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

Class 6 Notes Social Science History Chapter 5 Kingdoms, Kings and an Early Republic help you in quick revision of the chapter. Reading these notes will help you to understand the lesson more easily. Once you have understood the chapter, you can easily write the answers of the questions that may come to your exams. Ultimately, our Class 6 NCERT Notes History Chapter 5 will help you to score good marks in the exam.

Kingdoms, Kings and an Early Republic Class 6 Notes Social Science History Chapter 5

  • In the later Vadic period, the tribal organization changed their identity and gradually started   shifting into a territorial identity called Janapada or states.  
  • These states consisted of a single tribe like Shakyas and Molas or people from the Ganaga 

Valley called Aryans.  

  • They did not incorporate people outside the Aryan pole.
  • There was, therefore, a strong consciousness of the pure land of the Aryans called Aryavrata.

What is Janapada:  

i) The term Janapada is a compound composed of ‘Jana’ meaning tribe and ‘pada’ meaning foot. Its literal meaning, thus, is realm and subject population.  

ii) Early Vedic texts reveal about several Janas or tribes of the Aryans living in semi- nomadic tribal state.  

iii) In due course of time, these early Indian Iron Age Rigveda Janas coalesced into geographically fixed Janapadas.  

iv) They were governed by rulers or rajas each having their own army and capital.  

v) The kings maintained large armies who were paid regular salaries by using punch marked coins.


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 probably built because:

  1. People were afraid of attacks from other kings and needed protection.
  2. Some rulers wanted to show how rich and powerful they were by building large, tall and impressive walls around their cities.
  3. The land and the people living inside the fortified area could be controlled more easily by the king.
  4. Building such huge walls required a great deal of planning.

The new rajas began maintaining armies. Soldiers were paid regular salaries and maintained by the king throughout the year.

Features of Mahajanapadas:  

i) Each Mahajanapadas was ruled by a king.  

ii) Villagers were controlled by a village headman called Gramini.  

iii) Varna system was divided into four castes-Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and Shudras.  

Political Organisation  

(i) The political organization of the mahajanpadas was organized into two forms- monarchy and republican system.  

(ii) In a monarchy, king was the head of the state. Magadha was its example.  

(iii) In a republican system, state was ruled by an elected chief called Ganpat. Mallas was its example.  


(i) As Mahajanapadas needed huge amount of money, they imposed taxes.  

(ii) One-sixth tax was fixed on crops; tax on crafts persons, herders, goods bought and sold through trade.  

(iii) Further hunters and gathers had to give forest produce to the raja.  

Agricultural System of Mahajanapadas: 

(i) Two major changes were introduced in agriculture.  

(ii) One, was the rapid use of iron ploughshares.  

(iii) Second, people started transplanting paddy.  

There were two major changes in agriculture around mahajanapadas time.

Growing use of iron ploughshares: This means heavy, clayey soil could be turned over better than with a wooden ploughshare so that more grain could be produced.

People began transplanting paddy. This meant that instead of scattering seed on the ground, saplings were grown and then planted in the fields.

Varna System of Mahajanapadas:

i) Varna means group in Sanskrit.  

ii) Varna decided one’s group. It was not based on birth.  

iii) Gradually in later Vedic age, Varna system changed to caste system.  

iv) The Brahmins imparted knowledge, Kshatriyas were rulers, Vaishyas contributed to trade while Shudras were slaves who were denied entry into the mainstream.

Magadha and Vajji  

i) Magadha in South Bihar, on the banks of river Ganga was a fertile and industrial area which contributed to one of the most powerful kingdoms and some great kings like Bimbisara and Ashoka in India.  

ii) Vajji in northern part of Ganga, was a confederacy of eight clans of whom the Videhas, Lichchhavis and the Jnatrikas were the most popular. Vaishali was a prosperous city under them. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *