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The Satavahana Dynasty India


  • The territory of the Satavahana Dynasty covered much of India from 230 BCE and lasted about 450 years, until around 220 CE. The Satavahanas resisted the attack of foreigners and established peace in the country after the decline of Mauryan Empire.
  • The Satavahanas patronized Hinduism. They formed a cultural link and played a very important part in trade and the transfer of ideas and culture.
  • To establish their rule, they had to compete with the Sungas and after that the Kanvas of Magadha. Later, protected a huge part of India against foreign attackers like the Pahlavas, Yavanas and Sakas. The rulers of the Satavahana Dynasty, Sri Yajna Satakarni and Gautamiputra Satakarni defeated the overseas invaders such as the Western Kshatrapas and stopped their expansion. The Empire was split into smaller states in the 3rd century CE.

Origins

  • The Satavahanas ruled a powerful and large empire which withstood the attacks from Central Asia. Apart from their military power, their naval activity and commercialism helped them to establish Indian colonies in Southeast Asia.
  • The Satavahanas declared independence after the death of Ashoka (232 BCE).

Early rulers

  • The Early Satavahanas ruled Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.

Simuka (230–207 BCE)

  • After getting independence around 230 BCE, Simuka, the founder of the dynasty, captured parts of Madhya Pradesh (including Malwa) and Maharashtra. His brother Kanha succeeded him, who further extended his state to Andhra Pradesh.

Satakarni (c.180–124 BCE)

  • Satakarni was the 6th ruler of the Satavahana. He ruled for 56 years. He defeated the Sunga dynasty of North India and captured Kalinga after the death of Kharavela. Satakarni extended Satavahana rule over Madhya Pradesh and drove away the Sakas from Pataliputra.

Kanva suzerainty (75–35 BCE)

  • Satakarni was succeeded by many small rulers, like Lambodara, Apilaka, Meghasvati and Kuntala Satakarni. The first of the Andhra rulers rose to power in the 1st century BCE, by killing the last ruler of the Kanvas, Susarman.

Gautamiputra Satakarni (78–102 CE)

  • Gautamiputra Satakarni defeated the Western Satrap ruler Nahapana, restored the status of his dynasty by recapturing a large part of the former dominions of the Satavahanas.
  • Gautamiputra was the first Satavahana ruler to issue the portrait-type coins. He was succeeded by his son, Vashishtiputra Pulumayi.

Successors

  • Vashishtiputra Satakarni, Gautamiputra's brother, married the daughter of Rudradaman I of the Western Satraps dynasty. Around 150 CE, Rudradaman I, waged war against the Satavahanas.
  • As a consequence of his victories, Rudradaman recaptured all the former territories previously controlled by Nahapana. Satavahanas were restricted to their original base in the Deccan and around Amaravati. However, Yajna Satakarni, the last great king of this dynasty, recaptured their southern regions in western and central India. The Satavahanas regained some prosperity during the reign of Sri Yajna Satakarni but around the middle of the 3rd century, the dynasty ended.

Decline of the Satavahanas

  • Four or five kings succeeded Yajna Satakarni. However, due to a decline in central power, dynasty’s feudatories rose and soon the dynasty ended.


The lands of the kingdom were divided among following dynasties:

  •        Pallavas of Kanchipuram.
  •         Kadambas of Banavasi in North Karnataka.
  •         Chutus of Banavasi in North Karnataka.
  •        Abhiras in the western part of the kingdom.
  •         Andhra Ikshvakus in the Krishna-Guntur region.
  • Western Satraps in the northwestern part of the kingdom.