Peninsula of India south of the Narmada River. It is marked by the tableland between the Western and Eastern Ghats ranges. Its average elevation is about 2,000 ft (600 m). Its principal rivers, the Godavari, Krishna, and Kaveri (Cauvery), flow from the Western Ghats eastward to the Bay of Bengal. Its early inhabitants were a Dravidian-speaking population not reached by the 2nd-millennium-BC Aryan invasion. Ruled by Mauryan (4th–2nd centuries BC) and Gupta (4th–6th centuries AD) dynasties, it became an independent Muslim kingdom in 1347. Later split up into five Muslim sultanates, the Deccan was largely conquered by the Mughal dynasty in the 17th century. In the 18th century it was the scene of rivalry between the British and French and subsequently of the British struggle against the Maratha confederacy. It remained under British control until India gained independence in 1947.
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