Analyze the process of formation of some regions in ancient India.

Analyze the process of formation of some regions in ancient India.


Angutara Nikaya, a Buddhist scripture mentions 16 great kingdoms or Mahajanapadas at the beginning of the 6th century BCE in India. They emerged during the Vedic Age. The history of the emergence of Mahajanapadas can be linked to the development of eastern Uttar Pradesh and western Bihar during the 6th to 4th century BCE where agriculture flourished due to the availability of fertile lands and iron production increased due to availability of iron ore in large quantities. This resulted in the expansion of the territories of the Janapadas (due to the use of iron weapons) and later addressed as 16 highly developed regions or the Mahajanapadas.


The list below provides you with the names of 16 Mahajanapadas:

  1. Kasi
  2. Kosala
  3. Anga
  4. Magadha
  5. Vajji
  6. Malla
  7. Chedi/Cheti
  8. Vatsa
  9. Kuru
  10. Panchala
  11. Matsya
  12. Surasena/Shurasena
  13. Assaka
  14. Avanti
  15. Gandhara
  16. Kamboja

In the course of time, smaller or weak kingdoms, and the republics were eliminated by the stronger rulers. Vajji and Malla were Gana-Sanghas. The Gana-Sanghas had a government by assembly and within the assembly they had oligarchy. In the 6th century only 4 powerful kingdoms remained:

  1. Magadha (Important rulers: Bimbisara, Ajatashatru)
  2. Avanti (Important ruler: Pradyota)
  3. Kosala (Important ruler: Prasenjit)
  4. Vatsa (Important ruler: Udayana)

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