Umayyad Caliphate

Umayyad campaigns in India
©Angus McBride
712 Jan 1

Umayyad campaigns in India

Rajasthan, India

In the first half of the 8th century CE, a series of battles took place between the Umayyad Caliphate and the Indian kingdoms to the east of the Indus river.

Subsequent to the Arab conquest of Sindh in present-day Pakistan in 712 CE, Arab armies engaged kingdoms further east of the Indus. Between 724 and 810 CE, a series of battles took place between the Arabs and King Nagabhata I of the Pratihara dynasty, King Vikramaditya II of the Chalukya dynasty, and other small Indian kingdoms. In the north, Nagabhata of the Pratihara Dynasty defeated a major Arab expedition in Malwa. From the South, Vikramaditya II sent his general Avanijanashraya Pulakeshin, who defeated the Arabs in Gujarat. Later in 776 CE, a naval expedition by the Arabs was defeated by the Saindhava naval fleet under Agguka I.

The Arab defeats led to an end of their eastward expansion, and later manifested in the overthrow of Arab rulers in Sindh itself and the establishment of indigenous Muslim Rajput dynasties (Soomras and Sammas) there.The first Arab invasion of India was an expedition by sea to conquer Thana near Mumbai as early as 636 A.D. The Arab army was repulsed decisively and returned to Oman and the first ever Arab raid on India was defeated.

A second naval expedition was sent to conquer Barwas or Barauz (Broach) on the coast of southern Gujarat by Hakam, the brother of Usman. This attack too was repelled and the Arabs were driven back successfully.