Emperor Ashoka was the world’s first Buddhist ruler. He ruled India from ca. 269 BCE to 232 BCE. At the beginning of his reign he was known as a fearsome hunter and warmonger. Then he waged a terrible war (the Kalinga War) in which tens of thousands died. He was so horrified by the mass deaths he witnessed that he converted to Buddhism. He became the first ruler in human history to ban slavery, the death penalty, animal cruelty and deforestation. He provided medical care for humans and animals in his kingdom. He even advocated gender equality in education and religious institutions.

Emperor Ashoka was the world’s first Buddhist ruler. He ruled India from ca. 269 BCE to 232 BCE. At the beginning of his reign he was known as a fearsome hunter and warmonger. Then he waged a terrible war (the Kalinga War) in which tens of thousands died. He was so horrified by the mass deaths he witnessed that he converted to Buddhism. He became the first ruler in human history to ban slavery, the death penalty, animal cruelty and deforestation. He provided medical care for humans and animals in his kingdom. He even advocated gender equality in education and religious institutions.

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