Stamps issued: 1949-PRESENT
Republic in south-central Asia, occupying the greater part of the Indian subcontinent between the Himalaya Mountains and the Indian Ocean. One of the world's earliest civilizations was located in the Indus valley after c. 4000 B.C. This culture was overrun by the Aryans who conquered India 2400-1500 B.C. During most of its history, India has been divided into many independent, frequently warring states. In 1498, the Portuguese reached India and quickly began building a commercial empire that dominated the coastal areas for a century. The Portuguese were supplanted by the Dutch in the early 17th century, who in turn were succeeded by the British in the late 17th century. Anglo-French rivalry for influence over the local princes was intense until Britain's military defeat of the French forces in 1760. During the next 100 years, the British East India Co. constantly expanded Britain's holdings in the subcontinent.