Archaeological finds in Hindustan and in the adjacent territory indicate that primitive man lived there already in the Paleolithic. Harappan civilization, or the civilization of the Indus Valley, appeared approx. 2500 BC and existed in its original borders for about a thousand years. Its territory stretches for 1600 km: from the coast of the Arabian Sea in the south to the foothills of the Himalayas in the north, the eastern border reached the valley of the Jamna River (in the Delhi region) and Mumbai (Bombay) on the coast, and the total area is estimated at 1300 thousand square meters . km During the heyday of the Harappan civilization, more than 800 cities and settlements were built. The largest known cities are: Mohenjo-Daro on the Indus coast in Sindh and Harappa on the coast of Ravi in Punjab, both of which are approx. 2.5 sq. km Civilization in the Indus Valley was on the path of the Aryan invasion, which in the II millennium BC occupied Punjab (Pyatirechye). The memory of this invasion is preserved in the hymns of the Rigveda, the earliest Indian literary monument. From them one can learn about how the Aryans besieged the local fortifications, apparently, the cities of the Harappan civilization. Civilization in the Indus Valley gave way to a kind of cultural timelessness. Later, a peculiar copper and bronze industry appeared in the Ganges and Jamna valleys, after which already in the first half of the 1st millennium BC. the first cities in this region arose. When and how the great civilization of the Ganges Valley arose, is still not known. Indian history, as evidenced by religious and literary sources, begins with the conquest of Gandhara (Northwest Region) and the middle part of the Indus Valley by the Persian state of the Achaemenids in the second half of the 6th century. BC, i.e. shortly before the birth of the Buddha. This period is poorly documented until the invasion of Alexander the Great in 327 BC. and the subsequent founding of the great Maurya dynasty in the Ganges Valley. By this time, on the banks of the Ganges, Jamna and their tributaries, cities had grown that either exist today (for example, Varanasi), or collapsed and turned into hills. In Hastinapur, in the upper Ganges, one of these hills has been excavated, the archaeological finds of which date back to the beginning of the 1st millennium BC. The city was probably built of clay and mud brick approx. 500 BC, before the advent of iron. As archaeological excavations continue, the wealth of the cities of the northern plains and the surrounding territories is more and more revealed in the last centuries BC. In the foothills south of Patna, in Bihar, the ruins of the famous Rajagriha, the capital of the ancient Indian state of Magadha, have been preserved. Its stone fortifications, composed of large untreated and not fastened with mortar stones, with huge bastions of a quadrangular shape, have a length of at least 40 km. Such fortifications testify to how important Rajagriha was, with which in the 5th century. BC. the names of Buddha and Mahavira were connected. In Buddhist literature, it is reported that in the territory between the Himalayas and the Vindhya mountains at that time there were 16 sovereign states. Among them, at the beginning of the 6th century. BC. the kingdom of Koszal (later the historical region of Oud) stood out, then gradually the kingdom of Magadha (modern Bihar) came to the fore. Mahavira and Buddha, the founders of Jainism and Buddhism, belonging to the ksatriya warrior caste, began their activities at the time when King Bimbisar (544–493 BC) ruled in Magadha. Merchants from South India, who led from the 7th century. BC, and possibly even earlier active trade at sea, established contacts with Babylon (presumably also with Indonesia and the Philippines). The Indus Valley became a province of the Persian kingdom in about 518 BC, but regained its independence before the invasion of Alexander of Macedon in India in 326 BC The conquest of Northwest India by Alexander the Great was a short-lived episode in history. After the death of Alexander, Greek states were formed to the west of India, Indian contacts with the West were strengthened, which began under the Persian rulers from the Achaemenid dynasty. In his youth, Chandragupta Maurya, the founder of the first Maurya empire in North India, led a rebellion against the Greek forces invading the Punjab. Chandragupta was on the throne from about 322 to 298 BC. and his political successes were largely due to his chief minister, Brahmin Kautilya, who is credited with the authorship of a treatise on the principles of Indian politics – Arthashastra. Chandragupta conquered the Punjab shortly after the death of Alexander the Great. In 321 BC he overthrew and killed his blood relative Dhan Nandu, who ruled the state of Magadhi. Having taken his place, he established dominance over all of North India. Then Chandragupta inflicted a crushing defeat on the ruler of Western Asia, Seleucus I, one of the successors of Alexander the Great. For over 100 years, beginning from 325 BC, the Mauryev dynasty retained control of almost all of India, except its extreme south. Ashoka, the grandson of Chandragupta, ruled around 273–232 BC.