The first reference to kingdoms & republics are found in 600 B.C. onwards, it is from this point onwards that Indian history took a definite shape. In the preceding century India had seen a age of political contradiction as tribal organization came into contact with a new political phenomenon, the monarchy.
Permanent settlement in a particular area gave a geographical identity to a tribe or a group of tribes and subsequently this identity was given a concrete shape in the possession of the area, which was generally named after the tribe. To maintain possession required political organization, either as a republic or a monarchy. Whereas the monarchies were concerned in a Ganges plain, the republics were ranged round the northern periphery of these kingdoms - in the foothills of the Himalayas and just south of these, and in the north-western India in the modern Punjab.
The republics consisted of either a single tribe such as the Shakyas, Koliyas, and Mallas or a confederacy of tribes such as the Vrijis and Yadavas. The republics had emerged from the Vedic tribes and retained much more tribal tradition than did the monarchies.
The actual procedure of governance in republics involved the meeting of the representatives of the tribes or the heads of families in the Public assembly of the capital city. The assembly was presided over by one of the representatives who took the title of Raja. This office was not hereditary and he was regarded as a chief rather than a king. The matter for discussion was placed before the assembly and debated and if a unanimous decision could not be reached it was put to the vote. The administration was in the hands of officials such as the assistants to the chief, the treasurer, the commander of the forces. Judicial procedure was extremely elaborate: the suspected criminal had to face in turn a hierarchy of seven officials.
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