The main source of income for satavahanas was agriculture. The primary occupation of the people was also agriculture. The rights of the people over the lands were recognized. Entire land in the kingdom doesn't belong to the king himself; the king has got rights only on his lands. Hereunder have a detailed look at the information about the economic conditions during the Satavahana dynasty.
Lands that belong to the king were called Raja Kshetram or Rajakam Ketha. Land revenue is one of the major sources of income for the kingdom. They used to survey the lands and tax was fixed accordingly and the official who collects the tax was called Raja Gahakha. There are other sources of income which include road tax, tax on guilds, etc.
The agricultural lands were called as Sita Kshetras. The official who monitors the agricultural activities was called Sita Adyaksha. The main commercial crop during this period was coconut. Other crops grown during this period were paddy, sugar cane, maize, mustard, and lentils. The information about these crops was given in Gathasaptasati. For agricultural works like a plough, etc oxen and donkeys were used. The primary mode of transport was bullock carts during the period of satavahanas.
Important Taxes during the Satavahana Dynasty
The following were the taxes collected during the period of Satavahanas.
- Bhaga: This was the tax levied upon the products in the kingdom. This used to be 1/6th of the produce.
- Karukara: This was the tax levied upon the guilds. The guilds were the community of various professions.
- Kara: This was the tax levied upon the vegetable and nurseries.
- Sulkha: This was the tax for water usage.
Agriculture during the Satavahana Dynasty
The satavahanas developed the agriculture in their own style. The satavahanas constantly worked on developing new techniques to improve agricultural productivity and reduce the burden of agricultural hardship. They developed and appointed a team of professionals and assigned the task of innovations in agriculture and agricultural implements. They are called Udayantrikas.
The new tools brought up by udayantrikas were hereunder;
- Udagha yantra: This was used to plough the lands.
- Ghati yantra: This was used to pull water from the wells.
- Gharika yantra: This was used to separate the seeds from raw cotton.
Trade Associations and Professional Unions during the Satavahana Dynasty
The trade, both internal and external, was increased and as a result, the production was also increased during this period. The people of each profession were divided into groups and formed into unions and associations. Those unions or associations were called Guilds or Shrenis. Every guild use to have one head who acts as a chairperson. The head of the shreni or guild was called Shresti.
The tax paid by the shreni to the king was called Karukara. These guilds frame their own rules for daily operations in a systematic way. Kings should give royal assent to these guilds for their formation and working. There were many guilds during this period and the information about these guilds was coming from Bhattiprolu Inscription.
The following are the guilds or shrenis during satavahana dynasty.
- Halika: This was the guild of Agriculturalists
- Sethi: This was the guild of Merchants
- Selavadhika: This was the guild of Sculptors
- Swarnakara: This was the guild of Goldsmiths
- Gathika: This was the guild of Perfume Makers
- Tilapisaka: This was the guild of Oil Merchants
- Kasakara: This was the guild of Bronze Casters
- Udaka yantrika: This was the guild of makers of Water Implements
- Sardhavahas: This was the guild of International traders
- Kulara: This was the guild of Potters
- Kolikula: This was the guild of Weavers
- Chamakara: This was the guild of Tanners
- Mardhakas: This was the guild of makers of Musical Instruments
- Vasakara: This was the guild of Weavers of Household Implements
- Kusaranakara: This was the guild of Ornament Makers
- Malakara: This was the guild of Flower Merchants
- Vadhika: This was the guild of Carpenters
The information about these guilds and their working was all given in Nasik Inscription.
Coins during the Satavahana Dynasty
During satavahanas, lead, potin, silver and gold coins were issued. Lead coins were issued in numerous and they were used primarily. Karshapanas were also used which was a combination of silver and copper. One gold coin is equal to 35 Karshapanas.
Trade and Commerce during the Satavahana Dynasty
During the period of satavahanas, famous trade centers came up in different places. They were given hereunder in detail. They used ships for carrying foreign trade.
- Gudur: This was famous for textiles.
- Vinukonda: This was famous for smelting industries
- Palnadu: This was famous for diamonds
- Guntupalli: This was famous for copper, iron industries
- Prathistana Puram: This was famous for zinc and textile industries
- Vidisha: This was famous for clothing and ivory items
Seaports in the western side of the Satavahana Kingdom
- Barukacha: This is located in Gujarat
- Sopara: This is located in Maharashtra
- Kalyani: This is located in Karnataka
Seaports in the eastern side of the Satavahana Kingdom
- Mysolia: This is located at current day Machilipatnam in Andhra Pradesh
- Kantakasila: This is located at current day Ghantasala in Andhra Pradesh
- Kodayira: This is located in Andhra Pradesh
- Korangi: This is located in West Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh
- Arikamedu: This is located in Pondicherry
Exports during Satavahana Dynasty
The satavahanas used to export many items. This information was given in Periplus of Erythrean sea.
The major items exported by satavahanas were perfumes, ivory items, pearls, decoration items, sandalwood, diamonds, and copper.
Imports during Satavahana Dynasty
Satavahanas imported many items which include red coral gemstone, camphor, gold, sandalwood, silk, pearls, and wine.