The History Portal

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 past as it is described in written documents, and the study thereof. Events occurring before written records 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. Scholars who write about history are called historians.

History also includes 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 often considered within the Western tradition to be the "father of history", or by some the "father of lies", 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.

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Northern Song in 1111
The Song dynasty (Chinese: 宋朝; pinyin: Sòng Cháo; Wade–Giles: Sung Ch'ao; IPA: [sʊ̂ŋ tʂʰɑ̌ʊ̯]) was a ruling dynasty in China between 960 and 1279; it succeeded the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period, and was followed by the Yuan dynasty. It was the first government in world history to issue banknotes or paper money, and a permanent standing navy. This dynasty also saw the first known use of gunpowder, as well as first discernment of true north using a compass.

The Song Dynasty is divided into two distinct periods: the Northern Song and Southern Song. During the Northern Song (Chinese: 北宋, 960–1127), the Song capital was in the northern city of dongjing (now Kaifeng) and the dynasty controlled most of inner China. The Southern Song (Chinese: 南宋, 1127–1279) refers to the period after the Song lost control of northern China to the Jin dynasty. During this time, the Song court retreated south of the Yangtze river and established their capital at Lin'an (now Hangzhou). Although the Song dynasty had lost control of the traditional birthplace of Chinese civilization along the Yellow River, the Song economy was not in ruins, as the Southern Song Empire contained 60 percent of China's population and a majority of the most productive agricultural land. The Southern Song dynasty considerably bolstered its naval strength to defend its waters and land borders and to conduct maritime missions abroad.

Selected biography

Malcolm X in March, 1964
El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz (Arabic: ٱلْحَاجّ مَالِك ٱلشَّبَازّ‎, romanizedal-Ḥājj Mālik ash-Shabāzz, May 19, 1925 – February 21, 1965), better known as Malcolm X, was an American Muslim minister and human rights activist who was a popular figure during the civil rights movement. He is best known for his controversial advocacy for the rights of blacks who indicted white America in the harshest terms for its crimes against black Americans; he was accused of preaching racism and violence. He has been called one of the greatest and most influential African Americans in history.

Born Malcolm Little in Omaha, Nebraska, he spent his teenage years living in a series of foster homes following his father's death and his mother's hospitalization. Little engaged in several illicit activities, and was eventually sentenced to ten years in prison in 1946 for larceny and breaking and entering. In prison, he joined the Nation of Islam (NOI) and changed his name to Malcolm X because, he later wrote, Little was the name that "the white slavemaster ... had imposed upon [his] paternal forebears". After being paroled in 1952, he quickly became one of the organization's most influential leaders.

During the civil rights movement, Malcolm X served as the public face of the controversial group for a dozen years, where he advocated for black empowerment, the separation of black and white Americans, and rejected the notion of the civil rights movement for its emphasis on racial integration. He also expressed pride in some of the social achievements he made with the Nation, particularly its free drug rehabilitation program. In the 1950s, Malcolm X endured surveillance from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for the Nation's supposed links to Communism.

In the 1960s, Malcolm X began to grow disillusioned with the Nation of Islam, and in particular, with its leader Elijah Muhammad. Expressing many regrets about his time with them, which he had come to regard as largely wasted, he instead embraced Sunni Islam. Malcolm X then began to advocate for racial integration and disavowed racism after completing Hajj, whereby he also became known as el-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz. After a brief period of travel across Africa, he notably repudiated the NOI, and founded Muslim Mosque, Inc. (MMI) and the Organization of Afro-American Unity (OAAU) to emphasize Pan-Africanism.

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Liliuokalani, c. 1891.jpg

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Beijing Castle Boxer Rebellion 1900 FINAL.jpg

An attack on Beijing Castle during the Boxer Rebellion, September 1900. The Boxer Rebellion was a nationalist movement by "Righteous Harmony Society" against European and Christian influence; it failed, and China was forced to pay an incremental reprimand of 67 million pounds to the European countries that put it down.

On this day

January 20: Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the United States (2020)

Simon de Montfort
Simon de Montfort

Sebastian Münster (b. 1488) · Myles Coverdale (d. 1569) · Mary Watson Whitney (d. 1921)

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I hate this fast growing tendency to chain men to machines in big factories and deprive them of all joy in their efforts — the plan will lead to cheap men and cheap products.

— Richard Wagner, 19th century German composer

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