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Pala Empire

8th century–12th century
Pala Empire
The Pala Empire in Asia in 800 CE
Common languages Sanskrit, Prakrit (including proto-Bengali)
Mahayana Buddhism, Tantric Buddhism, Shaivism
Government Monarchy
• 8th century
• 12th century
Historical era Classical India
• Established
8th century
• Disestablished
12th century
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Gauda Kingdom
Chero dynasty
Sena dynasty
Today part of Bangladesh

The Pala Empire was a dynasty in control of the northern and eastern Indian subcontinent, mainly the Bengal and Bihar regions, from the 8th to the 12th century. The name Pala (Modern Bengali: পাল pal) means "protector" and was used as an ending to the names of all Pala monarchs.

The founder of the empire was Gopala. He was the first independent Buddhist king of Bengal and came to power in 750 in Gaur by democratic election, which was unique at the time. He reigned from 750-770 and consolidated his position by extending his control over all of Bengal. His successors Dharmapala (r. 770-810) and Devapala (r. 810-850) expanded the empire across the northern and eastern Indian subcontinent. The Pala Empire eventually disintegrated in the 12th century under the attack of the Sena dynasty.

The Palas were followers of the Mahayana and Tantric schools of Buddhism. They often intermarried with the Gahadvalas of the Kannauj region. They created many temples and works of art and supported the Universities of Nalanda and Vikramashila. Their proselytism was at the origin of the establishment of Buddhism in Tibet.

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