The Indus, or Harappan, civilization is the third ancient Oriental civilization of the Bronze Age, after the Egyptian and Mesopotamian. Of the three, it occupied the largest area, exceeding twice the combined area of the other two. The Indus civilization declined relatively quickly, experiencing a heyday between 2600 and 1900 BC, which is attributed to the drought of 2200 BC.
The Harappan civilization developed in the Indus Valley from 3300-1300 BC. The most significant centers were Rakhigarhi (350 ha), Mohenjo-Daro (300 ha), Harappa (150 ha), Lothal (60 ha) and Dholavira (47 ha). The population during its heyday was about 5 million, presumably Elamito-Dravid[⇨]. The mature period of the Indus civilization lasted from 2600 to 1900 BC. Extended in the territories of present-day Afghanistan, Pakistan and Northwest India.
In the Sumerian texts the Harappan civilization was supposedly called "Melukhha".
During the 3rd millennium BC aridization - the gradual depletion of water resources of the region where the state was located - began. Archaeologists cite increased urbanization in the region and the gradual drainage of soils and rivers as a possible cause of aridization. Eventually this may have led to the decline of the state. At the same time, after the decline, the population left for the East.
Five thousand years ago in northwest India (at Harappa and Mohenjo-Dar), life was already thriving, cities were being built, merchants traded, craftsmen produced elegant and useful objects, and cultural workers entertained the working people. The rest of India was deserted: rare tribes were in the Stone Age, and swamps and impenetrable jungle were where today's megacities and coastal resorts are located.
The ancestors of contemporary Indians began to drain the swamps and cut through the virgin forests. After all, the Iron Age had come, and people learned how to mine ore, make iron, and make tools from it. Over the next five hundred years almost the entire Ganges valley was developed and populated.
Individual communities and small states feuded with each other for access to the main waterway until they were united (by conquest, of course) by the rulers of Magadha. And just in time!
In the fourth century BC, Alexander the Great invaded India. He captured the Indus surroundings quite easily, but the lands on the banks of the Ganges were not given to him. The Indian counter-propaganda worked precisely and effectively: the rumors about huge armies and thousands of fierce fighting elephants made the Macedonian army to go in open defiance of its leader - Alexander had to reconcile and retreat to Persia.
After Alexander the Great's retreat, power in Madagha was seized by Chandragupta Maurya in a bloody battle, which involved a million people, a hundred thousand horses and ten thousand elephants. Thus was formed India's first empire, the Maurya Empire, stretching from the Arabian Sea to the Bay of Bengal