India has always been a trading centre. Alexander the Great made his way there in 327 BC. Invading the mysterious country of riches was the next step after conquering Syria, Egypt, and Persia. The fourth-century BC was a time of great conflict between Greece and Iran. Greeks eventually defeated the Iranian empire, thanks to Alexander, in Macedonia. In addition to Asia Minor and Iraq, Alexander the Great also conquered Iran. He made his way from Iran to India, apparently swayed by the country’s enormous riches. Herodotus and other Greek authors encouraged Alexander to attack this nation by painting India as a fantastical kingdom. The study of geography and natural history were among two of Alexander’s many interests.
Alexander’s Journey to India
His ideas were well-suited to the political climate in north-western India. Independent kingdoms and tribal republics governed the region, all deeply rooted in the land and devoted to their principalities. Each of these states was very straightforward for Alexander to conquer. Ambhi, the prince of Taxila, and Porus, whose dominion was between the Jhelum and the Chenab, were two of the kings of these regions. Together, they may have thwarted Alexander’s progress. A united front could not be established, and the Khyber Pass was left unprotected.
After conquering Iran, Alexander marched on to Kabul, from whence he crossed the Khyber Pass into India and arrived at the Indus River. These were the effects on India after the Iranian invasion. As soon as the invaders arrived, Ambhi, the king of Taxila, quickly surrendered and bolstered his forces. Alexander encountered the first and toughest opposition from Porus as he crossed the Jhelum River. Despite Alexander’s victory over Porus, the boldness and courage of the Indian prince caught his attention. As a result, he returned his kingdom to him and made him an ally. After that, he continued his journey until he arrived at the River Bees. To the east, he wished to go, but his troops refused to join him. War-weary and disease-ridden, the Greek army surrendered. They were homesick after ten years of fighting in India’s sweltering heat. On the banks of the Indus, they had also received a taste of Indian combat prowess, which prompted them to halt their march.
Alexander’s Expedition in India
When it came to military prowess, the Indians ruled the roost in the region. The Ganga had a great deal of power, particularly valid for the Greek warriors. The Nandas, rulers of Magadha, had an army that dwarfed even Alexander’s in size. So, despite Alexander’s repeated pleas to go forward, the Greek warriors remained steadfast. To the king, who had never before suffered defeat at the hands of his adversaries, this was the first time he had ever had to accept defeat. To no avail were his hopes for an eastern empire realised.
Alexander conquered several tiny republics and made his way back across the Indian subcontinent. The 19 months he spent battling in India (326-325 BCE) were some of the most trying. He hardly had time to plan his conquests before they were launched. Despite this, he made some plans of his own. Most of the states he conquered were returned to the king’s rule, who gave in to his will. However, his territory was split into three pieces, each of which was administered by a different Greek governor. As a result of Alexander’s conquests, ancient Europe and India had their first encounter for all time. It had several significant outcomes. Alexander’s invasion of India was a resounding success. However, the Greek lands in India were soon taken over by Maurya dynasty rulers, who added a vast Indian province to their empire.
Impact of Alexander’s Invasion in India
During Alexander’s invasion, ancient Europe and ancient South Asia came into touch for the first time. The Indian expedition of Alexander the Great was a resounding success. The Indian region he annexed to his kingdom was much more significant than the one Iran had conquered. Although the Maurya dynasty eventually seized control of India, the Greeks nevertheless had a presence in the country. Direct interaction between India and Greece was one of the most significant outcomes of this invasion. Alexander’s war opened up four unique land-and-sea routes for Greek traders and artisans, allowing them to expand their trading networks.
Some Greeks may have lived in the northwest before Alexander’s conquest, but this region saw an explosion of Greek enclaves. Major players were Alexandria in Kabul’s territory, Boukephala on the Jhelum, and Alexandria in Sindh’s region. While Chandragupta Maurya and Ashoka Maurya controlled the whole country, the Greeks remained in the territory under both rulers.
Alexander was fascinated by the ocean’s topography when he first saw it near the entrance of the Indus River. He sent a new fleet, led by his friend Nearchus, to explore the coast and hunt for harbours from the Indus River to the Euphrates River’s mouth.
Consequently, Alexander’s historians have left us with detailed maps and dates of Alexander’s expedition, allowing us to build a comprehensive Indian chronology for later events. The historians of Alexander’s reign have also left us with a wealth of knowledge about the time’s political and social climate.
There is a tragic system in which girls are sold in markets by impoverished parents, and there is also a magnificent breed of oxen in the northwest region of India. Alexander dispatched 200,000 oxen to Macedonia, where Alexander used them in Greece. Indian carpentry flourished to the extent that it was used to construct chariots, ships, and even boats.
Alexander’s invasion cleared the ground for establishing the Mauryan empire in north-western India by removing the authority of small kingdoms. By tradition, the founder of the Mauryan empire, Chandraguptana, saw part of Alexander’s military machinery in action and gained some expertise that helped him defeat the Nandas.
Alexander had barely crossed into India from the north. When Alexander died, the people swiftly rebelled against Macedonia’s control, even though he had left behind Greek garrisons and Greek governors. As a result, Alexander’s legacy in India quickly faded away. His shrines have been demolished, and the names of the towns he established have been altered. However, Indians had long remembered the great “Secunda,” as they called him, and it wasn’t until Alexander the Great’s time that the West learned about the lovely country in the east that they had dealt with for generations.