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History Notes for UPSC Exam 2023

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NCERT History Notes for UPSC Exam: History is one of the important subjects that UPSC put stress on in their Prelims and Mains exams. History is the knowledge of and study of the past and it’s utmost need to understand what went in the past to create the future. Every year, the UPSC conducts Civil Service exams to select candidates for various Civil Services of the Government of India. The study of Indian history is crucial for these selected individuals in order to comprehend the nature of the past and the challenges that India as a nation may face.

This is why the UPSC Prelims and Mains exams stress on the history subject. If you want to ace your UPSC exam, you need to strengthen your history basics first by covering NCERT History Notes. GeeksforGeeks‘ Important Topics of History is curated with all the important topics of history for UPSC that will help you in the UPSC Prelims.


Important History Notes for UPSC 2023 Exams

You can find the important topics of ancient history for UPSC, important topics of medieval history for UPSC, and important topics of modern history for UPSC – everything in the below list for your easy read:

  1. Distinct Between Indus Valley Civilization and its Contemporary Civilization
  2. Town Planning and Drainage System of Harappan Civilization
  3. Amri – A Pre-Harappan Site in Sindh
  4. Sinauli – A Harappan Site
  5. The Smallest Harappan Site
  6. Chanhudaro- A Harappan Site
  7. Mohenjo-Daro- A Harappan Site
  8. Jainism and its Council
  9. Central Teachings of Jainism
  10. Sikhism: History, Practices
  11. Role of Sikh Gurus in Sikhism
  12. Hinayana and Mahayana of Buddhism
  13. Impact of Buddhism on Indian Culture
  14. Historical Importance of Nalanda University
  15. Salient Features of Mahajanapadas
  16. Central and Provincial Administration System of the Maurya Empire
  17. Kanheri Caves
  18. The Paintings Of Bagh Caves
  19. Role of Theosophical Society, Self-Respect Movement, and Prarthana Samaj
  20. Brihadeshwara Temple: A World Heritage
  21. Ajanta And Ellora Caves
  22. Mongol Invasion of India
  23. Role of Lord Wellesley
  24. Importance of the Poona Pact
  25. Role of Lord Ripon
  26. Literature During The Mughal Empire
  27. Jyotiba Phule: Facts and Social Reforms
  28. Orientalist-Anglicist Controversy
  29. Battle of Buxar (1764)
  30. Anglo-Gorkha War of Nepal and the East India Company
  31. Mansabdari System
  32. Various Peasants Movement And Uprisings After 1857
  33. Carnatic Wars and Their Importance
  34. The Philosopher-Saint Ramanujacharya
  35. Social and Cultural Life of the Vijayanagar Empire
  36. Birsa Munda and His Contribution to Indian History
  37. Causes For the Decline of Portuguese Power In India
  38. Anglo-Mysore Wars and Their Importances
  39. Conquest And Expansion of Samudragupta
  40. Important Leaders Associated With The Revolt Of 1857
  41. Ghadar Movement
  42. Hunter Commission
  43. East India Company and British State
  44. Political Associations Before Indian National Congress
  45. Battle of Plassey
  46. Annie Besant and Theosophical Society
  47. Development of Indian Press During British Rule in India
  48. Syed Ahmad Khan – Aligarh Movement
  49. Role of Swami Vivekananda in Social Reform – Ramakrishna Mission
  50. Administrative System of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj
  51. Swaraj Party: Its Objectives and Works
  52. Anti-Rowlatt Satyagraha Movement
  53. Charter Act of 1853
  54. Partition of Bengal (1905)
  55. All India Muslim League
  56. Vaikom Satyagraha
  57. Stalinism and Collectivization in The Soviet Union
  58. Major Issues and Debates Concerning Indian Women of the 19th Century
  59. Constructive Programmes of Mahatma Gandhi During Non-Cooperation Movement and Civil Disobedience Movement
  60. Changes Introduced By Napoleon in the Administrative System
  61. French Revolution – Causes and its Impact on the World
  62. Role of Print Culture to Grow Nationalism in British-India
  63. Major Beliefs and Practices of Sufism
  64. Land Revenue Systems in British India
  65. Russian Revolution – Causes and Effect
  66. Role of Several Foreigners in Indian Freedom Struggle
  67. Evaluate The Policies of Lord Curzon
  68. Causes of Failure of the Revolt of 1857
  69. Significance of Santhal Rebellion (1855-56)
  70. Role of Ahrar Movement and Ahmadiya Movement in Muslim Reform
  71. Role of Faraizi Movement and Wahabi Movement
  72. Cause and Impact of Peasant Movements on the Nationalist Phase
  73. Strengthened and Enriched of the Gandhian Phase
  74. Role of Mahatma Gandhi in the National Movement
  75. Simon Commission
  76. Chittagong Armoury Raid (1930)
  77. Khilafat Movement
  78. Local Bodies Reforms By Lord Ripon
  79. Purna Swaraj Resolution And Its Significance
  80. Difference Between Non-Cooperation Movement and Civil Disobedience Movement
  81. Nehru’s Report – Gulf Between Congress and Muslim League
  82. Dandi March – History and Significance
  83. Importance of Round Table Conferences
  84. Ideological Differences Between Gandhi and Ambedkar
  85. Role of British Imperial Power in Complicating the Process of Transfer of Power During the 1940s
  86. Cripps Mission – Objectives & Failure
  87. Wavell Plan and Shimla Conference
  88. Royal Indian Navy Rebellion – Causes and Significance
  89. Role of Subhash Chandra Bose in the Struggle for Freedom
  90. Amendments Passed During Emergency (1975–77)
  91. Relevance of Gandhian Principles in the 21st Century
  92. Religion of Indus Valley Civilization
  93. Unification of Italy
  94. British Forest Policy in India
  95. Gupta Period: Art and Culture
  96. Mauryan Art and Culture
  97. Role of Sri Aurobindo in Freedom Struggle
  98. Role of Foreign Trade during Medieval Indian History
  99. Role of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad in India’s Freedom Struggle
  100. Fall of the Mauryan Empire
  101. Role of Brahmo Samaj, Arya Samaj and Satyashodhak Samaj
  102. Dayananda Saraswati: A Social Reformer of India
  103. Indian Independence Act 1947
  104. Discuss the Economic Reforms by Moderates
  105. Daimabad – Indus Valley Civilisation
  106. Sangam Age: Polity and Administration
  107. Ashoka Foreign Relations
  108. Role of Theosophical Society, Self-Respect Movement and Prarthana Samaj

History Notes for UPSC Exams:

The history syllabus for UPSC Exam can be divided into:

  1. History of Ancient India
  2. History of Medieval India
  3. History of Modern India

In the below table, you can check the UPSC Prelims History syllabus:

Indian Heritage & CultureIndian Art Forms
  • Ancient Indian Literature
  • Classical Sanskrit Literature
  • Literature in Pali and Prakrit
  • Early Dravidian Literature
  • Medieval Literature
  • Women Poets of Bhakti
  • Trends in Medieval Literature
  • Modern Indian Literature
  • Harappan Architecture
  • Temple Architecture
  • Cave Architecture
  • Indo-Islamic Architecture
  • Medieval Architecture
  • Modern Architecture
  • Contribution of Buddhism & Jainism to the Development of Indian Architecture
  • Rock-Cut Architecture
  • Colonial Architecture & the Modern Period
Modern Indian HistoryMiddle of the Eighteenth Centurytillthe Present
  • Socio-economic Condition of the People
  • European Penetration of India
  • British Conquest of India
  • Socio-economic Condition of the People
  • European Penetration of India
  • British Conquest of India
The Freedom StruggleThe Revolt of 1857 
Growth of Nationalism in India (1858–1905)
Growth of Militant Nationalism & Revolutionary Activities (1905–18)
Beginning of Mass Nationalism (1919–39)
Towards Freedom & Partition (1939–47)
Post-Independence ConsolidationNation Building
Foreign Policy
  • Planned Development
  • Green Revolution
    Operation Flood & Cooperatives
  • Agrarian & Land Reforms
  • Industrial Reforms
  • LPG Reforms
  • The Era of One-Party Dominance
  • The Emergence of Opposition Parties
  • Emergency: Crisis of Democratic Order
  • Rise of Regional Parties
  • Coalition Era
History of the WorldThe outbreakIndustrial Revolution
 World War I
 World Between the Two Wars
  • Europe After the War – Fascism & Nazism
  • The Great Depression
  • Emergence of the Soviet Union
  • Nationalist Movements in Asia & Africa
  • The US as a Strong Power
 World War II
  • Fascist Aggression & Response of Western Democracies
  • Outbreak of the War
  • Theatres of the War
  • US Entry into the War
  • Global Nature of the War
  • The Holocaust
  • Resistance Movements
  • After-effects of the War
 Decolonization & Redrawing of National Boundaries
  • Europe after World War II
  • The Cold War
  • Rise of Asia & Africa
  • Developments in West Asia & North Africa
  • Spread of Communism
  • The Korean War
  • The Vietnam War
  • The Cuban Crisis
  • The Collapse of the Soviet Union
 Concept, Types, and Social Impact of Political Philosophies
  • Communism
  • Capitalism
  • Socialism


Since a substantial portion of the subject overlaps between Prelims and Mains, it is best to learn the UPSC history syllabus comprehensively. Make sure to keep these 2 points in your mind while preparing for the UPSC History exam:

  1. To create a solid foundation in History, read NCERTs from Classes VIII to XII. Reading NIOS/IGNOU notes can help you improve your knowledge. The material presented in little boxes in the NCERTs must also be read because direct questions from those snippets are asked in the Prelims.
  2. It is necessary to study the events of history in order; thus, cover them chronologically. Maintain a strict commitment to the syllabus, especially on this topic. Even while perusing reference materials, it is critical to study just the portions pertinent to the UPSC CSE curriculum. Because the UPSC history syllabus is so broad, it must be taught exactly according to the syllabus offered for the Mains test.

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Last Updated : 11 May, 2023
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