History (from Greekἱστορία, 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, the "father of lies".[according to whom?] 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 722BC although only 2nd-centuryBC texts have survived. (Full article...)
The gun trials of the Brazilian dreadnoughtMinas Geraes, the ship that began the dreadnought race. Here, all guns capable of training to the port side were fired, forming what was at that time the heaviest broadside ever fired off a warship.
At the turn of the twentieth century, the Brazilian Navy was inferior to its Argentine and Chilean rivals in quality and total tonnage. In 1904, the Brazilian legislature voted to allocate a significant amount of funds to address this naval imbalance. The proponents of this strategy believed that a strong navy would help make the country into an international power. (Full article...)
Zähringen saw active duty in I Squadron of the German fleet for the majority of her career. During this period, she was occupied with extensive annual training and making good-will visits to foreign countries. The training exercises conducted during this period provided the framework for the High Seas Fleet's operations during World War I. She was decommissioned in September 1910, but returned to service briefly for training in 1912, where she accidentally rammed and sank a torpedo boat. After the start of World War I in August 1914, Zähringen was brought back to active duty in IV Battle Squadron. The ship saw limited duty in the Baltic Sea, including during the Battle of the Gulf of Riga in August 1915, but saw no combat with Russian forces. By late 1915, crew shortages and the threat of British submarines forced the Kaiserliche Marine to withdraw older battleships like Zähringen. (Full article...)
A British Lancaster bomber over Kaafjord during Operation Paravane
The attack on 15 September followed a series of largely unsuccessful raids conducted against Tirpitz by Royal Navy aircraft carriers between April and August 1944, that sought to sink or disable the battleship at her anchorage, so that she no longer posed a threat to Allied convoys travelling to and from the Soviet Union. The first of these raids was successful, but the other attacks failed due to shortcomings with the Fleet Air Arm's strike aircraft and the formidable German defences. As a result, the task of attacking the battleship was transferred to the RAF's Bomber Command. Avro Lancaster bombers from the Command's two elite squadrons flew to their staging airfield in the Soviet Union on the night of 11/12 September, and attacked on 15 September using heavy bombs and air-dropped mines. All of the British aircraft returned to base, though one of the Lancasters later crashed during its flight back to the United Kingdom. (Full article...)
In 1345 Henry, Earl of Lancaster, was sent to Gascony in south west France with 2,000 men and large financial resources. In 1346 the French focused their effort on the south west and, early in the campaigning season, an army of 15,000–20,000 men marched down the valley of the Garonne. Aiguillon commands both the Rivers Garonne and Lot, and it was not possible to sustain an offensive further into Gascony unless the town was taken. Duke John, the son and heir apparent of Philip VI, laid siege to the town. The garrison, some 900 men, sortied repeatedly to interrupt the French operations, while Lancaster concentrated the main Anglo-Gascon force at La Réole, some 30 miles (48 km) away, as a threat. Duke John was never able to fully blockade the town, and found that his own supply lines were seriously harassed. On one occasion Lancaster used his main force to escort a large supply train into the town. (Full article...)
The Tower of London, officially Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress of the Tower of London, is a historic castle on the north bank of the River Thames in central London. It lies within the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, which is separated from the eastern edge of the square mile of the City of London by the open space known as Tower Hill. It was founded towards the end of 1066 as part of the Norman Conquest of England. The White Tower, which gives the entire castle its name, was built by William the Conqueror in 1078 and was a resented symbol of oppression, inflicted upon London by the new ruling elite. The castle was also used as a prison from 1100 (Ranulf Flambard) until 1952 (Kray twins), although that was not its primary purpose. A grand palace early in its history, it served as a royal residence. As a whole, the Tower is a complex of several buildings set within two concentric rings of defensive walls and a moat. There were several phases of expansion, mainly under kings Richard I, Henry III, and Edward I in the 12th and 13th centuries. The general layout established by the late 13th century remains despite later activity on the site.
The Tower of London has played a prominent role in English history. It was besieged several times, and controlling it has been important to controlling the country. The Tower has served variously as an armoury, a treasury, a menagerie, the home of the Royal Mint, a public record office, and the home of the Crown Jewels of England. From the early 14th century until the reign of Charles II in the 17th century, a procession would be led from the Tower to Westminster Abbey on the coronation of a monarch. In the absence of the monarch, the Constable of the Tower is in charge of the castle. This was a powerful and trusted position in the medieval period. In the late 15th century, the castle was the prison of the Princes in the Tower. Under the Tudors, the Tower became used less as a royal residence, and despite attempts to refortify and repair the castle, its defensive systems lagged behind developments to deal with artillery. (Full article...)
Lieutenant General Vernon Sturdee, GOC First Army c. 1945
In 1933, Conant became the President of Harvard University with a reformist agenda that involved dispensing with a number of customs, including class rankings and the requirement for Latin classes. He abolished athletic scholarships, and instituted an "up or out" policy, under which scholars who were not promoted were terminated. His egalitarian vision of education required a diversified student body, and he promoted the adoption of the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) and co-educational classes. During his presidency, women were admitted to Harvard Medical School and Harvard Law School for the first time. (Full article...)
Popular in Abkhazia due to his ability to resonate with the people, Lakoba maintained a close relationship with Stalin, who would frequently holiday in Abkhazia during the 1920s and 1930s. This relationship saw Lakoba become the rival of one of Stalin's other confidants, Lavrentiy Beria, who was in charge of the Transcaucasian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic, which included Georgia. During a visit to Beria in Tbilisi in December 1936, Lakoba was poisoned, allowing Beria to consolidate his control over Abkhazia and all of Georgia and to discredit Lakoba and his family as enemies of the state. Rehabilitated after the death of Stalin in 1953, Lakoba is now revered as a national hero in Abkhazia. (Full article...)
On June 2, 1865, the Confederate Trans-Mississippi Department surrendered. The men of the regiment were located at different points in Louisiana and Arkansas when they were paroled twelve days later, leading the historian James McGhee to believe that the regiment had disbanded before the surrender. (Full article...)
The Maryland and Virginia Rifle Regiment, most commonly known as Rawlings' Regiment in period documents, was organized in June 1776 as a specialized light infantry unit of riflemen in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. The American rifle units complemented the predominant, musket-equipped, line infantry forces of the war with their long-range marksmanship capability and were typically deployed with the line infantry as forward skirmishers and flanking elements. Scouting, escort, and outpost duties were also routine. The rifle units' battle formation was not nearly as structured as that of the line infantry units, which employed short-range massed firing in ordered linear formations. The riflemen could therefore respond with more adaptability to changing battle conditions.
The Maryland and Virginia Rifle Regiment consisted of nine companies—four from Maryland and five from Virginia. The two-state composition of the new unit precluded it from being managed through a single state government, and it was therefore directly responsible to national authority as an Extra Continental regiment. (Full article...)
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. The SD trooper pictured second from the right, is Josef Blösche, who was identified by Polish authorities using this photograph. Blösche was tried for war crimes in Erfurt, East Germany in 1969, sentenced to death and executed in July of that year.
A Chola dynasty sculpture depicting Shiva. In Hinduism, Shiva is the deity of destruction and one of the most important gods; in this sculpture he is dancing as Nataraja, the divine dancer who unravels the world in preparation for it being remade by Brahma.
A group of Australianinfantry wearing Small Box Respirators (SBRs) at the Third Battle of Ypres in September 1917. After the introduction of poison gas in World War I, countermeasures were developed. SBRs represented the pinnacle of gas mask development during the war, a mouthpiece connected via a hose to a box filter (hanging around the wearer's neck in this picture), which in turn contained granules of chemicals that neutralised the gas. The SBR was the prized possession of the ordinary infantryman; when the British were forced to retreat during the German Spring Offensive of 1918, it was found that while some troops had discarded their rifles, hardly any had left behind their respirators.
Petra is an archaeological site in Jordan, lying in a basin among the mountains which form the eastern flank of Wadi Araba, the great valley running from the Dead Sea to the Gulf of Aqaba. It is famous for having many stone structures carved into the rock.
The first successful permanent photograph, created in 1826, is titled "View from the Window at Le Gras". It required an eight-hour exposure in bright sunshine and was printed on a polished pewter plate covered with a petroleum derivative called bitumen of Judea. Due to the long exposure, the buildings are illuminated by the sun from both right and left.
Cotton MS Augustus II.106, one of four surviving exemplifications of Magna Carta. This document, sealed by King John of England on 15 June 1215 (O.S.), was drafted by the Archbishop of Canterbury to make peace between the unpopular king and a group of rebel barons. The charter promised the protection of church rights, protection for the barons from illegal imprisonment, access to swift justice, and limitations on feudal payments to the Crown. The document was reissued and renewed several times over the centuries, though its political impact decreased as later laws were passed. The charter was significant because the king had agreed to limit his power, so that although it dealt predominantly with the king and the barons, since the late 16th century it has been considered a symbol of liberty and the freedom of the individual.
Point du Sable was of African descent, but little else is known of his life prior to the 1770s. During his career, the areas where he settled and traded around the Great Lakes and in the Illinois Country changed hands several times among France, Britain, Spain and the United States. Described as handsome and well educated, Point duSable married a Native American woman, Kitiwaha, and they had two children. In 1779, during the American Revolutionary War, he was arrested by the British on suspicion of being an American Patriot sympathizer. In the early 1780s he worked for the British lieutenant-governor of Michilimackinac on an estate at what is now the city of St. Clair, Michigan north of Detroit. (Full article...)
As long as I breathe I hope. As long as I breathe I shall fight for the future, that radiant future, in which man, strong and beautiful, will become master of the drifting stream of his history and will direct it towards the boundless horizons of beauty, joy and happiness!
The Chinese Han Dynasty dominated the East Asia region at the beginning of the first millennium AD
Execution of some of the ringleaders of the jacquerie, from a 14th-century manuscript of the Chroniques de France ou de St Denis
Ottoman Empire 1481–1683
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).
Cossacks became the backbone of the early Russian Army.
Reconstruction of an early medieval peasant village in Bavaria
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.
A medieval scholar making precise measurements in a 14th-century manuscript illustration
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.
"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
Gold stag with eagle's head, and ten further heads in the antlers. An object inspired by the art of the Siberian Altai mountain, possibly Pazyryk, unearthed at the site of Nalinggaotu, Shenmu County, near Xi'an, China. Possibly from the "Hun people who lived in the prairie in Northern China". Dated to the 4th–3rd century BCE, or Han Dynasty period. Shaanxi History Museum.
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