This era is sometimes is called as Second Urbanization. The period of second urbanisation (6th century B.C. to 3rd century B.C.) noticed large-scale beginning of town life in the middle Gangetic basin. The widespread use of iron tools and weapons helped the formation large of territorial states. The towns became good markets and both artisans and merchants were organised into guilds under their respective headmen.
6th Century BC was the age of remarkable progress in different spheres of human life. The emergence of urban centers in North India was one of these developments for the 2nd time a number of towns & cities emerged in India because 1st phase of urbanization was witnessed under Harrappan civilization.
The process of urbanization was the outcome of a solid material socio-cultural political base prepared by all round progress during 6th century BC. This process of urbanization continued for more than 1000 years & gradually engulfed whole of India.
Economic Factors involved in 2nd Urbanization
Role of Agriculture: The process of agricultural growth that is started around 1000 BC had reached state of agriculture surplus by 6th century BC. By this time the peasants started using animal power in agriculture act more frequently pull the ploughshare Agriculture expansion produced huge amount of surplus which prepared a solid material base for emergence of urban centers.
Role of Arts & Crafts: By 6th century BC use of iron in arts & craft had increased further as result of which number of news craft had emerged. Craft based on leather working cotton & woolen textile, pottery, gold smithing, copper smithing & carpentry etc. had also progressed immensely. The availability of agriculture increased demand of arts & craft products. This process resulted in emergence of craft centers such as Mathura & Urbanization begin to be witnessed in North India.
Role of Trade & Commerce: Trade & Commerce witnessed most remarkable 6th century BC. During availability of agriculture surplus & new craft products gave boost to Trade & Commerce. A number of other factors were responsible for remarkable progress in field of Trade & Commerce such as monetization of economy, emergence of guild, knowledge of script & political unification witnessed in North India for the 1st time in India history coins were issued in 6th century BC. These coins known as punched marked coin. These were small pieces of copper & silver having various symbol punched on them.
Monetization of economy gave boost to Trade & Commerce because it helps in growth of exchange North & West. The Vedic Aryan became aware of script in 6th century BC, the knowledge of script facilitated the growth of Trade & Commerce because account of transaction could be maintained.
Guilds also emerged for 1st time in 6th century BC. These were the organization of groups involved in different economy act such as arts & crafts & Trade & Commerce. Guild managed market, they check quality of manufactured goods fixed prices of goods, looked after welfare of its member & facilitated transfer of vocational knowledge from generation to generation.
Guild also maintained to troops to provide safely to its merchants. Guilds also enjoy judicial power on member. In reality a guild was state within state. Their positive role helped in all round progress of economy. Emergence of Mahajanpada resulted in political unification at much bigger scale uniform admin implemented by rulers of these Mahajanpada supported trade & commercial act.
King patron size merchant & traders for overall benefit of state & people. Progress in field of trade & commerce resulted in the emergence of a number of new Trade & Commercial centers on one hand & on other hand character of existing settlement got Transformed.
Role of Social and cultural factor in 2nd urbanization
The population increased over period of time contributed to proc. of urbanization because the size of existing settlement increased and new settlement emerged over period of time. The positive ideas & values put forward by heterodox sects of 6th century BC created a solid ideological base for emergence of urban economy.
Leaders like Buddha, Mahavira supported practice of money lending. They were closely associated with reach merchant & traders. Materialistic outlook gained ground in North India as result of remarkable progress witnessed in economic. This outlook encouraged people to invest their time & resource in economy progress.