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

History is the study of the past, using a variety of records. History is a field of research producing a continuous narrative and a systematic analysis of past events of importance to the human race. Those who study history as a profession are called historians. New technology, such as photography, and computer text files now are complements of traditional archival sources.


Historians are simultaneously observers of and participants in the historical process. The historical works they produce are written from the perspective of their own time and sometimes with due concern for possible lessons for their own future. In the words of Benedetto Croce, "All history is contemporary history". All events that are remembered and preserved in some authentic form constitute the historical record. The task of historical discourse is to identify the sources which can most usefully contribute to the production of accurate accounts of past. Therefore, the constitution of the historian's archive is a result of circumscribing a more general archive by invalidating the usage of certain texts and documents (by falsifying their claims to represent the 'true past').

History is facilitated by the formation of a 'true discourse of past' through the production of narrative and analysis of past events relating to the human race. The modern discipline of history is dedicated to the institutional production of this discourse. Traditionally, historians have recorded events of the past, either in writing or by passing on an oral tradition, and have attempted to answer historical questions through the study of written documents and oral accounts. For the beginning, historians have also used such sources as monuments, inscriptions, and pictures. In general, the sources of historical knowledge can be separated into three categories: what is written, what is said, and what is physically preserved, and historians often consult all three. But writing is the marker that separates history from what comes before.

Archaeology is a discipline that is especially helpful in dealing with buried sites and objects, which, once unearthed, contribute to the study of history. But archaeology rarely stands alone. It uses narrative sources to complement its discoveries. There are varieties of ways in which history can be organized, including chronologically, culturally, territorially, and thematically.

History and prehistory

History begins with the handing down of tradition; and tradition means the carrying of the habits and lessons of the past into the future. Records of the past begin to be kept for the benefit of future generations. This definition includes within the scope of history all peoples and their oral records maintained and transmitted to succeeding generations,.

The history of the world is the memory of the past experience around the world, as that experience has been preserved, largely in written records. By "prehistory", historians mean the recovery of knowledge of the past in an area where no written records exist, or where the writing of a culture is not understood. Human history is marked both by a gradual accretion of discoveries and inventions, as well as by quantum leaps — paradigm shifts, revolutions — that comprise epochs in the material and spiritual evolution of humankind. By studying painting, drawings, carvings, and other artifacts, some information can be recovered even in the absence of a written record.


Historiography is the study of the history and methodology of the discipline of and the body of history. Scholars discusses the subject topically (and the changing interpretations); as well as the specific approaches and genres.

Common topics are:

  1. Reliability
  2. Tradition or framework
  3. Moral issues and qualitative assignment
  4. Revision-ism versus orthodoxy
  5. Meta-narratives

Philosophy of history

Historical methods


Stone Age

Paleolithic Age

Mesolithic Age

Neolithic Age

Antiquity (3000 BC –500 AD)

Copper Age

Bronze Age (3300-1200 BC)

Iron Age (1200BC – 400AD)

Middle Ages (500–1500)

The Middle Ages (adjectival forms: medieval, mediæval or mediaeval) is a historical period following the Iron Age, fully underway by the 5th century and lasting to the 15th century and preceding the early Modern Era. In Europe, the period saw large-scale European Migration and the fall of the Western Roman Empire. In South Asia, the middle kingdoms of India were the classical period of the region. The "Middle" period on the Indian subcontinent lasts for some 1,500 years, and ends in the 13th century. During the late Middle Ages, several Islamic empires were established in the Indian subcontinent. In East Asia, the Mid-Imperial China age begins with the reunification of China and ends with China conquered by the Mongol Empire. The Golden Horde invaded Asia and parts of eastern Europe in the 13th century and established and maintained their khanate until the end of the Middle Ages. The Middle Ages is the middle period in a three-period division of history: Classic, Medieval, and Modern.

The precise dates of the beginning, culmination, and end of the Middle Ages are more or less arbitrarily assumed according to the point of view adopted. The widest limits given, namely the irruption of the Visigoths over the boundaries of the Roman Empire, for the beginning, and the middle of the sixteenth century, for the close, may be taken as inclusively sufficient, and embrace, beyond dispute, every movement or phase of history that can be claimed as properly belonging to the Middle Ages.

The Early Middle Ages, starting around 300, saw the continuation of trends set up in ancient history (and, for Europe, late Antiquity). The period is usually considered to open with those migrations of Germanic peoples that led to the destruction of the Roman Empire in the West in 375, when the Huns fell upon the Gothic peoples north of the Black Sea and forced the Visigoths over the boundaries of the Roman Empire on the lower Danube. A later date, however, is sometimes assumed, namely when Odoacer deposed Romulus Augustulus, the last of the Roman Emperors of the West, in 476. Depopulation, deurbanization, and increased invasion were seen across the Old World. North Africa and the Middle East, once part of the Eastern Roman Empire, became Islamic. Later in European history, the establishment of the feudal system allowed a return to systemic agriculture. There was sustained urbanization in northern and western Europe.

During the High Middle Ages in Europe, Christian-oriented art and architecture flourished and Crusades were mounted. The influence of the emerging states in Europe was tempered by the ideal of an international Christendom. The codes of chivalry and courtly love set rules for proper European behavior, while the European Scholastic philosophers attempted to reconcile Christian faith and reason.

During the Late Middle Ages in Europe, the centuries of prosperity and growth came to a halt. The close of the Middle Ages is also variously fixed; some make it coincide with the rise of Humanism and the Renaissance in Italy, in the fourteenth century; with the Fall of Constantinople, in 1453; with the discovery of America by Columbus in 1492; or, again, with the great religious schism of the sixteenth century. A series of famines and plagues, such as the medieval Great Famine and the Black Death, reduced the population around half before the calamities in the late Middle Ages. Along with depopulation came social unrest and endemic warfare. Western Europe experienced serious peasant risings: the Jacquerie, the Peasants' Revolt, and the Hundred Years' War. To add to the many problems of the period, the unity of the Catholic Church was shattered by the Western Schism. Collectively the events are a crisis of the Late Middle Ages.

Epoch turning points in European history that occurred during the whole of the Middle Ages include:

  • Commencement of the Middle Ages (c. 395)
  • Western Roman Emperor Romulus Augustulus deposed by Odoacer (476)
  • Clovis, ruler of Gaul (509)
  • The Flight of Mahomet (622)
  • Charlemagne, Emperor of the West (800)
  • Treaty of Verdun (843)
  • The Crusades (1096 – 1291)
  • Employment of Cannon at Crécy (1346)

Outstanding achievement in this period includes the Code of Justinian, the mathematics of Fibonacci and Oresme, the philosophy of Thomas Aquinas, the painting of Giotto, the poetry of Dante and Chaucer, the travels of Marco Polo, and the architecture of gothic cathedrals such as Chartres. In the Middle Ages, the opening years of the seventh century saw the death (609) of Venantius Fortunatus, the last representative of classic Latin literature.

Modern history (1500 to 2000)

Modern history, or the modern era, describes the historical timeline after the Middle Ages. Modern history can be further broken down into the early modern period and the late modern period after the French Revolution and the Industrial Revolution.

The modern era began approximately in the 16th century. Many major events caused Europe to change around the turn of the 16th century, starting with the Fall of Constantinople in 1453, the fall of Muslim Spain and the discovery of the Americas in 1492, and Martin Luther's Protestant Reformation in 1517. In England the modern period is often dated to the start of the Tudor period with the victory of Henry VII over Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485. Early modern European history is usually seen to span from the turn of the 15th century, through the Age of Reason and Age of Enlightenment in the 17th and 18th centuries, until the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in the late 18th century.

Early modern (1500–1800)

In history, the early modern period of modern history follows the late Middle Ages. Although the chronological limits of the period are open to debate, the timeframe spans the period after the late portion of the Middle Ages (c. 1500) through the beginning of the Age of Revolutions (c. 1800). From a global standpoint, the most important feature of the early modern period was its globalizing character — it witnessed the exploration and colonization of the Americas and the rise of sustained contacts between previously isolated parts of the globe. The historical powers became involved in global trade. This world trading of goods plants, animals, and food crops saw exchange in the Old World and the New World. The Columbian Exchange greatly affected almost every society on Earth.

In the world, capitalist economies and institutions became more sophisticated and globally articulated. This process began in the medieval North Italian city-states, particularly Genoa, Venice, and Milan. The early modern period also saw the rise and beginning of the dominance of the economic theory of mercantilism. It also saw the European colonization during the 15th to 19th centuries which resulted in the spread of Christianity around the world.

The early modern trends in various regions of the world represented a shift away from medieval modes of organization, sometimes politically and other-times economically. The period in Europe witnessed the decline of Christian theocracy, feudalism and serfdom and includes the Reformation, the disastrous Thirty Years' War, the Commercial Revolution, the European colonization of the Americas, and the Golden Age of Piracy. Ruling China at the begining of the early modern period, the Ming Dynasty was "one of the greatest eras of orderly government and social stability in human history". By the 16th century the Ming economy was stimulated by trade with the Portuguese, the Spanish, and the Dutch. The Azuchi-Momoyama period in Japan saw the Nanban trade after the arrival of the first European Portuguese.

Other notable trends of the early modern period include the development of experimental science, the shrinkage of relative distances through improvements in transportation and communications, increasingly rapid technological progress, secularized civic politics and the early authoritarian nation states in various regions of the world.

Late modern history (1800 to 2000)

The date of the Industrial Revolution is not exact. Eric Hobsbawm held that it 'broke out' in the 1780s and was not fully felt until the 1830s or 1840s, while T.S. Ashton held that it occurred roughly between 1760 and 1830 (in effect the reigns of George III, The Regency, and George IV). The great changes of centuries before the 19th were more connected with ideas, religion or military conquest, and technological advance had only made small changes in the material wealth of ordinary people.

The first Industrial Revolution merged into the Second Industrial Revolution around 1850, when technological and economic progress gained momentum with the development of steam-powered ships and railways, and later in the 19th century with the internal combustion engine and electric power generation. The Second Industrial Revolution was a phase of the Industrial Revolution; sometimes labeled as the separate Technical Revolution. From a technological and a social point of view there is no clean break between the two. Major innovations during the period occurred in the chemical, electrical, petroleum, and steel industries. Specific advancements included the introduction of oil fired steam turbine and internal combustion driven steel ships, the development of the airplane, the practical commercialization of the automobile, mass production of consumer goods, the perfection of canning, mechanical refrigeration and other food preservation techniques, and the invention of the telephone.

World War II

Even though Japan had been fighting in China since 1937, the conventional view is that the war began on September 1, 1939, when Nazi Germany invaded Poland, the Drang nach Osten. Within two days the United Kingdom and France declared war on Germany, even though the fighting was confined to Poland. Pursuant to a then-secret provision of its non-aggression Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, the Soviet Union joined with Germany on September 17, 1939, to conquer Poland and to divide Eastern Europe.

The Allies were initially made up of Poland, the United Kingdom, France, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, as well as British Commonwealth countries which were controlled directly by the UK, such as the Indian Empire. All of these countries declared war on Germany in September 1939.


Following the lull in fighting, known as the "Phoney War", Germany invaded western Europe in May 1940. Six weeks later, France, in the mean time attacked by Italy as well, surrendered to Germany, which then tried unsuccessfully to conquer Britain. On September 27, Germany, Italy, and Japan signed a mutual defense agreement, the Tripartite Pact, and were known as the Axis Powers.

Nine months later, on June 22, 1941, Germany launched a massive invasion of the Soviet Union, which promptly joined the Allies. Germany was now engaged in fighting a war on two fronts. This proved to be a mistake by Germany - Germany had not successfully carried out the invasion of Britain and the war turned against of the Axis.

On December 7, 1941, Japan attacked the United States at Pearl Harbor, bringing it too into the war on the Allied side. China also joined the Allies, as eventually did most of the rest of the world. China was in turmoil at the time, and attacked Japanese armies through guerilla-type warfare. By the beginning of 1942, the major combatants were aligned as follows: the British Commonwealth, the United States, and the Soviet Union were fighting Germany and Italy; and the British Commonwealth, China, and the United States were fighting Japan. From then through August 1945, battles raged across all of Europe, in the North Atlantic Ocean, across North Africa, throughout Southeast Asia, throughout China, across the Pacific Ocean and in the air over Japan.

Italy surrendered in September 1943 and split in a northern Germany-occupied puppet state and in an Allies-friendly state in the South; Germany surrendered in May 1945. Following the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan surrendered, marking the end of the war on September 2, 1945.

It is possible that around 62 million people died in the war; estimates vary greatly. About 60% of all casualties were civilians, who died as a result of disease, starvation, genocide (in particular, the Holocaust), and aerial bombing. The former Soviet Union and China suffered the most casualties. Estimates place deaths in the Soviet Union at around 23 million, while China suffered about 10 million. No country lost a greater portion of its population than Poland: approximately 5.6 million, or 16%, of its pre-war population of 34.8 million died.

The Holocaust (which roughly means "burnt whole") was the deliberate and systematic murder of millions of Jews and other "unwanted" during World War II by the Nazi regime in Germany. Several differing views exist regarding whether it was intended to occur from the war's beginning, or if the plans for it came about later. Regardless, persecution of Jews extended well before the war even started, such as in the Kristallnacht (Night of Broken Glass). The Nazis used propaganda to great effect to stir up anti-Semitic feelings within ordinary Germans.

After World War II, Europe was informally split into Western and Soviet spheres of influence. Western Europe later aligned as North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and Eastern Europe as the Warsaw Pact. There was a shift in power from Western Europe and the British Empire to the two new superpowers, the United States and the Soviet Union. These two rivals would later face off in the Cold War. In Asia, the defeat of Japan led to its democratization. China's civil war continued through and after the war, resulting eventually in the establishment of the People's Republic of China. The former colonies of the European powers began their road to independence. of the mnonney bank

Contemporary_history (2000-present)

Contemporary history describes the span of historic events that are immediately relevant to the present time.

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