The Buddhist and Jain works and the Puranas give us a description of political conditions and the life of the people in the 6th century BC. The whole of the north India had been divided into sixteen states which were known as Mahajanpads. They were as follows:

1. Anga (east Bihar), 2. Magadh (central Bihar), 3. Kashi (Banaras), 4. Kosala, 5. Videha, 6. Malla, 7. Chedi, 8. Vats, 9. Kuru, 10. Panchaila, 11. Matsya, 12. Asmaka, 13. Avanti, 14. Gandhara, 15, Sursena and 16. Kamboja.

Rise and growth of Magadh:

It heralded the foundation of the first great empire in India. Magadh was the most powerful and prominent state during those period. It comprised the district of Patna and Gaya in Bihar.


Bimbisara (544-493 BC):

The first great ruler of Magadh was Bimbisara. He was a great conqueror. He ruled from 544 BC to 493 BC.

Ajatshatru (493-461 BC):

After Bimbisara’s death his son Ajatshatru became the king of Magadh in 493 BC. He carried on wars for 16 years with Lichhavi of Vaishali and annexed it, During his reign Magadh became the most powerful state of North India. He died in 461 BC. Kosala was the last ruler of this dynasty. The people of Magadh deposed him in 413 BC and appointed Shishunaga the king of Magadh. The Shishunaga dynasty lasted upto 361 BC.


The Nanda Dynasty:

Mahapadma Nanda was the founder of the Nanda dynasty. He extended the boundaries of his empire. He conquered Kalinga and Deccan. Bhadrasala was the last ruler of this dynasty,