Kanva dynasty

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Kanva dynasty
75 BCE–30 BCE
CapitalPataliputra or Vidisha
Common languagesSanskrit
Religion Hinduism
• Established
75 BCE
• Disestablished
30 BCE
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Shunga dynasty
Gupta dynasty
Mitra dynasty
Part of a series on the
History of India
Satavahana gateway at Sanchi, 1st century CE

The Kanva dynasty or Kanvayana was a Brahmin dynasty[1] that replaced the Shunga dynasty in parts of Eastern and Central India, and ruled from 75 BCE to 30 BCE.[2][3]

Although the Puranic literature indicates that the Kanva Dynasty ruled in Magadha (in eastern India), their coins are primarily found in and around Vidisha in central India,[4] which had also been the capital of the later Shunga rulers.[5]

The last ruler of the Shunga dynasty, Devabhuti, was overthrown by Vasudeva of the Kanva dynasty in 75 BC. The Kanva ruler allowed the kings of the Shunga dynasty to continue to rule in obscurity in a corner of their former dominions. There were four Kanva rulers. According to the Puranas, their dynasty was brought to an end by the Satavahanas.[6][3]


The first ruler of the Kanva dynasty was Vasudeva. He was succeeded by his son Bhumimitra. Coins bearing the legend Bhumimitra have been discovered from Panchala realm. Copper coins with the legend "Kanvasya" have also been found from Vidisha, as well as Kaushambi in the Vatsa realm.[7] Bhumimitra ruled for fourteen years and was later succeeded by his son Narayana. Narayana ruled for twelve years. He was succeeded by his son Susharman who was the last king of the Kanva dynasty.[8][9]

  • Vasudeva (c. 75 – c. 66 BCE)
  • Bhumimitra (c. 66 – c. 52 BCE)
  • Narayana (c. 52 – c. 40 BCE)
  • Susarman (c. 40 – c. 30 BCE)


The defeat of the Kanva dynasty by the Satavahana dynasty was a localized event in Central India.[10][11] However, numismatic and epigraphic evidence suggests that Magadha itself came under the hegemony of the Mitra dynasty of Kaushambi from the 1st century BCE until the 2nd century CE.[11]



  1. ^ World history from early times to A D 2000 By B.V.Rao, Sterling Publishers, Page 97
  2. ^ INDIAN HISTORY by Dr. Sanjeevkumar Tandle, Page 150
  3. ^ a b Raychaudhuri 2006, p. 333.
  4. ^ Bhandare, Shailendra. "Numismatics and History: The Maurya-Gupta Interlude in the Gangetic Plain." in Between the Empires: Society in India, 300 to 400, ed. Patrick Olivelle (2006), pp.91–92
  5. ^ Bhandare (2006), pp.71, 79
  6. ^ History of Ancient India By Rama Shankar Tripathi, Page 189
  7. ^ Bajpai (2004), p.38 with footnote 4, and p.173
  8. ^ optional Indian history ancient India by Pratiyogita Darpan Editorial Team, Page 121 (The Kanvas)
  9. ^ World Monarchies and Dynasties By John Middleton, Routledge Publishers, Page 486 (Kanva Dynasty)
  10. ^ Bhandare (2006), pp.91–92
  11. ^ a b K. D. Bajpai (October 2004). Indian Numismatic Studies. Abhinav Publications. pp. 38–39. ISBN 978-81-7017-035-8.


Preceded by
Shunga dynasty
Magadha dynasties Succeeded by