Hinduism Today Magazine Issues and Articles
Hindu Timeline #4
Category : December 1994

Hindu Timeline #4

1500 to 1800ce



1500: World population 425 million; 105 million live in India.

1503-1566: Lifetime of Nostradamus, French physician and astrologer who wrote Centuries (1555), a book of prophecies.

1509-1529: Reign of Maharaja Krishnadevaraya of the Vijayanagara Empire in Andhra Pradesh.

1510: Portuguese Catholics conquer Goa to serve as capital of their Asian maritime empire, beginning conquest and exploitation of India by Europeans.

1517: Luther begins Protestant reformation in Europe.

ca 1520: Poet-saint Purandardas (1480-1564) of the Vijayanagara court systematizes Karnatak music.

1526: Mughal conqueror Babur (1483-1530) defeats the Sultan of Delhi and captures the Koh-i-noor diamond. Occupying Delhi, by 1529 he founds the Indian Mughal Empire (1526-1761), consolidated by his grandson Akbar.

1528: Emperor Babur destroys temple at Lord Rama's birthplace in Ayodhya, erects Muslim masjid, or monument.

1532-1623: Life of Monk-poet Tulasidasa. Writes Ramacharitamanasa (1574-77), greatest medieval Hindi literature (based on Ramayana). It advances Rama worship in the North.

1542: Portuguese Jesuit priest Francis Xavier (1506-1552), most successful Catholic missionary, lands in Goa. First to train and employ native clergy in conversion efforts, he brings Christianity to India, Malay Archipelago and Japan.

1544-1603: Life of Dadu, ascetic saint of Gujarat, founder of Dadupantha, which is guided by his Bani poems in Hindi.

1556: Akbar (1542-1605), grandson of Babur, becomes third Mughal Emperor at age 13. Disestablishes Islam as state religion and declares himself impartial ruler of Hindus and Muslims; encourages art, culture, religious tolerance.

1565: Muslim forces defeat and completely destroy the city of Vijayanagara. Empire's final collapse comes in 1646.

1565: Polish astronomer Copernicus' (1473-1543) Heliocentric system, in which the Earth orbits the sun, gains popularity in Europe among astronomers and mathematicians.

1569: Akbar captures fortress of Ranthambor, ending Rajput independence. Soon controls nearly all of Rajasthan.

ca 1570: Ekanatha (1533-99), Varkari Vaishnava saint and mystic composer, edits Jnanadeva's Jnaneshvari and translates Bhagavata Purana, advancing Marathi language.

1588: British ships defeat the Spanish Armada off the coast of Calais, France, to become rulers of the high seas.

1589: Akbar rules half of India, shows tolerance for all faiths.

1595: Construction is begun on Chidambaram Temple's Hall of a Thousand Pillars in South India, completed in 1685.

ca 1600: "Persian wheel" to lift water by oxen is adopted, one of few farming innovations since Indus Valley civilization.

1600: Royal Charter forms the East India Company, setting in motion a process that ultimately results in the subjugation of India under British rule.

1603-4: Guru Arjun compiles Adi Granth, Sikh scripture.

1605: Akbar the Great dies at age 63. His son Jahangir succeeds him as fourth Mughal Emperor.

1605: Sikh Golden Temple (Harimandir) at Amritsar, Punjab, is finished, completely covered with gold leaf.

1608-49: Lifetime of Tukaram, beloved Varkari sant famed for his abhangas, "unbroken hymns," to Krishna. Considered greatest Marathi spiritual composer.

1608-81: Lifetime of Ramdas, mystic poet, Sivaji's guru, Marathi saint, who gives Hindus the dhvaja, saffron flag.

1610: Galileo of Italy (1564-1642) perfects the telescope, with which he confirms the Copernican theory. Condemned a heretic by the Catholic Inquisition for his discoveries.

1613-14: British East India Company sets up trading post at Surat.

1615-18: Mughals grant Britain right to trade and establish factories in exchange for English navy's protection of the Mughal Empire, which faces Portuguese sea power.

1619: Jaffna kingdom is annexed and Sri Lanka's ruling dynasty deposed by Portuguese Catholics who, between 1505 and 1658, destroy most of the island's Hindu temples.

1619: First black slaves from Africa are sold in the USA.

1620: European pilgrims land and settle at Plymouth Rock, US.

1627-80: Life of Sivaji, valiant general and tolerant founder of Hindu Maratha Empire (1674-1818). Emancipates large areas confiscated by Muslims, returning them to Hindu control. First Indian ruler to build a major naval force.

ca 1628-88: Lifetime of Kumaraguruparar, prolific poet-saint of Tamil Nadu who founds monastery in Varanasi to propound Saiva Siddhanta philosophy.

1630: Over the next two years, millions starve to death as Shah Jahan (1592-1666), fifth Mughal Emperor, empties the royal treasury to buy jewels for his "Peacock Throne."

1647: Shah Jahan completes Taj Mahal in Agra beside Yamuna River. Its construction has taken 20,000 laborers 15 years, at a total cost equivalence of US$25 million.

1649: Red Fort is completed in Delhi by Shah Jahan.

ca 1650: Dharmapuram Aadheenam, Saiva monastery, founded near Mayuram, South India, by Guru Jnanasambandar.

ca 1650: Robert de Nobili (1577-1656), Portuguese Jesuit missionary noted for fervor and intolerance, arrives in Madurai, declares himself a brahmin, dresses like a Hindu monk and composes Veda-like scripture extolling Jesus.

ca 1650: Two yoga classics, Siva Samhita and Gheranda Samhita, are written.

1654: A Tamil karttanam is written and sung to celebrate recovery installation of Tiruchendur's Murugan murti.

1658: Zealous Muslim Aurangzeb (1618-1707) becomes Mughal Emperor. His discriminatory policies toward Hindus, Marathas and the Deccan kingdoms contribute to the dissolution of the Mughal Empire by 1750.

1660: Frenchman Francois Bernier reports India's peasantry is living in misery under Mughal rule.

1664: Great Plague of London kills 70,000, 15% of the population.

1675: Aurangzeb executes Sikh Guru Tegh Bahadur, beginning the Sikh-Muslim feud that continues to this day.

1679: Aurangzeb levies Jizya tax on non-believers, Hindus.

1688: Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb demolishes all temples in Mathura, said to number 1,000. (During their reign, Muslim rulers destroy roughly 60,000 Hindu temples throughout India, constructing mosques on 3,000 sites.)

1700: World population is 610 million. India population is 165 million: 27% of world.

1705-42: Lifetime of Tayumanavar, Tamil Saiva poet saint and devotional yogic philosopher of Tiruchirappalli.

1708: Govind Singh, tenth and last Sikh guru, is assassinated.

1708-37: Jai Singh II builds astronomical observatories in Delhi, Jaipur, Ujjain, Benares and Mathura.

1718-75: Lifetime of Ramprasad, Bengali Shakta poet-saint.

1722: Peter the Great rules in Russia.

ca 1725: Jesuit Father Hanxleden compiles first Sanskrit grammar in a European language.

ca 1750: Shakta songs of Bengali poets Ramprasad Sen and Kamalakanta Bhattacharya glorify Her as loving Mother and Daughter and stimulate a rise in devotional Shaktism.

1751: Robert Clive, age 26, seizes Arcot in modern Tamil Nadu as French and British fight for control of South India.

1760: Saiva sannyasis fight Vaishnava vairagis in tragic battle at Hardwar Kumbha Mela; 18,000 monks are killed.

1760: Eliezer (Besht), liberal founder of Hasidic Judaism, dies.

1761: Afghan army of Ahmad Shah Durrani routs Hindu Maratha forces at Panipat, ending Maratha hegemony in North India. As many as 200,000 Hindus are said to have died in the strategic eight-hour battle.

1764: British defeat the weak Mughal Emperor to become rulers of Bengal, richest province of India.

1769: Prithivi Narayan Shah, ruler of Gorkha principality, conquers Nepal Valley; moves capital to Kathmandu, establishing present-day Hindu nation of Nepal.

ca 1770-1840: Life of Rishi from the Himalayas, guru of Kadaitswami and first historically known satguru of the Nandinatha Sampradaya's Kailasa Parampara since Tirumular.

1773: British East India Company obtains monopoly on the production and sale of opium in Bengal.

ca 1780-1830: Golden era of Karnatik music. Composers include Tyagaraja, Dikshitar and Shastri.

1781: George Washington defeats British at Yorktown, US.

1781-1830: Lifetime of Sahajanandaswami, Gujarati founder of the Swaminarayan sect (with 1.5 million followers today).

1784: Judge and linguist Sir William Jones founds Calcutta's Royal Asiatic Society. First such scholastic institution.

1786: Sir William Jones uses the Rig Veda term Aryan ("noble") to name the parent language (now termed Indo-European) of Sanskrit, Greek, Latin and Germanic tongues.

1787-95: British Parliament impeaches Warren Hastings, Governor General of Bengal (1774-85) for misconduct.

1787: British Committee for the Abolition of the Slave Trade is formed, marking the beginning of the end of slavery.

1789: French revolution begins with storming of the Bastille.

1792: Britain's Cornwallis defeats Tipu Sahib, Sultan of Mysore and most powerful ruler in South India, main bulwark of resistance to British expansion in India.

1793: Eli Whitney invents the cotton gin in the US, greatly affecting the institution of slavery.

1796: Over two million worshipers compete for sacred Ganga bath at Kumbha Mela in Hardwar. Five thousand Saiva ascetics are killed in tragic clash with Sikh ascetics.

1799: Sultan Tipu is killed in battle against 5,000 British soldiers who storm and raze his capital, Srirangapattinam.