Ever since the beginning of time, human history is full of events, discoveries and innovations. We mark events with the dates of their occurrence for the ease of remembering. The year 1600 tells us about the establishment of the East India Company, which helps recall the first steps of the British in India. We use dates to mark periods of history and identify events based on these eras. Our history textbooks are full of dates of events of historical importance.
All of us are familiar with dates mentioned in BCE in history books. Do you know what BCE abbreviates for? Before the Current Era, which means that the incident dates back to another era of the calendar. This brings us to our discussion of why past dates are important in history. Before we answer why dates are important, let us look at the various routine practices in which dates play a significant role.
Learning courses for your kids! Get free trial here
Day-to-Day Practices Involving the Use of Dates
A renowned practice, diary writing or journaling, involves giving an account of one’s routine events, feelings, or significant events that occurred on a particular date. It is a widely recognised practice, especially among readers and writers worldwide. This allows people to keep track of their daily activities and refer back to a specific date when needed.
Celebration of Events
Whether it is an important meeting or celebration of anniversaries or any epoch-making events in history, dates help us mark the day.
Dates help track a specific project completion trajectory. Various project management software or structure-based programs help predict the timeline of a project. These practices involve a direct application of calendar dates.
Why are Dates Important in History?
The significance of dates is well-known. In modern days it is used to schedule events, meetings, and celebrations. Further, it marks deadlines for projects, exam dates, and a lot more. They help us keep track of events such as festivals. But why are days and dates important in history?
Historians have used dating procedures to identify the eras to mark events and places. When identifying prehistoric places of settlements, knowing the era to which the place belongs becomes essential. Several places, such as Dholavira, the Ashoka Pillar, are of historical and cultural significance. To understand their importance, they are categorised into the era they belong to.
A study of the era helps understand the historical context and relevance of a particular person, an artefact or an event. Dates help separate one period from another. It also tells us about the difference in cultural practices and traditions followed.
You would have also studied the various dynasties that ruled the nation. The calendar dates help devise a chronology to determine the order in which the foreigners came to rule. These dates help us recognise the various aspects of an era.
To remember the Battle of Panipat, you recall the era of King Babar, the founder of the Mughal dynasty. This tells us about the 1500s. We connect this event with the establishment of the Mughal dynasty. Hence, events can be interlinked when we know the date of their occurrence. Historians use this method to identify the eras to which events belong with detailed accuracy.
Reasons Why Past Dates are Important in History?
As we talk about why dates are important, the mention of calendars is obvious. Calendars are the tools used for time-keeping. They contain a yearly arrangement of dates and have significant historical events such as Gandhi Jayanti, Independence Day, etc., marked on their respective dates.
There has been a significant impact of dates on the study of history. Dates help us know the event when and how by identifying their periods. These data are helpful for historians as history is a vast expanse of the past that can be better understood and organised through periodisation. Through dates, we identify the change of eras. The history textbooks are full of important dates to remember.
Discussed below are some of the aspects where dates play an important role.
#1. Relate Successive Events
Indian history is eventful. Whether it is the rise and fall of the Mughal dynasty or the Colonial rule of the British East India Company, dates help pin events to a time frame that is crucial to understand their significance. These dates are helpful to organise the events in their proper chronology.
Learning courses for your kids! Get free trial here
For instance, when we talk of the bombing of Hiroshima by America in 1945, the date immediately reminds us of the second world war. The Japan disaster was one of the repercussions of the second world war. Dates help study why a certain event happened and how that led to another incident. This tells us about the association between events.
Similarly, in Indian history, the Non-Cooperation movement was the first organised revolt against British rule under Mahatma Gandhi’s leadership. Due to the Jallianwala Bagh massacre in 1919, this act received nationwide support. These date links between events help us to study the events of history.
#2. Identify Important Events
Dates help identify events of historical significance. The date 2nd October or 15th August or 26th January need no introduction; they speak for the important events they signify. In other words, dates act as records of history. History books are all about important events and their dates. It becomes easy to remember events in this way through dates.
#3. Identifying Long-term Effects of an Event
When historians identify a specific place or event, they try to find the particular event’s period. Identifying the dates tells a lot about the event. It helps us understand the cultural differences, human geography, and practices followed in different places, in different periods. These data further help predict and analyse the long-term impact of such events.
Dates have been used for a long time by humans for keeping track of the passage of time. They help us identify events, relate them and study the causes. In fact, several important facts about events of history are understood by the scientific study of the dates of their occurrence. These data are used to study the aftermath of these events.
Understanding why dates and days are important in history helps develop a conceptual understanding of historical events and the causes and effects behind them. At Real School, we promote conceptual understanding of different subjects for building a strong foundation of knowledge. Our expert’s tutor students through one-on-one learning sessions. We post relevant subjects on our blogs regularly. To know more about current affairs and knowledge of various subjects, stay tuned to our website.