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Maurya Dynasty of India

The Maurya Empire was founded in 322 B.C. by Chandragupta Maurya, who was an Indian conqueror and Prince that is when this empire appears on the Bible Timeline Chart with world history. This particular Indian Empire is considered one of the greatest in all of the history of India and many contemporary people within India’s society are still fascinated by this once great state.

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Chandragupta Maurya was supposed to have been a Nanda prince, but historians are unclear about the early years of his life. The Kingdom of Nanda was the most powerful state in India before the Maurya Empire emerged. When Alexander the Great was conquering the world and made his way into India, Chandragupta saw him when he was a young teenage boy. Chandragupta probably heard of Alexander’s great conquests and probably was encouraged to follow in his footsteps. By the time Chandragupta was 20 years old he had managed to bring most of India under his dominion. He eliminated the Nanda Dynasty and took their lands that then became the foundation of his powerful state.

Chandragupta might not have been a Nanda prince, but he was certainly some type of leader with power because he had the power and resources of a vast army to carry out his goals for conquest. By the year 310 B.C., he had driven out the Greeks from his land and secured India for the empire. Though he was a mighty conqueror, he never had a desire to push his forces outside of India to overtake the world. Chandragupta unified the many Indian kingdoms to form the Maurya Empire.

A map of the Maurya Dynasty, showing major cities, early Buddhist sites, Ashokan Edicts, etc.

Once this state was established, Chandragupta transformed it into one of the most efficient and economically prosperous lands in the ancient world. The arts and literature flourished in the lands of India during the time of the Maurya Empire and modern civic structures were erected in the major cities. There was an administration district, libraries, local temples, theaters and public parks. Chandragupta also reinforced the caste system that was already a part of Indian society, and he made Jainism an important religion within the empire’s society.

Chandragupta died in 208 B.C. after he gave up the empire to his son Emperor Bindusara. Much isn’t known about Bindusara’s rule except that he conducted trade with the Greeks Seleucid rulers. Bindusara reign came to an end in 232 B.C., and his son Ashoka took the throne. Ashoka was a great conqueror who managed to subdue the remaining independent Indian states that were not already a part of the Maurya Empire. People called him Ashoka the Great. He is also known for his religious activity of Buddhism. He sent missionaries into foreign regions of Asia, and he established Buddhist policies and temples for worship.

The Maurya Empire started to go into decline around 190 B.C. when the different provinces of the empire started to go to war with one another. Outside invaders such as the Greeks decided to exploit this situation and though the Greeks never successfully conquered India the problems they created caused the empire to weaken. By 185 B.C., the Maurya Empire had come to an end. The rulers of this empire didn’t believe in a policy of outward expansion, and this is why they never tried to conquer the world. If the Maurya Empire had attempted this feat, they might have been able to become serious rivals to the Greeks, Romans and Muslims as world conquerors.

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