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Historical


Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

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 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 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.



  • History of Africa begins with the first emergence of modern human beings on the continent, continuing into its modern present as a patchwork of diverse and politically developing nation states.
  • History of the Americas is the collective history of North and South America, including Central America and the Caribbean.
    • History of North America is the study of the past passed down from generation to generation on the continent in the Earth's northern and western hemisphere.
    • History of Central America is the study of the past passed down from generation to generation on the continent in the Earth's western hemisphere.
    • History of the Caribbean begins with the oldest evidence where 7,000-year-old remains have been found.
    • History of South America is the study of the past passed down from generation to generation on the continent in the Earth's southern and western hemisphere.
  • History of Antarctica emerges from early Western theories of a vast continent, known as Terra Australis, believed to exist in the far south of the globe.
  • History of Australia starts with the documentation of the Makassar trading with Indigenous Australians on Australia's north coast.
  • History of New Zealand dates back at least 700 years to when it was discovered and settled by Polynesians, who developed a distinct Māori culture centred on kinship links and land.
  • History of the Pacific Islands covers the history of the islands in the Pacific Ocean.
  • History of Eurasia is the collective history of several distinct peripheral coastal regions: the Middle East, South Asia, East Asia, Southeast Asia, and Europe, linked by the interior mass of the Eurasian steppe of Central Asia and Eastern Europe.
    • History of Europe describes the passage of time from humans inhabiting the European continent to the present day.
    • History of Asia can be seen as the collective history of several distinct peripheral coastal regions, East Asia, South Asia, and the Middle East linked by the interior mass of the Eurasian steppe.
      • History of East Asia is the study of the past passed down from generation to generation in East Asia.
      • History of the Middle East begins with the earliest civilizations in the region now known as the Middle East that were established around 3000 BC, in Mesopotamia (Iraq).
      • History of India is the study of the past passed down from generation to generation in the Sub-Himalayan region.
      • History of Southeast Asia has been characterized as interaction between regional players and foreign powers.
  • History of North America is the study of the past passed down from generation to generation on the continent in the Earth's northern and western hemisphere.
  • History of Central America is the study of the past passed down from generation to generation on the continent in the Earth's western hemisphere.
  • History of the Caribbean begins with the oldest evidence where 7,000-year-old remains have been found.
  • History of South America is the study of the past passed down from generation to generation on the continent in the Earth's southern and western hemisphere.
  • History of Europe describes the passage of time from humans inhabiting the European continent to the present day.
  • History of Asia can be seen as the collective history of several distinct peripheral coastal regions, East Asia, South Asia, and the Middle East linked by the interior mass of the Eurasian steppe.
    • History of East Asia is the study of the past passed down from generation to generation in East Asia.
    • History of the Middle East begins with the earliest civilizations in the region now known as the Middle East that were established around 3000 BC, in Mesopotamia (Iraq).
    • History of India is the study of the past passed down from generation to generation in the Sub-Himalayan region.
    • History of Southeast Asia has been characterized as interaction between regional players and foreign powers.
  • History of East Asia is the study of the past passed down from generation to generation in East Asia.
  • History of the Middle East begins with the earliest civilizations in the region now known as the Middle East that were established around 3000 BC, in Mesopotamia (Iraq).
  • History of India is the study of the past passed down from generation to generation in the Sub-Himalayan region.
  • History of Southeast Asia has been characterized as interaction between regional players and foreign powers.
  • The American Historical Association's Guide to Historical Literature, 3rd ed., eds. Mary Beth Norton and Pamela Gerardi (2 vol, Oxford U.P. 1995) 2064 pages; annotated guide to 27,000 of the most important English language history books in all fields and topics
  • Benjamin, Jules R. A Student's Guide to History (2009)
  • Carr, E.H., with a new introduction by Richard J. Evans. What is History? Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2001, .
  • Evans, Richard J. In Defence of History. W. W. Norton & Company (2000), .
  • Furay, Conal, and Michael J. Salevouris. The Methods and Skills of History: A Practical Guide (2010)
  • Kelleher, William. Writing History: A Guide for Students (2008) excerpt and text search
  • * Lingelbach, Gabriele. "The Institutionalization and Professionalization of History in Europe and the United States." in The Oxford History of Historical Writing: Volume 4: 1800–1945 4 (2011): 78+ online
  • Presnell, Jenny L. The Information-Literate Historian: A Guide to Research for History Students (2006) excerpt and text search
  • Tosh, John; The Pursuit of History (2006), .
  • Woolf D. R. A Global Encyclopedia of Historical Writing (Garland Reference Library of the Humanities) (2 vol 1998) excerpt and text search
  • Williams, H. S. (1907). The historians' history of the world. (ed., This is Book 1 of 25 Volumes; PDF version is available)
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