Historically, India embodied the flow of peoples and the blending of cultures, particularly during medieval times and early age of explorations. During two pivotal centuries – 13th and 16th - learn about religious interactions, warfare and two women rulers who shaped history. We'll examine the 13 CE relationship between Hinduism and Islam, and why it was hard for the two religions to coexist. Sultana Razia helped facilitate their coexistence, and ushered in an age of magnificent Indo-Islamic art and architecture. Later, during 16th CE when the Portuguese arrived to exploit the rich pepper trade, bringing new religious intolerance and taxes, one strong queen -- Abbakka Chowta – said “no” and went to war. Her story encapsulates struggles between India and colonial powers that continue to shape Indian history till today. India is a fascinating, complicated land, and this lecture will open a window onto that story.