The Mauryas emerged as a ruling power in the fourth century bc, with Chandragupta Maurya usurp­ing the throne of Magadha in 324 or 321 bc. From that time onwards, the Mauryan dynasty continued in power till 180 bc.

The dynasty’s glorious days were, however, under its first three rulers-Chandragupta followed by Bindusara and Asoka in that order. They succeeded in establishing their imperial authority over many kingdoms.

The Mauryan kingdom under them is considered to be the first empire in India to comprise such a large part of the country.

At one stage it comprised the whole of India, except some north­eastern parts, and as far as present-day Karnataka, and some portions north-west of India as well.


The Mauryan rule is also considered to be the first experiment in imperial government in India. It is with the Mauryan period that we find an abundance of evidence from many sources.

The sources of information relating to earlier periods are often scattered and have to be slowly searched for evi­dence.