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
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
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.