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Golden Age of India: History

Instructor: Kevin Newton

Kevin has edited encyclopedias, taught middle and high school history, and has a master's degree in Islamic law.

During the Golden Age of India, knowledge thrived while Hinduism and Buddhism reached new heights. In this lesson, learn more about the empire that led this golden age and its accomplishments.

The Golden Age of India

Most modern cultures have had their own 'golden age,' a term we use to refer to a time of great accomplishments that allowed the culture to prosper. The country of India had several of these golden ages, but the most popular Golden Age of India took place during the Gupta Empire, the ancient Indian empire lasting from around 320 to 550 A.D.

It's particularly popular in part because it was the longest of such eras of accomplishment, lasting more than two centuries. It also comprises some of the most substantial accomplishments in Indian history. Let's explore the Gupta Empire in more detail, the accomplishments of the empire, and its downfall.

The Gupta Empire

The Gupta Empire was ruled by the Gupta dynasty, which controlled northern and central India as well as stretches of southern India. Much as they are now, these regions were heavily populated. The first ruler of this empire was Chandragupta I, who came to power by conquering much of the Ganges River valley. The Ganges River valley was of great importance, because it contained abundant resources and was located near the capital city was Pataliputra, which remained the capital of the Gupta Empire.

Before Chandragupta I, the territories of India were heavily divided and constantly at war. But Chandragupta I reintroduced the politics and principles of the Maurya Empire, which ruled a relatively peaceful empire more than 500 years prior. So, Chandragupta I was largely welcomed by the people. He, as well as several other predecessors in the 200 years prior, led a successful empire focused on social and economic stability.

Coins from the Gupta Empire
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Accomplishments

The Gupta Empire saw a vast range of scientific and cultural achievements. To the chagrin of many high school math students, trigonometry and geometry got their start during this golden age. And Guptan mathematicians developed the concept of zero and the number system. Other major contributions from this era helped improve human health. Not only did scientists and doctors expand the alternative system of medicine called Ayurveda, but they also improved surgical practices and helped popularize vaccinations.

But the Guptan Empire didn't focus solely on science and math. Art and architecture were abundant during this time. In fact, the son of Chandragupta I, Samudragupta, was an avid art lover and commissioned works that can be found in museums to this day. The Gupta Empire is also responsible for a game still popular around the globe today: chess.

Chess was created during the Gupta Empire.
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