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Timeline: History of Pakistan and India Independence


c. 622 AD: Islam was founded on the teachings of Abu al-Qasim Muhammad (d. 632).

632-661: During the reigns of the first four caliphs (leaders), Islam spread through wars, Jihad (holy war), forced conversions and the taking of wives and slaves.

Early 8th Century: Sindh Province was invaded by Muslims. The Caliphs forced jizya (taxes) on non-Muslims which caused many Hindus in Sindh to convert to Islam.

8th Century: The Arab Muslim conquest had spread from Arabia west to Spain and Morocco and east into India.

761: Imad ad-Din Muhammad ibn Qasim, an Umayyad (1 of 4 major Muslim Caliphates) military leader, conquered the Sindh and Multan Provinces (now part of Pakistan) with siege engines and Mongol bows. After his successful ‘Jihad,’ he forced taxes and tribute and aloud hostages to be taken.

9th and 10th Centuries: Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists lived in Northern India few civil wars and unrest.

965-: Mahmud of Ghazni [mostly modern Iran, Afghanistan (Kabul), Pakistan] became independent of the Samanid Empire and conquered much land and took the title Sultan (some say he was he first to use it). He was a Sunni Muslim. He conquered the Shia Muslims in Multan, Punjab.

977 – 1186: Muhammad of Ghazni (Mahmud’s son) succeeded his father, but had no sons. His brother Mas’ud fought him to become king. The Ghaznavid Dynasty continued to rule greater Iran, Afghanistan and northwest India. These Persian Sunni Muslims build mosques, schools and developed Islam communities and Persian culture in many of India’s northwest provinces.

1058: Mas’ud’s son Ibrahim is said to have transcribed the Koran (Quran).

1221: Ögedei Khan (Mongolians) captured Urganch (in Uzbekistan). Then the Mongol raids and conquest spread into much of modern Iran.

1227: Genghis Khan died; and his son Ögedei succeeded him.

1235-41: The Mongols raided Kashmir and reached Lahore (Punjah; Pakistan) in the Indus Valley before turning back.

1300s: Kashmir (Cashmir) was independent; and regional states gained power.

1339-1561: The Shah Mir Muslim Dynasty ruled over Kashmir for 20 generations to Habib Shah.

1370-1507: Amir Timur (Tamerlane) reigned over the Timurid Empire in Persia and Central Asia (parts of modern Pakistan, Iran, Syria, Turkey, and Afghanistan). This Empire would last until about 1507. The Timurid line was of Mongol and Turkish/Persian descent. Millions of people were killed as cities were taken by the Timurids from Aleppo and Anatolia to the Delhi Sultanate.

1400s: West Punjab remained under Muslim control; parts of the South and East had large Hindu populations. Although during this period Sikhism (from the teachings of ‘Guru’ Nanak) arose in Punjab, which now has over half of the world’s Sikhism population.

1206-1526: The Delhi Sultanate remained mostly under the rule of the Mamluk, Khalji, Tughlaq, Sayyid and Lodi Dynasties. Amir Timur (Tamerlane) appointed the Sayyid governors of Delhi after his conquering Delhi in 1398. The Sayyid claimed to be descendants of Muhammad.

Late 1400s to early 1500s: Afghan was controlled by the Muslim Lodi dynasty and Rajputana (about 18 states in southern Pakistan and northern India) was ruled by the Hindu Rajput. (Note: the Portuguese Catholics conquered Goa, in southern India in 1510 and the Jesuit Francis Xavier landed in Goa in 1542.)

1526-1530: Zahīr ud-Dīn (‘defender of the faith’) Muhammad Babur (5 generations from Timur) founded the Mughal Empire. He was a grandson of Timur (father’s linage) and a descendent of Genghis Khan (mother’s linage). He was ruler at age 12, but was forced out of Fergana by the Uzbeks (Uzbekistan). In 1504 his people conquers Kabul, Afghanistan and allied with Ismail I (Safavid Dynasty over Iran). He reached India in 1519 and from 1526 until his death (1530) took Panipat, Khanwa, Chanderi and Ghaghra. Babur had about 10 wives and over 20 children.

1526: Battle of Panipat: Babur’s approximate 15,000 soldiers defeated Ibrahim Lodi of the Delhi Sultanate and his 35,000, by using artillery and better tactics. Lodi was killed.

1530-1556: Humayun, son of Babur ruled over the Mughal Empire. He lost much of the empire, but it was regained with the aid of the Safavids.

1556-1605: Akbar the Great, grandson of Babur ruled over the Mughal Empire. His rule began at age 14. He built the largest army in India and conquered northern India (including Pakistan). He was tolerant to the Hindus. Though his family was Sunni Muslims; he developed his own religion – Din llahi – a mystic composite of the major religions. He had 6 wives and more than a dozen children. By 1589, Akbar ruled half of India as he extended the Mughal Empire from Punjab into central India. Akbar was tolerant to all faiths.

1605-1627: Jahangir, son of Akbar, was the fourth ruler the Mughal Empire. He had 8 wives and 11 children. Under his reign the Empire reached Bengal and Ahmadnagar.

1613-1617: The British East India Company (formed 1600) began trading with the Mughals.

1628-1658: Shahab-Muhammad Khurram, Shah Jahan (‘king of the world’), grandson of Akbar, was the fifth ruler of the Mughal Empire. The Empire was at its height under Shah. It was during his reign that the Taj Mahal was built for his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. His family supported the Islam religion. From 1630-32 millions starved as Shah buys jewels for his throne.


Mughal Empire.jpg

1658-1707: Muhi-ud-din Muhammad, Aurangzeb, also Alamgir (‘conqueror of the world’), was the 6th Mughal Emperor for nearly 50 years. It is said he ruled over about 160 million people and the world’s largest economy. Some historians say he reissued the Jizya tax on non-Muslims, destroyed many Hindu temples and even some Islamic mosques. Nevertheless, rebellions and civil wars during his time began to weaken the Mughal Empire.

1674: The Maratha Empire (Confederacy) was established by the Hindu Shivaji in Chhatrapati.

1680 to 1707: The Mughal-Maratha Wars continued. Islam was pushed out of Central India and Hinduism flourished again.

1706: By this time the Hindi Maratha forces pushed most of the Muslim Mughal’s out of Central India. The Mughals retreated from the Maratha and their treasuries had been near depleted already do to war.

1707-1719: Muhammad Azam Shah, son of Aurangzeb, was appointed over the failing Empire. His half-brother, Prince Shah Alam (Bahadur Shah I) killed him and 3 of his sons and took the throne as 7th Emperor until his death in 1712. There were 6 different rulers of the Mughal Empire over this period. After the death of Aurangzeb in 1707, the Maratha began to expand northward in India. In 1717, the Mughal’s signed a treaty with the Marathas giving over control of many provinces.

1719-1748: Nasir-ud-din Muhammad Shah, 12th Emperor ruled 30 years. During this time, family members were murdered and poisoned as the Empire was falling. Poor administrators and leaders, civil wars and raids by the Maratha cost as much as half the territories by 1742.

1739: Nader Shah of Persia invaded the Mughal Empire in 1738; and in 1739 captured Ghazni, Kabul, Lahore and Sindh. The Persians crushed the Mughals; paving the way for others. The Battle of Karnal was said to have fatally weakened the Mughals.

1748: Ahmad Shah of Afghanistan invaded the Mughal Empire – thousands were killed and territories lost.

1728-1763: During this period there were many Mughal-Maratha Wars; which were as much religious civil wars, as battles for control of the territories.

1757: Battle of Plassey: After British forces conquered Plassey, the British East India Company (EIC) gained control in Bengal, India and set up a trading post in Calcutta. Siraj ud-Daulah, the Nawab of Bengal, was allied with the French; he was against Britain’s expansion and quest for India’s wealth. However, Britain (through the EIC) did gain gold and resources from India.

1761: In the Third Battle of Panipat, thousands of Muslims and Hindus were killed as the Maratha forces were stopped.

1764: The British took control of Bengal (the richest province) from the Mughals.

1767-1769: The British East India Company (Great Britain) allied with the Maratha Confederacy (Hindus) and the Nizam of Hyderabad, against Tipu Sultan of the Mysore Empire (French Ally; and mostly Islam – Muslim) in southern India in the First Anglo-Mysore War.

1775-82: By this time, the Maratha Empire had lost its control and authority over North India. During this period the Maratha had conflicts against the Mysore and British (First War).

1780-1784: Second Anglo-Mysore War: After the American Revolution, the British East India Company attacked the French and Dutch ally – the Mysores. After the exchanging by war and deaths of various forts and lands, the war ended with the Treaty of Mangalore. Sultan Tipu was his lands; and though in some defeat, Great Britain maintained its hold in India; the British East India Company lost its significance and saw its stock prices and value fall.

1787: The British began the Abolition of Slave Trade (complete in 1833); same time Gov. Hastings of Bengal was impeached.

1791-1792: About half to central India and much of the southern Maratha Kingdom and Madras Presidency (British E. India Co.), suffered from the Doji bara Famine (Skull Famine). In Hyderabad (Telangana) nearly 100,000 died in about 5 months.

1790-92: Third Anglo-Mysore War: Gen. Cornwallis of Britain defeated Tipu Sahib, Sultan of Mysore; and in 1799 Tipu was killed in battle by the British.

1799: Forth Anglo-Mysore War: Tipu Sultan was killed, as the British attacked the Mysore for all sides. Tipu’s 35,000 soldiers were outnumbered by Britain’s 60,000 troops and about the same number of Nizam and Marathas. (The rockets Tipu used against the British were used to develop rockets used against the French in the Napoleonic Wars.) After this war, the remaining Mysore Empire was annexed by the British, Nizam and Marathas.

1803-05: Second British (Anglo) – Maratha War: During the first 12 years of the 1800s, the British were fighting the French, Spanish, Marathas, Dutch (Netherlands), Russians, Polish, Danish, Norwegians, and the Americans. In 1803, the British defeated the Marathas (lead by the French) in Delhi and Argaon.

1817-1818: Third Anglo-Maratha War: after the Maratha cavalry had helped the British against Mysore; the Peshwa forces of the Bhonsle and Holkar fought against the advances of the British. The British under Gen. Hastings crushed them and the British Raj gained control of the Maratha Empire. This ended the Peshwa Dynasty (1674 to 1818). The Peshwa were ‘prime ministers’ of the Maratha Empire. Baji Rao II was the last in 1818.

1820: Indian immigrants began to arrive in the United States.

1822: Raja Ram Mohun Roy set up educational societies that help revive Indian culture, and he was considered the founder of Indian nationalism and father of Indian Renaissance.
1829: The Sati Prohibition Act made ‘burning alive widows homicide.’

1843: Battle of Miani (Meeanee): British soldiers supporting the goals of the British East India Company fought and defeated Talpur Emirs of Sindh forces in what is now Pakistan.

1846: Treaty of Lahore ended the First Anglo-Sikh War. The British (EIC) reduced the Sikhs lands after taking Jammu, Kashmir and Hazara. Under the Treaty of Amritsar the British demanded 15 million rupees for cost of the war; and sold Kashmir to the Raja of Jammu (Gulab Singh) for 7.5 million rupees.

1850: Britain’s H. H. Wilson of Oxford translated the First English Rig Veda from the Sanskrit in order “to promote the translation of the Scriptures into English, so as to enable his countrymen to proceed in the conversion of the natives of India to the Christian religion.” About 1848, the Christian Bible was published in Sanskrit. In 1850, the British Raj passed the Caste Disabilities Removal Act or Act XXI which abolished laws against religious conversions (such as to Christianity). The Act XXI in effect prohibited Hindus and Muhammadans (Muslims) from civil suits against Christian landowners.

1850s: British were taxing native Indian lands and taking their lands.

1857: First Indian War of Independence also called the First Indian Revolution and the Sepoy Mutiny (sepoys – ‘infantry soldier’). The peasants and nobles of Bengal sought to end the control of the British East Indian Company and British Colonial rule – the British Raj. March 29th, Mangel Pande, an Indian (Native) Infantry soldier shot and wounded a British officer; and was hung. April 24th, 85 soldiers in Meerut refused to handle cartridges lubricated with pig and cow grease (fat) – biting the cartridge open and pouring gunpowder in the musket – handling such as against Muslim and Hindu religious practices. The Sepoy – soldiers – was sentenced to 10 years by court-martial. May 9th, they were stripped of their uniform, shackled and sent to prison. May 10th, other Sepoys broke open the jail (while Brits were at Sunday Church) and freed their comrades. A mob of sepoys enter the cantonment and killed British soldiers; soon after thousands of sepoy in many regiments of infantry and artillery rebelled in Delhi and Lucknow. Delhi was not reclaimed by the British until September.

1860: The S.S. Truro and S.S. Belvedere carried indentured servants of Madras and Calcutta to sugar plantations.

1869: By this time the British had laid 5,000 miles of railroad tracks. Mohandas Gandhi was born this year; and the Suez Canal opened increasing trade with India. The canal paved the way for British cotton and machine-made textiles to take over the hand-weaving industry – profiting large companies and putting more Indians in poverty. (The Industrial Revolution began in England in the 1700s)

1876: Queen Victoria (1819-1901) of England was proclaimed Empress of India.

1885: The Indian National Congress (Congress Party) was formed by A. Hume, Dadabhai Naoroji and Sir Dinshaw Wacha. Its members sought political and economic reforms for India. Over time it became the force for the Independence Movement; and tens of millions would join its movement against the British Empire. Originally it was not against the British Raj and one of its founders was a Scotsman. The first annual meeting (attended by 72 delegates) was in Mumbai, with W.C. Bonerjee as the first President of the INC.

1893: Parliament of the World’s Religions met in Chicago. Swami Vivekananda, a Hindu monk, greeted the 5,000 delegates saying, ‘sisters and brothers of America…’ He spoke against ‘sectarianism, bigotry and its horrible descendant, fanaticism…’ He said, “they have filled the earth with violence, drenched it often and often with human blood, destroyed civilization and sent whole nations to despair…”

1883-93: Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (married at age 13 to 14 year old Kasturba in 1883) traveled to London to train as a lawyer in 1888. In 1891, Gandhi returned to India after passing the Bar. Upon arriving he found that his mother had died; his father had died a year before he left. In 1893, he went to South Africa (British controlled, as India) to work for Dada Abdulla. There he discovered great discrimination against blacks and Indians.

1894: Gandhi founded the Natal Indian Congress (NIC) in South Africa; in order to stand against discrimination. In 1894, Gandhi and the NIC began to submit petitions and organize protests against discriminating laws. They also protested against the indentured servant system; and six months later the British ceased the emigration from India to S. Africa.

1880-96: Bal Gangadhar Tilak (1856-1920), a law graduate from the U. of Bombay (1879), began a school in Poona, and founded the Deccan Education Society (1884) to promote education for the poor masses. They taught English for practical political, commerce and reform reasons. His University newspapers, the Kesari (the Lion; published in Marathi language) and the Mahratta (in English) criticized the British Raj and promoted Nationalism and Independence for India. In 1896, he organized Indian Festivals and petitioned for complete independence.

India 1800s.jpg

1900: By this time about 25,000 miles of railway is in India and another 10,000 will be laid by WWI at the cost of much of India’s forests. By 1900, India’s tea exports to Britain reached over 135 million pounds.

1905: Partition of Bengal gave Muslims a majority state out of East Bengal and outraged the Hindus, which were the majority in West Bengal. It was overseen by British George Curzon, Viceroy of India. This caused a Sawdeshi movement (boycott against the British) by Hindus.

1906: The All-India Muslim League was founded at Dacca, British Raj (now Bangladesh) at a Muhammadan Educational Conference (1886; lead by Syed Khan) which the previous 20 years banned political discussions. About 3,000 attended the first Muslim League conference. Chairman Nawab Viqar-ul-Mulk proposed a political party to represent the Muslim interest in India.

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(founding members of the All-India Muslim League)

1909: Revocation of Partition of Bengal. Muslims protested against the British and Hindu. At this time Gandhi and the NIC were protesting for better working conditions in S. Africa.

1890-1914: In 1890, William II dismissed PM Bismarck and cancelled the German treaty with Russia in order to better relations with Austria-Hungary and ended the League of Three Emperors. In 1902, the British formed an alliance with Japan; then an agreement with France (1902) and Russia (1907). 1908-1909, Austria-Hungary annexed part of former Ottoman territory (Bosnia and Herzegovina) against the will of both the Orthodox Russians and Serbia. It also initiated the First Balkan War (1912-1913), which decreased the Ottoman Empire.

1913: Laws prohibit Indian immigration to S. Africa; and then USA. Muhammad Ali Jinnah became leader of the All-India Muslim League.

1914-1918: WORLD WAR I – the Great War: June 1914, Austrian Archduke Ferdinand was assassinated in Bosnia. This lead to anti-Serbian riots and hundreds of deaths, which then lead to Russia’s support for Serbia. Kaiser Wilhelm II asked Tsar Nicolas II (his cousin) to suspend Russian mobilization to help Serbia – it was refused. Thus, Germany declared war on Russia, and then formed a Triple Alliance between Austria-Hungary, Germany and the Ottoman Empire; which was weak from the Italo-Turkish War (1911-1912) and the Balkan War. Italy also broke off its treaty with Germany (but would enter it again for WWII). In 1907, the Triple Entente was formed between the French Republic, the Russian Empire and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. During the war, many other nations allied with the Triple Entente – now called the Allied Powers against the Central Powers (Triple Alliance). The U.S. did not enter until 1917. In great part, Nationalism was a cause of the war – Russia supporting Serbian nationalism. The War postponed Gandhi and the NIC’s cause in S. Africa; but would lead to the independence of many nations. There were about 10 million military deaths in the war; and more than that in civil deaths; then came famine, disease, orphans and the homeless.

1918: A Spanish Influenza epidemic killed over 12 million in India.

1918: The Big Four Nations met in Paris: Great Britain, France, Italy, and the United States.

1919: After WWI the Indians protested, claiming they fought for the British and deserve freedom in India. Sunday, April 13, Colonel banned all meeting in Amritsar, but the notice did not go out everywhere and it was their day of Baisakhi – a major Sikh festival. Dyer went with Sikh, Rajput and Gurkha troops and ordered them to fire machine guns on the crowd. Between 379 (British report) and a 1,000 (Indian estimates) were killed in the Jalianwala Bagh Amritsar Massacre. Dyer was forced to resign, yet this strengthened India’s independence movement.


1920: The League of Nations was formed out of the 1919 Paris Peace Conference. This year the indentured servitude system was abolished in India (in part to Gandhi’s movement). M. Ali Jinnah resigned from the Indian National Congress.

1927: Indians were permitted to sit as jurors and magistrates.

1929: Jawaharial Nehru of Pandit, and graduate of Trinity College, Cambridge, 48th president of the Indian National Congress called for complete independence from the British Raj.  (below Gandhi and Nehru)


1931-34: Rajendra Prasad, a supporter of Gandhi, was arrested and jailed during the Salt Satyagraha. In 1934, he became the 52nd president of the Indian National Congress.

1933: PAKSTAN, an acronym was created by Rahmat Ali, an India Muslim student of Punjab, studying at Cambridge. It was published in the pamphlet ‘Now or Never; Are We to Live or Perish Forever?’ The term PAKSTAN was submitted to the Third Round Table Conference on the status of India held by the British Government in 1933.

1934: Muhammad Ali Jinnah was elected by the Muslims of Bombay to the Indian Legislative Assembly.

1935: Government of India Act by the British Parliament had about 321 sections. It offered a provision for the ‘Federation of India’ to be both British and ‘princely states.’ It separated Burma from India beginning 1937; Sindh was separated from Bombay; and limited powers were given to elected Indian representatives and provincial Governors. The British still controls foreign affairs and trade, and reserved more rights and control.

1938: Muhammad Iqbal, called the ‘Spiritual Father of Pakistan,’ a former student of Cambridge and Munich, a writer and member of the All-India Muslim League; at age 60 and the year of his death wrote: ‘There is only one way out. Muslims should strengthen Jinnah’s hands. They should join the Muslim League. Indian question, as is now being solved, can be countered by our united front against both the Hindus and the English. Without it, our demands are not going to be accepted. …These demands relate to the defense of our national existence…. The united front can be formed under the leadership of the Muslim League. And the Muslim League can succeed only on account of Jinnah…”

1939-40: Mohammed Ali Jinnah called for a separate Muslim state partitioned from India. In 1940 he founded the newspaper Dawn – written in English.  (Jinnah below)


1939-1945: World War II: In 1937 Japan invaded China; in 1938 Germany annexed Austria and in 1939 invaded Poland and Czechoslovakia. September 3, 1939, Great Britain’s PM N. Chamberlain declared war with Nazi Germany. The next day, Viceroy Linlithgow declared that India entered the war with Britain. Protest broke out in India. September 14, the Indian National Congress called for complete independence. Gandhi and Jinnah did not obstruct the war efforts. December 1941, the United States entered the war after Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. April 1942, Japan conquered Burma and other territories. May 1944, the D-Day invasion took place – allies taking back France. July 1944, the Japanese invaded the state of Manipur, India, but were defeated and withdrew to Burma. American B-29 bombers had a base in Calcutta. May 7, 1945 Germany surrendered; and August 15, 1945 Japan surrendered.

1940: The Lahore Resolution by the All-India Muslim League: “…that the areas in which the Muslims are numerically in a majority as in the North Western and Eastern Zones of (British) India should be grouped to constitute ‘independent states’ in which the constituent units should be autonomous and sovereign.”

1942: Declaration by United Nations of the Big Four (US, UK, USSR and China) was an agreement that none of the Allied nations would sign a separate peace with the Axis powers.

1942-1944: August: The All-India Congress Committee led by Mahatma Gandhi demanded the British ‘Quit India’ and end the British Rule with ‘an orderly British Withdrawal.’ Gandhi, Prasad, and Jinnah, with many others, were all imprisoned at this time and released in September 1944. Gandhi and Jinnah could not reach an agreement on a unified India.

Mahtma-Gandhi.jpgQuit India Movement.jpg

October 1945: The United Nations was founded by representatives from 50 countries (now 193). The main focused at this time was the elimination of atomic weapons, “an international organization to maintain peace and security;” a means to settle territorial disputes; and to set procedures for “territories whose peoples have not yet attained a full measure of self-government…”

May–June 1946: Cabinet Mission Plan: held talks with representatives from the Indian National Congress (Hindus) and the All-India Muslim League, by way of the Constituent Assembly of India. Britain proposed a transfer of independence to India; along with a partition of a Muslim-majority India – later called Pakistan. Due to various differences the Muslim League did not support the original plan. Yet, elections for the Assembly were held and a Constitution drafted.

August 1946: Of the 296 seats of the British Indian provinces, 208 were won by members of the Indian Congress and 73 by the Muslim League. The Muslim League refused to work with the Hindu Congress.

Vultures feeding on corpses lying abandoned in alleyway after bloody rioting between Hindus and Muslims Calcutta (Kolkata) 1946.jpg

August 1946: Direct Action Day or Calcutta Riots or the ‘Great Calcutta Killing:’ four days of Hindu-Muslim riots in Bengal resulted in as many as 10,000 deaths. ‘Direct Action’ was declared by the Muslim League Council. Amidst tensions between the Muslim League and the Indian National Congress, and actions of the Chief Minister of Bengal (later East Pakistan and now Bangladesh), certain Muslims and Hindus rose up and killed each other.  (Above the dead being eaten by vultures after Riots)


1947: The British Partition of India resulted in what is now the Republic of India and the Dominion of Pakistan or Islamic Republic of Pakistan.


1947: The All-India Muslim League dissolved August 14 as Muhammad Ali Jinnah became the 1st Governor-General of Pakistan and 1st President of the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan and called the ‘Father of the Nation.’ August 15, became India’s Independence Day after all parties agreed at least in significant part to the Mountbatten Plan for partition. Immediately, millions of Muslims and Hindus were displaced during a mass migration. Punjab and Bengal were divided. The population of India before the partition was about 390 million; after there were about 330 million in India, 30 million in West Pakistan and 30 million in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). It is estimated that as many as 800,000 people were killed while migrating and thousands raped and tens of thousands orphaned and homeless.  Multitudes lived in refugee camps.


1948: After decades of work for their causes, both Mahatma Gandhi (age 78) and Muhammad Jinnah (age 71) died in 1948; just after seeing the achievement of their goals for freedom for their people.








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