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Mahajanapada Period (600 BC to 325 BC)

Mahājanapadas were ancient Indian Kingdoms. The word Mahajanpada derived from two words ‘maha’ meaning great and ‘janapada’ meaning foothold of people.

There are 16 Mahajanpadas according to Buddhist Text found in Anguttara Nikaya & Mahavastu and Jain Literature Bhagavati Sutta.


Here Listed the 16 Mahajanpadas, their Capitals and Locations
 

The 16 Mahajanapadas
Mahajanapadas
Capitals
Locations
Gandhara
Taxila
Covering the region between Kabul and Rawalpindi in North Western Province.
Kamboja
Rajpur
Covering the area around the Punch area in Kashmir
Asmaka
Potana
Covering modern Paithan in Maharashtra; on the bank of River Godavari
Vatsa
Kaushambi
Covering modern districts of Allahabad and Mirzapur
Avanti
Ujjain
Covering modern Malwa (Ujjain) region of Madhya Pradesh.
Surasena
Mathura
Located in the Mathura region at the junction of the Uttarapath & Dakshinapath
Chedi
Shuktimati
Covering the modern Budelkhand area
Maila
Kushinara, Pawa
Modern districts of Deoria, Basti, Gorakhapur in eastern Uttar Pradesh. Later merged into Maghada Kingdom
Kurus
Hastinapur/Indraprastha
Covering the modern Haryana and Delhi area to the west of River Yamuna
Matsya
Virat Nagari
Covering the area of Alwar, Bharatpur and Jaipur in Rajasthan
Vajjis
Vaishali
Located to the north of the River Ganga in Bihar. It was the seat of united republic of eight smaller kingdoms of which Lichhavis, Janatriks and Videhas were also members.
Anga
Champa
Covering the modern districts of Munger and Bhagalpur in Bihar. The Kingdoms were later merged by Bindusara into Magadha.
Kashi
Banaras
Located in and around present day Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh.
Kosala
Shravasti
Covering the present districts of Faizabad, Gonda, Bahraich, etc.
Magadga
Girivraja/Rajgriha
Covering modern districts of Patna, Gaya and parts of Shahabad.
Panchala
Ahichhatra (W. Panchala),
Kampilya (S. Panchala)
Present day Rohilkhand and part of Central Doab in Uttar Pradesh.
  


•    Mahajanpada States were of two types- Monarchial and Non - Monarchial or Republican.

•    In republics, every tribal oligarch claimed share in revenues from peasants. In the monarchies, the king claimed to be the sole recipient of such revenues.

•    In the tribal oligarchy or republic, each raja (tribal oligarch) was free to maintain his own little army under his senapati. In a monarchy, the king maintaind his regular standing army. He did not permit any other armed forces within his boundaries.

•    Republics functioned under the leadership of the oligarchic assemblies, while a monarchy functioned under the individual leadership of the king.

•    The Brahamanas had a considerable influence on the monarchial administration, while they were relegated to the background in the republics.

Socio-Economic Conditions during Mahajanpada Period


The main features of Mahajanpada Period were establishment of large Kingdoms, growth of towns and increased revenues. The trade ties between foreign lands established and resulted in prosperity of the region. Several trade routes were established. . One trade route was from Kosambi, through Gangetic plain, to Punjab and then Taxila joining the routes to Iran, Central Asia, European countries and several countries of Asia. Another route started from Rajagriha and, passing through Kosambi and Ujjaini, was connected with the port of Baroach from where the trade was carried on with western countries through sea-route. One important route passed through the entire Gangetic plain and reached the boundary of Burma and yet, another route connected northern plain with the sea-coast of south-east. The increase prosperity further led to social structure elevation. Towns turned into cities. Growth in trade resulted in rich trading communities which turned into towns further. Also several castes and sub-castes were formed during this era.

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