The Nandas were the successors of the Shishunaga dynasty. The Puranas refer to 9 Nandas. The Mahabodhivamsa also refer to nine Nandas and their names are Ugrasena, Pundak, Pandugati, Bhootpal, Rashtrapal, Govishank, DasSiddhak, Kaivest and Dhan. The Puranas describe the first Nanda king named Mahapadma as the son of a Shudra mother while the Greeks say that he was born of the union of a barber with a courtesan. Mahapadmananda according to Puranas destroyed all kshatriya rulers. The Nandas belonged to castes other than Kshatriya. He defeated the kingdoms of Aikshvakus, Panchalas, Kasis, Haihayas, Kalinga, Asmaka, Kuru, Maithilas, Sursenas etc and annexed these territories to Magadha. He has been described as Eka-rata or sole sovereign.
The Nandas succeeded in establishing a great empire which covered a large part of northern India and part of the south. Little is known about the history of Nandas after Mahapadmananda except the last ruler Dhana Nanda. It is accepted by all that nine rulers of Nanda dynasty ruled over Magadha. Dhan Nanda was the last ruler of this dynasty. During his time Alexander invaded India. He was a powerful king and kept a large army. He was unpopular among his subjects by means of excessive taxation and extraction. Chandragupta Maurya took advantage of his unpopularity and misgoverance and succeeded in killing him and captured the throne of Magadha.