When we approached the end of the vedic age, kingdoms started to develop and this gave to the rise of 16 great kingdoms called the Mahajanapadas.
What were Mahajanapadas?
“Jana” means people
“Pada” means foot
Hence Janapada means land where people live. Hence a kingdom was called Janapada
But there were some kingdoms which either became very large or were collection of many small Janapadas. And these where called Mahajanapadas.
There were 16 major Mahajanapadas according to Buddhist and Jain Texts
Name and Capitals of Mahajanapadas
Given below is the list of the 16 mahajanapadas and their capitals
- Anga. Capital: Champa/Champanagari
- Assaka/Ashmaka. Capital: Potana/Potali
- Avanti. Capital: Ujjain/Mahismati
- Gandhara. Capital: Taxila (near Rawalpindi, Pakistan) and Pushkalavati
- Kamboja. Capital: Rajapura
- Kashi. Capital: Varanasi.
- Kosala. Capital: Sravasti
- Magadha. Capital: Rajgir/ Grivraja ( later Vaishali and then Patliputra)
- Malla. Capital: Kuishinara & Pawa
- ‘Matsya. Capital: Viratnagar
- Panchal Capital: North Panchal – Ahichhatra; South Panchal – Kampilya
- Surasena Capital: Mathura
- Vajji or Vriji Capital: Vaishali
- Vamsa or Vatsa Capital: Kausambi
Types of Mahajanapadas
There were two types of MahaJanapadas or MJPs
- Republican(or pseudo republican): In this the kingdom was ruled by not a single man but a group of people called “Sangha” or “Gana Parishad”
- Monarch: In this the kingdom was ruled by only a single man or the king
Republicans: A good example was Vajji or Vrijji which was ruled by Sangha
Monarch : Magadh, Avanti, Kosala were the most poweful ones. Later Magadha emerged as ultimate power which we will study in next chapter.
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Best of Luck.