The Rise Of Magadha To Dominance
Between the sixth and the fourth centuries B.C., Magadha'(in present-day Bihar) emerged as the most powerful of the’mahajanapadas. Several factors appear to have influenced this’development.
- Magadha was a region where agriculture was highly’productive.
- Iron mines (located in present-day Jharkhand) were’easily accessible and provided resources for making a’variety of tools and weapons.
- Elephants, which constituted an important component’of the army, were found in forests in the region.
- The Ganga and its tributaries provided a means of cheap’and convenient riverine communication.
However, Buddhist and Jain writers who wrote’about Magadha also attributed its powerful status to the policies’of some exceptional individuals. These included ruthlessly’ambitious kings like Bimbisara, Ajatasatru and Mahapadma’Nanda as well as some notable ministers, who helped implement’their policies.
Initially, Rajagriha (identified with present-day Rajgir in’Bihar) was the capital of Magadha. Rajagriha was a fortified’settlement, located amongst hills. Later, in the fourth century’B.C., the capital was moved to Pataliputra (the site of modern’Patna), commanding routes of river communication along the’Ganga.