16 Mahajanpadas and their modern locations

16 Mahajanpadas

In the later Vedic period people who started agriculture settled down at a specific place.

These permanent settlements caused the foundation of janapadas.

In the 6th century BC, the most zone of political action step by step moved from Western UP to Eastern UP and Bihar.

This region wasn’t only fertile on account of higher rainfall and river systems but was also closer to iron production centers.

The use of higher iron tools and weapons enabled some territorial states to become very large and that they came to be called mahajanapadas.

Most of them were situated north of Vindhyas, between Bihar within the east to the northwest frontier of the subcontinent.

The list of those sixteen mahajanapadas is given below.

Sl. NoMahajanpadasCapitalModern Location
1AngaChampaMunger and Bhagalpur
2MagadhaGirivraja / RajagirGaya and Patna
5KosalaSravastiEastern Utter Pradesh
7PanchalaAhichchatra and
Western Uttar Pradesh
8KuruIndraprasthaMerrut and S.E. Haryana
10ChediSothivati / BandaBundelkhanda
11AvantiUjjain / MahismatiMadhya Pradesh & Malwa
13KambojPoonchaRajori & Hajra (Kashmir)
14AsmakaPratisthan / PaithanBank of Godavari
16MallaKusinaraDeoria & U.P.

Most of those states were monarchical in nature but a number of them, called ganasangha, had an oligarchical system of governance. during this system unlike monarchies, where a hereditary king rules, the administration was travel by an elected king with the assistance of an outsized council or assemblies comprising heads of all important clans and families.

This system was certainly more democratic than monarchy, though the commoner had no participation within the administration.

The most important of those states was that of Vajjis with their capital at Vaishali, which was ruled by the Lichchhavis.

These oligarchies mainly existed within the foothills of the Himalayas.

Magadha Empire gradually defeated those oligarchies.


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