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The Oxford History of India
Vincent A. Smith

This section of my site is on hold for now, and should be used with caution for two reasons:

1. The history of India presents challenges found only in a much attenuated degree with the history of Europe — to wit, sustained contemporary historical records are much more recent in India than in Europe, so that although there is no question as to the antiquity of the subcontinent's history, there's a tremendous amount of uncertainty as to facts and even approximate dates, forcing a conjectural writing of history well past A.D. 1000.

2. As I transcribed, I gradually became aware of a more serious objection attaching to this particular book, as to other works written by Western scholars on the history of regions beyond Europe: the British writer's viewpoint is inevitably Eurocentric and colonialist, even if often unconsciously; and sometimes, especially once we move into the period of Western involvement in India, outright biased.

That said, there is very little good material on Indian history online, especially when we consider that more recent works, more sensitive to balance and bias, remain under copyright: I'm therefore letting this transcription stand, at least for now, while I figure out whether to complete my transcription or scrap it altogether.

As things now stand, I'm leaning toward continuing and finishing my transcription, since this book is itself a historical document, a monument to its time and place; as with so many other relics of the past, we do not discard them because we may disagree with them. Naturally, I welcome constructive input.

Book I
Ancient India

Prehistoric India; the elements of the population.


Literature and Civilization of the Vedic and Epic Periods; the Purānas; caste.


The pre‑Maurya states; the rise of Jainism and Buddhism; the invasion of Alexander the Great; India in the fourth century B.C.


Book II
Hindu India
from the beginning of the Maurya dynasty in 322 B.C.
to the seventh century A.C.

Chandragupta Maurya, the first historical emperor of India, and his institutions; Bindusāra.


Asoka Maurya and his institutions; diffusion of Buddhism; end of the Maurya dynasty; the successors of the Mauryas


The Indo-Greek and other foreign dynasties of north-western India; the Kushāns or Indo-Scythians; Greek influence; foreign commerce; beginning of Chola history.


Book III
The Mediaeval Hindu Kingdoms
from the death of Harsha in A.D. 647
to the Muhammadan Conquest

The transitional period; Rājpūts; the Himalayan kingdoms and their relations with Tibet and China.


Literature and Civilization of the Vedic and Epic Periods; the Purānas; caste.


The Kingdoms of the Peninsula

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Technical Details

Edition Used

The edition transcribed here was the 1928 printing of the second (1923) edition, a revision and continuation by S. M. Edwardes of the first edition by Vincent Smith. The latter having died in 1920 and the former in 1927, the work fell into the public domain on January 1, 1998. (Details here on the copyright law involved.)

Pagination and Local Links

For citation and indexing purposes, the pagination is shown in the right margin of the text at the page turns (like at the end of this line); p57  these are also local anchors. Sticklers for total accuracy will of course find the anchor at its exact place in the sourcecode.

In addition, I've inserted a number of other local anchors: whatever links might be required to accommodate the author's own cross-references, as well as a few others for my own purposes. If in turn you have a website and would like to target a link to some specific passage of the text, please let me know: I'll be glad to insert a local anchor there as well.


As almost always, I retyped the text by hand rather than scanning it — not only to minimize errors prior to proofreading, but as an opportunity for me to become intimately familiar with the work, an exercise which I heartily recommend: Qui scribit, bis legit. (Well-meaning attempts to get me to scan text, if success­ful, would merely turn me into some kind of machine: gambit declined.)

My transcription has been minutely proofread. In the table of contents above, the sections are shown on blue backgrounds, indicating that I believe the text of them to be completely errorfree. As elsewhere onsite, the header bar at the top of each chapter's webpage will remind you with the same color scheme.

The printed book was extraordinary well proofread; as of p150, I have so far failed to find a single typographical error. Should I find one, it will be marked, when important (or unavoidable because inside a link), with a bullet like this;º and when trivial, with a dotted underscore like this: as elsewhere on my site, glide your cursor over the bullet or the underscored words to read the variant. Similarly, bullets before measurements provide conversions to metric, e.g., 10 miles.

A number of odd spellings, curious turns of phrase, etc. have been marked <!‑‑ sic  in the sourcecode, just to confirm that they were checked.

Any mistakes are therefore almost certainly my own: if you find one then, please drop me a line; especially if you're looking at a printed copy of the book in front of you.

[image ALT: missingALT. It is a view of the Taj Mahal; the image serves as the icon on this site for The Oxford History of India by Vincent A. Smith.]

The icon I use to indicate this subsite is the book's frontispiece — a black-and‑white photograph of the Taj Mahal — colorized to the colors of the Indian flag. The original photograph is onsite of course, in the Introduction.

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Site updated: 13 Jun 20