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Alexander’s Invasion

Alexander’s Invasion

  • During Dana Nanda’s reign, Alexander invaded north-west India (327–325 BCE).
  • In many ways, the invasion by Alexander is a watershed in Indian history.
  • It marked the beginning of the interaction between India and the West, which spanned many centuries to follow.
  • Greek historians began to write about India, and Greek governors and kings ruled in the north-western region of India, which introduced new styles of art and governance.
  • After his conquests in the Punjab region, Alexander expressed his desire to march further east to attack the Magadha Empire.
  • However, his already tired troops had heard about the great emperor in the east (Nanda) and his formidable army and refused to be engaged in a war against such a powerful adversary.
  • In 326 BCE when Alexander entered the Indian subcontinent after defeating the Persians, Ambhi, the ruler of Taxila, surrendered and accepted the suzerainty of Alexander.
  • The most famous of Alexander’s encounters was with Porus, ruler of the region between Jhelum and Beas.
  • The two armies met in the battle of Hydaspes in which Porus was imprisoned.
  • Later, impressed by the Porus’s dignity, Alexander restored his throne on the condition of accepting his suzerainty.
  • His battle-weary soldiers refused to march further.
  • Alexander did not want to proceed against the reluctance of his army.
  • During his return, Alexander died of a mysterious fever in Babylon.

The Impact of Alexander’s Invasion

  • Alexander’s invasion led to the establishment of Greek satrapies in the north-western region of the Indian subcontinent.
  • Trade routes opened up with the West.
  • There were four different trade routes in use, which facilitated the movement of Greek merchants and craftsmen to India, establishing direct contact between India and Greece.
  • As trade contact increased, many Greek settlements were established in the northwest of India.
  • Alexandria near Kabul, Boukephala near Peshawar in Pakistan and Alexandria in Sindh were some of the prominent Greek settlements.
  • The Greek accounts of India provide valuable information but with a bit of exaggeration.
  • Alexander’s death created a void in the north-west, facilitating the accession of Chandragupta Maurya to the throne of Magadha.
  • It also helped him to conquer the numerous small chiefdoms in the north-west and bring the region under his empire.

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