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Gold coin of Kanishka. British Museum.

Kanishka I, Kanishka or Kanishka the Great, was an emperor of the Kushan dynasty, under whose reign (c. 127–150 CE) the empire reached its zenith. He is famous for his military, political, and spiritual achievements.

Kanishka's conquests and patronage of Buddhism played an important role in the development of the Silk Road, and in the transmission of Mahayana Buddhism from Gandhara across the Karakoram range to China.

Kanishka came to rule an empire extending from Central Asia and Gandhara to Pataliputra on the Gangetic plain. The main capital of his empire was located at Puruṣapura (Peshawar) in Gandhara, with another major capital at Mathura.

Around 127 CE, he replaced Greek with Bactrian as the official language of administration in the empire.

Further reading