History of Pakistan: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Philip McMurry

Philip has taught college history, English, and political science, and he has a doctorate in American history.

This lesson explores the history of Pakistan, focusing on the influence of a wide variety of cultures in the region, as well as its campaign for independence from Britain. The lesson also deals with some of the challenges it has faced since independence.

Mixing Your Paints

When artists paint a picture, they often take different colors of paint on their palette and mix them together to get a wide variety of different shades. Located in central Asia, the nation of Pakistan has seen many different influences play a role in its history to create the picture of Pakistan we see today, just like mixing colors on a palette.


New Religions

The area known as Pakistan was initially dominated by the Hindu religion. However, by the 2nd and 3rd centuries BCE, Buddhism moved into the area and greatly changed the religious 'color' of the Indus River Valley. In the 8th and 9th centuries CE, Muslim missionaries brought Islam, which added new strokes of influence to the canvas of the region. Islam eventually became the most popular religion in Pakistan.

New Governments

Beginning in the 8th century CE, a series of Muslim empires conquered the Indus Valley, bringing their influence through new kinds of government. Muhammad bin Qasim was the first of these conquerors, bringing a political system called a sultanate, which is similar to a monarchy. In the 16th century, the Mughal (Mogul) Empire, introduced bureaucracy (government officials) to the region, creating a more stable political system.

New Technology

Another new color was splashed onto the canvas of Pakistan through new technologies brought by the Mughals, such as handlooms and rockets. However, the greatest changes came when the British East India Company established trading posts there in late 17th century. They brought modern European technologies to Pakistan, leading many locals to trade with them and even join the local British militia called the sepoys.


British India

A huge influence on Pakistan's culture came when Great Britain took control of it, as part of its larger colony of India, controlling it from the late 17th century through the mid-20th century. After this, tensions between Muslims and Hindus continued to grow. For example, Muslims and Hindus tended to speak different languages, but each wanted theirs to be the official language of Pakistan. Disagreements over these kinds of issues sometimes led to violence.

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