The Rise of Magadha

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:-

MahajanpadasCapitals
KashiVaranasi
KosalaSravasti
AngaChampa
VajjiVaishali
MallaPawapuri
ChediShuktimati
VatsaKaushambi
KuruIndraparasta
PanchalaAhichatra
MagadhaGiriraj
MatsyaViratnagar
SurasenaMathura
AshmakaPotali
AvantiMahishamati
GandharaTaxila
KambojaRajapura
  • 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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