Today in South Asian history: the Battle of Delhi (1398)

I’m going to bail out here, because today’s anniversary doesn’t really do much to rehabilitate Timur’s image. It was on December 17, 1398 when the warlord led his armies into battle against the forces of the Delhi Sultanate, then under the Tughlaq dynasty, at the Battle of Delhi. Timur’s victory here was both brutal, in … Continue reading Today in South Asian history: the Battle of Delhi (1398)

Today in South Asian history: the First Battle of Panipat (1526)

As I think we’ve mentioned before, Panipat has seen three major battles since the 16th century. I don’t think I’m doing the other two battles a disservice if I say that this first one was the most significant of the three, because it established the Mughal Empire in northern India. With the exception of a brief interlude … Continue reading Today in South Asian history: the First Battle of Panipat (1526)

Today in South Asian history: the Third Battle of Panipat (1761)

As the title says, the battle we're talking about today was the third, and final (so far, at least), major battle fought near the northern Indian city of Panipat. Usually when a place is the site of three major battles, particularly when those battles take place over the (relatively) compressed period of about 250 years, the … Continue reading Today in South Asian history: the Third Battle of Panipat (1761)

Today in Central Asian history: the Soviets invade Afghanistan (1979)

For a while Americans mostly viewed the Soviet-Afghan War positively, as the Beginning of the End of the Soviet Union, and while there may still be something to that, I imagine most of us think of it a bit differently nowadays. The plucky Mujahideen who earned America's support and admiration for their brave fight against … Continue reading Today in Central Asian history: the Soviets invade Afghanistan (1979)

Today in South Asian history: the Siege of Delhi ends (1857)

The 1857 Siege of Delhi is significant for at least two reasons, one more tangible than the other. On the practical level, Britain's victory effectively stifled the 1857-1859 Indian Rebellion, ensuring that it would ultimately fail even though the conflict continued for some time afterward. On the more intangible note, the siege marked the formal … Continue reading Today in South Asian history: the Siege of Delhi ends (1857)

Today in South Asian history: Nader Shah sacks Delhi (1739)

The story of the late middle/early modern Islamic world is dominated by the three so-called "Gunpowder Empires"--the Ottomans with their vast empire circling the Mediterranean; the Safavids in Iran and, at various times, parts of the Caucasus and Central Asia; and the Mughals in South Asia. They're called "gunpowder empires" because two former University of … Continue reading Today in South Asian history: Nader Shah sacks Delhi (1739)

Today in South Asian history: the Battle of Karnal (1739)

Nader Shah (d. 1747) is often considered the last of the great (in the sense of "impressive," not "good") Central Asian conquerors, after Genghis Khan and Timur (Tamerlane), and (depending on who's making the list) assorted other figures like the first Mughal Emperor Babur. He also the man who kept Iran more or less intact … Continue reading Today in South Asian history: the Battle of Karnal (1739)

Today in South Asian history: the Battle of Diu (1509)

The appearance of Portuguese explorers in India in 1498 was, it's safe to say, a world-altering event. When Vasco da Gama proved that it was possible for European ocean-going vessels to reach India by going around Africa, it meant changes not only for Europe and India, but for the kingdoms in between, whose economies had … Continue reading Today in South Asian history: the Battle of Diu (1509)

Today in South Asian history: the Battle of Talikota (1565)

Muslim control over the Indian subcontinent, especially in areas south of modern Pakistan, was always somewhat precarious. Whatever Muslim dynasty happened to be in power at any given time was guaranteed to be part of a religious minority ruling over a vast number of Hindu subjects. The Mughal Empire, which ruled northern India, modern Pakistan, … Continue reading Today in South Asian history: the Battle of Talikota (1565)

Today in South Asian history: the Indo-Pakistani War and Bangladesh Liberation War both end (1971)

India and Pakistan have fought no fewer than four full-on wars since the two nations came into being in 1947. Where the 1971 war stands out from the others is that it had nothing (directly, at least) to do with the disputed region of Kashmir. In fact, the 1971 Indo-Pakistani War was really the final … Continue reading Today in South Asian history: the Indo-Pakistani War and Bangladesh Liberation War both end (1971)