The literal meaning of Mahajanapadas is great kingdoms. They flourished in the north/north western parts of India before the rise of Buddhism. Aryans have migrated into India long time back and there were regular friction between them and the non aryan tribes concerning, cattle, fodder, land etc. These tribes of Aryans were called as Janas by many Vedic texts. Later on there was a merger of the Vedic Janas into Janapadas.

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16 mahajanapadas were the great kingdoms of India which were really important in its composition and characteristics.