NCERT Class 8 History Chapter 1 How, When, and Where Notes (Free PDF)

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NCERT Class 8 History Chapter 1 Notes

The NCERT Class 8 History Chapter 1 Notes on ¨How, When, and Where¨ is all about understanding why dates are important when you study history. These notes aim to give the students a quick introduction to how people used to record historical events and the dates they happened. Reading the notes will help you to get a better idea and understanding of why dates matter so much in history. 

Chapter 1Chapter 2Chapter 3Chapter 4
Chapter 5Chapter 6Chapter 7Chapter 8

Introduction to NCERT Class 8 History Chapter 1 Notes How, When, and Where

The NCERT Class 8 History Chapter 1 Notes on “How, When, and Where,” emphasises the significance of dates in studying history. It offers students a quick overview of ancient history and how dates were recorded for various events. To better understand the concept, we’ve condensed detailed notes of the chapter for you.

How Important Are Dates?

Historians were once obsessed with dates especially when they were into arguments with each other related to questions like when kings got crowned or on which date a particular battle was fought. Meanwhile, people were generally seen to scratch their heads regarding memorising the particular dates. 

But do you think that History is all about all these complications? Let us understand these complications and see how History helped in understanding this difficulty:

  • History aims to understand how things change over time and compare the past to the present.
  • Historical questions arise from curiosity about the events of the past such as the origins of tea and coffee consumption or pre-train era travel methods.
  • The questions about History prompt considerations of periods rather than the specific dates.
  • Instead of pinpointing the exact dates, History examines the period of change and evolution. 
  • Historians used to prioritise big events and battles focussing on specific dates.
  • Now in the present scenario Historians study a variety of events, lifestyles and changes in society over time. 
  • It is important to note that the study of Modern History goes beyond memorising dates to explore how ideas, society, and cities have evolved. 

Which Dates?

In history, we choose some dates that are important regarding the events. These dates are just not important by themselves instead they are significant because of the events we prioritise them. A change in our focus changes the date simultaneously. 

For example, historians focused on the rule of the British Governor-General. They started learning from Warren Hastings, the first governor-general and ended with Lord Mountbatten, the last Viceroy. 

  • These Governor-Generals played pivotal roles in shaping different eras in British India through their decisions and actions.
  • However, sometimes we fail to acknowledge the contributions of diverse groups within Indian society.

Now the question arises, can we approach the specific period of History differently? How do we highlight the activities of various groups and classes in Indian society keeping the Governor-General in the centre framework?

  • To address this oversight, historians are actively seeking new approaches to narrate history that reflect everyone’s experiences.
  • By dividing history into chapters, we can better organize and comprehend the vastness of historical events.
  • It’s crucial to ensure that the stories of all individuals and communities are represented in history books.
  • This inclusive approach may lead us to reconsider which dates we deem most important in understanding history.

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How Do We Periodise?

James Mill, a Scottish economist and political philosopher, published a three-volume work named ‘A History of British India’ in 1817. In his work, James divided Indian history into three periods—Hindu, Muslim and British. This division of work was widely accepted, however there are certain problems with this way of looking at Indian history.

  • History is divided into periods to capture the features of each time and reflect our ideas about the past.
  • James Mill believed that India before the Britishers was under Hindu and Muslim dictatorships which further caused the British conquest for progress.
  • Further, Mill also advocated for the introduction of European manners, arts, institutions, and laws to civilise India.
  • British rule is seen as representative of progress and civilisation while the pre-British period is considered irrelevant.
  • The modern perspective rejects Mill’s conception noting it is inaccurate to label the periods solely as for Hindus or Muslims as there were multiple faiths in co-existence. 
  • Historians traditionally divided Indian history into ancient, mediaeval and modern periods, borrowed from the Western classification system.
  • The modern period was associated with growth and modern force, for instance, Science, Reason, Democracy, Liberty, and Equality.
  • India lacked equality, freedom, and economic progress under the rule of the Britishers. This further challenged the traditional classification of Indian roots.
  • Many historians preferred referring to this period as ¨Colonial¨ instead of ¨Modern¨ due to the lack of traditional modern features.

NCERT Class 8 History Chapter 1 Notes: What Is Colonialisation?

In this chapter, the students will learn how the Britishers conquered and ruled the country by defeating the local Nawabs and Rajas. Also, they will learn how they gained control over the economy and society, collected the revenue to cover their expenses, purchased goods at low prices, and cultivated the crops for export. 

  • When a country brings another country to heel and leads to political, economic, social, and cultural changes is called colonisation.
  • British colonisation led to political, economic, social, and cultural changes in the colonised countries.

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NCERT Class 8 History Chapter 1 Notes: How Do We Know?

As far as we studied the above information of history and historians it can be said as a conclusion that Historians rely on the different sources for writing about the last 250 years of Indian history. 

Administration Produces Records

For fulfilling the purpose official records of the British administration are important sources. The Brtisihers believed in the importance of documentation, leading to a culture of writing memos, notings, and reports for every instruction, plan or even policy decision. They ensured the careful preservation of important documents and letters. 

  • Records rooms were established in administrative institutions such as the tahsildar’s office, collectorate, and commissioner’s office.
  • Specialised institutions such as archives and museums were created to preserve the records.
  • The practice of circulation of letters, memos, and reports came into existence in the early 19th century. This can still be found in archives.
  • Documents were carefully copied by calligraphy in the early 19th century.
  • The advancement of printing in the mid-19th century led to the printing of multiple copies of records which helped in the proceedings of each government department. 

Surveys  Become Important 

It should be noted twice that under colonial rule, surveying became famous worldwide. The specific reason for this was that Britishers believed that effective administration required a comprehensive understanding of the country.

  • In the early nineteenth century, detailed surveys were conducted across the entire country and the revenue surveys in the villages.
  • The surveys aimed to collect information on topography, quality of soil, flora, fauna, local histories, and cropping patterns to aid the administration.
  • Further, the census operations were carried out every ten years from the end of the nineteenth century. These operations provided detailed demographic information regarding the detailed demographic records including castes, religions, and occupations.
  • Other surveys conducted in the nineteenth century were botanical, zoological, archaeological, and forests.

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What Official Records Do Not Tell

Despite the wealth of information in official records the census only represents the perspective of the official population and does not reflect the thoughts and actions of the other people in the country. 

Sources such as diaries, accounts of pilgrims and travellers, autobiographies of important figures, popular booklets sold in local bazaars, newspapers and writings of leaders, reformers, poets and novelists can be taken into account. 

Although these sources represent the literate population and may not cover the experience of marginalised groups such as tribals, peasants, mine workers or the urban poor.

NCERT Class 8 History Chapter 1 Notes: Important Dates

In this part of NCERT Class 8 History Chapter 1 Notes on “How, When, and Where” here are some important points to ponder that the student must consider while learning about dates, appointments, establishments and announcements:

1773Warren Hastings became the first Governor-General of India.
1782The first map was produced by James Rennel.
1786James Mill, a Scottish economist and political philosopher published in  
1817James Mill published a massive three-volume work, A History of British India
1922Lipton Tea Advertisement 
1946Royal Indian Navy Mutiny
Chapter 1Chapter 2Chapter 3Chapter 4
Chapter 5Chapter 6Chapter 7Chapter 8


1. What are the 4 types of colonialism?

Ans. The 4 types of colonialism are settlement colonialism, exploitation colonialism, tributary colonialism, and settler colonialism. 

2. How will you define colonisation?

Ans. The process by which a country or a group of people establishes control and authority over another country or group of people is called colonisation. Colonisation often exploits the other country’s resources, labour, and territories to benefit the power of colonising. 

3. What are the 3 reasons for colonisation?

Ans. The 3 reasons for colonisation include the following:
Economic reasons: Economic reason includes the aim of acquiring new territories, resources and markets for expanding the trade.
Political and military reasons: The aim of political and military reasons includes extending the power and control of the colonising country over the new territories and population.
Cultural reason: Spreading of religion, language and values of the coloniser´s country over the colonised population.

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