The History Portal
History (from Greek ἱστορία, historia, meaning "inquiry; knowledge acquired by investigation") is the study of the past. Events occurring before the invention of writing systems are considered prehistory. "History" is an umbrella term that relates to past events as well as the memory, discovery, collection, organization, presentation, and interpretation of information about these events. Historians place the past in context using historical sources such as written documents, oral accounts, ecological markers, and material objects including art and artifacts.
History also includes the academic discipline which uses narrative to describe, examine, question, and analyze a sequence of past events, investigate the patterns of cause and effect that are related to them. Historians seek to understand and represent the past through narratives. They often debate which narrative best explains an event, as well as the significance of different causes and effects. Historians also debate the nature of history and its usefulness by discussing the study of the discipline as an end in itself and as a way of providing "perspective" on the problems of the present.
Stories common to a particular culture, but not supported by external sources (such as the tales surrounding King Arthur), are usually classified as cultural heritage or legends. History differs from myth in that it is supported by evidence. However, ancient influences have helped spawn variant interpretations of the nature of history which have evolved over the centuries and continue to change today. The modern study of history is wide-ranging, and includes the study of specific regions and the study of certain topical or thematic elements of historical investigation. History is often taught as part of primary and secondary education, and the academic study of history is a major discipline in university studies.
Herodotus, a 5th-century BC Greek historian is often considered (within the Western tradition) to be the "father of history," or, by some, the "father of lies." Along with his contemporary Thucydides, he helped form the foundations for the modern study of human history. Their works continue to be read today, and the gap between the culture-focused Herodotus and the military-focused Thucydides remains a point of contention or approach in modern historical writing. In East Asia, a state chronicle, the Spring and Autumn Annals, was known to be compiled from as early as 722 BC although only 2nd-century BC texts have survived.
Featured article -
Did you know...
- ... that the Japanese aircraft carrier Amagi (wreck pictured) capsized on 29 July 1945 as a result of cumulative damage inflicted by American airstrikes on 24 and 28 July?
- ... that Scandinavian influence in Scotland, still evident today, was probably at its height during the time of Thorfinn the Mighty?
- ... that, after the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the Bassetki statue, which is more than 4,200 years old, was found in a cesspool?
- ... that in medieval art, angels were often depicted wearing feather tights?
- ... that 49% of German military losses happened in the last 10 months of the Second World War in Europe?
- ... that Joshua L. Goldberg, the first rabbi to serve as a World War II U.S. navy chaplain, was a Russian army deserter?
- ... that Richard Nixon chose the Wilson desk as his Oval Office desk because he believed it was used by Woodrow Wilson, but it was actually used by Henry Wilson, Vice President under Ulysses S. Grant?
- ... that some of the nominally silver Roman coins from the Bredon Hill Hoard only have a 1% silver content?
Featured biography -
This is a Featured article, which represents some of the best content on English Wikipedia..
Joel Brand (25 April 1906 – 13 July 1964) was a member of the Budapest Aid and Rescue Committee (Va'adat ha-Ezra ve-ha-Hatzala be-Budapest or Va'ada), an underground Zionist group in Budapest, Hungary, that smuggled Jews out of German-occupied Europe to the relative safety of Hungary, during the Holocaust. When Germany invaded Hungary too in March 1944, Brand became known for his efforts to save the Jewish community from deportation to the Auschwitz concentration camp in occupied Poland and the gas chamber.
In April 1944 Brand was approached by SS-Obersturmbannführer Adolf Eichmann
, head of the German Reich Security Head Office
department IV B4 (Jewish affairs), who had arrived in Budapest to organize the deportations. Eichmann proposed that Brand broker a deal between the SS and the United States or Britain, in which the Nazis would exchange one million Jews for 10,000 trucks for the Eastern front and large quantities of tea and other goods. It was the most ambitious of a series of proposals between the SS and Jewish leaders. Eichmann called it "Blut gegen Waren
" ("blood for goods"
). Read more...
On this day
Fortune, which has a great deal of power in other matters but especially in war, can bring about great changes in a situation through very slight forces.
The following are images from various History-related articles on Wikipedia.
Cishou Temple Pagoda, built in 1576: the Chinese believed that building pagodas on certain sites according to geomantic principles brought about auspicious events; merchant-funding for such projects was needed by the late Ming period.
Map showing growth of Frankish power from 481 to 814
Battle of Vienna, 12 September 1683
Painting of Murong Xianbei archer, in Late Antiquity, nomads across Eurasia, began to use the stirrup. Horse riding warriors could be devastating in combat.
Reconstruction of an early medieval peasant village in Bavaria
The Iron Age kingdom of Israel (blue) and kingdom of Judah (yellow)
Cossacks became the backbone of the early Russian Army.
Execution of some of the ringleaders of the jacquerie, from a 14th-century manuscript of the Chroniques de France ou de St Denis
Egyptian soldiers from Hatshepsut's expedition to the Land of Punt as depicted from her temple at Deir el-Bahri.
A medieval scholar making precise measurements in a 14th-century manuscript illustration
A possible representation of a "yogi" or "proto-Shiva", 2600–1900 BCE
Technical drawing of Roman Ballista mechanism.
Engraved world map (including magnetic declination lines) by Leonhard Euler from his school atlas "Geographischer Atlas bestehend in 44 Land-Charten" first published 1753 in Berlin
A political map of the Mauryan Empire, including notable cities, such as the capital Pataliputra, and site of the Buddha's enlightenment.
Model for the Three Superior Planets and Venus from Georg von Peuerbach, Theoricae novae planetarum.
The Ezana Stone records negus Ezana's conversion to Christianity and conquests of his neighbors.
Gutenberg reviewing a press proof (a colored engraving created probably in the 19th century)
Europe and the Mediterranean Sea in 1190
Roman cast terracotta of ram-horned Jupiter Ammon, a form of Zeus 1st century AD. Gods, could sometimes be transferred or adopted by many civilizations, and then adjusted for local conditions.
Gold stag with eagle's head, and ten further heads in the antlers. From a Xiongnu tomb. 4th–3rd century BC
Nok sculpture of a sitted person
10th-century Ottonian ivory plaque depicting Christ receiving a church from Otto I
Roman Empire 117 AD. The Senatorial provinces were acquired first under the Roman Republic and were under the Roman Senate's control; the Imperial provinces were controlled directly by the Roman emperor.
The early Muslim conquests
Expansion under Muhammad, 622–632
Expansion during the Patriarchal Caliphate, 632–661
Expansion during the Umayyad Caliphate, 661–750
A painting depecting the Qing Chinese celebrating a victory over the Kingdom of Tungning in Taiwan. This work was a collaboration between Chinese and European painters.
"If there is something you know, communicate it. If there is something you don't know, search for it." An engraving from the 1772 edition of the Encyclopédie; Truth (center) is surrounded by light and unveiled by the figures to the right, Philosophy and Reason
Map of the approximate political boundaries in Europe around 450 AD
The Chinese Han Dynasty dominated the East Asia region at the beginning of the first millennium AD
World Colonization of 1492 (Early Modern World), 1550, 1660, 1754 (Age of Enlightenment), 1822 (Industrial revolution), 1885 (European Hegemony), 1914 (World War I era), 1938 (World War II era), 1959 (Cold War era) and 1974, 2008 (Recent history).
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