With regard to the origin of Vijayanagara Empire circulate several theories: some sources indicate that Harihara I and Bukka Raya I , founder of the empire, were nobles Telugu of Seuna dynasty of Devagiri which declared themselves descendants of the Aryan tribe of Yadu and conquered the northern territories of the Hoysala Empire in decay. Other historians consider them commanders Hoysala military forces stationed in Tungabhadra to prevent a Muslim invasion from the north or as leaders of the Principality of Anegondi in Karnataka , the head of a coalition small kingdoms Hindus against the invading Muslims . Beyond their origin, historians agree that the brothers were supported and inspired by Vidyaranya ( XIV century ), a monk of the monastery of Sringeri , so that impedes the penetration of Muslims in southern India . The study of writings of some medieval travelers passing through India has uncovered ancient population centers of the empire. Excavations in the ancient land of Vijayanagara, whose archaeological site is still under review after more than a century, have brought to light quantity of information about its history, fortifications and technological development and architecture.

Before the advent of the empire in the early fourteenth century, the Hindu kingdoms of the Deccan (the Seuna of Devagiri, the Kakatiya dynasty of Warangal, the Pandya kingdom of Madurai , the Hoysala Empire and the tiny kingdom of Kampili ) were used to suffer regularly Muslim invasions from the north, and throughout the first half of the fourteenth century were virtually destroyed after the sacking of their capital by Alaudin Khilji and Muhammad bin Tughluq , the sultans of Delhi . However, due to internal instability of the sultanate, the Hindu kingdoms were allowed to retain almost all its territories provided should pay taxes. After the death of Hoysala King Vira Ballala III in a battle against the rising sultanate Madurai in 1343 , the Hoysala Empire was absorbed by the emerging Vijayanagara Empire, who took the witness. During the next two decades, Harihara I would acquire control of most of the territory south of the river Krishna , which earned him the title of Purvapaschima Samudradhishavara (lord of the oceans of the East and West).

By 1374 , Bukka Raya I , brother and successor of Harihara I to his death, had annexed the territories of the dominion of Arcot , the Reddy dynasty in Kondavidu , the Sultanate of Madurai and had extended his domain to Goa in the west and doab (tongue of land between two rivers) of the rivers Tungabhadra and Krishna in the north. came to receive tribute from the island of Lanka and exchanging embassies with the Ming dynasty of China . The first capital was located in the Principality of Anegondi , on the north bank of the river Tungabhadra in what is now Karnataka , and Bukka Raya I moved it to Vijayanagara, South River.

With the empire in their hands, Harihara II , the second son of Bukka Raya I, expanded their land beyond the river Krishna and consolidated the empire by dominating the entire south India. The next ruler, Deva Raya I , successfully faced the Gajapati of Orissa and undertook great defense and irrigation projects. Deva Raya II (called Gajabetekara ) was succeeded in 1424 and was probably the ablest of rulers the Sangama dynasty . put down a rebellion waged by the noblest of Kollam and held off the Zamorin (ruler) of Kozhikode . Invaded the island of Sri Lanka and submitted to the kings of Pegu and Tenasserim , in today's Burma . The empire was in crisis in the late fifteenth century through action of the commander and Prime Minister Narasimha Saluver Deva Raya in 1485 and General Tuluva Narasa Nayaka in 1491. After twenty years of unrest and rebellion, became king Krishna Deva Raya , son of Tuluva Narasa Nayaka .

Over the following decades, the rule re-established its control of the Indian peninsula and rejected the invasions of the five sultanates of the Deccan . The empire entered a Golden Age, the battles we fought were counted in victories. The empire annexed areas that had historically been under the control of the sultanates of the north and east areas of the Deccan, including Kalinga , while retained control over their vassals in the south. During this time were built many great monuments and projected.

Krishna Deva Raya followed Achyuta Raya in 1530 and Sadasiva Raya in 1542, although the real power fell into the hands of Aliya Rama Raya , son of Krishna Deva Raya, whose relationship to the Deccan sultanates had been allied against him has been controversial.

The sudden death of Aliya Rama Raya the year 1565 in Talikota battle against the alliance of the Deccan sultanates in what was heralded as a clear victory for Vijayanagara imperial rows plunged into chaos. The Vijayanagara Empire not only suffered a severe defeat on the battlefield: Hampi , the capital, was occupied, looted and destroyed. The city was never rebuilt, and its ruins remain intact today. Tirumala Raya, the only commander who survived, left Vijayanagara and marched Penukonda with 550 elephants laden with riches.

Remains of a sanctuary in the midst of an artificial lake, Hampi .
The empire gradually declined, although it maintained trade relations with Portugal, and the British Empire gave it a number of territories where they later built the city of Madras . A Tirumala Deva Raya was succeeded by his son Sriranga I , and his death without heirs to the throne his younger brother Venkata II , which at the continuing loss of territory was forced to move the capital to Chandragiri , but finally managed to repel attacks Bahmani Sultanate and retain Penukonda . In 1614 was appointed successor to Sriranga II , but the decision led to conflicts between the nobility and Sriranga II was assassinated. After a bloody civil war three years, was proclaimed king Ramadeva until his death in 1632. His successor, Venkata III , moved the capital to Vellore after being struck by a rebellion led by his nephew in 1638. He died in 1642 in mysterious circumstances, and her nephew came to power in the name of Srinanga III .

Finally, what remained of the empire was conquered in 1646 by the armies of Bijapur and Golconda . The main subjects of the Empire, the Mysore kingdom and the territories of the main Nayakas - declared their independence and, although not reach never have the importance of Vijayanagara, successfully fulfilled the mission of safeguarding the Hindu culture. The kingdoms of Nayakas survived until the eighteenth century, and the kingdom of Mysore remained an independent principality until the independence of India but his administration was the responsibility of the British Raj in 1799 after the death of Sultan Fateh Ali Tipu .

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