Portal:History

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Herodotus (c. 484 BC – c. 425 BC), often considered the "father of history"

History (from Greek ἱστορία, historia, meaning 'inquiry; knowledge acquired by investigation') is the study of the past as it is described in written documents. Events occurring before written record are considered prehistory. It 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. Scholars who write about history are called historians.

History can also refer to the academic discipline which uses a narrative to examine and analyse a sequence of past events, and objectively determine the patterns of cause and effect that determine them. Historians sometimes 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, because they do not show the "disinterested investigation" required of the discipline of history. Herodotus, a 5th-century BC Greek historian is considered within the Western tradition to be the "father of history", and, along with his contemporary Thucydides, 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.

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 thematical elements of historical investigation. Often history is taught as part of primary and secondary education, and the academic study of history is a major discipline in university studies.

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Map showing Varangian or Rus' settlement (in red) and location of Slavic tribes (in grey), during the mid-ninth century. Khazar influence indicated with blue outline.
The Rus' Khaganate is a name suggested for a polity that flourished during a poorly-documented period in the history of Eastern Europe (roughly the late 8th and early to mid-9th centuries AD). A predecessor to the Rurik Dynasty and the Kievan Rus', the Rus' Khaganate was a state (or a cluster of city-states) set up by a people called Rus', who might have been Norsemen (Vikings, Varangians), in what is today northern Russia. The region's population at that time was composed of Baltic, Slavic, Finnic, Turkic and Norse peoples. The region was also a place of operations for Varangians, eastern Scandinavian adventurers, merchants and pirates.

According to contemporaneous sources, the population centers of the region, which may have included the proto-towns of Holmgard (Novgorod), Aldeigja (Ladoga), Lyubsha, Alaborg, Sarskoye Gorodishche, and Timerevo, were under the rule of a monarch or monarchs using the Old Turkic title Khagan. The Rus' Khaganate period marked the genesis of a distinct Rus' ethnos, and its successor states would include Kievan Rus' and later states from which modern Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine evolved.

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Jack Sheppard

Chalk and pencil sketch of Jack Sheppard in Newgate Prison.
Jack Sheppard (4 March 1702 – 16 November 1724) was a notorious English robber, burglar and thief of early 18th-century London. Born into a poor family, he was apprenticed as a carpenter but took to theft and burglary in 1723, with little more than a year of his training to complete. He was arrested and imprisoned five times in 1724 but escaped four times, making him a notorious public figure, and wildly popular with the poorer classes. Ultimately, he was caught, convicted, and hanged at Tyburn, ending his brief criminal career after less than two years. The inability of the notorious "Thief-Taker General" Jonathan Wild to control Sheppard, and injuries suffered by Wild at the hands of Sheppard's colleague, Joseph "Blueskin" Blake, led to Wild's downfall.

Sheppard was as renowned for his attempts to escape imprisonment as he was for his crimes. An autobiographical "Narrative", thought to have been ghostwritten by Daniel Defoe, was sold at his execution, Jack Sheppard quickly followed by popular plays. The character of Macheath in John Gay's The Beggar's Opera (1728) was based on Sheppard, keeping him in the limelight for over 100 years. He returned to the public consciousness around 1840, when William Harrison Ainsworth wrote a novel entitled Jack Sheppard, with illustrations by George Cruikshank. The popularity of his tale, and the fear that others would be drawn to emulate his behaviour, led the authorities to refuse to license any plays in London with "Jack Sheppard" in the title for forty years.

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Stroop Report - Warsaw Ghetto Uprising 06b.jpg

Jews captured by SS and SD troops during the suppression of the Warsaw ghetto uprising are forced to leave their shelter and march to the Umschlagplatz, for deportation, at gunpoint. Taken by Jürgen Stroop, this photograph is one of the most famous of World War II; the boy's identity is unknown, but he may be Tsvi C. Nussbaum, who survived the war.

On this day

April 21: First day of Ridván (Bahá'í Faith, 2019); Easter (Western Christianity, 2019); Mid-Sha'ban (Islam, 2019); Grounation Day in the Rastafari movement

Wignacourt Aqueduct
Wignacourt Aqueduct

Bardas (d. 866) · Petrus Apianus (d. 1552) · Cheryl Gillan (b. 1952)

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Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration.

— Thomas Edison, scientist and inventor

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Middle Ages

"The ultimate binding element in the medieval order was subordination to the divine will and its earthly representatives, notably the pope."
Irving Babbitt

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