The Kushan Empire was established by Yuezhi in the Bactrian territories in the early 1st century. They slowly graduated from Afghanistan and then to northern parts of the Indian sub-continent. When it came to maintaining relationships, the Kushan Dynasty had diplomatic contacts with the Roman Empire, Sasanian Persia, Aksumite Empire and Han China. As far as philosophy, art and science were concerned, they only flourished within its borders. The history of Kushan Empire only exists in textual record from inscriptions and accounts in other languages, especially Chinese. However, one interesting fact about the Kushan Empire is that they were fragmented into semi-independent kingdoms in the 3rd century AD.
Let’s look at the Kushan Empire History and some of its main rulers who had a powerful impact on the dynasty.
Kujula Kadphises – He attacked and destroyed the four other xihou and established himself as the king. His dynasty was called Kushan. He was a great king, who invaded the Anxi and took over the Gaofu region. Victories were his forte as he defeated the kingdoms of Puda and Jibin. Many of his conquests took place when he was somewhere between 45 and 60. Kujula Kadphises was more than eighty years of age when he died.
Vima Taktu or Sadashkana – He is known as the king of Odi and was a predecessor of Vima Kadphises. The Kushan Empire rose to new heights into the northwest of South Asia because of him.
Vima Kadphises – A Kushan Emperor from 90-100 CE. He expanded the Kushan Empire by his conquests in Afghanistan and north-west Pakistan. He publically declared an extensive series of coins and inscriptions. He also issued gold coins in addition to the already existing copper and silver coinage.
Kanishka I – The fifth Kushan king successfully ruled for almost 13 years. He built the Qila Mubarak fort at Bathinda. His territory was administered from two capitals Purushapura and Mathura, in northern India. Kanishka was the son of Vima Kadphises, the grandson of Sadashkana, and the great-grandson of Kujula Kadphises.
Vāsishka – After Kanishka, he was the only emperor to have a 20-year reign period. His rule is recorded as far south as Sanchi, where several inscriptions in his name have been found.
Huvishka – He was a Kushan emperor for about 20 years, after the death of Kanishka. He was a great king, who brought the economy under control and began consolidation of the empire. Also, much of his time was spent on gaining control over the city of Mathura.
Vasudeva I – He was the last Kushan ruler. His reign extended from 191 to 225 AD. After the end of his rule, the invasion of the Sasanians began.