|Period of Persian Conquest | Invasion Of Alexander | Period Of Religious Upheaval|
Indian history before the seventh century was not dated. The lack of written records and other material certainly breaks the continuity at several points yet the practices of the ancient and the Vedic periods exists till today as traditions. The first recorded date is considered as 326BC, the year of Alexander's invasion. The Mauryan period dates slightly later and historical traditions recorded in literature gives us some information of the kingdoms of Northern India in the seventh century BC.
Vast territories in the northern part of India were covered by forest and inhabited by tribes. Civilized settlements existed in the plains of the Indus and the Ganga. Four important kingdoms of this period were the Magadha, the Avadh, the Vatsa and the Malwa. The other small kingdoms were Kasi, Matsya, Kuru and Panchala. Besides these kingdoms there were many non - monarchial clans. The most important was the Virji confederation of eight clans, of which the Licchavis, who ruled from Vaisali as their capital was prominent. The others were Sakyas of Kapilavastu and the Mallas. These clans had no hereditary rules. An assembly was in charge of administration helped by a council and an elected chief. The four kingdoms maintained matrimonial relation, though fighting among themselves for supremacy was common. Magadha emerged as the strongest power with an able line of rulers.
While Magadha was establishing their way over northern India, the regions of west, Punjab, Sind and Afganistan were divided into many states. Kamboja and Gandhara are two of the sixteen Mahajanapadas mentioned in the Buddhist scriptures.
The history of the Magadha kingdom was unleashed in south Bihar in the 4th century BC and the drama commenced in the Saisungha dynasty by a chieftain named Sisunga in about 642BC.
Bimbisara was the fifth king of this kingdom. He contributed extending his dominions by the conquest of Anga the modern Bhagalpur and Monghyr district. He is said to reigned for twenty eight years, according to the puranas. He is regarded as the person who laid the foundation of Magadhan greatness. His policy of diplomacy and war, and able administration made Magadha a great empire.