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Rise & Growth of Magadha Empire: World History

Social Studies is an important section for CTET, MPTET, State TET, and other teaching exams as well. Social studies is the main subject in the CTET exam Paper II. In CTET Exam, the Social Studies section comprises a total 60 questions of 60 marks, in which 40 questions come from the content section i.e.History, Geography and Political Science and the rest 20 questions from Social Studies Pedagogy section.

At least 12-15 questions are asked from the History section in the CTET Social studies section. Here we are providing important facts related to the Magadha Empire.

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Haryanka Dinesty: 544 BC – 412 BC

Bimbisara: 544 BC – 492 BC

  • He was the founder of Haryanka dynasty.
  • Magadha Empire came into prominence under the leadership of
  • He was a contemporary of Gautama Buddha.
  • He married the princesses of Kosala, Kosaldevi/ Mahakosala – sister of Kosal King Prasenjit, Lichchhavi, Chellana – sister of Lichchhavi Head Chetaka and Madra, Khema – daughter of Madra king, which helped him in his expansionist policy.
  • He gained a part of Kashi as the dowry in his marriage with the sister of king Prasenjit of Kosala.
  • He conquered Anga.
  • He sent a royal physician, Jivaka to Ujjain, when Avanti King Pradyota was suffered by jaundice.
  • Known as Seniya, he was the first Indian king who had a regular and standing army.
  • He built the city of New Rajagriha.

Ajatashatru 492 BC – 460 BC

  • Bimbisara was succeeded by his son Ajatashatru. Ajatashatru killed his father and seized the throne.
  • Ajatashatru followed a more aggressive policy. He gained complete control over Kashi and broke the earlier amicable relations by attacking his maternal uncle Prasenjit, the king of Kosala.
  • The Vajji confederation was Ajatashatru’s next target of attack. This war was a lengthy one and tradition tells us that after a long period of 16 years, he was able to defeat the Vajji only through deceit, by sowing the seeds of discord amongst the people of Vajji.
  • The three things that played important role to defeat the Vajji –
  1. Sunidha and Vatsakar – Ajatashatru’s diplomatic ministers, who sowed the seeds of discord amongst Vajjis.
  2. Rathamusal a kind of chariot to which a mace was attached.
  3. Mahashilakantakaa war engine which catapulted big stones.
  • Kashi and Vaishali, the capital of Vajji were added to Magadha, making it the most powerful territorial power in the Ganges Valley.
  • He built the fort of Rajagrihaanda watch – fort (Jaladurga)at a village called Patali on the banks of the Ganges.

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Udayin: 460 BC – 440 BC

  • Ajatshatru was succeeded by his son Udayin.
  • He laid the foundations of the city of Patliputra at the confluence of the Son and the Ganges and shifted the capital from Rajagriha to Patliputra.
  • Udayin was succeeded by Anuruddha, Munda and Naga – Dasak respectively who all were weak and parricides.

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Shisunaga Dynasty: 412 BC – 344 BC

  • Nag – Dasak was unworthy to rule. So, the people got disgusted and elected Shisunaga as the King, the minister of the last king.
  • The most important achievement of Shisunaga was the destruction of the Pradyota dynasty of Avanti. This brought to an end the hundred years old rivalry between Magadha and Avanti. From then on Avanti become a part of the Magadha rule.
  • Shisunaga was succeeded by Kalashoka (Kakavarna). His reign is important because he convened the Second Buddhists Council in Vaishali (383 BC).

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Nanda Dynasty: 344 BC – 323 BC

  • Mahapadma overthrown the Shisunaga dynasty and established a new line of kings known as the Nandas.
  • Mahapadma is known as Sarvakshatrantake. Uprooter of all the Kshatriyas (Puranas)and Ugrasena i.e. Owner of huge army (Pali texts).
  • The Puranas call Mahapadma Ekrate. the sole monarch. He seems to have overthrown all the dynasties which ruled at the time of Shisungas. He is often described as ‘the first empire builder of Indian history’.
  • Mahapadma was succeeded by his eight sons. Dhanananda was the last one.
  • The last king Dhanananda is possibly identical with the Agrammes or Xandrames of the Greek texts.
  • It was during the rule of Dhanananda that the invasion of Alexander took place in north – west India in 326 BC. According to Greek writer Curtius, Dhanananda commanded a huge army 20,000 cavalry, 200,000 infantry, 2,000 chariots and 3,000 elephants. It was the might of Dhanananda that terrorised Alexander and stopped his march to the Gangetic Valley.
  • The Nanda dynasty came to an end about 322 – 21 BC and was supplanted by another dynasty known as Mauryas, with Chandragupta Maurya as the founder.

Foreign Invasions

  • Iranian/Persian Invasion – Darius’s Invasion in 518 BC.
  • The Achaemenian rulers of Iran (Persia), who expanded their empire at the same time as the Magadhan princes, took advantage of the political disunity on the North West Frontier of India.
  • The Achaemenian ruler Darius I (Darayabahu) penetrated into North – West India in 518 BC and annexed Punjab, West of the Indus and Sindh. This area constituted the 20th province (Kshatrapi) of Iran, the total number of provinces in the Iranian empire being 28. This province was the most fertile area of the Iranian empire. From this province the empire received 360 talent gold as revenue.

The Indo – Iranian contact lasted for about 200 years.

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