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, and 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". 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...)
Around half an hour before sunset, the Royalists decided to withdraw and began marching their infantry off the hill. As they were doing so, they spotted Parliamentarian soldiers approaching, and Hopton hurriedly recalled the infantry and set his men to meet the attack. The battle became chaotic, mostly due to the inexperience of the soldiers involved. The Parliamentarian force, which also numbered around 350, made a three pronged cavalry attack, which the Royalists were able to repel, though sections of both forces were routed. In the confusion, they were eventually able to pull back under the cover of darkness. (Full article...)
Design A-150, popularly known as the Super Yamato class, was a planned class of battleships for the Imperial Japanese Navy. In keeping with the Navy's long tradition, they were designed to be qualitatively superior to battleships that might be faced in battle, such as those from the United States or Great Britain. As part of this, the class would have been armed with six 51-centimeter (20.1 in) guns, the largest weapons carried aboard any warship in the world. Design work on the A-150s began after the preceding Yamato class in 1938–1939 and was mostly finished by early 1941, when the Japanese began focusing on aircraft carriers and other smaller warships in preparation for the coming conflict. No A-150 would ever be laid down, and many details of the class' design were destroyed near the end of the war. (Full article...)
Phan Đình Phùng (Vietnamese: [faːn ɗîŋ̟ fûŋm]; 1847 – January 21, 1896) was a Vietnamese revolutionary who led rebel armies against French colonial forces in Vietnam. He was the most prominent of the Confucian court scholars involved in anti-French military campaigns in the 19th century and was cited after his death by 20th-century nationalists as a national hero. He was renowned for his uncompromising will and principles—on one occasion, he refused to surrender even after the French had desecrated his ancestral tombs and had arrested and threatened to kill his family.
Born into a family of mandarins from Hà Tĩnh Province, Phan continued his ancestors' traditions by placing first in the metropolitan imperial examinations in 1877. Phan quickly rose through the ranks under Emperor Tự Đức of the Nguyễn Dynasty, gaining a reputation for his integrity and uncompromising stance against corruption. Phan was appointed as the Imperial Censor, a position that allowed him to criticise his fellow mandarins and even the emperor. As the head of the censorate, Phan's investigations led to the removal of many incompetent or corrupt mandarins. (Full article...)
As reported by the Byzantine chronicler Theophanes the Confessor, the Arab attack was methodical: in 672–673 Arab fleets secured bases along the coasts of Asia Minor, and then proceeded to install a loose blockade around Constantinople. They used the peninsula of Cyzicus near the city as a base to spend the winter, and returned every spring to launch attacks against the city's fortifications. Finally, the Byzantines, under Emperor Constantine IV, managed to destroy the Arab navy using a new invention, the liquid incendiary substance known as Greek fire. The Byzantines also defeated the Arab land army in Asia Minor, forcing them to lift the siege. The Byzantine victory was of major importance for the survival of the Byzantine state, as the Arab threat receded for a time. A peace treaty was signed soon after, and following the outbreak of another Muslim civil war, the Byzantines even experienced a period of ascendancy over the Caliphate. (Full article...)
Roderic (Stan) Dallas, 1918
Roderic Stanley (Stan) Dallas, DSO,DSC & Bar (30 July 1891 – 1 June 1918) was an Australian fighter ace of World War I. His score of aerial victories is generally regarded as the second-highest by an Australian, after Robert Little, but there is considerable dispute over Dallas's exact total. While his official score is commonly given as 39, claim-by-claim analyses list as few as 32, and other research credits him with over 50, compared to Little's official tally of 47. Like Little, Dallas flew with British units, rather than the Australian Flying Corps. Beyond his personal combat record, Dallas achieved success as a squadron leader, both in the air and on the ground. He was also an influential tactician and test pilot. His service spanned almost the entirety of World War I fighter aviation.
Meyszner began his career as an officer in the Gendarmerie, served on the Italian Front during World War I and reached the rank of Major der Polizei by 1921. He joined the Austrian Nazi Party in September 1925 and became a right-wing parliamentary deputy and provincial minister in the Austrian province of Styria in 1930. Due to his involvement with the Nazis, Meyszner was forcibly retired in 1933 and arrested in February 1934, but released after three months at the Wöllersdorfconcentration camp. That July, he was rearrested following an attempted coup, but escaped police custody and fled to Nazi Germany, where he joined the Ordnungspolizei (Orpo) and then the Allgemeine SS. After police postings in Austria, Germany and occupied Norway, Himmler appointed Meyszner as Higher SS and Police Leader in Serbia in early 1942. He was one of few Orpo officers to be appointed to such a role. (Full article...)
Established using the motor division concept, the division was formed with only two infantry brigades, rather than the usual three for an infantry division, and was fully mobile. The intention was to increase battlefield mobility, enabling the motor divisions to follow armoured forces through breaches in the enemy frontline to rapidly consolidate captured territory. Following the Battle of France, the concept was abandoned. The division was allocated a third infantry brigade, and became the 59th (Staffordshire) Infantry Division. It remained within the United Kingdom until 1944, assigned to anti-invasion and guard duties, while training for combat overseas. (Full article...)
Dakotan was built by the Maryland Steel Company as one of eight sister ships for the American-Hawaiian Steamship Company, and was employed in inter-coastal service via the Isthmus of Tehuantepec and the Panama Canal after it opened. During World War I, as USAT Dakotan, the ship carried cargo and animals to France. Dakotan was in the first American convoy to sail to France after the United States entered the war in April 1917. In Navy service, USS Dakotan carried cargo to France and returned over 8,800 American troops after the Armistice. (Full article...)
Oswald Watt, Australian Flying Corps
Walter Oswald Watt, OBE (11 February 1878 – 21 May 1921) was an Australian aviator and businessman. The son of a Scottish-Australian merchant and politician, he was born in England and moved to Sydney when he was one year old, returning to Britain at the age of eleven for education at Bristol and Cambridge. In 1900 he went back to Australia and enlisted in the Militia, before acquiring cattle stations in New South Wales and Queensland. He was also a partner in the family shipping firm.
The ships were never completed due to shifting production requirements and a shortage of labor after the beginning of World War I in 1914. The first four ships were sufficiently advanced in construction to permit their launching to clear the slipways for other, more important work. Many of the guns built for the ships were converted for use by the Army. After the war, the French Navy considered several proposals to complete the ships, either as originally designed or modernized to account for lessons from the war. The weak French post-war economy forestalled these plans and the first four ships were broken up. (Full article...)
Jin dynasty (blue) and Song dynasty (orange) in 1141
The Jin–Song Wars were a series of conflicts between the JurchenJin dynasty (1115–1234) and Han ChineseSong dynasty (960–1279). In 1115, Jurchen tribes rebelled against their overlords, the KhitanLiao dynasty (907–1125), and declared the formation of the Jin. Allying with the Song against their common enemy the Liao dynasty, the Jin promised to return to the Song the Sixteen Prefectures that had fallen under Liao control since 938. The Chinese agreed but the Jurchens' quick defeat of the Liao combined with Song military failures made the Jin reluctant to cede territory. After a series of negotiations that embittered both sides, the Jurchens attacked the Song in 1125, dispatching one army to Taiyuan and the other to Bianjing (modern Kaifeng), the Song capital.
Surprised by news of an invasion, Song general Tong Guan retreated from Taiyuan, which was besieged and later captured. As the second Jin army approached the capital, Song emperor Huizong abdicated and fled south. Qinzong, his eldest son, was enthroned. The Jurchens laid siege to Kaifeng in 1126, but Qinzong negotiated their retreat from the capital by agreeing to a large annual indemnity. Qinzong reneged on the deal and ordered Song forces to defend the prefectures instead of fortifying the capital. The Jin resumed war and again besieged Kaifeng in 1127. They captured Qinzong, many members of the imperial family and high officials of the Song imperial court in an event known as the Jingkang Incident. This separated north and south China between Jin and Song. Remnants of the Song imperial family retreated to southern China and, after brief stays in several temporary capitals, eventually relocated to Lin'an (modern Hangzhou). The retreat divided the dynasty into two distinct periods, Northern Song and Southern Song. (Full article...)
The Battle of Caishi (Chinese: 采石之戰, approximately ts'eye-shee) was a major naval engagement of the Jin–Song Wars of China that took place on November 26–27, 1161. It ended with a decisive Song victory, aided by their use of gunpowder weapons.
The inaugural games were held, on the orders of the Roman EmperorTitus, to celebrate the completion in AD 80 (81 according to some sources) of the Colosseum, then known as the Flavian Amphitheatre (Latin: Amphitheatrum Flavium). Vespasian began construction of the amphitheatre around AD 70 and it was completed by his son Titus who became emperor following Vespasian's death in AD 79. Titus' reign began with months of disasters – including the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, a fire in Rome, and an outbreak of plague – he inaugurated the completion of the structure with lavish games that lasted for more than one hundred days, perhaps in an attempt to appease the Roman public and the gods.
Little literary evidence survives of the activities of the gladiatorial training and fighting (ludi). They appear to have followed the standard format of the Roman games: animal entertainments in the morning session, followed by the executions of criminals around midday, with the afternoon session reserved for gladiatorial combats and recreations of famous battles. The animal entertainments, which featured creatures from throughout the Roman Empire, included extravagant hunts and fights between different species. Animals also played a role in some executions which were staged as recreations of myths and historical events. Naval battles formed part of the spectacles but whether these took place in the amphitheatre or on a lake that had been specially constructed by Augustus is a topic of debate among historians. (Full article...)
A lithograph of a watercolour painting depicting soldiers transporting winter clothing, lumber for huts, and other supplies through a snow-covered landscape, with partially buried dead horses along the roadside, to the British camps, during the Siege of Sevastopol of the Crimean War. In the winter, a storm ruined the camps and supply lines of the Allied forces (France, Britain and the Ottoman Empire). Men and horses became sick and starved in the poor conditions.
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.
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 crying Sudeten woman salutesAdolf Hitler as German forces sweep into Czechoslovakia, October 1938. Originally published in the Völkischer Beobachter, it supposedly showed the intense emotions of joy which swept the populace as Hitler drove through the streets of Cheb, 99% of whose inhabitants were ardently pro-Nazi Sudeten Germans at the time. In contrast, when the photo was published in the U.S., it was captioned, "The tragedy of this Sudeten woman, unable to conceal her misery as she dutifully salutes the triumphant Hitler, is the tragedy of the silent millions who have been 'won over' to Hitlerism by the 'everlasting use' of ruthless force." It is unknown what the true circumstances surrounding the photo are.
On October 22, 1895, the Granville–Paris Express train overran the buffer stop at Gare Montparnassestation. The engine careened across almost 30 metres (100 feet) of the station concourse, crashed through a 60 centimetre thick wall, shot across a terrace and sailed out of the station, plummeting onto the Place de Rennes 10 metres (30 feet) below where it stood on its nose. While all of the passengers on board the train survived, one woman on the street below was killed by falling masonry.
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.
De Magere Compagnie (completed 1637), which depicts a company of schutterij, a voluntary city guard or citizen militia in the medieval and early modernNetherlands. Frans Hals was commissioned to create this, but he was unable to complete it after three years, and the company hired Pieter Codde to finish it. Group portraits such as this of schutterij were known as schuttersstuk, and were popular among the guards themselves.
On 23 May 1430, she was captured at Compiègne by the Burgundian faction, a group of French nobles allied with the English. She was later handed over to the English and put on trial by the pro-English bishop Pierre Cauchon on a variety of charges. After Cauchon declared her guilty, she was burned at the stake on 30 May 1431, dying at about nineteen years of age. (Full article...)
A painting depecting the Qing Chinese celebrating a victory over the Kingdom of Tungning in Taiwan. This work was a collaboration between Chinese and European painters.
"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
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.
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).
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 BC, or Han Dynasty period. Shaanxi History Museum.
A Japanese depiction of a Portuguese trading carrack. Advances in shipbuilding technology during the Late Middle Ages would pave the way for the global European presence characteristic of the early modern period.
The Iron Age kingdom of Israel (blue) and kingdom of Judah (yellow)
Cossacks became the backbone of the early Russian Army.
Model for the Three Superior Planets and Venus from Georg von Peuerbach, Theoricae novae planetarum.
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.
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