(flourished 4th–3rd centuries BC, India) Founder of the Maurya dynasty and the first emperor (r. circa 321–circa 297 BC) to unify most of India under one administration (see Mauryan empire). Born to a destitute migrant Mauryan family, he was sold into slavery and eventually purchased by a Brahman politician, who gave him an education in military tactics and the arts. Chandragupta gathered mercenary soldiers, secured public support, overthrew the Nanda dynasty, and established his own in modern-day Bihar. On the death of Alexander the Great (323 BC), he won control of the Punjab (circa 322). He expanded his empire east to the borders of Persia, south to India's tip, and north to the Himalayas and the Kabul River valley. His administration was patterned on that of the Persian Achaemenian dynasty. He died fasting in sympathy for his people during a time of famine.
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