Easy notes Mahajanapadas and Magadha Dynasties

Mahajanapadas and Magadha Dynasties – Best and bullet-point notes – capital and modern location – Harayanak dynasty – Shisunaga Dynasty – Nanda Dynasty


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In the early Vedic Period, People were only dependent on Animal husbandry but in later Vedic period, people adopted cultivation as their prime source of livelihood. Agriculture depends on some factors like rainfall, fertility of land, good iron tools to plough and harvest. So, the Vedic People started moving from Haryana and western UP region to Eastern UP and Bihar. 

Mahajanapadas and Magadha Dynasties

The gradual settlement of people around the agricultural friendly region led the foundation of Janapadas or territorial states under the control of the king. Few Janapadas were also concerned to search and use of better Iron tools and weapons. This made their territories very large and they became Mahajanpadas. 

Sl. No.MahajanapadasCapitalModern location
1.AngaChampaMunger and Bhagalpur
2.MagadhGirivraja/ RajagirGaya and Patna
3.KasiKasiBanaras
4.VatsaKausambiAllahabad
5.KosalaSravastiEastern Uttar Praesh
6.SaurasenaMathuraMathura
7.PanchalaAhichchatra and KampilyaWestern Uttar Pradesh
8.KuruIndraprasthaMerrut and S. E. Haryana
9.MatsyaViratnagarJaipur
10.ChediSothivati/ BandaBundelkhand
11.AvantiUjjain/ MahismatiMadhya Pradesh & Malwa
12.GandharTaxilaRawalpindi
13.KambojPoonchaRajori & Hajra (Kashmir)
14.AsmakaPratisthan/ PaithanBank of Godavari
15.VajjiVaishaliVaishali
16.MallaKusinaraDeoria & U.P.

There were two types of states – monarchical and non-monarchical/republican. Monarchical and Ganasangha (Non-monarchical/republican). Monarchical states were – Anga, Magadha, Kashi, Kosala, Vatsa, Chedi, Shursena, Matsya, Avanti, and Gandhara. Ganasangha or Republican were – vajji, Malla, Kuru, Panchal, Kamboja, Shakya (Kapilvastu), Koliyas (Ramgrama), Moriya (Pipplivana). 

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Magadha Dynasty

Rise of the Magadha Dynasty

The political fight among these Mahajanapadas led ultimately to one of them namely Magadh emerging as the most powerful state and the centre of a vast empire. There were three dynasties one after the another that come under the great Magadha. These dynasties were – Haryanaka Dynasty, Shishunaga Dynasty and Nanda Dynasty. 

Reason of Magadha’s Success

  1. Advantageous geographical position in the richest iron deposits area. 
  2. Lay at the centre of the middle Gangetic plain. 
  3. Use of elephants on a large scale in wars. 
  4. The earliest important ruler of Magadh was the King Bimbisara, the founder of Haryanaka Dynasty. He adopted 3 policies of conquest – Matrimonial alliances, friendship with strong rulers and conquest of weak neighbours to expand the empire. 

Haryanaka Dynasty

  • Founder – Bimbisara 
  • Last Ruler – Nagadasaka 

Bimbisara: 544 BC – 492 BC

  • Founder of Haryanka dynasty 
  • Another name – Shronika 
  • Contemporary of Gautama Buddha 
  • Built the city of New Rajagriha 
  • Known as Saniya, he was the first Indian king who had a regular and standing army. 

Ajatashatru (Kunika): 492 BC – 460 BC

  • Son of Bimbisara and Vaidehi (Bimbisara’s wife) 
  • Build the fort of Rajgriha 
  • Founder of Patliputra (Patna) 
  • Also called Kunika and Ashokachanda 
  • He arranged the first Buddhist council at Rajgriha after the death of Buddha

Udayin (460 BC – 440 BC)

  • Ajatshatru’s Son 
  • Made Patliputra as a capital of Magadha 

Shisunaga Dynasty

  • Founder – Shisunaga 
  • Shisunaga destroyed the Pradyota dynasty of Avanti (hundred-year-old rivalry of Magadha). From then Avanti became the part of the Magadha rule. 
  • Kalashoka is the son of Shisunaga. 
  • The second Buddhists council was held during the patron of Kalashoka. 
  • Last Ruler – Mahanandin 

Nanda Dynasty

  • Founder – Mahapadma Nanda 
  • Last Ruler – Dhanananda 
  • During Dhanadanda, invasion of Alexander took place in north-west India.

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FAQs on Mahajanapadas and Magadha Dynasties

when was the first Indian coin minted?

Around the 6th Century BC
The first Indian coins were minted around the 6th century BC by the Mahajanapadas of the Indo-Gangetic Plain. The coins of this period were punch-marked coins called Puranas, Karshapanas or Pana. Early coins of India (400 BC—100 A.D.) were made of silver and copper, and bore animal and plant symbols on them.

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