The Kushanas were members of one of the five clans of the Yueh-chi tribe and were also called Tocharians. They followed the Parthians in the north-west of India and gradually extended their rule in northern India. They also displaced the Shakas in Bactria. The Kushana rule consisted of two successive dynasties.

The last great Kushana king was Vasudeva I. His last known date is 176-177 ad. The Kushan empire in Afghanistan and in the areas west of the Indus was supplanted in the mid- third century ad by the Sassanian power, which arose in Iran. But Kushan principalities continued to exist in India for about a century.

The Kushan Empire (Bactrian: Κυϸανο, Kushano; Sanskrit: कुषाण राजवंश Kuṣāṇ Rājavaṃśa; BHS: Guṣāṇa-vaṃśa; Parthian: Kušan-xšaθr[6]) was a syncretic empire, formed by Yuezhi, in the Bactrian territories in the early 1st century. It spread to encompass much of Afghanistan,[7] and then the northern parts of the Indian subcontinent at least as far as Saketa and Sarnath near Varanasi (Benares), where inscriptions have been found dating to the era of the Kushan emperor Kanishka the Great.[8] Emperor Kanishka was a great patron of Buddhism; however, as Kushans expanded southward, the deities[9] of theirlater coinage came to reflect its new Hindu majority.[10]