The Gupta Empire was named after the Gupta dynasty which ruled approximately between 320- 550 CE. The Gupta dynasty period is regarded as the Golden Age of India.
A tributary state was a state in which tribes were settled. The tributary states were established during the reign of the Samudragupta (332- 375 AD). Samudragupta had ascended the throne of the vast Gupta Empire after the death of his father, Chandragupta I.
Almost immediately after ascending the throne he defeated Achyuta, the ruler of Ahichchhatra and Nagasena. Samudragupta dictated his supremacy over rulers of foreign states like Saka and Kushan. He also invaded regions like Bay of Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Vishakhapatnam and many other southern areas.
Samudragupta controlled the newly acquired territories by reinstating his enemies as tributary kings. This prevented the locals from rebelling against the invasion and thus helped maintain peace and order in the Empire. Thus, the tributary states were those regions that were conquered by Samudragupta The Great during his reign as the Gupta ruler.