The History Portal


History (derived from Ancient Greek ἱστορία (historía) 'inquiry; knowledge acquired by investigation') is the systematic study and documentation of the human past.

The period of events before the invention of writing systems is considered prehistory. "History" is an umbrella term comprising past events as well as the memory, discovery, collection, organization, presentation, and interpretation of these events. Historians seek knowledge of the past using historical sources such as written documents, oral accounts, art and material artifacts, and ecological markers. History is incomplete and still has debatable mysteries.

History is an academic discipline which uses a narrative to describe, examine, question, and analyze past events, and investigate their patterns of cause and effect. Historians debate which narrative best explains an event, as well as the significance of different causes and effects. Historians debate the nature of history as an end in itself, and its usefulness in giving 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 verifiable evidence. However, ancient cultural influences have helped create 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 certain topical or thematic elements of historical investigation. History is taught as a part of primary and secondary education, and the academic study of history is a major discipline in universities.

Herodotus, a 5th-century BC Greek historian, is often considered the "father of history", as one of the first historians in the Western tradition, though he has been criticized as the "father of lies". Along with his contemporary Thucydides, he helped form the foundations for the modern study of past events and societies. 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 reputed to date from as early as 722 BC, though only 2nd-century BC texts have survived. (Full article...)

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Fanny Bullock Workman

Fanny Bullock Workman (January 8, 1859 – January 22, 1925) was an American geographer, cartographer, explorer, travel writer, and mountaineer, notably in the Himalayas. She was one of the first female professional mountaineers; she not only explored but also wrote about her adventures. She set several women's altitude records, published eight travel books with her husband, and championed women's rights and women's suffrage.

Born to a wealthy family, Workman was educated in the finest schools available to women and traveled in Europe. Her marriage to William Hunter Workman [de] cemented these advantages, and, after being introduced to climbing in New Hampshire, Fanny Workman traveled the world with him. They were able to capitalize on their wealth and connections to voyage around Europe, North Africa, and Asia. The couple had two children, but Fanny Workman was not a motherly type; they left their children in schools and with nurses, and Workman saw herself as a New Woman who could equal any man. The Workmans began their travels with bicycle tours of Switzerland, France, Italy, Spain, Algeria and India. They cycled thousands of miles, sleeping wherever they could find shelter. They wrote books about each trip and Fanny frequently commented on the state of the lives of women that she saw. Their early bicycle tour narratives were better received than their mountaineering books. (Full article...)
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May 21: World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development

Richard Loeb (left) and Nathan Leopold (right)
Richard Loeb (left) and Nathan Leopold (right)
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In truth history does not belong to us but rather we to history.

— Hans-Georg Gadamer, German philosopher

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