Class 12 history chapter 2 notes, kings farmers and towns notes

kings farmers and towns Notes: Class 12 history chapter 2 notes

ClassClass 12
ChapterChapter 2
Chapter Namekings farmers and towns
CategoryHistory Notes

Class 12 history chapter 2 notes, kings farmers and towns notes here we will be learn about the 16 Mahajanapadas and know what kind of economic political social system existed here.

Developments during the long span of 1500 years following the end of Harappan Civilization : –

  • There were several developments that took place in India during the long span of 1,500 years following the end of Harappan civilization. They are:

🔹 Rigveda was composed by people living along the Indus and its tributaries.

🔹 Agricultural settlements emerged in north India, the Deccan Plateau, and parts of Karnataka.

🔹 Evidence of pastoral populations in the Deccan and further south.

🔹 New modes of disposal of the dead, including the making of elaborate stone structures known as megaliths

🔹 In many cases, the dead were buried with a rich range of iron tools and weapons.

The Sixth century BCE was a turning point in early Indian history: Reasons

🔹 There were several changes in economic and political life between 600BCE and 600 CE.The most important was the emergence of early states, empires and kingdoms. There were other changes as well like growth in agricultural production, emergence of new towns etc.

🔹 This era is known for some crucial developments. They are : –

  • Emergency of Early states.
  • Growing use of iron.
  • Development of Buddhism, Jainism and other philosophical thoughts
  • Development of coins
  • 16 Mahajanpadas

Sources to know about Indian history between 600 BCE to 600 CE : –

  • Inscriptions
  • Books
  • Coins
  • Pictures
  • Sculptures
  • Buildings

Inscriptions : –

🔹 Inscriptions are writings engraved on hard surfaces such as stone, metal or pottery. They usually record the achievements, activities or ideas of those who commissioned them and include the exploits of kings, or donations made by women and men to religious institutions. That means Inscriptions are a kind of permanent evidence.

Janapada : –

🔹 Janapada means the land where a jana (a people, clan or tribe) sets its foot or settles. It is a word used in both Prakrit and Sanskrit.

Mahajanapadas : –

🔹 The total number of Mahajanapadas was 16, which is mentioned in the Buddhist Literature Anguttarnikaya, Mahavastu and the Jain Literature Bhagwati Sutra.

🔹 Although the lists vary. some names such as Vajji. Magadha, Koshala, Kuru, Panchala, Gandhara and Avanti occur frequently. Clearly, these were amongst the most important mahajanapadas.

🔹 While most mahajanapadas were ruled by kings, some, known as ganas or sanghas, were oligarchies, where power was shared by a number of men, often collectively called rajas.

Mahajanapada and their capital : –

🔹 Each mahajanapada had a capital city, which was often fortified. Maintaining these fortified cities as well as providing for incipient armies and bureaucracies required resources.

1. AngaChampa
2. AssakaPotana
3. AvantiUjjayini
4. ChediSuktimati
5. GandharaTaxila
6. KambojaRajapura
7. KashiVaranasi
8. KosalaAyodhya
9. KuruIndraprastha
10. MagadhaRajgriha
11. MallaKushinagar
12. MatsyaViratanagara
13. PanchalaAhichhatra
14. SurasenaMathura
15. VajjiVaishali
16. VatsaKausambi

Rulers of Mahajanapadas : –

🔸 Major rulers of Mahajanapadas : – Bimbisara, Ajatashatru, Shishunaga (of Magadha), Chandpradyota (of Avanti), Banar, Ashvasena (of Kashi); Prasenjit (of Kosala); Brahmadatta (of the anng); Upchapar (of Chedi); Udayana (of Vatsa); Koravya (of Kuru); Virata (of Matsya); Avantiputra (of Surasena); And Chandravarman and Sudakshin (of Gandhara) were the main rulers of the Mahajanapadas.

🔹 Brahmanas began composing Sanskrit texts known as the Dharmasutras. These laid down norms for rulers (as well as for other social categories), who were ideally expected to be Kshatriyas. Rulers were advised to collect taxes and tribute from cultivators, traders and artisans.

Oligarchy : –

🔹 Oligarchy refers to a form of government where power is exercised by a group of men. The Roman Republic, about which you read last year, was an oligarchy in spite of its name.

Features of Mahajanapadas : –

  • The sixth century BC is known for the rise of the sixteen Mahajanapadas.
  • These states were either ruled by kings or Ganas (Sanghas)
  • Each had its own capital often fortified.
  • Some states maintained permanent standing armies recruited from the peasantry and regular bureaucracie
  • Dharma sutras laid down norms for kings and other people.
  • Functions of the rulers were to collect taxes and tribute from people.

First amongst the sixteen: Magadha

🔹 Magadha was an ancient kingdom located on the Indo-Gangetic plains in eastern India and spread over what is today the modern state of Bihar.

🔹 Initially, Rajagaha (the Prakrit name for present- day Rajgir in Bihar) was the capital of Magadha. Rajagaha was a fortified settlement, located amongst hills. Later, in the fourth century BCE, the capital was shifted to Pataliputra, present-day Patna, commanding routes of communication along the Ganga.

🔹 The early history of Magadha begins with King Bimbisara of the Haryak clan. The path on which he led Magadha to victory and progress ended only when Ashoka sheathed his sword after the war of Kalinga.

Factors responsible for the rise of Magadha : –

  • Between the sixth and fourth centuries BCE, Magadha became the most powerful Mahajanapada

🔹 Powerful and ambitious rulers like Bimbisara, Ajatasattu and Mahapadma nanda.

🔹 Availability of iron enabled the Magadhans to make tools and weapons.

🔹 Availability of elephants in forests constituted an important part of the army.

🔹 Fertile soil provided agricultural productivity

🔹 Ganga and its tributaries provided means of cheap and convenient communication.

🔹 Location of Pataliputra facilitated routes of communication along Ganges.

🔹 Rajgriha, the old capital of Magadha was located amongst hills.

Languages and scripts : –

🔹 Most Asokan inscriptions were in the Prakrit language while those in the northwest of the subcontinet were in Aramaic and Greek. Most Prakrit inscriptions were written in the Brahmi script; however, some, in the northwest, were written in Kharosthi. The Aramaic and Greek scripts were used for inscriptions in Afghanistan.

An early empire ( Mauryan Empire ) 321-185 BC: –

🔹 The growth of Magadha culminated in the emergence of the Mauryan Empire. Chandragupta Maurya, who founded the empire (c. 321 BCE), extended control as far northwest as Afghanistan and Baluchistan, and his grandson Asoka, arguably the most famous ruler of early India, conquered Kalinga (present-day coastal Orissa).

Chandra Gupta Mourya : –

🔹 Chandragupta Maurya was born in 340 BC in Patna (Pataliputra) Bihar district. The Maurya Empire was the first empire of India. Chandragupta Maurya established the Maurya Empire. (Vishnugupta, Kautilya, Chanakya) was the teacher of Chandragupta Maurya.

Sources to know about Mauryan Empire ( in short points ) : –

  • Account of Megasthenes (Indica)
  • Arthashashtra by Kautilya
  • Jaina Literature
  • Buddhist Literature
  • Puranic Literature
  • Inscriptions by Ashoka
  • Sanskrit Literary Work

Sources of information about Maurya dynasty : –

🔹 In knowing the history of the Maurya Empire, we get enough help from literature, foreign descriptions and archaeological material.

🔸 Among the literary sources, Arthashastra, which literally means financial management, by Kautilya/Chanakya, the Chief Minister of the Mauryan Empire, gives us a detailed description about the financial stakes of the Mauryan Empire. Buddhist, Jaina and Puranic literature as well as Sanskrit literary works mention the Mauryan Empire.

🔸 In foreign accounts, The report of Megasthenes who was an Ambassador of Greece had written a book called “Indica” in which he had recorded the information about the Mauryan Empire. Detailed record of administration and army of the region was also there in this book.

🔸 Among the archaeological sources, Asokan inscriptions that mention a policy called Ashoka Dhamma which was issued by a Mauryan king Ashoka, is a good source to understand the political policies. It had ethics related messages like respecting elders, respecting Brahmans, serving the poor.

Sources to reconstruct the history of Mauryan Empire : –

  • Archaeological finds – sculptures, coins, rock edicts.
  • Accounts of Megasthenes.
  • Arthashastra composed by Kautilya.
  • Buddhist, Jaina, Puranic literature and Sanskrit literary works.
  • Accounts of Chinese travellers.
  • Inscriptions of Ashoka.

Administering the empire : –

🔹 The mauryan king was the centre of the great administrative system. He enjoyed absolute power. The vast empire was divided into number of provinces. The mauryans had a strong standing army

🔸 1. Five Major Political Centres : –

🔹 There were five major political centers -Pataliputra, Taxila, Ujjaini, Tosali and Suvarnagiri to administer the vast empire.

🔹 These centres were situated on important long-distance trade routes. Communication along both land and riverine routes was vital for the existence of empire.

🔸 2. Role of the sub committees : –

🔹 Megasthanese mentioned a committee with six sub committees was organized for coordinating military activity. They looked after the navy, transport infantry, cavalry, chariots and elephants.

🔹 The second committee was to arrange bullock carts to carry equipments procure food for soldiers and fodder for animals and recruit servants and artisans to look after the soldiers

🔸 3. Measures of Asoka to hold his empire

  • Asoka tried to hold his empire together by propagating dhamma.
  • He appointed Special officers called dhamma mahamattas to spread the message of dhamma

Administrative features of Mauryan Empire : –

  • Mauryan Empire was a Monarchy.
  • There were 5 major political centres.
  • The capital was Pataliputra and provincial centers were Taxila, Ujjayini, Tosali and Suvarnagiri.
  • The Empire extended from North West India to Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and Uttarakhand.
  • The administration was strongest around the capital and provincial centres.
  • The provincial centres like Taxila and Ujjain were located on long distance trade routes and Suvarnagiri was near a Gold mine in Karnataka.
  • The army protected long distance movement of people and food.
    • Megasthenes mentions a committee with six subcommittees for coordinating military activity.
      • one looked after the navy,
      • the second managed transport and provisions,
      • the third was responsible for foot-soldiers,
      • the fourth for horses,
      • the fifth for chariots and
      • the sixth for elephants.

आगे पढ़ने के लिए नीचे पेज 2 पर जाएँ


Legal Notice

This is copyrighted content of GRADUATE PANDA and meant for Students use only. Mass distribution in any format is strictly prohibited. We are serving Legal Notices and asking for compensation to App, Website, Video, Google Drive, YouTube, Facebook, Telegram Channels etc distributing this content without our permission. If you find similar content anywhere else, mail us at We will take strict legal action against them.