3200-1600 BCE: India - The INDUS VALLEY civilization grows up along the banks of the Indus River in what is now Pakistan. The two most important sites uncovered so far by archeologists are Harappa and Mohenjo-Dara; both cities show considerable development including multi-level houses and city-wide plumbing. The Indus Valley civilization appears to have collapsed because natural disaster altered the course of the Indus River.

2300-2000 BCE: India - Cultural exchange between the INDUS VALLEY civilization and MESOPOTAMIA (present day Iraq) is especially prominent.

1600-1500 BCE: India - The Aryans invade the INDUS VALLEY region.

1600-1000 BCE: India - Between these dates, the Early Vedic period of Indian civilization unfolds.

1550 BCE: India - Writing disappears from India for a time with the destruction of the INDUS VALLEY civilization.

1000-600 BCE: India - During this period of Indian civilization, the Late Vedic period, the Aryans are integrated into Indian culture. The caste system emerges.

1000 BCE: India - The Rig Veda, the first Vedic literature, is written.

800-600 BCE: India - The Brahmans, a priestly caste, begin to emerge.

800-500 BCE: India - The Upanishads are written around this time; the doctrines of rebirth and the transmigration of souls start to appear, leading to important theological transformations within Hinduism.

563 BCE: India - Gautama Siddharta Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, is born somewhere in what is today Nepal. He will die sometime around 483.

540 BCE: India - Mahavira, the founder of Jainism, is born. He will die around 486.

537 BCE: India - Cyrus the Persian campaigns west of the Indus River.

517-509 BCE: India - Darius the Persian conquers the INDUS VALLEY region, making the area a province of the Persian Empire.

500-200 BCE: India - The Mahabharata, of which The Bhagavad Gita is a part, is put into final form.

400 BCE: India - Panini's Sutra, the earliest Sanskrit grammer, is written.

327-326 BCE: India - Alexander the Great passes through the INDUS VALLEY installing Greek officials in the area.

323 BCE: India - Alexander the Great dies, providing the opportunity for an independent state in India. Chandragupta Maurya founds the Maurya dynasty, the first Indian empire. Its capital is in Patna. By 184, this dynasty will conquer most of India.

304 BCE: India - Chandragupta trades 500 war elephants to Seleucus in exchange for the Indus region and regions immediately to the West.

273-232 BCE: India - Ashoka, grandson of Chandragupta Maurya and most impressive ruler in the Maurya dynasty, rules in India and institutes a series of edicts designed to bring about moral reform. His policy on reform flows from his Buddhist orientation.

251-246 BCE: India - The Aryan Hindus occupy Celyon.

250 BCE: India - A general council of Buddhist monks is held in Patna, where the canon of Buddhist scriptures is selected.

184 BCE: India - The Maurya dynasty ends when the last ruler is assassinated by an ambitious army commander.