Kingdoms, Kings and An Early Republic CBSE Class 6 History Chapter 5 Notes

BoardCBSE Board, UP board, JAC board, HBSE Board, Bihar Board, PSEB board, RBSE Board, UBSE Board
Class6th Class
ChapterChapter 5
Chapter NameKingdoms, Kings and An Early Republic
TopicKingdoms, Kings and An Early Republic CBSE Class 6 History Chapter 5 Notes
Especially Designed Notes forCBSE, ICSE, IAS, NET, NRA, UPSC, SSC, NDA

Kingdoms, Kings and An Early Republic

Some Men Became Rulers

  • Voting has become the common way of choosing a leader or a ruler during last 63 years, while in earlier time, rajas’ were probably chosen by the jana or people.
  • Around 3000 years ago, some changes have been noticed in the ways in which rajas were chosen.
  • Now, rajas have been recognised by performing very big sacrifices.
  • The ashvamedha? or horse sacrifice was one such ritual.
  • A horse was let loose to wander freely and it was guarded by the raja’s men.
  • If the horse wandered into the kingdoms of other rajas and they stopped it, they had to fight.
  • If they allowed the horse to pass, it meant that they accepted that the raja who wanted to perform the sacrifice was stronger than them.
  • These rajas were then invited to the sacrifice, which was performed by specially trained priests, who were rewarded with gifts.
  • The raja who organised the sacrifice was recognised as being very powerful, and all those who came brought gifts for him.

Special Rituals

  • The raja was a central figure in these rituals, and he often had a special seat, a throne or a tiger skin.
  • His charioteer chanted tales of his glory.
  • His relatives, especially his wives and sons had to perform a variety of minor rituals.
  • The other rajas were simply spectators who had to sit and watch the performance of the sacrifice.
  • Priests performed the rituals including the sprinkling of sacred water on the king.
  • The ordinary people, the pish or vaishya, also brought gifts.
  • Some outcast people, such as those who were regarded as shudras by the priests, were excluded from many rituals.


  • The rajas who performed big sacrifices were now recognised as being rajas of janapadas rather than janas.
  • The word janapada literally means the land where the jana set its foot, and settled down.
  • Archaeologists have excavated a number of settlements in these janapadas, such as Purana Qila in Delhi, Hastinapur near Meerut, and Atranjikhera, near Etah.
  • Archaeologists found that people lived in huts, and kept cattle as well as other animals.
  • They also grew a variety of crops – rice, wheat, barley, pulses, sugarcane, sesame and mustard.

Earthen Pots

The characteristics of the earthen pots are:

  • In janapadas, people made earthen pots, some of these were grey in colour and others were red.
  • One special type of pottery found at these sites is known as Painted Grey Ware, and such pots had painted designs, usually simple lines and geometric patterns.


  • About 2500 years ago, some janapadas became more important than others, and were known as mahajanapadas.
  • Most mahajanapadas had a capital city.
  • Many of these were fortified, which means that huge walls of wood, brick or stone were built around them.
  • Forts were built because people were afraid of attacks from other kings and needed protection.
  • Some rulers also wanted to show their wealth and strength by building really large, tall and impressive walls around their cities.
  • We can see the fortification wall at Kaushambi, Allahabad.
  • It is also true that the land and the people living inside the fortified area could be controlled more easily by the king.
  • Building such huge walls required a great deal of planning and resources.
  • Thousands or lakhs of bricks had to be prepared which also required enormous labour possibly, provided by thousands of men, women and children.
  • Now rajas began to maintain armies, by paying regular salaries throughout the year.


For maintaining big armies and building huge forts, the rulers of the mahajanapadas required huge resources and a proper system of collecting regular taxes instead of depending on occasional gifts brought by people.

  • Taxes on crops were the most important.
    • This was because most people were farmers.
    • Usually, the tax was fixed at 1/6th of what was produced, which was known as bhaga or a share.
  • There were taxes on crafts persons.
    • These could have been in the form of labour.
    • For example a weaver or a smith may have had to work for a day every month for the king.
  • Herders had to pay taxes in the form of animals and animal produce.
  • There were also taxes on goods that were bought and sold through trade.
  • The hunters and gatherers had to provide forest produce as tax to the raja.

Changes in Agriculture

There were two major changes in agriculture around that period:

(i) One was the growing use of iron ploughshares instead of wooden ploughshares, so that more grain could be produced.

(ii) Instead of scattering seed on the ground, from which plants would sprout, saplings were grown and then planted in the fields.

  • People began transplanting paddy, which led to increase in production.

Slave men and women, (dasas and dasis), and landless agricultural labourers (kammakaras) had to do this work.

A Closer Look


  • Magadha became the most important mahajanapada in about 200 years.
  • Many rivers such as the Ganga and Son flowed through Magadha, which was important for transport, water supplies and making the land fertile.
  • In Magadha, there were forests in many parts in which elephants lived.
  • These elephants could be captured and trained for the army.
  • Forests also provided wood for building houses, carts and chariots.
  • Besides, there were iron ore mines in the region that could be tapped to make strong tools and weapons.
  • Bimbisara and Ajatasattu were two very powerful rulers who used all possible means to conquer other janapadas.

Mahapadma Nanda

  • He was another important ruler.
  • He extended his control upto the North-West part of the sub-continent.
  • Rajagriha (present-day Rajgir) in Bihar was the capital of Magadha for several years, later it was shifted to Pataliputra (present-day Patna).


  • Alexander, who lived in Macedonia in Europe more than 2300 years ago, had wished to conquer the world.
  • He conquered the parts of Egypt and West Asia.
  • He came to the Indian sub-continent reaching upto the banks of the river Beas.
  • Alexander’s soldiers refused to invade in India, they were scared, as they had heard that the rulers of India had vast armies of foot soldiers, chariots and elephants.


  • While Magadha became a powerful kingdom, Vajji, with its capital at Vaishali (Bihar), was under a different form of government, known as gana or sangha.
  • In a gana or sangha, there were not one, but many rulers.
  • Sometimes, even when thousands of men ruled together, each one was known as a raja.
  • These rajas performed rituals together, and they also met in assemblies, and decided what had to be done and how, through discussion and debate, regarding the enemies and external threat.
  • The women, dasas and kammakaras could not participate in any of the rituals and assemblies.
  • Both the Buddha and Mahavira belonged to ganas or sanghas.
  • Some of the most vivid descriptions of life in the sanghas can be found in Buddhist books.
  • Rajas of powerful kingdoms tried to conquer the sanghas, which had lasted for a very long time, till about 1500 years ago, when the last of the ganas or sanghas were conquered by the Gupta rulers.

1. Raja: An Indian king or prince. He often had a special seat, a throne or a tiger skin.

2. Ashvamedha: it was one of the most important royal rituals which was performed by the rajas. A horse was let loose to wander freely and it was guarded by the raja’s men. If any raja of other kingdom stopped it, then they had to fight. It is fully described in the Yajurveda.

3. Janapada: The janapadas were the major realms, republics or kingdoms of Vedic (Iron Age) India from about 1200 BC to the 6th century BC. It literally means the land where the jana set its foot and settled down.

4. Mahajanapada: An important janapada that was more powerful than most of the janapadas. It had a capital city that was fortified.

5. Fortification: A defensive wall or other reinforcement built to strengthen a place against attack

6. Tax: A compulsory contribution to state revenue, levied by the government on workers’ income and business profits, or added to the cost of some goods, services and transactions.

7. Army: An organised military force equipped for fighting on land.

8. Gana or sangha: A community of Buddhist monks. Gana is used for a group that has many members. Sangha means organisation or association.

Leave a Comment