Introduction

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.

Selected periods of history

Selected images

Selected histories by subject

Selected historical figures

Selected historical disciplines

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Selected historical concepts

On this day

January 20: World Religion Day (2019)

Honório Carneiro Leão
Honório Carneiro Leão

David Wilmot (b. 1814) · Sarah Conlon (b. 1926) · Claudio Abbado (d. 2014)

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Suboutlines

History (timelines) – records of past events and the way things were. It is also a field responsible for the discovery, collection, organization, and presentation of information about the past.

Subtopics

History by region – Ancient Egypt • Ancient Greece • Ancient Rome • History of China • History of the Middle East • History of Mesoamerica • History of India

History by continent – Africa • The Americas • Antarctica • Asia • Australia • Eurasia • Europe • North America • Oceania • South America

List of time periods Prehistory • Protohistory • Ancient history • Modern history • Future history

The Ages of history – Stone Age • Copper Age • Bronze Age • Iron Age • Dark Ages (historiography) • Middle Ages • Age of Discovery • Renaissance • Age of Enlightenment • Industrial Age • Space Age • Information Age

History by subject

Cultural history Money • Sport
History of art Dance • Film • Music • Painting • Theatre
History of philosophy Ancient • Medieval • Modern • Contemporary
History of logic
History of science Theories/sociology • Historiography • Mathematics • Pseudoscience • Scientific method
History of the natural sciencesAstronomy • Biology • Chemistry • Ecology • Geography • Physics • Geology
History of the social sciencesAnthropology • Economics • Education • Geography • Linguistics • Political science • Psychology • Sociology
History of science by era In early cultures • In Classical Antiquity • In the Middle Ages • In the Renaissance • Scientific Revolution
History of technology Agriculture & agricultural science • Architecture • Biotechnology • Chemical engineering • Communication • Computing (Computer science, Software engineering) • Electrical engineering • Invention • Materials science • Measurement • Medicine • Military technology • Transport

Recognized content

Featured articles

Good articles

Subportals

History

History by period
History by decade
1910s • 1920s • 1930s • 1940s • 1950s • 1960s • 1970s • 1980s • 1990s • 2000s • 2010s
History by century
19th century • 20th century
History by era
Prehistory
Archaeology • Quaternary prehistory • Silurian
Ancient history
Classical civilization (Ancient Olympic Games)
Ancient Egypt • Ancient Germanic Culture • Ancient Greece • Ancient Japan • Ancient Near East • Ancient Tamil civilization • Ancient Rome (Military of ancient Rome)
Middle Ages
Byzantine Empire • Holy Roman Empire • Medieval Britain
Renaissance
Colonialism • Piracy
Modern history
Civil rights movement • Early modern Britain
Current events
Sports • National Register of Historic Places
History by region
American Old West • Anglo-Saxon England • Austria-Hungary • British Empire • Bulgarian Empire • History of Imperial China • East Germany • European military history • German Empire • History of Canada • Holy Roman Empire • Indian independence movement • Khitan • Mesoamerica • Nazi Germany • New France • Ottoman Empire • Russian Empire • Sasanian Empire • Soviet Union • Transylvania • Weimar Republic
History by subject
Crown of Aragon • Disasters • Heraldry • History of the Latter Day Saint movement • History of Science
Mythology
Aztec mythologyGreek mythologyHindu mythology
Sports
Ancient Olympic Games
Time
WinterAutumn
Chronology
War
War of 1812 • American Revolutionary War • American Civil War • Ancient warfare • Arab–Israeli conflict • Cold War • Crusades • Italian Wars • Liberation War • Military history of France • Military history of Africa • Military history of the Ottoman Empire • Napoleonic Wars • September 11 attacks • Spanish American wars of independence • Syrian Civil War • World War I • World War II

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