Kings and Kingdoms Class 7 Notes NCERT History Chapter 2

Class 7 Notes History Chapter 2 ‘Kings and Kingdoms’: The notes cover the whole chapter following headings given in the chapter ‘Kings and Kingdoms’ along with important key points: So, enjoy a free learning with great notes on this site! 

I. Many New Dynasties Emerged after the Seventh Century

Credit: NCERT Class 7 Chapter 2

Many new dynasties emerged after the seventh century. Map 1 shows the major ruling dynasties in different parts of the subcontinent between the seventh and twelfth centuries.

1. The Emergence of Samantas & New Dynasties:

  • By the seventh century, big landlords and warrior chiefs emerged in different regions of the subcontinent.
  • Existing kings recognized them as subordinates or samantas.
  • Samantas were expected to bring gifts, attend courts, and provide military support to their overlords.
  • As samantas gained power and wealth, they declared themselves as maha-samantas, maha-mandaleshvara, etc.
  • Some samantas asserted their independence from their overlords, such as the Rashtrakutas in the Deccan.
  • Dantidurga, a Rashtrakuta chief, overthrew his Chalukya overlord and performed the ritual of hiranya-garbha.
  • Men from enterprising families also used their military skills to establish kingdoms, like Kadamba Mayurasharman and Gurjara-Pratihara Harichandra.

II. Administration in the Kingdoms:

  • Many of the new kings adopted grand titles such as maharaja-adhiraja, tribhuvana-chakravartin.
  • Despite their claims, power was often shared with samantas and associations of peasants, traders, and Brahmanas.
  • Resources were obtained from producers (peasants, cattle-keepers, artisans) through persuasion or coercion.
  • Revenue, claimed as “rent,” was collected from the landowners, and traders also paid taxes.
  • Resources were used for the king’s establishment, construction of temples and forts, and funding wars.
  • The collection of revenue and administration positions were often hereditary, with influential families involved.
  • Close relatives of the king often held positions in the army and administration.

III. Prashastis and Land Grants:

  • Prashastis were composed by learned Brahmanas and contained details that may not be literally true.
  • They depicted rulers as valiant and victorious warriors.
  • Kings rewarded Brahmanas by granting them land, which was recorded on copper plates.
  • Kalhana, an author, composed a long Sanskrit poem about the history of kings in Kashmir, using various sources.
  • Unlike prashasti writers, Kalhana was critical about rulers and their policies.

IV. Warfare for Wealth:

  • Ruling dynasties aimed to control areas beyond their own regions.
  • Kanauj, in the Ganga valley, was a highly coveted area and the subject of conflict among the Gurjara-Pratihara, Rashtrakuta, and Pala dynasties.
  • Historians refer to this conflict as the “tripartite struggle.”
  • Rulers showcased their power by building large temples, which became targets during warfare.
  • Mahmud of Ghazni raided the subcontinent multiple times, primarily targeting wealthy temples like Somnath in Gujarat.
  • Mahmud used the wealth he plundered to create a magnificent capital city in Ghazni.
  • The Chahamanas (Chauhans) of Delhi and Ajmer engaged in warfare to expand their control west and east.
  • They faced opposition from the Chalukyas of Gujarat and the Gahadavalas of western Uttar Pradesh.
  • Prithviraja III, a Chahamana ruler, defeated Sultan Muhammad Ghori in 1191 but lost to him the following year, in 1192.

V. The Cholas – Rise to Power and Achievements

NCERT Class 7 Map 2
The Chola kingdom 
and its neighbours.

From Uraiyur to Thanjavur:

  • The Cholas rose to power in the Kaveri delta by capturing it from the Muttaraiyar in the 9th century
  • Vijayalaya, from the Cholas of Uraiyur, founded Thanjavur and a temple for goddess Nishumbhasudini
  • Successors of Vijayalaya conquered neighbouring regions, including Pandyan and Pallava territories, to expand the kingdom
  • Rajaraja I became king in 985 and expanded control over most of the areas, reorganizing the administration of the empire
  • Rajendra I continued his father’s policies and even invaded the Ganga valley, Sri Lanka, and Southeast Asian countries, developing a navy for these expeditions.

Splendid Temples and Bronze Sculpture:

  • Big temples of Thanjavur and Gangaikonda-cholapuram, built by Rajaraja and Rajendra, are architectural and sculptural marvels
  • Chola temples often became the nuclei of settlements that grew around them, which were centres of craft production
  • Temples were also endowed with land by rulers and others, which went into maintaining all specialists who worked at the temple
  • Temples were not only places of worship but also centres of economic, social, and cultural life
  • The making of bronze images was the most distinctive craft associated with temples, considered amongst the finest in the world.

Agriculture and Irrigation:

  • New developments in agriculture made many of the achievements of the Cholas possible
  • The Kaveri river branches off into several small channels before emptying into the Bay of Bengal, which provided the necessary moisture for agriculture, particularly the cultivation of rice
  • Embankments had to be built to prevent flooding, canals constructed to carry water to the fields, and wells dug or huge tanks constructed to collect rainwater
  • Irrigation works require planning, organizing labour and resources, maintaining these works, and deciding on how water is to be shared.

The Administration of the Empire:

  • Settlements of peasants, known as ur, became prosperous with the spread of irrigation agriculture
  • Groups of such villages formed larger units called nadu, which performed several administrative functions, including dispensing justice and collecting taxes
  • Rich peasants exercised considerable control over the affairs of the nadu under the supervision of the central Chola government
  • Brahmana settlements emerged in the Kaveri valley, and each brahmadeya was looked after by an assembly or sabha of prominent Brahmana landholders
  • Inscriptions from Uttaramerur in Chingleput district, Tamil Nadu, provide details of the way in which the sabha was organized, with separate committees to look after irrigation works, gardens, temples, etc.

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