Today India is a peace-loving nation but our ancient history has been as bloody as Romans, Greeks, Persians or any other ancient world. The Maurya Empire tells us the saga of our bloody past. The empire thrived and grew to power and prominence during the Iron Age and became one of the largest empires in the entire world during that era. Let us today learn 30 interesting Maurya Empire facts that are no less fascinating that the tales of the Persian or the Greeks!
Interesting Maurya Empire Facts: 1-15
1. Ruled by the Mauryan Dynasty from 322 BCE to 185 BCE, the Maurya Empire thrived and grew to power during the Iron Age.
2. The empire originated in Indian Subcontinent’s eastern side from kingdom of Magadha.
3. Chandragupta Maurya was the founder of the empire. He overthrew the Nanda Dynasty to establish Mauryan supremacy in 322 BCE.
4. The ancient Magadha is today’s modern Bihar and eastern Uttar Pradesh.
5. With Chandragupta Maurya taking control of Magadha, the Maurya Empire started a phase of rapid expansion and expanded westwards through central and western India.
6. By 320 BCE, Maurya Empire covered entire Northwestern India. This rapid expansion was possible because Alexander the Great left with his armies towards west and this led to conflicts within local powers.
7. Alexander left satraps (province governors) and Chandragupta managed to defeat them easily.
8. Chandragupta Maurya was succeeded by his son Bindusara who expanded the Maurya Empire to the Southern regions of the Indian Subcontinent.
9. However, some of the friendly kingdoms were not annexed to the Mauryan Empire which included Cheras, Cholas and Pandyas.
10. Both Chandragupta and Bindusara failed to annex Kalinga (modern Odisha). However, Bindusara’s son Ashoka the Great annexed Kalinga, establishing Mauryan rule throughout Indian Subcontinent with Cheras, Cholas and Pandyas still remaining independent friendly states.
11. At its height, the Maurya Empire became one of the largest empires of the world and the largest ever in India.
12. If calculated with modern demographics, the Maurya Empire went all the way to the natural boundaries of Himalayas in North and up to Assam and into Bangladesh in East. To the West, the empire expanded way beyond modern Pakistan in Balochistan and went up to southeastern tip of Iran. Much of Afghanistan including Kandahar and Herat were also under Maurya Empire. To the South, the Maurya Empire went up to modern Karnataka but did not cover the southern tip of Indian Subcontinent that belonged to the friendlies Cheras, Cholas and Pandyas but they accepted the supremacy of the Maurya Empire.
14. As we said at the very beginning, the Maurya Empire tells us the story of our bloody past, it can be very well-guessed that the empire was not built out of peace talks. Chanakya, a Takshashila-based Brahmin teacher was insulted by Dhana Nanda, the ruler of Nanda Dynasty. Humiliated, Chanakya swore to destroy Nanda Dynasty.
15. Chanakya met Chandragupta and together they formed an army consisting of Vahlik, Kamboja, Kirata, Yavana (Greek) and Shaka soldiers.