has oceans and the Indian empires , in one case , as already posted by a historumite had imposed its will by flexing its muscles]


3. And finally the fact that the armies of powerful Indian empires had elephants as their backbones completes the link about why Indian rulers never ever gave a try to come out of their land.All the vicinity zones in the frontiers of the subcontinent are unsuitable to start campaigns using elephants .

The only Indian empire that controlled a formidable part of the Central Asia[ was the Kushanas [ at their peak , their empire extended into the Central Asia comprising whole of Bactria , Ferghana [ i,e. the modern day Afghanistan , Kygystan , Tajikistan and Uzbekistan ] to the north of Deccan and to east until pataliputra [ modern day PAtna , Bihar, India] . And it is no surprise that they had the best breeding grounds to produce horses which formed their core of the army that controlled the parts of Central Asia substantiated by the fact that they were expert horse riders , and at the same time , had enough elephantry divisions to fight the subcontinent empires in order to hold such diverse regions . [ They had to compete with two powerful empires in India i.e Satavahanas and western Kshatrapas]



Hope this helps :)
Quite an informative post. Thank you :)

Question. Could they not used their sea power or their riverine abilities for larger scale operations, so as not to depend totally upon elephants, or were elephants just rooted into the psyche of Indian warfare, because of the neccessity of them in the country?
 

Similar History Discussions