Mauryan Empire

From 321 BCE- To 184 BCE

How the Mauryan Empire Came to Be

The Mauryan Empire included most of the Indian subcontinent from around 300 BCE to 200 BCE. Candragupta Maurya founded the dynasty by conquering the Nanda dynasty. The Indian literary traditions say that Candragupta Maurya became the ruler of the Mauryan Empire with help from Kautilya, who was a Brahmin minister. By the time Candragupta Maurya gave up his power to his son, Bindusara, his kingdom had grown to range from the Ganges-Yamuna Valley to the northwestern frontiers of the Indian subcontinent.

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One of the temples used by Candragupta Maurya


Ashoka, the son of Bindusara, was made emperor in 274 BCE. He started to make new laws right away and punished many for even small things. He decided that he would expand the kingdom even more than the rulers before him. The Kalinga Kingdom had stopped the Mauryan Empire from coming up the Ganges River, so Ashoka attacked them. He won the battle, but afterward Askoka realized that it was his fault that so many had lost their lives for him. Because of this, he converted to Buddhism and was not as strict about laws and punishment.

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Mauryan Empire's land under Ashoka's rule

The Decline of The Mauryan Empire

Soon after Ashoka's death the Empire began to fall. It was divided up by Ashoka's sons so that each formed their own kingdom. As this was happening, foreign invaders attacked the separated kingdoms. The armies couldn’t stop them because their training was never used. This was because Ashoka had not used them for 29 years. The Mauryan Empire finally fell in 184 BCE.

Interesting Facts

When Bindusara got sick and announced that he was going to step down off of the thrown, his sons began being murdered until only Ashoka was left and made ruler of the Mauryan Empire.

Ashoka’s rule could easily have been forgotten, if he hadn't left behind a record of his trials. His messages were etched into stone sculpted pillars and boulders with teachings that he wanted to be published.