History Chapter 4 - Government



- def: a system or group of people ruling a country

India, China and Southeast Asia all had monarchies to rule them during the ancient period. 

- monarchy: a system of governance where a king or queen rules a country

There were periods of decentralised rule in India, China and Southeast Asia. 

There were periods of centralised rule in India and China. 

- centralised rule: a system of government where the king rules from a capital and the rest of the kingdom follows his laws and orders



- different kings ruled different kingdoms, initially

- they were always fighting among themselves (wars) to expand their kingdoms

The Mauryan Dynasty (c. 322 BCE - 185 BCE)

- started when Alexander the Great withdrew from the Indus Region and Chandragupta Maurya expanded his kingdom. 


(a) Capital

- where the king's palace was located

- ruled by king with the advise of his ministers; king's power was the strongest

- ministers were holy men / educated priests

- given important duties and respect because of their knowledge

- king lived with nobles (members of his family) and a huge number of officials

(b) Inner provinces 

- areas closest to the capital

- lands of kings who'd been defeated during wars

- ruled by governors (representatives / relatives of the king) who looked over many officials

- officials were:

- collecting taxes from traders and farmers

- working in law courts as judges

- maintained law and order

(c) Outer provinces

- power shared by governors and kings who'd been defeated during wars but still had some power

- these local kings were left alone so long as they:

- gave some of the taxes they collected to the king at the capital

- recognised that the king at the capital was more powerful than them 

- to maintain his power in the outer provinces, the king at the capital:

- took frequent elephant rides to show himself to the people

- kept armies to keep watch over the officials

(d) Border Zones

- king's power overlapped with those of neighbouring kingdoms

- therefore people had a choice who to show their loyalty to - the king at the capital or neighbouring kings

- king's power was weakest here




**Directly responsible to Chandragupta Maurya

**Responsible of at least one main area in the city, e.g. public works or trade

Features of the Government in the Mauryan Dynasty

- justice system 

- efficient (on a timely basis)

- those found guilty of being disloyal / disobedient >> severely punished

- welfare

- built roads (e.g. Great Royal Highway)

- irrigation systems maintained to supply farmers w water for crops


- under Chandragupta Maurya's rule, the whole of northern India was unified for the 1st time

- 185 BCE: ancient India broken up into several competing kingdoms

- 320 BCE: Gupta dynasty re-united


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