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It was one of the four main kingdoms of India at the time of Buddha and was one of the sixteen Mahajanapadas.Under the Maurya Empire founded by Chandragupta Maurya, Magadha extended over nearly all of South Asia, including parts of Balochistan and Afghanistan, reaching its greatest extent under the Buddhist emperor Ashoka the Great in the 3rd century BCE.After a period of anarchy, Gopala came to power in 750.He founded the Bengali Buddhist Pala Empire which ruled the region for four hundred years, and expanded across much of Southern Asia: from Assam in the northeast, to Kabul in the west, and to Andhra Pradesh in the south.However, administration by governors appointed by the court of the Mughal Empire gave way to semi-independence of the area under the Nawabs of Murshidabad, who nominally respected the sovereignty of the Mughals in Delhi.The Bengal Subah province in the Mughal Empire was the wealthiest state in the subcontinent.Atisha was a renowned Bengali Buddhist teacher who was instrumental in the revival of Buddhism in Tibet and also held the position of Abbot at the Vikramshila university. The Pala Empire enjoyed relations with the Srivijaya Empire, the Tibetan Empire, and the Arab Abbasid Caliphate.Islam first appeared in Bengal during Pala rule, as a result of increased trade between Bengal and the Middle East.

Anga and later Magadha expanded to include most of the Bihar and Bengal regions.One of the earliest foreign references to Bengal is the mention of a land ruled by the king Xandrammes named Gangaridai by the Greeks around 100 BCE.The word is speculated to have come from Gangahrd ('Land with the Ganges in its heart') in reference to an area in Bengal.A few Rajput tribes from his army permanently settled around Dhaka and surrounding lands.Later, in the early 17th century, Islam Khan conquered all of Bengal.