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Encyclopedia > Human history

History is often used as a generic term for information about the past, such as in "geologic history of the Earth". When used as the name of a field of study, history refers to the study and interpretation of the record of human societies. The term history comes from the Greek "ιστορία" historia, "an account of one's inquiries", and shares that etymology with the English word story.

Historians use many types of sources, including written or printed records, interviews (oral history), and archaeology. Different approaches may be more common in some periods than others, and the study of history has its fads and fashions (see historiography). The events that occurred prior to human records are known as prehistory.

Knowledge of history is often said to encompass both knowledge of past events and historical thinking skills.

A criticism of history as a field has been that it has too narrowly focused on political events or on individuals. Deeper more significant changes in terms of ideas, technology, family life and culture have received too little attention. Recent developments in history have sought to redress this.

See also: History of the world



A very large amount of historical information is available in Wikipedia, and several different ways of classifying it are given below.

History classified by region

History classified by subregion

  • History of North America
  • History of South America
  • History of Latin America
  • History of Central America
  • History of the Caribbean
  • History of Eurasia
  • History of South Asia
  • History of East Asia
  • History of the Middle East
  • History of Australasia (Australia, New Guinea, Micronesia, Melanesia, Polynesia)
  • History of the Pacific Islands

History classified by dates

Academic classification

History of Religions

  • History of Christianity
  • History of Islam
  • Jewish history
  • History of Buddhism
  • Hinduism History of Hinduism

Miscellaneous classifications

Ideological classifications

Although there is arguably some intrinsic bias in history studies (with national bias perhaps being the most significant), history can also be studied from narrow ideological perspectives, which practitioners feel are often ignored, such as:

A form of historical speculation known commonly as virtual history, or "counterfactual history", has also been adopted by some historians as a means of assessing and exploring the possible outcomes if certain events had not occurred or had occurred in a different way. This is somewhat similar to the alternative history genre in fiction.

Lists of false or dubious historical resources and historical myths that were once popular and widespread, or have becomes so, have also been prepared.

Guidelines for history on Wikipedia can be found at Wikipedia:History.

See also

External links

Wikibooks Wikiversity has more about this subject:
School of History
  • A history resource for kids (http://www.younghistorians.com/)
  • An attempt at NPOV history with a "Chronology of Events in History, Mythology, and Folklore": http://www.b17.com/family/lwp/frameset/frameset.html
  • "Timelines of History", A collection of timelines organized by time, location and subject matter: http://timelines.ws
  • Internet History Sourcebooks Project (http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/) See also Internet History Sourcebooks Project. Collections of public domain and copy-permitted historical texts presented cleanly (without advertising or excessive layout) for educational use.
  • World History Blog (http://world-history-blog.blogspot.com)
  • History Forum Simaqianstudio (http://www.simaqianstudio.com)
  • [http://www.talk-history.com/forum Talk History - Discussing the past
  • World History Web Resources: An Annotated Guide (http://personal.cmich.edu/~loren1mg/world-history.html)
  • The Academy (http://www.galilean-library.org/academy/), a new discussion forum covering History and other humanities.

  Results from FactBites:
History of the world - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (6574 words)
The history of the world, in popular parlance, is human history, from the first appearance of Homo sapiens to the present.
Humans also developed language sometime during the Paleolithic period, as well as a conceptual repertoire that included systematic burial of the dead, which suggests a development of foresight after being consistently exposed to rotting bodies after some previously misunderstood event of death.
The same period raised prospects of an end to human history, precipitated by unmanaged global hazards: nuclear proliferation, the greenhouse effect and other forms of environmental degradation caused by the "fissile-fossil complex," international conflicts prompted by the dwindling of resources, fast-spreading epidemics such as HIV, and the passage of near-earth asteroids and comets.
Timeline of human evolution - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (2810 words)
Both chimpanzees and humans have a larynx that repositions during the first two years of life to a spot between the pharynx and the lungs, indicating that the common ancestors have this feature, a precursor of speech.
The most recent common patrilineal ancestor of humans alive today is different from the one for humans who will be alive a thousand years in the future: as male lines die out, a more recent individual, the Y-mrca of a subtree of the preceding Y-Adam, becomes the new Y-Adam.
Humans reach Tierra del Fuego at the tip of South America, the last continental region to be inhabited by humans (excluding Antarctica).
  More results at FactBites »



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