World History 1 185 - 12.1 The Indian Ocean World in the Early Middle Ages

By the end of this section, you will be able to:

  • Identify important political developments in South Asia
  • Discuss religious and social practices in South and East Asia
  • Describe the rise and fall of the Sui and Tang dynasties in China

Beginning in the eighth century, the Khyber Pass, renowned as the means by which Alexander the Great and his army traveled from Afghanistan to India, made it possible for a new religious tradition to enter northern India. This tradition was Islam, which soon came to dominate the areas of modern-day Pakistan and Bangladesh as well as portions of India. In time, Muslims created the powerful Delhi Sultanate, which stretched from the Punjab in the northwest to Bengal in the northeast.

Islam arrived in China during the early Tang period (618–690 CE) by way of the Silk Roads trade as well as through diplomatic missions sent to the Tang court at Chang’an by the Umayyad caliph at Damascus. Before Islam’s appearance in China, the Tang dynasty, like its predecessor the Sui, had been influenced by the Indian tradition of Buddhism; the Sui emperor and his Tang cousins adhered to many Buddhist precepts. Monumental constructions such as the Grand Canal and the Huaisheng Mosque, which was built in the seventh century CE and stands today in Guangzhou, demonstrate the grandeur of these two dynasties. Yet, in the end, their expenses outran their income, leading to their ultimate collapse.

This lesson has no exercises.

The content of this course has been taken from the free World History, Volume 1: to 1500 textbook by Openstax