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The gradual decline of the Mughals led to quasi-independent state under the Nawabs of Bengal, subsequent Maratha expeditions in Bengal, and finally the conquest by the British East India Company.
While western Bengal, as part of Magadha, became part of the Indo-Aryan civilisation by the 7th century BCE, the Nanda Dynasty was the first historical state to unify most of Bengal under Indo-Aryan rule.This era saw the development of Bengali language, script, literature, music, art and architecture.From the 13th century onward, the region was controlled by the Bengal Sultanate, Hindu Rajas (kings), and Baro-Bhuyan landlords.Hindu scriptures such as the Mahabharata suggest that ancient Bengal was divided among various tribes or kingdoms, including the Nishadas and kingdoms known as the Janapadas: Vanga (southern Bengal), Pundra (northern Bengal), and Suhma (western Bengal) according to their respective totems.These Hindu sources, written by Indo-Aryans in what is now Punjab and Uttar Pradesh, suggest that the peoples of Bengal were not Indo-Aryans.The region was known to the ancient Greeks and Romans as Gangaridai.
The Ganges and the Brahmaputra rivers act as a geographic marker of the region, but also connect it to the broader Indian subcontinent.Other accounts speculate that the name is derived from Venga (Bôngo), which came from the Austric word "Bonga" meaning the Sun-god.According to the Mahabharata, a number of Puranas and the Harivamsha Vanga was one of the adopted sons of King Vali who founded the Vanga Kingdom.The company consolidated their hold on the region following the Battle of Plassey in 1757 and Battle of Buxar in 1764 and by 1793 took complete control of the region.Kolkata (or Calcutta) served for many years as the capital of British controlled territories in India.Some references indicate that the primitive people in Bengal were different in ethnicity and culture from the Vedic people beyond the boundary of Aryandom and who were classed as "Dasyus".