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Samatata

Samatata was an ancient Indian region in south-eastern Bengal. Its earliest reference is found in the Allahabad Prashasti, where it is noted as an eastern frontier state along with Davaka, Kamarupa, Nepal and Karttrapura. The Brihatasanghita (written in the sixth century AD) refers to Samatata and Vanga as separate states, but the former remained relatively obscure, gaining references from the seventh century Chinese traveller, Hiuen Tsang, and later from I Tsing.

Some opinions state that on the basis of the evidence provided by a large number of epigraphical records, Chinese writings, and archaeological discoveries in the Lalmai-Mainamati area, it is clear that Samatata was formed of the trans-Meghna territories of the Comilla-Noakhali plains, the adjacent parts of hilly Tripura (the Atabi-Khanda division of Samatata) in the east, and the Channel Islands in the south. The territory stretches from the hills of the Sylhet border in the north to the Bay of Bengal in the south. Its boundaries are well defined by the mountains of Tripura and Arakan in the east and the Meghna (the combined waters of the Padma, Meghna, and Brahmaputra rivers) in the west.

(Information by Abhijit Rajadhyaksha.)

Khadga Dynasty
c.AD 625 - c.710?

The Khadga dynasty ruled the Vanga and Samatata areas of ancient Bengal in around the seventh and eighth centuries AD. Information on the dynasty comes primarily from two copper plates discovered at Ashrafpur (near Dhaka), plus coins, and the Chinese accounts of Sheng-che (from the seventh century). The second Ashrafpur grant refers to a King Udirnakhadga. The last part of his name may indicate that he too probably belonged to the Khadga dynasty, but the period of his reign is yet to be determined.

The Buddhist Khadga kings were probably local rulers who were native to the region, but the extent of their territory is difficult to ascertain. In one of the Ashrafpur plates there are also references to Talapataka and Dattakataka, identified respectively with Talpara and Datgaon villages under Raipura Upazila in Narsingdi.

c.625 - 640

Khadgodyama

Founded the dynasty.

c.640 - 658

Jatakhadga

Son.

c.650?

The Rata chief, Jivadharna Rata founds his own dynasty in Samatata and becomes independent of Khadga overlordship.

c.658 - 673

Devakhadga

Son.

c.671

From the Ashrafpur plates it can be determined that in the thirteenth regnal year of Devakhadga, the king has extended his power from his original holdings in Vanga to take Samatata after dislodging the Rata king, Sridharana Rata.

Rajabhata coins
Both sides of a goin coin issued during the reign of Rajabhata

c.673 - 690

Rajabhata

Grandson.

c.690 - 705

Balabhata

Brother.

Udirnakhadga

Period of reign uncertain.

Talapataka

Identified with Talpara village.

Dattakataka

Identified with Datgaon village.

When or how the rule of the Khadgas ends in Samatata and when or how the Rata dynasty takes over, is not known.

Rata Dynasty
c.AD 650? - c.675?

The Rata dynasty of Samatata is known from a single record, the Kailan copperplate inscription by King Shridharana Rata (discovered sometime before 1945 at Kailan, a large village about 29 km (twenty miles) south-west of Comilla). The founder of the dynasty was one Jivadharna Rata. He and the second king are styled as Samatateshvaras (lords of Samatata), and the founder appears to have started his career as a feudatory chief. His overlord is widely regarded to be a contemporary Khadga ruler. The Rata dynasty's rule in Samatata is now placed in the later half of the seventh century AD, after the decline of Khadga rule. When or how the rule of the Khadgas ended in Samatata and when or how the Rata dynasty took over, is not known.

Jivadharna Rata

Founder of the dynasty.

c.660 - 670

Sridharana Rata

Dislodged from Samatata?

c.671

From the Ashrafpur plates it can be determined that in the thirteenth regnal year of Devakhadga of the Khadga, the king has extended his power from Vanga to Samatata after dislodging Sridharana Rata (and perhaps even causing his death).

Yuvaraja Baladharana Rata

Son. Ruled a reduced domain?

Deva Dynasty
c.AD 750 - c.850?

The Hindu Deva dynasty (which is not to be confused with the Buddhist Deva dynasty of the thirteenth century) may have been the last important native dynasty in Bengal before the region was fully taken over by the Khilji Malik Turkic slave soldiers of the sultanate of Delhi. Following the fall of the Deva, only localised minor powers survived briefly before they too were extinguished.

The Devas ruled in the Samatata region (eastern Bengal), with Devaparvata as their capital. The region is fairly obscure from a historical perspective but more light has been shed on the dynasty thanks to the Mainamati excavations, after coins (in gold, silver, and copper), terracotta clay seals, and copper plates were discovered in large quantities. The Devas are mostly known for their three great Buddhist establishments, at Shalvan Vihara, Ananda Vihara, and the Bhoja Vihara.

fl c.750?

Shri Shantideva

Founder of the kingdom.

Shri Viradeva

Son.

Shree Anandadeva

Son by his wife, Somadevi.

fl c.850?

Shri Bhavadeva

Last known king.

c.850

The Deva dynasty fades from history. If there are any aspirants towards the throne after Shri Bhavadeva, their names have been lost.

Harikela Dynasty
9th century AD

In the ninth century, Bengal in north-eastern India was a fragmented land. Various minor powers were struggling for supremacy, but the one which succeeded best was that of the Pala, who rose to govern much of the territory. At around the same time, south-eastern Bengal saw the emergence of the kingdom of Harikela, near Samatata, which may have embraced the area from Chittagong on the east coast of the Bay of Bengal to Comilla just north of the river delta.

9th century

Maharajadhiraja Kantideva

Kantideva is the only known ruler of this dynasty which is otherwise totally obscure. It is superseded by the Chandra dynasty.

Harikela coins
Harikela coins, issued during the kingdom's short existence

Chandra Dynasty
c.AD 900 - c.1049?

The Buddhist Chandras succeeded the Harikela rulers from the beginning of the tenth century, ruling in south-eastern Bengal (Vanga and Samatata) for about a century and a half. The first Chandras, Purnachandra and Suvarnachandra, were landlords in Rohitagiri (possibly in the Lalmai region), and vassals of the Harikela rulers. It was Trailokyachandra who was the first independent ruler of the dynasty. He established the sovereign rule of the Chandras in the Samatata area with Devaparvata as their capital. He gradually increased his territory to cover Chandradwipa and parts of Vanga (according to the verses from Ladahachandra's Mainamati plate records), and assumed the title of 'Maharajadhiraja'.

Purnachandra

Landlord in Rohitagiri and vassals of the Harikela rulers.

Suvarnachandra

Landlord in Rohitagiri and vassals of the Harikela rulers.

c.900 - 930

Trailokyachandra

Son. Founded the dynasty.

c.930

The ascendancy of Trailokyachandra in Samatata probably coincides with the rise of the Kambojas in western and northern Bengal, within the Pala empire.

c.930 - 975

Srichandra

Son.

c.930 - 975

Srichandra moves the administrative centre of the Chandra kingdom to Vikramapura in Vanga. The king is credited with spreading his empire over the entire Vanga region and even ventures out into the Kamarupa area in the north-east.

c.975 - 1000

Kalyanachandra

Son.

c.975 - 990

According to the copperplates issued by his successors, Kalyanachandra makes his power felt in Gauda and Kamarupa. He may be responsible for delivering the final blow to Kamboja power in northern and western Bengal and thereby paving the way for the revival of Pala power under Mahipala I. While his two successors maintain the glory of the dynasty and are praised for their liberal policies, Govindachandra is the last known king.

c.1000 - 1020

Ladahachandra

Son.

c.1020 - ?

Govindachandra

Son.

1021 - 1024

Vangaladesha witnesses a Chola invasion which probably disrupts the entire region.

Chandra dynasty coins issed by Govindachandra
Chandra dynasty coins issues by Govindachandra

1048 - 1049

It seems possible that Govindachandra or his unknown successor suffers an attack by the Kalachuri king, Karna by this date. It is this attack which may well be responsible for the fall of the Chandras.

?

Possible final ruler, name unknown.

1070

The Hindu Sena dynasty gains control of the Radha region, signalling the end of Pala greatness. As a result of Pala weakness following this event, the Varman dynasty is able to establish itself.

Varman Dynasty
c.AD 1080 - 1150

In the last quarter of the eleventh century the Hindu Varman dynasty, taking advantage of the Kaivarta rebellion in the Pala empire, established their independent rule in south-eastern Bengal to rule for less than a century before being toppled by the Senas, just as the Palas themselves were. They kept a capital at Vikramapur before it was taken by the Senas.

The Varman kings claimed descent from the Yadava dynasty which ruled over Simhapura at the same time, which has been identified with modern Singapuram in Kalinga (northern Orissa) between Chicacole and Narasannapeta. It is unclear whether they bore any relation to the earlier Varman kings of Assam.

fl c.1090

Vajravarman

Founded the dynasty.

Jatavarman

Son.

Jatavarman is responsible for bringing the dynasty to prominence in south-eastern Bengal through his military conquests, as recorded by the Belava plate of Bhojavarman, his grandson.

Harivarman

Son.

Samalavarman

Brother.

fl c.1150

Bhojavarman

Son.

1150

The Varman dynasty falls to the Senas. Now only the Pala stand against them, but in a weakened state.

1174

The Sena king, Ballala Sena, strikes the final blow against the Palas, defeating Govindapala and fully uniting Bengal under one ruler.

Deva Dynasty
c.AD 1180s? - c.1281?

The Deva dynasty which followed, and possibly gave the final coup de grace to the Sena dynasty, began with Purushottam, who rose from the position of a village headman (Gramani). His son, Madhusudan, took the title of king (Nripati). Other subsequent rulers were Vasudev and Damodar who might have destroyed the Pattikera rule, and Danuja Madhav Dasaratha Deva, who claimed to have wrested Gaur through the grace of god Naryana and who issued an inscription from Bikrampur.

This Deva dynasty was in all probability different from the Deva dynasty of the eight and ninth centuries. While the earlier dynasty was Buddhist , this thirteenth century Deva dynasty was Vaishnavite Hindu. However, extremely little is known of it, and its later kings are almost entirely obscure.

Purushottam / Purusottamadeva

Founded the dynasty. Former village headman.

Madhusudan / Madhumathanadeva

Son. Took the title of 'king'.

? - 1231

Vasudeva

Son.

1231 - 1243

Damodaradeva

fl c.1281?

Danuja Madhav Dasaratha Deva

Son.

1281?

Danuja Madhav Dasaratha Deva enters into a treaty with Balban, sultan of Delhi, on equal terms. The meeting between them at Sonargaon is vividly described in Tarih-I-Mubarak Shahi.

VIradharadeva?

Nargirvanah Kharavanah?

?

The dynasty fades into obscurity by the mid-fourteen century after a fall out with the contemporary Iliyas Shahi rulers of Bengal, who are busy consolidating a single kingdom in the region.