Bihar was originally named Magadha and was home to the greatest Indian empire around 325 BC. The emperor of the area Ashoka is to this day believed to be one of the greatest rulers not only in India but throughout the world. For 1000 years following Ashoka the area was renowned as an important place of power, education and culture. The Gupta Empire which reigned from approximately 240BC to 550AD is often referred to as India’s golden age when looking back at mathematics, science, religion and philosophy.
The Gupta Empire covered now only Bihar but also areas of Gujarat, Pakistan and north east India and throughout the Gupta Empire peace was seen throughout the area which enabled the region to grow both artistically and scientifically. Rapid moves were made with astronomy during the Gupta period and the same can be said for literature and medicine. Although progress was hindered due to religious means it was not long before the western world was taking India’s lead as far as biology and physiology were concerned. The era was so renowned that some historians have placed it alongside the Roman Empire and the Han Dynasty for models of classic civilization.
In 1764 following the battle of Buxar the British obtained the rights to collect tax in the region. From then until 1912, the area was a part of the British Raj until it became a separate province along with Orissa. During British reign the area lost much of its former glory, instead emerging as an important center for trade and education. The British built a number of education facilities in the area including the Patna Science College, the Prince of Wales Medical College and the Bihar College of Engineering. With governmental approval these facilities were soon renowned and were quickly seized by the local population as a way to once again make the area flourish into some of the glory that it once enjoyed.
In 1935 Orissa and Bihar became two separate provinces, and by 1946 the first cabinet of Bihar was formed. Originally consisting of two members the cabinet slowly increased in size and during 1947 the cabinet served as the first Bihar government. The first president of India, Dr Rajendra Prasad from Bihar was named in 1950. In the year 2000, 18 provinces of the state were separated from Bihar to make the new state Jharkhand. The area now celebrates its birthday on 22 March.