The ArthaShastra written by Arya Chanakya alias Kautilya during the regime of Chandragupta Maurya refers to Ashmak or Aparanta regions. Ashmak is the region surrounding today’s Ajanta.
A rock edict from the fourth century has been found in village Eran in Madhya Pradesh near district Sagar. In this rock edict, General Satyanag refers to himself as Maharashtra. In the next century, Swami Chakradhar, founder of the Mahanubhav sect, prompts his followers to call oneself as Maharashtri.
Carbon-14 dating of the objects found at the excavation sites near Nashik, Jorve, Nevasa, Chandoli, Sonegaon, Inamgaon, Dayamabad, Nandur, Madhyameshwar fixes the time of proto historic settlements in Maharashtra between 5 lakh to 30 lakh BC. From these and excavations near riverbeds, historians have concluded that stone-age man lived in Maharashtra nearly a hundred thousand years ago.
Slowly, these settlements grew. Outsiders, especially from the north came to Maharashtra as generals, king’s ambassadors and soldiers. After initial conflict, the locals and the outsiders settled in peaceful coexistence.
In the historical period the following were the major powers in Maharashtra:
* Shree Satkarni and Gautam’s son Satkarni from the Satvahan dynasty,
* Vindhyashakti and Pravarsen II of Wakataka dynasty,
* Satyashree Pulakeshi and Vikramaditya of Chalukya dynasty,
* Mananka, Dantidurga, Pratham Krishna, Dhruvaraj of Rashtrakut dynasty,
* Anantadev and Aparaditya of Kadamba dynasty of Gomantak,
* Dhrudhavrat, Bhillam and RamdevaRaya of Yadava dynasty.
These kings contributed greatly to the history of Maharashtra. This, in brief, is the ancient history of Maharashtra.