Mahajanapadas - "Second urbanisation" (c. 600 – c. 200 BCE)
aspect_ratio Read more expand_more
The period from c. 600 BCE to c. 300 BCE witnessed the rise of the Mahajanapadas, sixteen powerful and vast kingdoms and oligarchic republics. These Mahajanapadas evolved and flourished in a belt stretching from Gandhara in the northwest to Bengal in the eastern part of the Indian subcontinent and included parts of the trans-Vindhyan region. Ancient Buddhist texts, like the Anguttara Nikaya, make frequent reference to these sixteen great kingdoms and republics—Anga, Assaka, Avanti, Chedi, Gandhara, Kashi, Kamboja, Kosala, Kuru, Magadha, Malla, Matsya (or Machcha), Panchala, Surasena, Vriji, and Vatsa. This period saw the second major rise of urbanism in India after the Indus Valley Civilisation.
Early "republics" or Gana sangha, such as Shakyas, Koliyas, Mallas, and Licchavis had republican governments. Gana sanghas, such as Mallas, centered in the city of Kusinagara, and the Vajjian Confederacy (Vajji), centered in the city of Vaishali, existed as early as the 6th century BCE and persisted in some areas until the 4th century CE. The most famous clan amongst the ruling confederate clans of the Vajji Mahajanapada were the Licchavis.