Map of India, 600 BCE

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Illustration

by Kmusser
published on 26 April 2012

Mahajanapadas (Sanskrit: महाजनपद, Mahājanapadas), literally "great realms", (from maha, "great", and janapada "foothold of a tribe", "country") were ancient Indian kingdoms or countries. Ancient Buddhist texts like Anguttara Nikaya make frequent reference to sixteen great kingdoms and republics (Solas Mahajanapadas) which had evolved and flourished in a belt stretching from Gandhara in the northwest to Anga in the eastern part of the Indian subcontinent and included parts of the trans-Vindhyan region, prior to the rise of Buddhism in India.

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