The Economy of Ancient India. Agriculture and crafts. Impact of science on economy
India is an ancient country about 8 thousand years old. In its territory lived a strange people of the Indians. Which were divided into several social classes. Where priests played an important role. Although historians do not know who ruled this state. The Indians had their own language and writing. Their writings cannot be deciphered by scholars to this day.
The ancient Indians presented to the humankind such crops as cotton, sugar cane. They made a thin cloth – a sieve. They tamed the world’s largest animal, the elephant.
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They believed in different gods, worshiped animals. Along with the gods, the Vedas, the Sanskrit language and the Brahmins were worshiped as guardians of culture and sacred knowledge. The Brahmins were considered to be living gods. The history of India allows us to study the most important stage in the development of mankind – the collapse of the tribal system, the emergence of classes and ancient slave-owning societies, the creation of states, the beginning of civilizations and the economy as an organized sphere of human activity.
Separation of animal husbandry from agriculture, development of agriculture and the separation of crafts, the emergence of metallurgy, the emergence of the need for additional labor. She became mainly captives, who were turned into slaves. The increase in production gives a surplus product that becomes the object of exchange. There was trade and then money. The ancestral community is gradually disintegrating. Wars and trade increased the property stratification. There is a first division of society into classes – slaves and slaves. A state is created to protect the interests of owners, property, slave owners and protection from external danger.
The Economy of Ancient India
Among civilizations and ancient powers that have arisen on the planet, a special place is occupied by Indian civilization, which has had a huge impact on the development of the economy and culture of the whole of Southeast Asia.
From ancient times, the Indo-Peninsula was inhabited by Dravid tribes. Their habitat from the north was restricted to the Himalayas, from the west and east – the ocean. Such detachment from the outside world was reflected in the identity of the population and its economy and culture. For the habitation of the people the most favorable areas were the Indus and Ganges valleys and their tributaries. The hot climate and the lack of rainfall required irrigated agriculture, which in turn forced people to come together for irrigation work.
Already in the III millennium BC. The states and cities of Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa were created by indigenous peoples in the north of the peninsula, whose excavations testify to the high level of economy and culture of the local people.
The city of Mohenjo-Daro was the largest of its time, with an area of 260 hectares. The city had large houses of 200 m2 or more. In the center of the city was an artificial swimming pool with a depth of 3 m, lined with two rows of bricks. There was a water supply system in the city. Water flowed into the city and bred through its territory through ceramic pipes. To prevent water leakage, there were flanges at the ends of the pipes. The joints of pipes were sealed with asphalt. The rich people’s homes had bathrooms and toilets. The city had sewage systems, sewage from residential buildings fell into the street sewer networks and were discharged outside the city.
Trade was also developed. This is evidenced by the remnants of a covered large market with permanent counters, kettlebells found, large warehouses. The inhabitants had their hieroglyphic writing. There were trade links with the states of Mesopotamia, in whose territories seals with ancient Indian scripts were found.
The main occupation of the population was agriculture. Wheat, barley, vegetables were grown. From ancient times (V BC) began to grow cotton here, and from IV millennium BC. ie – sugar cane. A tiller plow was used for tillage. Farmers were free congregants, from whom natural taxes were levied. In the economy of large landowners used the work of slaves.
Crafts have reached a high level. In ceramic production was used pottery wheel. Vessels and bricks were burned in special furnaces. Copper, tin, lead, gold and silver were mined. Bronze and other alloys of metals were produced. Casting, sheet forging and riveting were already used in metalworking. In weaving, cotton was used as raw material. Jewelry skill was developed. Products were made of gold, silver, stones.
Excavations of ancient cities testify to the level of construction skill.
In the middle of the second millennium BC. The ancient cities of India were conquered by Aryan tribes descending from the Hindu Kush Mountains. The Aryans were nomads, pastoralists, who first sought the Indus Valley and then the Ganges in search of new pastures. The economic and cultural level of the Aryans was below the conquered peoples. They destroyed the ancient cities. The culture of agriculture has also declined. The main activity for a long time was nomadic livestock.
Subsequently, the Aryans began to borrow from the indigenous population the culture of agriculture. The population lived in family-owned, community-owned communities. Gradually, family communities were transformed into rural, rural-run communities.
The land was owned by communities. As property stratification in communities emerged the right of private ownership of land.
The wars gave prisoners of war who became slaves and worked for wealthy members of the community. From among the wealthy were selected officials who managed the community economy or hostilities. They have given themselves the right to distribute community products.
Gradually, in order to preserve the privileges and community values that have been gained, a social system – castes – is being created in India. By the laws of Manu and Anastamba, all the inhabitants of the country were divided into four castes: Brahmins (priests); kshatriyas (warriors); farmers, artisans, traders; sudras (people who have no property and slaves). The privileged position was occupied by the first two castes. The laws forbade the mixing of people of different castes.
Until the VI. BC. In the northeastern part of India, there were several states. The largest were Magadha and Kashala, who fought for hegemony in the area. In the V century. BC. Magadha wins this fight. North-West India in VI. BC. BC falls under the rule of the Persian king Darius I. However, in 327 BC. Alexander the Great, having defeated the troops of Darius, seized North-West India.
After the death of Alexander as a result of the liberation movement led by Chandragupta, the Indian state was created, and the heirs of Chandragupta expanded it. In this way, part of Afghanistan included parts of Afghanistan and Balochistan, northern India and the Deccan.
Agriculture and crafts
Already in the III millennium BC. The main occupation of the inhabitants of the Indus Valley was agriculture. Wheat, barley, peas, millet, jute and, for the first time in the world, cotton and sugar cane were grown.
Livestock breeding was well developed. Indians raised cows, sheep, goats, pigs, donkeys, elephants. The horse appeared later.
The Indians were very familiar with metallurgy. The main tools were made of copper. Knives, spearheads and arrowheads, hoes, axes and more were smelted from it. It was not a secret for them artistic casting, skillful processing of stone, alloys, among which a special place was occupied by bronze. Indians were known for gold and lead. But iron at this time they did not know.
It was developed and craft. An important role was played by spinning and weaving. Impressive is the skill of jewelers. They handled precious metals and stones, ivory and shells.
Maritime and land trade reached a high level. In 1950, archaeologists found the first ever port for mooring ships at low tide.
Trade with the Southern Inter-Rivers was the most active. Cotton and jewelry were brought here from India. Barley, vegetables and fruits were brought to India. There were trade links with Egypt and the island of Crete. Probably the Indians also exchanged with neighboring nomadic peoples and even built a city on the Amu Darya River.
With the inheritance of Indian culture, economic life died down. Only at the turn of the II – I millennium BC. The new Indian population – the Indians – has again moved to agriculture. There were crops of wheat, barley, millet, cotton and jute. Particularly high yields were harvested by the Ganges farmers.
Along with the horse and cattle an important place in the farm was occupied by an elephant. With his help, people have successfully fought the enduring jungle.
Metallurgy is developing. Quickly having mastered bronze, already at the beginning of the first millennium BC. The Indians learned to mine iron. This has greatly facilitated the development of new lands previously occupied by swamps and jungles.
Craft is also being revived. Again prominent place in the economy are pottery and weaving. Particularly famous were Indian cotton fabrics, which could be made through a small ring. These fabrics were very expensive. In honor of the goddess of arable land, the City called them a sitter. There were also simpler cheap fabrics.
Only trade remained low. It was limited to the exchange of goods between neighboring communities.
Thus, the ancient Indians presented to mankind such crops as cotton, sugar cane. They tamed the world’s largest animal, the elephant.
The main occupation of the population was agriculture. Rural communities have been preserved, and community members have jointly owned and cultivated the land. The communes carried in favor of the prevailing labor obligations – one day a month (building roads, canals, other construction work) and paid natural taxes – 1/6 of the crop.
But with the development of property stratification in communities, much of the public land is concentrated in the hands of rich people, and the poor are forced to borrow in rich land for rent. The expansion of private land ownership was facilitated by the distribution to the kings of the land of Brahmins, officials, and military. Land began to sell, give, lease. Rents, like royal taxes, were levied in kind. Silk farming began to appear in the country, and cotton was further developed.
With the development of productive forces in the country again began to revive crafts. Artisans began to specialize in types of crafts, to combine into special groups of workshops and guilds. As a rule, artisans of one type of craft settled their part of the city and occupied their part of the market.
Weaving developed most rapidly. The fabrics were woven of cotton, wool, linen, silk. Cotton, as a raw material and finished fabric, has been the subject of Indian exports to neighboring countries. Developed metalworking and woodworking.
With the development of handicrafts began to grow rapidly the city. Varanasi, Shravasti, Pataliputra, Vanga, Kalinga became the economic centers of the country. With the advent of maritime shipping, the ports of Dantapur and Roruka are being built on the shores of the seas. Trade relations are established with China, the countries of Southeast Asia and even with Syria and Egypt.
Impact of science on economy
The heyday of the economy of ancient India in the VI-III centuries. BC. contributed to the expansion of scientific knowledge and culture. Knowledge was systematized in the field of astronomy, mathematics, medicine.
In India, distinctive writing systems of kharosta, brahma, devangar and other alphabets were created, which became the basis of writing in the countries of Southeast Asia.
The state, taking care of the development of science, organizes universities. Thus, in the VII century. there was a large science center in Nalanda, with 10,000 students. Exams were taken for admission to this university. The level of requirements was such that 80% of applicants were screened. The university was so prestigious that some individuals pretended to be graduates of this institution. In order to maintain the authority of the graduates, they began to issue certificates with clay seals on graduation from this university.
Already in the II millennium BC. CE astronomers have established the phases of the moon, the lunar zodiac. They created a calendar. The year was divided into 12 months of 30 days. In the VI. N. ie, astronomical treatises are written. The Hindus established the rotation of the Earth around its axis and the moon’s reflection of the light of the sun.
Particularly significant were the successes of Indian medicine. Already in the middle of II thousand Indian physicians systematized knowledge in the field of human anatomy and had anatomical terms. Not only did they know about diseases such as jaundice, rheumatism, pranks and others, but they diagnosed them and tried to treat them.
The medicinal properties of plants are studied and medicines are produced. There are doctors of different specialties: surgeons, therapists. The first medical treatises, for example, in the I century. N. e. a treatise by Samhita Charak, then a treatise by Sushruta Samhita. Indian surgeons are developing many medical instruments. Thus, the treatise of Shushtra describes 20 sharp and 101 blunt medical instruments, including scalpels, probes, syringes, tweezers, needles, etc.
Doctors performed ophthalmic surgeries, operations for suturing the gut, plastic surgery (repair of the nose, restoration of the torn lining of the soup, etc.). All this testified not only to the skill of physicians, but also to the skill of artisans who made fine medical instruments. Knowledge of Indian doctors passed to the Arabs, and then reached the European specialists.
Conclusion. It was no coincidence that India was one of the countries in the world where the transition to class society was first made, and statehood emerged. In its region, earlier than other parts of the northern hemisphere, conditions for the development of human civilization arose. While almost all of the European continent was still covered with dense forests, and only in some places, in the past, scattered parking lots of primitive hunters in India had already begun to flourish at a very high level of material culture.
Agriculture – one of the most important sectors of economic activity began to develop earlier and faster than in other areas of the globe. This was facilitated by the warm climate, the presence of fertile river valleys, easily cultivated soil. The rapid development of agriculture made it possible to raise other sectors of the economy and productive forces as a whole to such a level as to determine the division of society into classes and the emergence of the first states.
The biggest achievement is the creation of a sophisticated irrigation system with an extensive network of canals and artificial reservoirs. The fields were enclosed by dikes; when water was released from irrigation channels, they turned into small pools.
Craft is increasingly important in the economy. Artisans have succeeded in the textile, pottery and blacksmith industries, in the processing of wood, stone, leather, ivory, precious metals – gold and silver.