Social Studies - 2019-20

WHI.4b - India

The student will apply social science skills to understand the civilizations of Persia, India, and China in terms of chronology, geography, social structures, government, economy, religion, and contributions to later civilizations by

b) locating India in time and place, including its origins, early development, and the debate over the Aryan migrations;

Adopted: 2015


  • How did civilizations gain, consolidate, maintain, and lose their power?
  • Do the benefits of innovation outweigh the costs?
  • How do ideas and beliefs shape our lives and the world around us?


Classical Indian civilization began in the Indus River Valley, spread to the Ganges River Valley, and then spread throughout the Indian subcontinent. This spread continued with little interruption because of the geographic location.

Historians are divided over whether migrations occurred or whether Indian civilization grew from within, but agree that Harappan civilization and the Vedic period shaped Indian society.


Physical barriers, such as the Himalayas, the Hindu Kush, and the Indian Ocean, made invasion difficult.

Mountain passes in the Hindu Kush provided migration routes into the Indian subcontinent.

The Indus and the Ganges were the important rivers in the Indian subcontinent.

Indus River Valley civilization

 Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro

Origins of Indian Society

 Nonindigenous (debate over Aryan) migration and influences and dominance vs. indigenous contributions

 The caste system did not fully emerge until later in Indian history, but its roots are in the varnas and the jati system

o Varnas were idealized in the Vedas to organize society equally by skill.

o As more occupations developed in ancient India, jatis was used to describe divisions by occupation.

o Jatis were governed by birth.

 Over many centuries, both varnas and jatis merged to become known today as a top-down, birth-based caste system.

Mauryan Empire—Asoka

 Continued political unification of much of India

 Contributions: Spread of Buddhism, free hospitals, veterinary clinics, good roads

Gupta Empire

 Golden Age of classical Indian culture

 Contributions: Mathematics (concept of zero), medical advances (setting bones), astronomy (concept of a round earth), new textiles, literature



Persian Empire (4a)

Zoroastrianism (4a)

Tolerance (4a)

Imperial Bureaucracy (4a)

Indigenous (4b)

Caste System (4b)

Mauryan Empire (4b)

Gupta Empire (4b)

Golden Age of Classical India (4b)

Hinduism (4c)

Vedas (4c)

Upanishads (4c)

Reincarnation (4c)

Karma (4c)

Buddhism (4d, e)

Four Noble Truths (4d)

Eightfold Path (4d)

Enlightenment (4d)

Isolation (4e)

Mandate of Heaven (4e)

Porcelain (4e)

Civil service system (4e)

Silk Road (4e)

Bureaucracy (4e)

Confucianism (4f)

Ancestor worship (4f)

Taoism (4f)

Humility (4f)

Yin/Yang (4f)


Indo-Aryans (4b)

Asoka (4b,d)

Siddhartha Gautama (4d)

Buddha (4d)

Qin Shi Huangdi (4e)


Persia (4a)

India (4b-d)

Himalayas (4b)

Hindu Kush (4b)

Ganges River (4b)

Harrapa (4b)

Mohenjo Daro (4b)

Nepal (4d)

China (4d-e)

Great Wall of China (4e)

Updated: May 21, 2018