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Mauryan Emperors maintain a regular state – controlled shipbuilding industry

Updated on March 17, 2016

The city Pataliputra


Maurya Empire


The empire of Maurya

Revenue and Trade
The most important person in the village was the headman. Village assisted government officials in marking the village boundaries, maintaining land records and collecting taxes.
The capital city of Pataliputra was a large, beautiful and impressive. It was surrounded by a wooden wall which had 64 gates and 570 towers. There was also a moat around the city for safeguarding it from enemy attacks. A committee of 30 members looked after the administration of the city. This committee was further divided into six boards, each consisting of five members.
1) collection of taxes. 2) inspection of manufactured goods. 3) industry 4) trade and commerce. 5) registration of births and deaths. 6) comfort and security of foreigners.
Ashoka's empire was huge and it was expensive to maintain it. Land revenue was the main sources of income. It was fixed between one fourth and one sixth of the produce, depending upon the fertility of the soil.
Trade was well developed in Ashoka's empire and it was a good source of revenue as well. Pataliputra, Broach, Ujjain and Taxila were important trading centres. Ujjain and Taxila were important trading centres. Overseas trade was carried on with Sri Lanka, Rome, Egypt and China.
Arthashastra clearly mentions about several taxes, like forest, mines and water tax. All the money collected, through tax was spent on paying salaries to government officers, public welfare activities, charities, building roads and hospitals and for maintaining the army.

Mauryan Merchant Ship


MAURYAN - Silver Punch Mark - Ancient India - 3.00 Grams


Roads and highways were protected so as to promote internal and external trade

The establishment of a large and closely knit empire had created a sense of security which promoted trade and commerce. The Arthashastra mentions the names of eighteen specialized crafts developed by the people. These professions included carpentry, smithy, metal casting, stone sculpture, engraving, weaving, etc. During this period, many new towns came into existence. Roads and highways were protected so as to promote internal and external trade. Tools were imposed on commodities brought to the towns for sale. Moreover, the state enjoyed monopoly in mining, sale, of liquor and manufacture of arms. This naturally brought more money to the royal treasury.

The volume of imports and exports increased. The highway from the north – western frontier of India to Pataliputra became famous during the time of the Mauryas. Sings were put up at places to indicate distances along the roads. Shady trees were planted on either side of the roads to provide shade to wear travellers.

India exported ivory, shells, pearls, pigments and dyes (especially indigo), rice, wheat, cotton, silk, and herbal medicines to West Asian countries. The trade route ran from Pataliputra to Takshashila, then to Kabul, Kandahar, Bactria (Balkh), Herat, Iran, and terminated at the Black Sea. The second route was the sea route which started from the west coast of India to harbours along the south – western coast of Arabia, where now stands the modern port of Aden. Bharuch and Sopara on the west coast were the most important seaports of India in those times. Trade with foreign countries was regulated according to set rules. Ships of the Mauryan times were large enough to carry a good deal of merchandise and passengers. The Mauryan Emperors maintain a regular state – controlled shipbuilding industry. Inland trade was carried on by carts and pack animals. Caravans (sarthas) of merchants with their goods travelled from one part of the country to another. The state took the responsibility of protecting the caravans en route. It compensated the merchants if they were looted on the way.

Mauryan Docks and Ships



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