The Rise and Fall of the Mauryan Empire

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The Mauryan Empire was the first major empire in the history of India and existed from around 324 BC to 185 BC. It was ruled by the Mauryan dynasty and was one of the was the largest and most powerful political and military empires of ancient India.

Chandragupta Maurya founded the Mauryan Empire by overthrowing the Nanda dynasty. In some ways Chandragupta rise to power was inspired by Alexander the Great. As a young man, he had seen the Macedonian army and believed that anything a European could do an Indian could do better, he decided to raise and train an army in a similar fashion. With this army, Chandragupta conquered the Nanda throne and took over the Nanda Dynasty. He continued to expand his power across central and western India. His empire stretched to the north along the natural boundaries of the Himalayas, and to the east into what is now Assam. To the west, it extended beyond modern Pakistan and included Baluchistan in Persia and significant portions of what is now Afghanistan, including the modern Herat and Kandahar provinces. Chandragupta had united the whole of northern India under one rule and the Mauryan Empire was the first large, powerful, centralized state in India. During his reign, the state regulated trade, levied taxes, standardized weights and measures and commerce flourished during this time. The state was responsible for building and providing irrigational facilities, sanitation, and famine relief for its people. According to tradition, after ruling for about 25 years, Chandragupta turned over power to his son, Bindusara and converted to the Jainism religion. It is believed that he died by fasting to death in a Jain rite of penance.

Bindusara inherited a vast empire that spanned parts of modern-day Afghanistan in the northwest, to parts of Bengal in the east. It also spread through large parts of central India. He continued to extend the Mauryan Empire southwards in the Indian peninsula as far as Mysore and extended his...
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