EARLY YEARS: Chandragupta Maurya founded the Maurya Empire
in 322 BC with help from Chanakya, a Brahmin teacher from
Takshashila. Chandragupta swore to avenge an insult by destroying
the Nanda Empire (345-321 BC). During the same period,
troops of Alexander refused to cross the
Beas River to invade Maurya. His successor,
Seleucus, unsuccessfully attempted to expand
his empire to the east in 305 BC. He
and Chandragupta signed a peace treaty in which Seleucus received 500 war elephants.
Chandragupta initiated a powerful central government and developed a strong economy throughout the
Indian subcontinent. His son, Bindusara Maurya (320-272 BC), succeeded to the throne and extended the
empire into southern India. He refrained from seizing the friendly states of
Chera Kingdom and Chola Empire.
Bindusara also maintained good relations with Seleucus and the Seleucids.
ASHOKA THE GREAT: Ashoka (304 to 232 BC) ruled Maurya following the death of his
father, Bindusara. His capital was located in the state of Magadha.
In 261 BC, he conquered the Kalinga Empire.
After witnessing mass deaths he caused during that war, Ashoka converted to Buddhism
in 263 BC and propagated the religion. His Edicts were inscribed on the
Pillars of Ashoka.
Weak kings ruled another 50 years after Ashoka's death. The last ruler was Brihadrata Maurya,
who was assassinated in 185 BC by general Pusyamitra Sunga. He established the
Sunga Empire (185-75 BC). In 180 BC,
Demetrius I of the
seized Mauryan territory.