The major river valley for Early India was the Indus River Valley. This civilization was built by the Indus and Saraswati Rivers. These rivers would flood twice a year which allowed for rich soil which helped to sustain life. Because of the location the Indus Valley civilization was able to thrive and grow to a point of sustainability where they developed a language through symbols and used "seals" to mark goods used for trade.
The Harappan civilization came to be around 3000 and lasted until roughly 1500 BC. This civilization is known for building large cities. Pictured is the Mohenjo-daro, meaning the Great Bath thought to have been a giant baptismal for the ancient Indus Civilization.
The main trade export of the Indus River Valley was cotton and cotton cloth. Seals were used to mark objects that were to be traded. In this civilization crops such as cotton would be traded for items not native to the Indus River Valley. One example is bronze which could be found in neighbor civilization Ancient Mesopotamia.
There are many theories as to how the downfall of the Indus River Valley Civilizations transpired. Because the Indus River Valley civilizations were peaceful there is a chance they could have been taken over by conquest. It is also likely there may have been a natural disaster. Another widely thought of reasoning may have been an earthquake.
Aryan people were both warrior like and nomadic. The Aryan Migration to India brought forth ideas such as caste systems and new scriptures such as the Vedas which lead to the spread of Hinduism in India. Aryans also brought new innovations to India which increased trade.
Aryans made their moves into India during the period of 1500-500 BCE. Major cultural impacts of the Aryan migration included the introduction of Hinduism through the Vedas; A text that is the oldest scripture of Hinduism. The Vedas also introduced and spelled out a form of social structure through a caste system. Aryans also brought new technologies such as weapons, and farm tools which helped to increase food production in India.
The caste system of the Vedas had five main categories. Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaisyas, Sudras, and Harijans (Pariah). Brahmins would act as priests and would be viewed as the highest in society. Next would be the Kshatriyas which were mostly rulers and warriors. Those who were skilled at a trade and minor officials or rulers were centered in the middle of the system. Unskilled workers called Sudras, and Outcasts called Harijans were located at the bottom of the caste system.
Those who find themselves in the lowest level of the Vedas cast system are called Untouchables. They are the poor and low-skilled member of society. They are called untouchable because interaction with an untouchable is thought to defile someone with a higher ranking. Dharma, karma, and samsara assist the poor dealing with the caste system by providing them with the idea that the actions taken in this life will effect you in the next life. So if an untouchable looks to enlightenment through the vedas and Hindu teachings they may see a higher rank in the caste system in the next life.
Buddha was born in Nepal under the name Siddhartha Gautama. He took on the name of Buddha after a spiritual awakening. Buddhism is different from Hinduism. Buddhism searches for the meaning of existence outside of ourselves. Whereas Hinduism is focused on finding the meaning of life from within ourselves.
Ashoka ruled from around 268 BCE-232 BCE. Under his rule the population in India was the highest of its time making it one of the largest empires in the ancient world. Ashoka is most known for his impact on religion by making Buddhism the main religion of the state. He was different from other leaders when it came to his treatment of his people. He renounced violence and promoted what would be perceived as positive core values such as respecting nature, and the people around you. He also sought to establish a more spiritual society.