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Humshehri: Thinking Pakistan's History

Thinking Pakistan's History

Chandragupta Maurya

Urdu Version

Chandragupta was the first ruler to unify India into one state.

Last Updated: 28 Feb. 2014

Mauryan Empire

Chandragupta Maurya
Chandragupta Maurya
(History Drop Off)

The founder of the Mauryan Empire is Chandragupta Maurya (340 – 298 BC), who by the end of the third century BC, had managed to knit together most of the region.

Chandragupta was a prince of Magadha (present day India) living in exile. After Alexander’s death, in 322 BC he was able to raise an army and launch a rebellion against the king of Magadha. Through use of skilled strategies he defeated the king, overthrowing the Nanda Dynasty. He then established himself as the first ruler of the Mauryan Empire.

Defeating the Greeks

Chandragupta successively fought Alexander’s generals in the region reclaiming the regions under Greek rule. Most importantly he defeated the invasion of Seleucus, a Greek general of Alexander’s army, who had laid claim to the Asian provinces. In 305 BC Seleucus signed a peace treaty with Chandragupta. Under this Seleucus gave up his claim to the territories east of the Indus River (much of modern day Pakistan and Afghanistan). And in return Chandragupta married his daughter and sent over 500 elephants which would play an important role in establishing Seleucus’ rule in other regions.


Punch-marked coins
(Per Honor et Gloria)

Mauryan government was very well organized and strict. The government took an active interest in agricultural activities and building roads. With this there was a growth of trade and the emergence of punch-marked coins made of mixed silver and copper, which have been found in most Mauryan archeological sites. Cities began to grow too. Pataliputra, the capital of the empire, was a large city with a population of close to 400,000.

Chandragupta’s son, Bindusara, extended the Mauryan Empire over virtually the entire subcontinent, giving rise to an imperial vision that was to dominate successive centuries.

Find out more

Books & Articles

Department of Asian Art. “Mauryan Empire (ca. 323–185 B.C.)”. Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000.

Hussain, Jain. An Illustrated History of Pakistan (Book 1). Karachi: Oxford UP, 1981.

Violatti, Cristian. “Chandragupta.” Ancient History Encyclopedia. 27 Oct. 2013.


PBS The Story of India: Episode 2 – Chandragupta Maurya (video)