Kanva Dynasty
73 BCE–28 BCE
Kanvayana shown with other petty kingdoms of that time, along with the large kingdoms of the Satavahanas & Indo-Scythians.
Kanvayana shown with other petty kingdoms of that time, along with the large kingdoms of the Satavahanas & Indo-Scythians.
CapitalPataliputra and Vidisha
Common languagesSanskrit
• 73–64 BCE
Vasudeva Kanva (first)
• 38–28 BCE
Susarman (last)
• Established
73 BCE
• Disestablished
28 BCE
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Shunga dynasty
Kushan Empire
Mitra dynasty (Kosambi)

The Kanva dynasty or Kanvavamsha was the sixth ruling dynasty of Magadha, established after Vasudeva Kanva overthrew the preceding Shunga dynasty and ruled from 73 BCE to 28 BCE.[1][2]

Although the Puranic literature indicates that the Kanvas ruled from the former capital of the Shungas in Pataliputra, Magadha in Eastern India, their coins are primarily found in and around the region of Vidisha in Central India,[3] which had also been the capital of later Shunga rulers.[4]

The Kanva dynasty was established by Vasudeva Kanva in 73 BCE. Vasudeva was initially a minister of the Shunga Emperor Devabhuti, who then assassinated the former emperor and usurped the throne.[5] 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 in 28 BCE.[6][2]


The Kanva kings were Brahmins. They were descendants of the sage Saubhari. [7] Vasudeva Kanva killed Devabhuti of the Shunga dynasty and established the rule of the Kanva dynasty.[8]


The first ruler of the Kanva dynasty was Vasudeva after whose Gotra the dynasty was named.[9] 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.[10] 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.[11][12]

List of Kanava dynasty rulers
Emperor Reign Duration (years)
Vasudeva Kanva 73–64 BCE 9
Bhumimitra 64–50 BCE 14
Narayana 50–38 BCE 12
Susarman 38–28 BCE 10


After the defeat at the hands of Satavahanas and the fall of the Kanva dynasty, the Magadha empire came to an end. The defeat of the Kanva dynasty by the Satavahana dynasty was a localised event in Central India[13][14] and numismatic and epigraphic evidence suggests that Magadha later came under the hegemony of the Mitra dynasty of Kaushambi from the 1st century BCE until the 2nd century CE.[14]

The Puranas suggest that the last king of the Kanva dynasty was killed by Balipuccha, who founded the Andhra dynasty,[8] but there is a lack of numismatical and archaeological evidence to support this.

See also



  1. ^ INDIAN HISTORY by Dr. Sanjeevkumar Tandle, Page 150
  2. ^ a b Raychaudhuri 2006, p. 333.
  3. ^ 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
  4. ^ Bhandare (2006), pp.71, 79
  5. ^ Radhey Shyam Chaurasia. History of Ancient India: Earliest Times to 1000 A. D. Atlantic Publishers & Dist, 2002 - India - 308 pages. p. 132.
  6. ^ History of Ancient India By Rama Shankar Tripathi, Page 189
  7. ^ World history from early times to A D 2000 By B.V.Rao, Sterling Publishers, Page 97
  8. ^ a b Thapar 2013, p. 296.
  9. ^ Kumar, Brajmohan. Archaeology of Pataliputra and Nalanda. Ramanand Vidya Bhawan, 1987 - India - 236 pages. p. 26.
  10. ^ Bajpai (2004), p.38 with footnote 4, and p.173
  11. ^ optional Indian history ancient India by Pratiyogita Darpan Editorial Team, Page 121 (The Kanvas)
  12. ^ World Monarchies and Dynasties By John Middleton, Routledge Publishers, Page 486 (Kanva Dynasty)
  13. ^ Bhandare (2006), pp.91–92
  14. ^ a b K. D. Bajpai (October 2004). Indian Numismatic Studies. Abhinav Publications. pp. 38–39. ISBN 978-81-7017-035-8.


Preceded byShunga dynasty Magadha dynasties Succeeded bySatavahana