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Rise of Magadha Empire (6th Century – 4th Century BC)

Magadha Empire ruled over districts of Patna, Gaya, some parts of Shahabad and grew further to turn into a state. The Magadha Empire had gone hand to hand and attained remarkable success. Various dynasties came into existence. A brief discussion follows here.

Haryanka Dynasty: This dynasty was founded in 566 BC by the grand father of Bimbsara. According to Buddha literature Bimbasara conquered Anga state to set trade route with southern states. The Anga is now in East Bihar Region.
Originally founded in 566 BC by the grand father of Bimbisara, but actual foundation by Bimbisara.

The Rajgir was Capital of King Bimbasara. He made stronger ties with the ruling families of Kosala, Vaishali, and Madra by means of marriages.

The Rajgir was surrounded by 5 hills which made it unassailable.

Ajatshatru (492 BC – 460 BC): Ajatshatru the son of Bimbasara killed him and made himself ruler. He took over Vaishali and Kosala. Famous Prasenajit was ruler of Kosala those days.

The Buddha died during Ajatshatru monarchy and First Buddhist Council was found.

Udayin (460 – 444 BC): Udayin founded the new capital at Pataliputra

Shishunaga Dynasty : Shishunaga Dynasty which last for two generations only was founded by a minister Shishunaga.
Shishunaga was succeeded by Kalasoka the II Buddhist council. Dynasty lasted for two generations only.
The prime achievement of this period was destruction of power of Avanti.

Nanda Dynasty : This was the first non-Kshatriya dynasty.
Its founder was King Nanda. He destroyed all other rulers and established Kalinga.
Nanda were powerful with 200,000 infantry, 60,000 cavalry and 6,000 war elephants.
Alexander the Great attacked India during Nanda dynasty. It was Nanda’s army that stopped Alexander from advancing towards Magadha.

Reasons of Success of Magadha Empire


•    The Capitals of Magadha Empire both Patliputra and Rajgir were inaccessible to enemy which owes to strategic locations.
•    Magadha Empire was rich with weapons and army capacities.
•    In fact, Magdha Empire was first to use elephants in war.
•    The soil of the lower Gangetic Plane was fertile which further led to region’s prosperity.

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