Bihar in the ancient times was known by "Magadh". Magadh (Bihar) was founded by King Jarasandha, a semi mythical king some 5000 years ago. Since then, Magadh has been in the eye of each and every one. It has been the centre of every Great Revolution, be it Religious reformation or Political. Mythologically, Bihar is also mentioned in Ramayana, the Holy Epic of Hindus. During Bhagwan Ram's time North-East Bihar was known by Mithila and it was ruled by Maharaj Janak, Father of Goddess Sita, who later married Lord Ram.
Jaanki Mata, Goddess Sita, consort of Bhagwan Ram was born in Bihar's Mithilanchal (Mithila) district, she was daughter of an ancient king of Bihar from Mithilanchal, called Maharaj Janak. She was called Mithlesh-Nandini, a daughter of Mithila. She has been regarded as the Kuldevi (Goddess) of Magadh, and Sun God Surya is the Kuldevta(chief God) of Magadh. That is the reason why Chatth-Parva(a festival of Bihar) for the worship of Sun-God is so much famous in Bihar and is celebrated worldwide by all Biharis. Legend has it that Chatth-Parva was started by Karna of Mahabharata who used to rule over Anga desh of Magadh(ancient Bihar).
It is said that King Jarasandha, founder of Magadh belonged to the Brihadrath Dynasty one of the descendants of eponymical King Puru. It is stated in Vayu Puran that King Jarasandha's dynasty ruled over Magadh for 1000 years after his death but no historical facts prove this as noone recorded this event. Brihadrath dynasty was followed by Pradyota Dynasty who has been said to rule over Magadh for 138 years.
After the fall of Pradyota Dynasty, Haryanka Dynasty took over the reign of Magadh founded by King Hemajit in 684 BC. King Bimbisara of this dynasty was born in 558 BC who has been responsible for expanding the boundaries of his kingdom through matrimonial alliances and conquest. The land of Kosala fell to Magadha in this way. King Bimbisara was the contemprory of Lord Buddha and has been said to even met Gauatam Buddha. Gautam Buddha was born in 563 BC and he went to Bihar's Bodh Gaya to find enlightment. He did meditation there for a lot of days under a Bodhi tree and find enlightment at the age of 35 years and he became Buddha, The Enlightened One. Thus was Buddhism born in Bihar one of the Greatest Religion of the World. that teaches non-violence.
During the same time in 599 BC, Yuvraj Vardhman was born in Vaishali district of Magadh (ancient Bihar) from King Siddhartha and Queen Trishala. Prince Vardhman renounced the World at the age of 30 and went in search of Truth. Thus Jainism, The First Greatest Pacifist Religion was founded by Bihar's son Vardhmana who since then came to be known as Mahavir Jain. So we see, that World's 2 Greatest Religions, Buddhism and Jainism was born in Great Bihar.
Coming back to Haryanka Dynasty, King Bimbisara was succeded by his son Ajatsatru who has been accredited of killing his father to gain the throne of Magadh. He has been attributed of finding the city of Patliputra(modern Patna) and has been incidental in shifting his capital from Rajgir to Patliputra. He was a great warrior, who conquered 36 republican states surrounding his kingdom and firmly established the predominance of Magadh in Eastern India. The most important war waged by Ajatashatru to gain supremacy over his neighbours was that with the powerful Licchavi Republic, ruled democratically by a group of noblemen. Such was the Unity and warfare of Licchavi Republic that Gautam Buddha has pronounced themselves as invincible. But Ajatsatru defeated them and protected the future genreation of Magadh from invading Licchavis forever. The scythed chariot was invented by Ajatashatru, the King of Magadh in Ancient India, in circa475 BC, who used these chariots against the Licchavis. The scythed chariot was a modified war chariot with a blade(s) mounted on both ends of the axle. Later he left violence and became a disciple of Lord Buddha and built Buddhist monasteries.
Haryanka Dynasty was followed by Shishunaga dynasty founded by Shishunaga in 430 BC. It was followed by Nanda Dynasty founded by Mahapadma Nanda in 424 BC. The Nandas, under Mahapadma Nanda, established the first great North Indian empire with its political centre in Magadha. His sons were not as capable as him. During the reign of one of his successors called Dhana Nanda, Alexander a Greek King attacked India in 326 BC, after his victory in Battle of Hydaspes River, when he marched forward his Macedonian Army after seeing Magadhan Army of Nandas, which formed 200,000 infantry, 80,000 cavalry, 8,000 war chariots, and 6,000 war elephants forced him and his army to run away from India. So, the so called Greatest Conqueror of World, Alexander, the so-called son of God Zeus, lost to Great Bihar. Long live Bihar !!
Nanda Dynasty was overthrown by a young boy of 20 years old whose name was Chandragupta Maurya, born in 340 BC in Magadh(Bihar). He was the son of Senapati Maurya(Genral of Magadh) and Rajmata Mura. He was trained by Vishnugupta Chanakya in the matters of warfare and politics. He overthrew the oppressive rule of Dhana Nanda in 320 BC and established the Mauryan Rule, which later came to be known as India's First Golden Age. Alexander died in Persia in 323 BC, and Great Chandragupta Maurya vowed to bring back all those land taken away by Macedonian king Alexander. He killed 2 Greek governors, Nicanor and Philip. He fought with Seleucus Nicator I and defeated him and brought back the Indus strap to India. He signed a treaty with Seleucus and forced him to return from India. Later he turned his attention towards Southern districts of India and conquered them and brought whole of India under 1 Flag and for the first time established Peace and 1-Man-Rule in Bharatvarsha (India) and gave stability. Thus Samrat Chandragupta Maurya was officially the First Greatest Ruler of India who defeated Alexander's invasion and hence defeated the so-called invincible army of Macedonia. Thus Army of Macedonia lost to the Army of Magadh.
Maharaj Chandragupta Maurya was succeeded by his son Bindusara who ruled Magadh from 298 BC to 272 BC. During his Rule, the territory of Magadh gained control over southern territories. Bindusara was followed by his son Ashoka The Great, who ruled over Magadh from 272 BC to 232 BC.
Ashoka was the grandson of Samrat Chandragupta Maurya, initially he used sword to conquer the territories. Ashoka was a True Magadhan (Bihari), he used to say "Wherever there is land on this Earth, I want to see it under Magadhan Flag." Long Live such a Great ancestor. We Biharis are Proud of you, Maharaj Ashoka. Ashoka continued to win battles after battles using his able military skills and might. He invented Ashoka-Neeti(Ashoka-Wisdom), under this strategy, The Army of Magadh used to Fight on three different war-front under the same time under 3 different Magadhan generals. Ashoka's mother Dharma was assassinated by his half-brother Sushima in a bid to get the thrown of Magadh. At this, Ashoka venged with anger killed Sushima and regained the throne of Magadh and killed all the brothers and supporters of Sushima. But one of the brother of Sushima had fled to Kalinga(The modern day Odisha). When Ashoka requested Kalinga king to hand him the traitor, the Kalingans refused telling that Kalinga will not submit to Chanda Ashoka(merciless Ashoka). At this, Ashoka invaded Kalinga in 265 BC. The war continued for 2 years and it resulted in killings of 1 lakhs men and women from Kalinga and 10,000 soldiers of Magadh. After the war was over, Ashoka travelled into Kalinga and saw corpses of children, women and old people. At this, his heart was filled with pity and threw the sword and renounced war. He converted into Buddhist Religion and took a vow to preach non-violence and Peace. Thus he came to be known as Dhamm-Ashoka (Righteous Ashoka). He built 84,000 Buddhist stupas and has been known to sent his son Mahindra and daughter Sanghamitra to Srilanka to preach Buddhism. He also sent Buddhist monks to Japan, China and Greece to propogate Buddhism. Thus he made Buddhism a World Religion. Such was his greatness that when India got Independence, his sign of Ashok-Chakrawas officially incorporated on the National Flag of India. Thus you see Ashok Chakra on India's National Flag is given by a Bihari called Ashok Vardhan. Long live Ashoka The Great.
Mauryan Empire fall within 50 years of Ashoka's death and came to be ruled by Pushyamitra Sunga in 185 BC, a Brahmin who founded Sunga Dynasty. He has been called One of the Greatest Hindu Emperor as he stopped the end of Hindu Religion from this World by making reforms in it and has been giving equal Rights to the People irrespective of their Caste (Kshatiya-Brahmin-Vaishya-Shudra), he respected the so called Shudras who were ill-treated by Brahmins and they were on a rampage to accept Buddhism. Thus, he saved Hinduism or in a way, he Re-founded Hinduism. Sungas have been known to rule from 185 BC to 73 BC. After the fall of Sungas in 73 BC they have been known to be followed by Kanva Dynasty. Little is known about them.
After the Kanvas, Magadh became predominant in the Era of Guptas which started from 320 CE to 550 CE. Gupta Era is known by Second Golden Age of India. Gupta Empire was founded by Chandragupta I, son of King Ghatotkacha, in 320 CE. He was succeeded by his son called Samudragupta in 335 CE, who is known to be one of the Greatest Warrior of India. Samudragupta is called India's Napolean by some western Historians but I believe he is more greater than Napolean as Napolean lost his final battle and was captured but Samudragupta was invincible. He ruled till 35 years from 335 CE till his death in 380 CE. By his death in 380, he had incorporated over twenty kingdoms into his realm and his rule extended from the Himalayas to the river Narmada and from the Brahmputra to the Yamuna. He was succeeded by his son Chandragupta Vikramaditya who ruled from 375 CE to 415 CE. He was a great warrior and is known for defeating a lot of kings. His greatest victory was his victory over the Shaka-Kshatrapa dynasty and annexation of their kingdom in Gujrat, by defeating their last ruler Rudrasimha III. He has been known for unburdening the sacred earth of the Barbarians like the Shakas, Mlecchas, Kambojas, Yavans,Tusharas, Parasikas, Hunas, etc. by annihilating these sinful Mlecchas completely. He fought a lot of foreign invaders and saved India from them. He was followed by his son Kumargupta I. Kumargupta was followed by Skandgupta born from one of his junior wife and Skandgupta has been instrumental in fighting a lot of battles and has been able to restore the glory of Magadh. When he was just 17 years old, White-Huns invaded India. His father had not got so much army as those of Huns (Indo-Hepthalites) but he assured his father of either Victory or his Death. White-Huns were 5 lakhs in number and Prince Skandagupta had 2 lakhs army. But he stopped the invasion of White-Huns on the North-Western Province of India and forced them to run away to Kandhar(now Afghanistan). After Skandagupta death, Gupta's Empire came to be ended in 550 CE.
Thus ended the ancient history of Great Magadhans who ruled over Bharat(India) for more than thousand years and gave Peace, stability and Greatness to India. Where will you find such Great men who sacrificed everything for their Country?? Such was the Greatness of Magadhans (Biharis) that Alexander could not conquer India. During those times after the defeat of Macedonians by Chandragupta Maurya, Macedonians mothers used to say stories to their children which said, "There are two types of Indians, The Magadhans and The Rest of them." I am Proud to be a Magadhan, a Bihari. Long Live the name of Bihar.
"Men will be known for their Actions. Magadh(Bihar) will be known for their Men."
Magadh Jayate, Jai Bihar.