History / Year 8 / Historical Knowledge and Understanding

View on Australian Curriculum website Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority
Curriculum content descriptions

When, how and why the Spanish arrived in the Americas, and where they went, including the various societies and geographical features they encountered (ACDSEH073)

  • explaining the arrival of Spanish conquistadores in Mexico and Peru from 1510 AD (CE) (Balboa) to 1531 (Pizarro), and their reasons (for example, seeking wealth, claiming land for their king, converting the local populations to Christianity, sense of adventure)
General capabilities
  • Critical and creative thinking Critical and creative thinking
  • Intercultural understanding Intercultural understanding
ScOT terms

Landforms,  Exploration,  American history,  Mexican history,  Peruvian history,  First contact,  Spanish history


The mighty Aztecs

Who were the MÄ“xihcah? Discover the rich and brutal history of the Aztec culture and the birth of Modern Mexico.

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Show me the evidence: finding proof of the Inca

Do you have a time machine? If not, how can you be certain that your understanding of history is correct? In this clip from the 1985 documentary 'Sweat of the Sun, Tears of the Moon', reporter Jack Pizzey considers what is known about the Inca Empire. He acknowledges there is much that we can't be sure of. This clip is ...


Unmasking the Maya: preserving the culture

This resource is chiefly about the preservation of the Maya culture in the USA. It covers the Maya Indians today, the rich ancient Maya culture that existed from 500 BCE to 1519 CE, when the Spanish conquered them, and those Maya who emigrate today to the USA in search of a better life. The resource presents the Monkey ...

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Sharing stories: culture

This is a rich resource about the many intertwined aspects of Aboriginal cultures, including law, Country and Dreaming. It consists of an introduction, a teacher guide, three films made by Aboriginal students ('The Ngatji and paddle steamer', 'Bilwal medicine' and 'Thunderman') and two video interviews, one with Jarlmadangah ...

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Through our eyes: series 1

This series of 18 short videos provides insights into the land management practices and social, spiritual and cultural knowledge of the Ngemba, Kamilaroi and Euahlayi Aboriginal language groups in north-western NSW. The videos are presented by the Aboriginal Elders and knowledge-holders and cover a range of topics including ...

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Whadjuk country

Ever wondered what life was like for the traditional owners of Perth before the British arrived in 1829? Whadjuk [pronounced wod-JUK] Noongar Elder and ambassador Dr Noel Nannup talks about traditional Whadjuk ways of life and key cultural places in Perth, and he teaches us the Noongar words for some Perth suburbs (such ...


'Eureka riot 17th October', 1854

This is a watercolour, pen and ink sketch by Charles Alphonse Doudiet that depicts some of the thousands of goldminers who gathered and subsequently rioted at Bentley's Eureka Hotel in Ballarat, Victoria, on 17 October 1854. A small line of soldiers is in the foreground outnumbered by a huge crowd of protesting miners. ...

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Defeat of the Inca Empire Conquistador

Imagine a thriving society: food is abundant, roads connect cities replete with gold and silver, and large and powerful armies protect the rulers of millions of citizens. In this clip from the 1985 documentary 'Sweat of the Sun, Tears of the Moon', reporter Jack Pizzey considers how such a successful society was subdued ...

Interactive Resource

Syllabus Bites: Ancient India

This resource is a webpage with information, study guide and resources on the depth study, The Asian world: India, to support the Australian Curriculum in History.


European exploration of the Pacific

This is a collection of 21 digital curriculum resources focusing on Dutch, English and French exploration of the Pacific. It is organised into nine categories - European knowledge of the Pacific in the mid 17th century; Abel Tasman's voyages; James Cook; Cook's first voyage; his second voyage; his third voyage; Jean de ...

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Farming genius: the real wealth of the Inca

Discover the remarkable world of the Inca. Before Spanish conquistadors arrived in the 16th century, the Inca Empire was the largest in the Americas. In this clip from the 1985 documentary 'Sweat of the Sun, Tears of the Moon', ABC reporter Jack Pizzey investigates the agricultural practices of the ancient Inca. He discusses ...

Teacher resource

Digital stories of Immigration

This is a rich collection of digital stories about people who have immigrated to Victoria. The resource is presented in three sections: Introductory information; Story Objects; and Story Education Resources. There are 21 Story Objects that include images, videos, links, information, interviews and transcripts. There are ...

Interactive Resource

Sites2See: Reconciliation

This resource is a one-page guide to the people, processes, information and events around reconciliation between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and other Australians, with links to music, video and digital resources and activities.


Early map of the world, 1570

This is a hand-coloured map of the world, measuring 33.5 cm x 49.8 cm and entitled 'TYPUS ORBIS TERRARUM' meaning 'Figure of the world'. It was printed in Antwerp in 1570 for the book 'Theatrum orbis terrarum' or 'Theatre of the world', which is considered to be the first modern atlas ever published. The map is the work ...


Historical map of the world, 1646

This is a highly decorative hand-coloured map of the world set in two circular hemispheres and showing America, 'TERRA AUSTRALIS INCOGNITA', Europe and Africa. The map measures 49.2 cm x 59.1 cm, was printed in Amsterdam and dates from 1646. It is the work of Hendrik Hondius (1573-1650) and his brother-in-law Jan Jansson ...


'The battlefield - Red Hill', 1854

This is a watercolour, pen and ink sketch by Charles Alphonse Doudiet. It depicts a panoramic view of Red Hill in Ballarat, looking out from Post Office Hill, during the height of the Victorian gold rush in 1854. In the image Red Hill is a small township of makeshift huts and tents formed around the gold diggings in eastern ...

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Tulum, an ancient Mayan city

Discover the remains of Tulum, a city that was once a busy port for a civilisation that thrived in Mexico for centuries. In this clip from an ABC Foreign Correspondent program, reporter Jane Cowan scales the heights of the Coba pyramid and recounts some of the history of the Mayan people who built it.


Mercator world map, 1695

This is a hand-coloured map that was probably printed in 1695 from a plate by Geradus Mercator (1512-94). It shows what was then the known world, with allegorical figures at each corner depicting the four elements of earth, air, fire and water. The map is based on a classical Greek theory about the geography of the world ...


Walking through a Minefield, 1999: The right to protest

This clip shows Australians, in a variety of settings, being interviewed about activism. A woman speaks of becoming blasé about being arrested for her involvement in protests. Another woman talks about her concerns that being arrested as a protester could affect her future employment and travel plans. A woman and a man ...


General Douglas MacArthur with Prime Minister John Curtin, c1944

This is a photograph taken around 1944 of Prime Minister John Curtin in conversation with US General Douglas MacArthur, Supreme Allied Commander of Allied Forces on the South-West Pacific Theatre. Curtin wears a dark suit, white shirt and tie; MacArthur wears informal military uniform without insignia or badges.