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Cities Began To Develop In The Indian Sub- Continent Around 2500 BC

Updated on December 6, 2016

Early civilization - India and China

Division Of The Past

Herodotus was a Greek historian who was born in Halicarnassus, Caria (present -day Bodrum, Turkey) and lived in the fifth century BC (circa 484 – 425 BC). He is known as the Father of History. He gave the term history’. The word history’ comes from the Greek word` historia’ which means knowing or learning by inquiry’.

Division Of The Past

The past has been divided by historians into two periods – prehistory and history.

Prehistory: It is the period of human development when writing had not been invented and human beings did not know how to read and write. Hence there are no written records for this period.

We can know prehistory only through archeology. To understand prehistory, archaeologists dig deep into the ground and collect the remains of the past. These archaeological remains like tools, coins, bones, pots and jewelry help us to know about the past.

History: It is the period for which written records are available. This covers the time period after the invention of writing. Early writing was done on the barks of birch trees, clay tablets, palm leaves, copper plates and rock pillars.

Alamy- Indus Valley

Sources Of History

The difficult question now is how we can know about something that took place thousands of years ago.

A very simple answer to this difficult question is that we learn about the past from the remains, which people of that period have left behind. By studying these remains, archaeologists and historians tell us what might have happened in the past.

Sources of history are divided into two broad groups:

1) Archaeological. 2) Literary Sources

Some scientific techniques used to date things found in excavations

A) Radiocarbon (Carbon14) – This technique is used to date organic matters (eg. Bones).

B) Thermoluminescence Dating – This technique is used to date pottery.

Sub- Continent Around 2500 BC

The Indus Valley Civilization

The geography of a country plays a major role in its history. Similarly, the geographical features of India have greatly influenced its people and their history. Even the name of the country India’ has its origin in its geography. The Iranians and Greeks called River Indus as Hindoos, or Indos, and so the land to the east of the river was called India.

Cities began to develop in the Indian Sub- continent around 2500 BC. It was also during this time that human settlements emerged in Nile Valley in Egypt. An inscribed stone was found in Rosetta, a town on the north coast of Egypt, that contained inscriptions in three different languages and scripts, one Greek and two Egyptian.

1700 BC Harappan civilization

Art And Craft

Pottery – making had reached an advanced stage. The pottery of this culture was wheel – made and adorned with a variety of natural, geometric and non – geometric motifs.

Numerous seals have been found from Harappan sites. Most of them are made of terracotta and are square or rectangular in shape. The seals usually have a short inscription accompanied by a religious character or some animal like a tiger, goat or elephant.


Harappan script is the earliest form of writing discovered in India. This script has been engraved on various seals that have been found all over the Indus Valley sites. Harappans had a photographic script. It means it had a picture -like signs showing words and objects. Harappan script has not been deciphered till now. It is written from right to left.

A Large Number Of Cities

During this age, north India was urbanized. A large number of cities such as Kaushambi and Kuushinagar (Uttar Pradesh) and Vaishali (Bihar) developed as centers of trade and commerce. People became rich and prosperous.


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