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, by some, the "father of lies." 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.
A late-medieval imaginative interpretation of King Edward II's arrest in November 1326, with Isabella watching from the right
The Parliament of 1327, the Parliament of England that sat at the Palace of Westminster between 7 January and 9 March 1327, was instrumental in the transfer of the English crown from King Edward II to his son, Edward III. Edward II had become increasingly unpopular with the English nobility due to the excessive influence of unpopular court favourites, the patronage he accorded them, and his perceived ill-treatment of the nobility. By 1325, even his wife, Queen Isabella, despised him. Towards the end of the year, she took the young Edward to her native France, where she entered into an alliance with the powerful and wealthy nobleman Roger Mortimer, who her husband previously had exiled. The following year, they invaded England to depose Edward II. Almost immediately, the King's resistance was beset by betrayal, and he eventually abandoned London and fled west, probably to raise an army in Wales or Ireland. He was soon captured and imprisoned.
Isabella and Mortimer summoned a parliament to confer legitimacy on their regime. The meeting began gathering at Westminster on 7 January, but little could be done in the absence of the King. The fourteen-year-old Edward was proclaimed "Keeper of the Realm" (but not yet king), and a parliamentary deputation was sent to Edward II asking him to allow himself to be brought to parliament. He refused, and the parliament continued without him. The King was accused of offences ranging from the promotion of favourites to the destruction of the church, resulting in a betrayal of his coronation oath to the people. These were known as the "Articles of Accusation". The City of London was particularly aggressive in its attacks on Edward II, and its citizens may have helped intimidate those attending the parliament into agreeing to the King's deposition, which occurred on the afternoon of 13 January. Read more...
Painting depicting the 1840 Anti-Slavery Convention of the Anti-Slavery Society, in Exeter Hall. This was the meeting of the second Anti-Slavery Society, a British organization that was committed to worldwide abolition (the first, focused on English abolition, had dissolved after the Slavery Abolition Act 1833). Many of the leading reformers of the day are depicted here, and the organization persists today.
Jack Sheppard (4 March 1702 – 16 November 1724), or "Honest Jack", was a notorious English thief and prison escapee of early 18th-century London. Born into a poor family, he was apprenticed as a carpenter but took to theft and burglary in 1723, with little more than a year of his training to complete. He was arrested and imprisoned five times in 1724 but escaped four times from prison, making him a notorious public figure, and wildly popular with the poorer classes. Ultimately, he was caught, convicted, and hanged at Tyburn, ending his brief criminal career after less than two years. The inability of the notorious "Thief-Taker General" Jonathan Wild to control Sheppard, and injuries suffered by Wild at the hands of Sheppard's colleague Joseph "Blueskin" Blake led to Wild's downfall.
Sheppard was as renowned for his attempts to escape from prison as he was for his crimes. An autobiographical "Narrative", thought to have been ghostwritten by Daniel Defoe, was sold at his execution, quickly followed by popular plays. The character of Macheath in John Gay's The Beggar's Opera (1728) was based in part on Sheppard, keeping him in the limelight for over 100 years. He returned to the public consciousness around 1840, when William Harrison Ainsworth wrote a novel entitled Jack Sheppard, with illustrations by George Cruikshank. The popularity of his tale, and the fear that others would be drawn to emulate his behaviour, led the authorities to refuse to license any plays in London with "Jack Sheppard" in the title for forty years. Read more...
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).
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.
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.
10th-century Ottonian ivory plaque depicting Christ receiving a church from Otto I
The Ezana Stone records negus Ezana's conversion to Christianity and conquests of his neighbors.
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.
"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
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