GK Chronicle GK Chronicle

Ancient History / Post-Mauryan Era

Kanva Dynasty

The founder of Kanva dynasty, also known as Kanvayana dyansty, is Vasudeva Kanva, who was a Brahmin by caste. He established the dynasty by killing Devabhuti of Sunga dynasty. The time period of Kanva dynasty was very short and the duration was from 73 BC to 28 BC.

Rulers of Kanva Dynasty

  • During the reign of later Sunga rulers, Sunga dynasty was troubled by personal and civil disturbances. Yavanas became strong again. In South, Satavahanas declared independence. Sakas had strong hold in some regions.

    At this juncture, Vasudeva Kanva, who was a minister in Sunga kingdom, overthrew the Sunga dynasty. This was testified in Harshacharita by Banabhatta. But, the princes of Sunga dynasty could defend some parts of Sunga kingdom and continued to rule from Besnagar (modern Vidisha).

  • The rulers of Kanva dynasty believed that they were descendants of Kanva Rishi. In total, there were four kings from this dynasty. Kanvas ruled from Pataliputra.

  • Bhumimitra Kanva, son of Vasudeva Kanva, succeeded him. Though the capital of Kanva dynasty was Pataliputra, their coins were primarily discovered in and around Vidisha, the capital of later Sungas, giving rise to a conclusion that they had occupied Vidisha also. Bhumimitra was succeeded by his son, Narayana.

  • Narayana was being succeeded by his son, Susarman. He was the last ruler of Kanva dynasty and he was overthrown by the Satavahanas.

  • After the fall of Kanva dynasty, the rule of Magadha empire came to an end for quite some time until the Gupta rulers started ruling from Pataliputra. Though the Satavahanas ruled the Magadha region, they cannot be considered as the rulers in the history of Magadha empire because their capital was located in the South.