In the 6th century an state system emerged known as Mahajanpadas. The process of f emergence of the Mahajanpadas were initiated by important economic and political developments witnessed during that time. The list of Mahajanpadas with their capitals are given below:-
- In the period of 6th to 4th BC there was a struggle for the supremecy amongst the four Mahajanpadas i.e Magadha, Kosala, Vatsa and Avanti and Magadha emerged a teh supreme power kingdom in the North India.
- The founders of Magadha were Jarasandha and Brihadratha but the real founder was known as Bimbisara of haryankas.
- Giriraja was the earliest capital of Magadha which was later changed to Rajgriha.
- Bimbisara founded the city of Rajagriha.
Haryanka dynasty (542 – 412 BC)
Bimbisara (554-492 BC)
- He was contemporary of the Buddha and the first king to have a standing army. It was under Bimbisara that Magadha emerged as the controller of the middle Ganga Plains. He strenghthened his position by matrimonial alliances. with the ruling families.
- He annexed the kingdom of Angaby defeating king Brahmadatta.
- He married Kosaladevi, sister of Kosalan king Prasenjit and obtained a portion of Kasi as dowry.
- He also married Chellana daughter of Lichchvi Chief of Vaishali, vasabi, A videhan Princess of Khema, a daughter of the King of Madra.
- Bimbisara also maintained the friendly relation with the kings of Avanti and Gandhara.
Ajatshatru (492 – 460 BC)
- Ajatshatru was the son of Chellana and Bimbisara and occupied the throne by killing has father.
- He defeated his maternal uncle Prasenjit, the King of Kosala and married his daughter vajjira.
- He destroyed Vaishali the capital of Lichhavi.
- Lord Buddha died during his reign and he patronised the first council of buddhist council.
Udayin (460 – 444 BC)
- Udayin was the Son and Successor of Ajatshatru.
- He built the fort upon the confluence of the Ganga and Son river in Patliputra and transferred the capital from Rajgriha to Patliputra.
- During his reign, The Magadha kingdom extended in the North to the Himalaya and in the south to the Chotanagpur hills.
Shishunaga Dynasty ( 412-344 BC)
- Udayin was succeeded by Shishunaga, who temporarily shifted the capital to Vaishali.
- His great achievment was the destruction of the power of Avanti with its capital at Ujjain to end the 100 year old rivalry between Magadha and Avanti.
- Shishunaga was succeeded by Kalashoka who transfered the capital from Vaishali to Patliputra.
- His name is associated with the second buddhist council held at vaishali.
Nanda Dynasty (344 – 323 BC)
- The Shishunaga Dynasty was succeeded by the Nandas, who proved to be the most powerful rulers of Magadha. it was considered to be the first kshatriya dynasty.
- Mahapadmananda was the founder of the Nanda Dynasty.
- He was also known as Ekarat, Chhatri and Sarvakshatrantaka.
- He conquered the kingdoms like Panchala, Kalinga, Asmaka, Kasi, Kuru, shurasen and Mithila.
- No Indian king before Mahapadmananda had ruled such a big empire.
- After Mahapdma Nanda his eight sons ascended the throne of Magadha one after another. Dhananda was the last Nanda king.
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