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The Nanda dynasty was ruled by the family of Magadha in northern India between 343 to 321 BCE. Its founder was Mahapadma Nanda, a son of a low-caste woman, and the last Nanda king was Dhanananda.
See the fact file below for more information on the Nanda Empire or alternatively, you can download our 20-page Nanda Empire worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- The Nanda period was considered to be important in the history of India. One of the reasons for this is that the Nanda kings set up a good administrative system that was needed to run an entire empire.
- The administrative system was organized and taxes were given importance and were collected methodically. Because the system was good, it continued even during the Maurya period.
- The Nanda kings were known to own a huge four-fold army of two lakh infantry, 20,000 cavalry, 2,000 chariots and 3,000 war elephants.
- The Nanda were also lovers of art and literature. As a matter of fact, the well-known grammarian Panini belongs to this period.
- The empire had a great number of armies and terrifying leaders. This army, however, was not used against the invading Macedonians of Alexander the Great, for their fear turned them back from Punjab to the Indus delta.
- Since the Nandas were fond of wealth, they became unpopular due to the heavy taxes and undue exaction from the public. This was the reason for their people to desert them to help Chandragupta Maurya.
- The dynasty lived a short life, which was ended by Chandragupta Maurya, who attacked and conquered Magadha. This ended the rule of the Nandas.
THEORIES OF ORIGIN
- The founder, Mahapadma Nanda, was a powerful ruler who extended the boundaries of the Mahagdan empire. He uprooted all the Kshatriya ruling dynasties of the Northern India such as the Panchalas, Kurus, Asmakas, Ikshvakus, and Surasenas, etc., and annexed their states.
- Both Indian and Greco-Roman traditions describe the founder as coming from low birth. According to Greek historian Diodorus (I century BCE), Porus told Alexander that the Nanda king was thought to be the son of a barber.
- This barber became the paramour of the former queen, who treacherously assassinated the then king, and took the supreme authority by claiming to be the protector of the then princes, but later on murdered the princes.
- According to the 12th century text Parishishta-parvan, the founder’s mother was a courtesan, but the text also states that the daughter of the last Nanda king married Chandragupta. This was due to a tradition where Kshatriya women could choose their husbands. This implies that the founder was a member of the warrior class. This theory was believed by the Jain tradition.
- The Buddhist tradition names the Nandas “of unknown lineage” (annata-kula). According to Mahavamsa, the founder of the dynasty was Ugrasena, who was “a man of the frontier” and fell into the hands of a group of robbers, and later became their leader. He later expelled King Kalashoka (or Kakavarna).
- The Buddhist, Jain, and Puranic scriptures all say there were nine Nanda kings, but the names of these kings vary considerably from the sources.
- Some of the Nanda kings that were mentioned by Mahabodhivamsa were Mahapadma Nanda, Panduka, Pandugati, Bhutapala, Rashtrapala, Govishanaka, Dashasiddhaka, Kaivarta, and Dhana Nanda.
- Dhana Nanda was the last Nanda ruler and was believed to be one of the sons of Mahapadma Nanda.
- He ruled over Parsii, or Parchya (the eastern), people. He extended the empire to Bihar, Bengal, Punjab, and Sindh.
- According to the Sri Lankan Buddhist text, Mahavamsa, there were 9 Nanda kings. They were brothers who ruled in succession for a total of 22 years. This was written in Pali language.
- These nine kings were: Ugra-sena, (Uggasena in Pali), Panduka, Pandugati, Bhuta-pala, Rashtra-pala, Govishanaka, Dasha-siddhaka, Kaivarta, and Dhana.
- The Nanda kings established a monarchy that was based on bureaucracy and a strong army. Their conquests gave way to the unification of India.
- Its founder was believed to be a representative of an inferior Sudra caste and this gave light to the right of Kshatriyas to hold royal power.
THE FALL OF THE EMPIRE
- King Dhana Nanda inherited the huge empire, including the army that consisted of a large number of cavalry, infantry, chariots, and elephants. He was the ruler when the Macedonian army, led by Alexander the Great, refused to move ahead and face the huge army of Magadha Empire.
- He owned a huge mass of gold reserves and gathered his wealth by imposing taxes on skins, stones, and various articles. Taxes made Nanda unpopular to their people, and Chandragupta used this to campaign against him.
- Chandragupta’s forces besieged Pataliputra (now Patna) city in 320 BC and the Nanda army was defeated. This war ended the Nanda Dynasty and started the Maurya Dynasty under Chandragupta Maurya.
Nanda Empire Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about the Nanda Empire across 20 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Nanda Empire worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the Nanda dynasty which was ruled by the family of Magadha in northern India between 343 to 321 BCE. Its founder was Mahapadma Nanda, a son of a low-caste woman, and the last Nanda king was Dhanananda.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Nanda Empire Facts
- Nanda Page
- Mahapadma Nanda
- Nanda Kings
- The Nanda Territory
- Odd One Out
- The Empires
- Jumbled Empire
- Quick Questions
- The Downfall
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Link will appear as Nanda Empire Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, June 1, 2020
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.