Talk:History of the world/Archive 1

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Archive 1 | Archive 2

Old talk

NPOV Issue? I'm still kind of new to the idea of contributing/critiquing articles so I figure I'll just raise this point instead of tagging NPOV myself, but the section on the 20th Century states that the Soviet Union collapsed due to US military spending. This is not only very America-centric in that it ignores the contributions of Mikhail Gorbachev, John Paul II, et al. and the importance of the Solidarity movement in Poland in bringing down Soviet communism, but it is also considered a rather right-wing point of view even in the United States insofar as it focuses on the oftentimes controversial policies of the Reagan Administration. I would be open to editing the article to rememdy this but am reluctant to do so without some guidance, partly due to my inexperience and partly because I don't want to create an NPOV issue tilted towards my own ideas... ThirtyOneKnots 4:24. 14 Dec 2005 (UTC)

  • The reality was that the people in communistic countries knew that they were far poorer then the people in the west. They had a complete mistrust in their leadership. The leaders of the Soviet Union knew that their economy was decreasing and that they couldn't apply all the new technologies from the west. The advance of the computer was a great concern for them. A demand both among the elite as the population for change grew in large parts of Eastern Europe. Before Gorbachev, government and society were already changing in Poland and Hungary. The American military was an important element for the Soviet elite. The Soviet Union couldn't maintain its military anymore, while the United States was repadly modernizing its army using computer technologies. I'm not an expert, so i don't know how important the military was for the collapse.--Daanschr 09:19, 14 December 2005 (UTC)

Just a remark : afaik, Neanderthal Man is not an ancestor of man but rather a dead lineage. --nct 21:18, 24 Oct 2004 (UTC)

A question of style rather than of content: shouldn't all verbs be either consistently past tense or consistently present tense? I'd suggest changing everything to past tense if nobody objects :)

Alright, everything is in past tense now :) Ferkelparade 17:29, 10 Feb 2004 (UTC)

The article claims that currency originated in the Neolithic. Coinage was certainly not used before the early Iron Age, so I think I'm going to delete that misleading word from the Neolithic section as soon as I've thought up something relevant to add to the Bronze and Iron Ages section. Also, date ranges ought to be added to the section headings so that claims within each section are more easily verified. Arkuat 07:19, 2004 Jul 23 (UTC)

Article Incompleteness

If you're going to try to write a history of the ENTIRE world, it has to be more comprehensive than this. Also, each section deserves its own article. Personally, I think such a history in one article is foolish. Superm401 05:25, Apr 3, 2005 (UTC)

I think the article is simply meant as a very general overview. The history of the world obviously can't be completely covered even many, many volumes; this article should simply be something to point others in the right direction.CancerOfJuly

What's important is to have one article that links to all of the various historical-overview articles of interest. When this article gets too long (and when all the anachronisms have been moved to their correct section, and we figure out what the chronological limits of each section are), at that point we can worry about breaking this up into smaller articles. --Eric Forste 22:11, 11 Jun 2005 (UTC)
I'd like to encourage us to keep this a nice, short, comprehensive overview. Not everybody wants to read a 20,000 word article. But neither should it simply be a list of available history articles. I think that it is pretty good now and with further tweaking (but not necessarily a lot more text) it'll be fine. Cheers, -Willmcw 22:32, Jun 11, 2005 (UTC)

"The Europeans also had horses, steel, and guns that allowed them to overpower and slaughter the American people." Slaughter seems a little general. As I recall (and what a glance at Native American seems to suggest), the French in Québec didn't really do anything but trade with the original inhabitants for furs, and the North American English tried to avoid them in general- at least for the first century or so that they were there.
--BillyL 21:13, 3 May 2005 (UTC)

I expect the above remark was principally about the very early history of Spanish colonization. By the way, I noticed that Guptas were showing up in the classical empires section, and Mauryas in the later age of kingdoms section, along with a few other anachronisms, which I tried to tidy up after checking the referenced articles. I also moved the paragraph on India in the age of kingdoms section so that it would adjacent to the rest of the discussion of Eurasian history in that period. --Eric Forste 22:08, 11 Jun 2005 (UTC)
The shortest World History might include a line about the "present". "The capitalism socio-economics system domains the world with its power centers at the G-8 goverments, very contrast in human development societies exist and a massive south->north human migration exists. The planet-dynamics is changing because of human activities. Human race social and economics contrast and enviroment problems are the main challenges of human kind, etc..." lets discuss about. --GengisKanhg (my talk) 13:54, 5 October 2005 (UTC)


Capitalism doesn't cause poverty or resourse-depletion. Modern society is build on an infastructure which requires scarce natural resources; thus, these are becomming depleted. The economic system in question is irrelevent. Indeed, the underlying principle of capitalism is that resources will be used in the most effective way possible.

And poverty exists, has always existed, and will always exist. Again, capitalism isn't the reason.-- 04:48, 26 February 2006 (UTC)

Being a socialist, i strongly resist this statement. There are lots of people suffering with little to eat. Not only in underdeveloped countries, but also in the United states, Western Europe and Japan. East Germany didn't had this kind of problems. The only reason why hunger exists is capitalism.Criticisms_of_capitalism#Unequal_distribution_of_wealth_and_income
Regarding the depletion of resources. The seas are nearly depleted of fish (Overfishing) thanks to capitalism. Oil is running out (Petroleum#Future_of_oil), while there hasn't been a good substitute yet.Daanschr 10:53, 26 February 2006 (UTC)
Did you notice, in the link that you provided to overfishing, what the proposed solution is? It's privitization. Capitalism isn't the problem's the solution.--Xiaphias 20:17, 26 February 2006 (UTC)
During the period socialism was prominent during the 20th century in eastern Europe its record of environmental destruction was on par or in some cases more serious than capitalist countries. In fact one of the reasons China has such serious environmental problems today is the Chinese leadership thought the western capitalists countries concern for the environment was a mistake, a mistake that they wouldnt make, a decision the outcome of which we hear in the news weekly now and they are re-thinking. -- Stbalbach 17:31, 26 February 2006 (UTC)
Alright, Daanschr; I mean no offense, but you clearly lack an economic background. Thus, I feel that you are unqualified to make the claims you’re making.
Capitalism doesn’t cause resource depletion. Capitalism, as I mentioned before, ensures that recourses are used in the most efficient way possible. If a company doesn’t operate at peak efficiency, then a competitor will be able to take its market share by doing so. Under a centrally-planned economy, it’s not that the government doesn’t try to achieve allocation equilibrium; it’s just that it’s unable to determine what the most efficient use of resources is – competition is what determines this.
My other area of expertise is history, particularly 20th century history. Again; yours, I infer, is not. To imply that communism did not lead to wide-spread poverty is outrageous. More people starved to death in Communist Russia than died in German concentration camps. The reason? It’s not that Russia wasn’t producing enough – they were a leading exporter of grain during this period. It’s that communism is inherently inept when it comes to resource allocation.
And no, people weren’t living in tents in San Francisco; they were living in tenements in Moscow, with half a dozen family squeezed into a one-bedroom apartment. Here’s the difference – nearly everyone was living under these conditions in Russia, with no chance for advancement or improvement. Under American during the Great Depression, the problem was that work was hard to come by. Under the Soviet Union during the same time – and for the next fifty years – everyone worked, and yet everyone was poor.
Until you present some evidence to back-up your claims – which, I’m afraid to say, you won’t be able to – I’m removing those qualifications from capitalism.
Look, I’m not arguing which economic system is superior. Socialism and communism, it could be argued, are more ‘moral’ than capitalism. But capitalism is more efficient. Period.--Xiaphias 18:14, 26 February 2006 (UTC)
I agree that the communist regimes were terrible and that the western style of economy is preferable. I wrote the section about westernization and globalization and i stated there that the communist regimes and the welfare states were unsuccesful, because it led to an economic recession. Given the present technological circumstances and the large worldpopulation, i think that we can't do without capitalism. The point that i like to make is that capitalism has it side-effects just like socialism. There are 20 homeless sleeping on the street, just a hundred meters from where i am now in Leiden, Holland. That wouldn't have been possible if politicians had intiated another policy hundred years ago.
Socialism protects the countries of Western Europe from becoming like America. In America there are postmen with a fulltime job who can't afford to pay the rent and have to live on the street or in campers. The wage of american soldiers in Iraq is not enough to pay for the food of their families, so the wife and children have to accept charity of their fellow American citizens. Dutch tourists in New Orleans fled out of the city last year and were shot at by the police. Then they fled into the hotel, because the streets were unsave. This wouldn't be possible in Europe where socialists have made a better poverty policy, so poor (black) people doesn't have to become criminals. To me, these are side-effects of capitalism.Daanschr 20:22, 26 February 2006 (UTC)
Wow, okay, I think I see what the problem here is. Look, I live in America, and I'm a government employee (part-time). Things really aren't half as bad as you believe them to be. I mean, it's not your fault or anything - it seems clear that whatever news channels you're watching paint a very bleak picture of conditions here. It's true that soilders and postmen don't make a lot of money. But they don't starve, or live on the streets. Teachers aren't rich, either; but my father makes a respectable $80,000/year teaching for the public school system. Soilders, it should be mentioned, get free housing on base, and drastically reduced prices on the goods they buy by shopping on post (I live near a military base, and have several friends in the army).
The reason that government employees don't make much has less to do with the downside of capitalism, and more to do with the downside of socialism. Compare the wages of a US Post Office employee with those of a Fed Ex worker, or a public school teacher with those of a private school teacher. The private sector does things better than government, always. The government can only raise wages by simotaniously raising taxes; that doesn't help anybody.
As for poverty - one cause of poverty in America is the minimum-wage law (it's too damn high). A huge cause of crime is the illegality of drugs, and the enforcement of anti-drug laws. Both involve government intervention into the marketplace, a socialist construct. It should be mentioned that, comparatively, crime in America (with exceptions) isn't higher than in the rest of the world[1], [2].
In all seriousness - I suggest you visit the States, if you haven't already. There's less of a differance between America and Western Europe than you might think.--Xiaphias 21:45, 26 February 2006 (UTC)
In the Netherlands, we have a new problem of the working poor. The house rent is increasing while the mimimum wage remains the same. The welfare state has been downsized, which let to a new group of poor people: those without a drug addict and who are not illegal immigrants, but who can't find a job that pays the rent. It will be very hard to do something for them because of the globalization. The Chinese and Indians get some wealth while they used to be poor, and an underclass emerges in the Netherlands that is not able anymore to pay for the 1st needs. Politically it has major results. The left-wing political parties are being torn apart. The left-wing middle classes want to keep their wealth by supporting tax cuts and economic reforms leading to more capitalism and less government control. Left-wing workers want to stop immigration and promote remigration so the Dutch ethnic nation state will remain as it is. The workers are changing allegiance from the socialists to neonazis or other populist right-wing. I don't think that capitalists will be able to keep them, because they are in favour of keeping the welfare state. The neonazis are in favour of a welfare state and the exclusion of immigrants. Politics in Antwerp in belgium is already nearly dominated by neonazis and Front National in France will gain an enormous amount of votes after the riots of last year. Immigrants nearly all vote for the socialists, including the muslims.
America also has a major problem of the working poor, but there nearly no socialists. I have the impression that many poor Americans are racist or devoutly christian and will not blame middle classes, like the poor people and left-wing intellectuels in Europe do.
Karl Marx wrote in the 19th century about the indifference of the rich. They don't know the suffering of the poor and don't want to know anything about it. This still counts for today. Lots of chocolate is made by slaves in Burkina Faso. Boys captured by companies who raid villages. Boys who try to escape and get got are being murdered. Mothers don't see their children for years. These wouldn't have been possible without capitalism, because there wouldn't have been a need to enslave these boys to produce the chocolate that we eat. It is being sold in our shops. I know this because of the socialist media in the Netherlands. [3]I know about the soldiers families and the postmen because i saw them being interviewed in America on the television. The death toll of New Orleans brought the internal poverty problems of America to the surface.
Being a socialist, i am in favour of a mixed economy at the moment. Keeping some of the dignity and civilization without being competed out of the market. The government is needed (in the first place) to protect the poor, at least that is the opinion of half the Dutch population, who vote socialists. Germany, France, Belgium, Spain, Italy, Great britain have very strong socialist movements.Daanschr 16:55, 27 February 2006 (UTC)
That's the differance between socialist ideology, I suppose; I *don't* believe the government is needed to protect the poor; and I am sure it's incapable of doing so, regardless. You want to give a poor man a dollar? Feel free. But don't give him mine.
Anyways, I could argue the merits of both systems (and, indeed, would love to -- I often have this debate with my socialist friends); but I don't think this is the proper forum. The point stands that Captialism doesn't cause poverty, nor does it cause environmental problems. This are fundemental flaws of modern human society.--Xiaphias 03:47, 1 March 2006 (UTC)
Freedom is very important to me so i grant you your opinion. I agree with you that socialism has let to much of sorrow in the world. The funny thing about all ideologies are the inconsistencies. One inconsistency of mine is that i care much about live, but i still eat meat. I will not start an edit war on this topic.Daanschr 15:36, 1 March 2006 (UTC)

I hope to give a more complete response than this sometime in the near future, but I am at this moment deeply distraught by the ignorance implict in much of the discussion here. There exists, in our contemporary world, a myriad of unfortunate and concrete manifestations of the wrath of global capitalism. I do however relish the opportunity that this burgeoning Wikipedia community of information and discourse might represent. Those who understand just how unfairly this world's fate has unfolded should try to use this intellectual space as a platform from which to launch new ideas, a new consciousness. The facts are simple. One fifth of the world's population lives in abject poverty while thousands of American farmers are paid (by the U.S. government) NOT to produce food in order to ensure price stability. Perhaps even more egregiously, tons of grain are dumped into the oceans each year for similar reasons. Contrary to what previous commenters have maintained, lack of supply is never capitalism's problem; historically, it has failed every 30-40 years due to overproduction. The entire industry of advertising is, after all, dedicated to convincing people to sell their precious time for commodities that they don't need. Free your mind.

I believe...

...that a full history of the world would begin at maybe the formation of the Earth, I would consider renaming the article.

History is the study and interpretation of the record of human societies, this would exclude earlier events such as the formation of the Earth, dinosaurs, etc. - SimonP 01:31, Jun 20, 2005 (UTC)

Graph of Singularity


Do we need this graph in the article? It seems to be one of the worst examples of pseudoscience that I've come across. Speculation and bizarre graphs created with a specific end in mind might be suitable for a theoretical page on Technological singularity and maybe Technological evolution, but to put it on a page of World History elevates it to a scientific status which it does not have. The graph has also been placed on pages such as Social evolutionism and Neoevolutionism, but I didn't think it worth creating three separate discussions. — Asbestos | Talk 14:39, 14 July 2005 (UTC)

I didn't add it here to promote singularity theory, but since it nicely names and illustrate some milestones in the history of humanity (i.e. history of the world). I was considering adding Image:PPTParadigmShiftsFrr15Events.jpg instead, as it has more sources (Britannica, AMNH - which may be viewed as more of the 'scientific status') but unfortunately it doesn't have the description of what those key points are. Or perhaps the Image:PPTCanonicalMilestones.jpg will be more to your liking? Note that this is not speculation - the graph does not show future, just the past (historical) events. Whether one draws from it a conclusion regarding the technological singularity or not is rather irrelevant here. Regarding social evolutionism use - I think it is at least partially useful when describing the theories of Lewis H. Morgan, Leslie White and Gerhard Lenski (which, you may note, are recognized scientists). --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus Talk 19:26, 14 July 2005 (UTC)
The graph does not explicity shows the future, but the way in which it´s organized it guides the reader to a specific conclusion. It´s possible to draw a logarithmic timeline of the world from any point of start. I could put the zero in 1500 and write down what happened in 1490 (discovery of americas) in 1400 (renaissance) 500 (fall of roman empire?) and from there on the graph would be very similar. Or I could put the zero in today and create a script that updates it with the google news headline for the last 10 minutes or 10 hours (or the last 10<up>-100</up> year). The graph is biased to the suggest that there is something special in the next years to come. It does no state that, but it´s drawn to suggest it. It implicitly draws us to that conclusion. Also the Y axis - years to the next event is nonsense, as the "next event" is picked to fit in that date. That´s when biased graphics are dangerous, when they don´t say, but leads you to a erroneous conclusion. That´s why I am taking it out of the article: we can find better things to put there.--Alexandre Van de Sande 02:59, 18 July 2005 (UTC)
I agree, the graph needs too much explanation for an overview article like this one. - SimonP 03:11, July 18, 2005 (UTC)
I disagree. Your agrument has already been disproven at Talk:Technological_singularity#Biased_Images. If you want more sources and references, there is the pic below, but I find that it is more interesting to use the above one with specific examples. Find me an academic list of key events that is contrary to that? --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus Talk 10:01, 19 July 2005 (UTC)
Piotrus, the graph is fine at Technological singularity, because it accurately describes the theory. On this page, though, we're faced with one of two options:
  1. The graph is there to show the impending singularity, in which case it belongs only at the relevant article and not here.
  2. The graph is not there to promote the singularity, instead it's just there to show a list of key events, as you say several posts up.
If the second, the question remains: why do we need this graph? If you really just want a list of important events, could not a simple list do? Or, tell you what, could we not write an article on the key events, call it, say, History of the World?
Obviously I'm being facetious, but my point remains. You can't say "whether one draws from it a conclusion regarding the technological singularity or not is rather irrelevant here" — it's not irrelevant, it's the entire point of this graph. A graph gets created where one hand-picks "events", such that the the step between emergence of Eukaryotic cells and the Cambrian explosion is given the same weight as the step between the invention of the computer and the invention of the personal computer, and suddenly you're surprised to discover that it forms a logarithmic curve. As Alexandre points out, it's incredibly easy to create a logarithmic curve — you just pick your "events" appropriately (if computer and personal computer are two different "events", why isn't the emergence of single celled organisms separated from the emergence of multi-celled organisms? What ever happened to fish?? Why the sudden jump to reptiles?).
Whether or not this graph is pseudoscience, it doesn't belong on this article, as it's quite clear that it's purpose is to promote the singularity theory, and not simply to show a list of some important "events" in world history. — Asbestos | Talk 10:21, 19 July 2005 (UTC)
For what it's worth, I firmly believe in the Singularity, and even I don't think this graph belongs on this page. The members of this set of graphs from a slide presentation by Raymond Kurzweil that depict major historical events exponentially increasing in frequency are non-NPOV and don't have much place on Wikipedia outside the context of "This is what Ray Kurzweil says." I have doubts about their inclusion in the article Technological singularity (as discussed further on its talk page) and I certainly don't think they belong here. -- Schaefer 14:33, 19 July 2005 (UTC)
I have readded the article, now that I have better references. It is not 'what Ray says', this is now a well referenced list backed with data by at least one Noblist - see the image's page for a complete list of references.--Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus Talk 23:51, 19 December 2005 (UTC)
It doesnt belong in an article of this scope, it's non-mainstream, arguably not even real "history", and needs a great deal of explanation. It belongs in singularity. It certainly doesnt belong on the cover of a booklead section with no explanation text to walk the reader through it. --Stbalbach 00:02, 20 December 2005 (UTC)
It's based among others on data from EB - they are pretty mainstream in my book. I don't really see a majority for discussing here. Let's have a straw poll vote then - I'll add it to the bottom section for increased visibility..--Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus Talk 14:00, 20 December 2005 (UTC)


A few months ago, well ok, a year ago I made a contribution to this article in the 'Age of Kingdoms' section which was later edited by someone who felt it was necessary to add an insult to their edit summary in the form of "the Roman Empire fell in the 400's AD, not the 100's idiot!". Besides being totally uncalled for, insults such as this are a clear violation of the Civility Policy, and yet it is very difficult to effect a change to the comments in someones edit summary. I heartily encourage everyone to make contributing to wikipedia as enjoyable and pain free as possible for everyone. If you disagree with someone's contribution there are far more civil ways to engage your fellow wikipedians in a respectful debate and to otherwise make your views known. Thanks!

Improvement drive

Several related articles are currently nominated to be improved on Wikipedia:This week's improvement drive. Help improve Spice trade, History, History of chemistry, Hannibal, John III of Portugal, History of the Balkans, History of Minnesota and Constantinople and vote for one or more of these articles on WP:IDRIVE. --Fenice 19:42, 9 August 2005 (UTC)

European Advantages

A lot of the the explanations for European success are pretty far-fetched. These two in particular:

"Another doubtless important geographic factor in the rise of Europe was the Mediterranean Sea, which, for millennia, had functioned as a maritime superhighway fostering the exchange of goods, people, ideas and inventions." The Mediterranean provided the greatest advantage to north Africa, the Persian reigon, and southern Europe (especially Italy). Northen Europe - i.e., most of Europe - was less affected by this sea, and certainly no more so than the rest of the 'civilized' world (with the obvious exception of China, linked only by the Silk Road)

The Mediterranean Sea had a huge impact for the emergence of Europe, because it made the Greek and Roman Empires possible. The Romans ruled in Northern Europe and Latin culture was expanded by the Roman Catholic Church. I think that the European victory (Western conquest of the world) had nothing to do with the Mediterranean Sea.Daanschr 22:19, 24 February 2006 (UTC)
Ah, well there I totally agree. I was refering to the later period that this section discusses - the post-Charlemange period.

"Also, in the tropics, the ever present diseases and parasites, sapping the strength and health of humans, and their animals and crops, were disorganizing factors impeding continuing progress." This statement ignores the corresponding environmental hardships of Europe. Let's not forget the numerous diseases in Europe during this era, especially the Bubonic plauge. The reason that Native Americans were so affected by disease following colonization is because they were afflicted by diseases to which Europeans had already suffered through, and become immune to. With regard to the climate, Europe had its own problems; for instance, the harsh winters of Europe were only equaled by a few other places on Earth (especially if you consider Norway).

The population in Europe was less vulnerable to diseases then the tropical areas. There were more English colonists that went to Barbados then to the present United States for instance in the 17th century. The population of Barbados (in a tropical region) declined continuously, while the population of the United states increased continously. Europeans in Batavia had the same problem as the English in Barbados. Black people were less vulnerable, but they needed to make lots of babies to get the population growing due to diseases. Bubonic plague was a small disaster compared to the tropical diseases.Daanschr 22:19, 24 February 2006 (UTC)

Anyways, my point is that saying that Europeans advanced because everyone else was at a comparative disadvantage seems pretty one-sided. --Xiaphias 18:05, 24 February 2006 (UTC)

I agree with you. I think that the history of ideas is more important then the geographic history to explain the European progress.Daanschr 22:19, 24 February 2006 (UTC)

I am sorry but that is completely incorrect. Did any of you ever read Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond. It is imperative that any discussion of the relative merits and demerits of Europe vs. other parts of the world include the thesis in that book. Ideas only become important to the development of Europe after about 1500 A.D. However, the rise to dominance was mainly due to the early adoption of agriculture and the wide availability of domesticable animals.

Finally, Xiaphas, if the disadvantages faced by other regions in the world do not explain their comparative failure (in terms of what is regarded as success in the "Westernized" world) then what does? Some inherent superiority of Europeans?? 07:56, 25 May 2006 (UTC)


Since this article is about human history, should the sections on the Paleolithic Age and Neolithic Revolution be removed and replaced with a pointer to Prehistory? --Brunnock 02:29, 5 November 2005 (UTC)

I don't think this would be a good idea. In recent years the rigid boundary between prehistory and history has largely disappeared as historians have increasingly entered the areas once only studied by anthropologists and archaeologists. - SimonP 19:24, 9 November 2005 (UTC)
Are you serious? Can you name a university that has combined its history and archaeology departments? --Brunnock 20:55, 9 November 2005 (UTC)
Quite serious. The nonsensical division between "history" and "prehistory" was only developed in the late nineteenth century, and even by the 1950s it was all but ignored. Any resistance to historians covering periods before writing has been defunct for many decades. These days you won't find a history of the United States, including Wikipedia's, that doesn't begin with the crossing of the Bearing Land Bridge. Every British history today mentions the builders of Stonehenge, and a modern history of Africa that ignores the spread of the Bantu would be laughable. For the most part history departments have simply expanded, and archaeology and antropology departments have been somewhat marginalized. Universities around the world have also been invreasingly taking a multidisciplinary approach. At the University of Toronto, where I studied, Middle Eastern archaeology, anthropology, linguistics and history are all merged into the "Near and Middle Eastern Studies Department." - SimonP 01:21, 10 November 2005 (UTC)
According to the University of Toronto's website, the History department doesn't teach any classes in Prehistory, Big History, or Archaeology. The University maintains separate History and Archaeology departments.
Wikipedia's History article states: Historians limit their study to events that have been recorded since the introduction of the earliest known written and historical records...Events before then are called prehistory, a period informed by the fields of palaeontology and archaeology. The Prehistory article corroborates this.
The way I see it, you can rewrite the History and Prehistory articles to reflect your view. Or we can modify this article to reflect those articles. --Brunnock 02:42, 10 November 2005 (UTC)
Actually the question is whether we should rewrite pretty much every history article on Wikipedia, as almost all of them begin with prehistory, or correct the history article. I've thus rewritten the history article. - SimonP 05:22, 10 November 2005 (UTC)
Let me get this straight. The History article has been misusing the term Prehistory for nearly 4 years until you corrected it just now? --Brunnock 21:53, 11 November 2005 (UTC)
I'll just add, thank you for pointing out the problem, and SimonP for fixing it. Stbalbach 22:41, 11 November 2005 (UTC)
It's not all that surprising. The history=writing idea is still quite a common simplification. It's like the Renaissance beginning in 1453, a fact that still appears in many high school text books, and even many university ones, but which hasn't been accepted by historians for decades. Still every few weeks someone alters the intro of the Italian Renaissance article to change 14th century to 15th century. - SimonP 23:18, 11 November 2005 (UTC)
Also see Big History and World History, both approaches common now not only in Universities but public high schools. As an example, the Celts left no written record, nor did many of the North American and other peoples around the world, so the "writen record only" approach doesnt work for world history, it's an increasingly outmoded idea as new evidence comes to light from lots of different places (not just archaeology). Stbalbach 01:46, 10 November 2005 (UTC)
You created the Big History article a little more than 3 months ago. Your article states that the first Big History book was written less than 10 years ago. I'm not knocking Big History, but it's definitely not mainstream. --Brunnock 02:42, 10 November 2005 (UTC)
This article doesnt take a Big History approach, so you can ignore it, for the sake of your argument. Stbalbach 05:09, 10 November 2005 (UTC)

The difference between history and prehistory has to do with the sources used, or the method of research. Many historians think it is important to use knowledge from Archeology, psychology, economy, sociology, anthropology and other fields to find the truth about what happened in the past. This is dominant in the history science since the 1960s.--Daanschr 21:28, 4 December 2005 (UTC)

I would say "Europe" as we understand it emerged with not with the Crusades but with the formation of Latin Christendom in the early Middle Ages. The Greco-Roman world was medieterreanean-so for example Egypt and North Africa were within the Greco-Roman world, while Scandinavia was outside of it. In the early Middle Ages three distinct civilizations emerge from the Greco-Roman world- Latin Christendom("the West"), Byzantine or Greek Christendom, and the Islamic civilization.

As far as the issue of "Eurocentrism" the simple fact is that for better or worse the modern world(i.e. from 1492 onwards) has been largely shaped by ideas that orignated in or were developed in a European context- for example democracy, nationalism, capitalism, socialism, liberalism, science, and industry. Through exploration, media, and imperialism European powers diffused their culture throughout the world. Thus whether one is European or non-European the study of European history is necessary to understand modernity. It is no more geographically bigoted to acknowledge the enormous European impact in recent centuries, then to recognize that many of the most important world historical religions emerged from the Middle East(e.g. Judaism, Christianity, Islam).

- Pelayo (January 2006)

More attention for civilization advances

My view is that technological advances and the taking over of innovations are more important then a countdown of empires that existed in history. Important developments are the agriculturalism, industrialism, and the evolvement of cities and states. This article could focus on how and where this developed and how it spread the world. Also the disintegration of states and dissapearance of knowledge could be described.

Quite right. This article 'misses the point'. World history should emphasize common themes, technological, economic and structural changes. Ideally this article should be rewritten. RCSB 11:26, 5 December 2005 (UTC)

Another possibility is that this article is split in a section describing these developments and a sections describing the most importants empires and rulers.--Daanschr 21:42, 4 December 2005 (UTC)

I like the chapters about paleolithic and neolithic. Afterwards the chapters have unimportant chapter headers. Bronze and Iron age have to do with what archeologues found under the ground. Maybe it is better to emphasize the grounding of states, cities, writing and long range trade. The term classical is a tradition in European history to describe the Greek and Roman civilization, thereby disregarding Egypt, Mesopotmia, China and India who were the real classical empires. I think the rise of Europe has to start with the Portugeese and Spanish voyages. The crusades weren't very spectacular if you compare it with the Arab and Mongolian conquests. Europeans were everywhere while other civilizations remained regional during the period between 1500 and 1800 allthough the European civilization wasn't more advanced as the Euopeans new very well at that time. I think that the industrial age should be the name for a chapter, starting with developments in England leading to an enormous production and later on to the complete domination of the world by Europe (western world) in the 19th century.--Daanschr 16:06, 5 December 2005 (UTC)

I don't think the 'Rise of Europe' began with the Portuguese and Spanish voyages, but with the Industrial Revolution. See here.

Europe was not technologically advanced and couldn't conquer much territories in Africa and Asia, but the Europeans were everywhere, dominating the world seas. Maybe the title of this chapter could be: Worldwide European naval precense, or something like that.--Daanschr 19:50, 5 December 2005 (UTC)

I wrote you a reply in 'Rise of Europe'. There I recommended Clive Ponting's World History - A New Perspective. I think any rewriting should follow Ponting's presentation. RCSB 18:27, 5 December 2005 (UTC)

I will look for that book.--Daanschr 19:50, 5 December 2005 (UTC)

Shall we change this article the two of us, and hope that other people will help us as well? I like to start with hunters/gatherers. The article begins with that history of the world means human history. There have been hunters/gatherers until the 20th century (or until this day). They are only mentioned in the start of the article, before the agricultural society started in some areas in the world.--Daanschr 12:47, 6 December 2005 (UTC)

I think that this improvement project is too big to do alone. I need people to discuss with, especially for the deletion of texts. My opinion is that a text may only be deleted if you put something better in return.--Daanschr 21:11, 7 December 2005 (UTC)


I see there is an edit conflict. What i heard in class was that the Europe was conquered by agrarians, but that the former hunter-gatherers remained the main population, or that the hunter-gatherers took over the culture from the agrarians. There is the genetical evidence that 80% of the European DNA-pool is equivalent to the DNA of the hunter-gatherers. But the indo-european language groups came from outside, which suggests that the European hunter-gatherers were subdued. But again, i'm not an expert.--Daanschr 09:28, 14 December 2005 (UTC)

Graph straw poll

See #Graph of Singularity for discussion.--Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus Talk 14:01, 20 December 2005 (UTC)

  • Keep the graph in this article (lead)
  1. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus Talk 14:01, 20 December 2005 (UTC)
  2. Keep. Interesting and notable, IMO. Flag of Europe and Austria.svg Nightstallion 14:35, 24 December 2005 (UTC)
  3. Keep, tres cool. This article made me ponder, and I am a supporter of pondering. I don't see how it is controversial, it is only a graph of how events occur in time.--sansvoix 23:15, 27 December 2005 (UTC)
  4. Keep, very interesting.--Fenice 07:07, 28 December 2005 (UTC)
  5. Keep. For good or ill, we are manifestly living in an evolutionarily accelerating world. logologist|Talk 23:15, 31 December 2005 (UTC)
  • Keep the graph in this article, but not the lead
  • Remove the graph
  1. --Daanschr 17:41, 20 December 2005 (UTC)
  2. -- Visiting per RfC. I'm sure the graph represents someone's hard work, but it's more of a history of life on earth than a history of human beings. Its date for the invention of language is questionable and its inherent assumption of progression toward some unnamed goal is inappropriate. Durova 02:33, 24 December 2005 (UTC)
  3. This is an intentionally brief, yet comprehensive, overview of human history. Editors must avoid the temptation to fill this article with details and special theories. This graph is too idiosyncratic. -Willmcw 18:45, 31 December 2005 (UTC)
  4. Inappropriate for this article. Vertical axis highly questionable. Contains speculation as if fact. A one-dimensional timeline would be reasonable (but not one showing, for instance, eukaryotic cell origins). -R. S. Shaw 20:08, 31 December 2005 (UTC)
  5. Not appropriate for an article at this level of generality -- theories of history don't seem to be discussed in this article, and certainly if we are to include them, we should being with the more substantial and well developed theories (e.g. Marxism). Sinply throwing this picture into the lead is POV. Christopher Parham (talk) 22:07, 31 December 2005 (UTC)
  6. The graph is interesting, but is trying to make a point which is more appropriate to an article on the Technological Singularity than to this article, and the graph goes much further back in time than this article. My preference would be to replace it with a logorithmic timeline of human history which doesn't try to predict any future event. This timeline would include most or all of the events on this graph from Art onwards, and maybe a few more, but doesn't need the vertical scale. There's a Wikipedia tool to create graphical timelines which I can't find at the moment. I'm not sure if it can handle logorithmic scales.-gadfium 22:26, 31 December 2005 (UTC)
    This is the tool I'm talking about and no, it doesn't appear to support logorithmic scales. It still might be useful to generate a few timelines for the article - maybe an overall one and then a more detailed one for one or two sections.-gadfium 22:33, 31 December 2005 (UTC)
  7. Remove the graph but keep the reference to the Technological Singularity. Franky, if there anything happens in the last half of 20th century (outside the computer realm), it is slowing down the science and technology and replacement of dynamical capitalist society by stagnant welfare states. The link still maybe relevant. abakharev 00:11, 1 January 2006 (UTC)
  8. Remove: A graph that includes eukaryotic cells and the Cambrian explosion does not belong in a page that only covers "human history, the first appearance of Homo sapiens to the present day." -- jaredwf 14:26, 4 January 2006 (UTC)
  9. Remove. Does not belong in this article. May not belong anywhere, it doesn't really provide information. Of course such a logarithmic line can be made of life's history. I'm just not sure what useful information the marked-out points provide. Rather than "Computer", the person could have put "Holocaust", for instance, and so forth, if they were trying to prove a different point. So seems rather POV, if it goes anywhere it should: (1) go into the singularity article (2) its source be clearly noted, e.g. "According to Kurzweil, this graph shows, and (3) probably have the little picture in the upper left removed, this appears to be a logo, no more appropriate than having graphs with the Exxon logo on them (I can do this if asked). Herostratus 18:08, 4 January 2006 (UTC)
  10. Remove. Tres weird. Kaldari 02:13, 5 January 2006 (UTC)
  11. Remove. Not appropriate for this article. Image:PPTParadigmShiftsFrr15Events.jpg at Technological singularity is nicer. —James S. 12:07, 5 January 2006 (UTC)
  12. Remove. It is implying a destination which is extremely speculative. The graph is not appropriate for this type of article. Elonka 07:45, 9 January 2006 (UTC)
  13. Remove. The content is only scarcely related to the article, while introducing superfluous content. Is this the best image available to illustrate this article? --Andrew c 16:44, 12 January 2006 (UTC)
  14. Strong Remove. Anti-historical pseudoscience which belongs on a religious website. Fifelfoo 00:58, 13 January 2006 (UTC)
  15. Has this poll ended? If so can it be closed? If not, and as it's already removed, my vote is Don't put it up again. It shouldn't be up for all the reasons that were discussed when the image was first removed back in July. — Asbestos | Talk (RFC) 16:16, 17 January 2006 (UTC)
  • Comment
  • This poll was done with no discussion beforehand that a poll is the way to settle the issue. Polls can be abused. It's clear from previous communications on this page from many people that this is not an ambiguous issue, the graph is inappropriate for the article. The singularity is a fringe theory that has nothing to do with professional history. Singularity is a controversial theory and not "fact". Singluarity deals with future predicitions, cherry picking certain facts from history to support its pre-concieved notion of what will happen in the future. It is from a professional viewpoint not history at all. It simply does not belong in the article. --Stbalbach 14:34, 20 December 2005 (UTC)
  • I agree with user Stbalbach that the theory of singularity can't be used to explane historical events. It doesn't explane backwardness like the extinsion of the dinosaurs, the ice ages and the middle ages. It could be that our future could one of stabilization or backwardness, allthough i think that the technological advance will continue.--Daanschr 17:41, 20 December 2005 (UTC)
  • There could be some info about the history of the earth. The world is not only the term for human world.--Daanschr 19:39, 20 December 2005 (UTC)
  • "And how should we vote about the way we should vote?" I see no reason to discuss the need to start a poll. The previous discussion was going nowhere, with what - 3 or 4 people repeating the same arguments - and lost in the middle of this talk, so I decided to start sth new to bring new voices. Yes, Singlularity is a controversial theory, but the data used for the graph come from non-fringe sources, like Britannica or American Museum of Natural History (all 13+ sources listed on image's page now). Usage of such data seems to provide for a fairly unbiased (NPOV) set of data. You are of course free to get more data and create an graph with even more data. Events on this graph illustrate which events are deemed by various scientists (or institutions) to be important in the world's history, and it seems very fitting to this article. That the graph seems to fit the singularity paradigm is not a valid reason for removing it from this article, especially as I cite my sources and you cite your own personal opinon. Please provide data that the graph is biased and untrue.--Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus Talk 22:10, 23 December 2005 (UTC)
  • The graph is cherry picking facts to support a pre-concieved universal idea of how history works, ignoring facts contrary to the theory. That it not history, it is philosophy. It is called inductive reasoning. Good history uses deductive reasoning, looking at all the facts. Inductive "theories" of history are inherintly popular and are sometimes called metanarrative's or universal history. There are scores of them. If we include the singularity, we open the door to any number of other theories, such as the Hegelian dialectic, or Arnold J. Toynbee. This article is not about theories or philosophy of history, in particular it should not present a single theory as a fact! --Stbalbach 02:56, 24 December 2005 (UTC)
So your POV is that any list of important events in the history of mankind would be subjective and thus inappopriate for this article, yes?--Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus Talk 12:44, 24 December 2005 (UTC)
  • I don't agree with stbalbach about the method of research of historians. Historians use both inductive and deductive reasoning, otherwise the subjects to be studied will be very small. An example of history mainly based on inductive reasoning is history of the world. The subject is so large, that you can't examine all the facts before coming to conclusions. I have critics on Piotrus as well. The problem with predicting the future is that you can't see all the factors that will influence the future. Good examples are the socialist failures of the last two centuries. I think that this article itself needs much improvement. Maybe we could discuss that instead of argueing about a graph.--Daanschr 15:30, 24 December 2005 (UTC)
  • I agree with Piotrus and Daanschr, I cannot imagine that historians do not use inductive thinking (or can you prove your claim by citing some source, Stbalbach?). If inductive thinking, or especially the method of forming a singularity, is controversial among historians, I suggest adding a paragraph that explains this issue. (And what's wrong with hegelian dialectic? )--Fenice 07:07, 28 December 2005 (UTC)
  • I think there is no controversy among historians about singularity. There are probably no historians (or only a few) who believe in it. I agree that the technological advance will 'probably' speed up, but the reality is that we don't know. There could be a third world war, or an enormous terrorist atack or some kind of natural disaster to prevend further modernization for a long period. Another possibility is that we can't solve some new technological problems, which means that we get stuck with what we have at this moment, or maybe a movement from within the society which blocks technological advance (examples: communism and christian or islamic fundamentalism). History should be about history and not about future.--Daanschr 08:00, 28 December 2005 (UTC)
    • First and most important (and I am getting tired of repeating this) this graph makes no prediction about the future, it only illustrates the trend, and is using several different, verifiable and respectable sources. Whether the singularity can occur or not is not discussed in this graph, and is the topic that belings ore at Talk:Technological singularity, rather then here. I have not seen any reasons for its removal backed by any citation, and the chef remover, SimonP, haven't even posted here. I posted this talk on RfC over a week ago, and although few people replied, we have a 2:1 majority for using this graph in lead (granted, 6 votes are not much, but this is all we have). I am therefore restoring this graph, please don't remove it unless there is at least 2:1 opposition.--Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus Talk 19:52, 30 December 2005 (UTC)
  • Hegel was not critical enough about the language he used. See Deconstruction.--Daanschr 08:39, 28 December 2005 (UTC)

I stand by my earlier comments that this graph is POV nonsense. First off it is not history. One half of the graph covers the period before modern humans. As a consultation with almost any general history work, or even checking the word history in a dictionary, history covers human events the Big Bang and the Cambrian Explosion are matters for scientists not historians. It makes sense then that not one historian is cited as a source for the graph, rather it seems to have been almost wholly based on the work of astronomers and other scientists. - SimonP 23:51, 30 December 2005 (UTC)

For starters, we have the American Museum of Natural History line of events there. Göran Burenhult[4] is a Swedish archeologist. Donald Johanson is a paleoanthropologist. And presumbably the list by Britannica was compiled by some historians. True, they don't form a majority of querried scientists, and part of the graph is irrelevant (as we deal with human history only in the article), nonethless, I see no reason to call it a POV nonsense and majority of the graph does deal with human history so it is relevant.--Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus Talk 10:28, 31 December 2005 (UTC)

Its thus also not too surprising that these authors, at least those that can be checked online, seem to have little idea of what developments are actually considered important by historians or of the current theories and methodologies that historians now hold. Consider the caravel, which is given a prominent place in this article and by any historian I have read, but seems to have been overlooked. Other developments like the stirrup and heavy plow were far more revolutionary than the computer or genetics have yet been. The Green Revolution may not have been as sexy as space travel or computers, but it has unquestionably had a far more profound effect on far more people's lives, yet it too is ignored. These writers also take a dated and overly simplistic view of history. Many scholars today believe that scientific progress recessed during the Renaissance, and the economy almost certainly contracted during that era. Yet it is listed as a breakthrough on par with the Industrial Revolution. That most, if not all, important technologies develop slowly over a period of decades or even centuries is also ignored. The creation of the steam engine is placed at exactly 1765, ignoring the decades of earlier versions and the subsequent long period of refinement needed before it was truly optimal. - SimonP 23:51, 30 December 2005 (UTC)

The graph is as accurate as possible! The dates used are the dates used by the reputable sources stated. Sure you can go ahead and argue that the steam engine was invented earlier... But wikipedia has to go with the academics. Same thing with the early history, sure the dates may be different, but we have to go with those who know the subject best. And it's a little far-fetched to assume all the dates were pre-thought out to match a sinister plan. I don't see the logic in removing this.--sansvoix 06:29, 31 December 2005 (UTC)
That said, what could the sinister plan be? All this graph shows is that our definition of history is excelerating, if you will. Neat! I don't know about you, but I didn't come to wikipedia to reinforce my current bubble of knowledge. This graph shows there are other ways to look at things. Its not just history either, look at this un-orthodox dow jones graph: [5] But yes, as my source states, such examples should be used with caution, as not to mislead.--sansvoix 06:47, 31 December 2005 (UTC)
You say academics, but you don't answer the critics that no historians have been mentioned, who support this graph. These academics are academics, because they are good in math. What does that have to do with history? Another comment to the graph is that it is very unclear. I don't know what is meant by it. It shows dots of different colours referring to some modern names and institutes and then we have some kind of grid, which i can vaguely remember of from school. This graph is too much a tech thi9ng, while most people in the world wouldn't understand it. I prefer the graph with key events.--Daanschr 09:19, 31 December 2005 (UTC)
So unless somebody has a degree in history, he is not authoritative enough to be cited here? I am sorry, but those are not valid arguments. Not a single opponent of this graph has provided a single reference to back his POV. And I can't see how exponential function and graphs can be too complex. As a major of not-so-techy economics and sociology I say this is basic stuff (primary school in Poland), and English Wikipedia is not simple English Wikipedia.I prefer the graph with key events - isn't this the one?--Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus Talk 10:46, 31 December 2005 (UTC)
This is becoming to political for me. I'm out of here.--Daanschr 17:49, 31 December 2005 (UTC)
Consider the caravel..stirrup...Green revolution...are overlooked... - oh, have you been able to actually get to the list of what those specific dots mean? If so, please let me know where I can find it so I can add it to the image description page. Many scholars today believe that scientific progress recessed during the Renaissance... - cite your sources, please. This is something not even mentioned in our current article, and I'd love to read about it. Renaissance#Critical_views has some statements, but most of them are unsourced. Even assuming they are true, I see no problem with this: our graph doesn't mind small declines, it is not a perfect exponential function, and so it can - and should - take in any bumps and twists. The creation of the steam engine is placed at exactly 1765, ignoring the decades of earlier versions and the subsequent long period of refinement... - as is explained in the image description (and in referenced, online articles by Modis), such dates were averaged from majority of sources. Apparently the average was in 1765 - not perfect, but this is what existing sources seem to agree upon, and we the graph is using specific years, not periods. Besides, even if you'd move it to 17th or 19th century, it wouldn't made any significant impact on the graph.--Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus Talk 10:38, 31 December 2005 (UTC)
There is a brief mention of the Renaissance decline in this article, though not added by myself. Pretty much any general work on the Renaissance or Renaissance science will present the regression idea, even if some scholars will go on to argue against it. One general text, Renaissance Europe by De Lamar Jensen states that "scholars have looked disdainfully at the entire Renaissance because it contributed so little to scientific knowledge." In terms of economics the backwardness paradigm was developed by Robert Sabatino Lopez. The graph also skips other periods widely considered to be regressive, such as the Roman Empire, the Dark Ages, and even the present. Thomas Homer-Dixon, who has won far more popular and scholarly acceptance than any of the singularity advocates, has spent his entire career arguing that as the problems that face humanity are growing exponentially more complex progress is rapidly slowing. Consider that the number of patents issued in the United States per capita was slowly falling for many years, until very recently when the flood of very easy to receive software patents began. - SimonP 15:51, 31 December 2005 (UTC)
And do you have any proof that 1) those omissions are there (given that we lack the exact descriptions of individual points), and 2) that they would skew the graph, even if they were there? Beacuse I think that given our current info those events may well be covered there as the graphs has points scattered enough to resemble some ups and downs in various periods, and even some 'downs' would not discredit this function from being exponential. I don't know if Thomas Homer-Dixon is so famous: Google test: "Thomas Homer-Dixon" 38k, "Ray Kurzweil 555k. But, I hear you say, Google may be biased towards popular science and away from 'serious' science? Ok, Google Schoolar test then: "Thomas Homer-Dixon" 74, "Ray Kuyrzweil 512. Last but not least, Kurzweil has presented Another graph, that seems to argue for a growing trend in patents. Yes, I agree, software patents did contribute substantially to the recent growth, but so what? It just another paradigm shift. You can as well deny that the human speed of travel has incresed, because you cannot count machine transportation, and actually our hunter-gatherer ancestors could run faster due on average ;p--Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus Talk 17:19, 31 December 2005 (UTC)
You fail to grasp the problem I was raising with the steam engine example. It is not that the point chosen is wrong or inaccurate, it is that the very notion of picking a single point for each invention is a deeply erroneous idea. Almost all the developments, especially the biological ones, should be represented by long threads. - SimonP 15:51, 31 December 2005 (UTC)
I stil fail to grasp it. Would a change from averaged points to long threads change something here? Citation, please.--Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus Talk 17:19, 31 December 2005 (UTC)
I think that the fundamental problem with this graph (espeically if it was at the beginning of the article) is that it presents a understanding of history not accepted by the majority of historians, archaeologists, etc. I don't think it matters what we think about the graph (which illustrates Technological singularity very well), but it shouldn't be here until it is accepted by the majority of people working in the field, as we're meant to be reporting what other people think, not what our own personal POV's are. --G Rutter 19:21, 31 December 2005 (UTC)
It's also important to realize that this is just one of many possible charts we could have on this article, and each would be supported by a dedicated group of scholars and Wikipedians. We could have some nice graphs from Paul R. Ehrlich, Jared Diamond, or Thomas Malthus about how humanity has steadily been outstripping our resources and heading for collapse. I'm sure Francis Fukuyama has some nice graphs of the centuries long spread of liberalism, or if there are still any Marxist left we could have a graph of the "inevitable" evolution of human society to a socialist future. - SimonP 22:47, 31 December 2005 (UTC)

Whatever the details, we are manifestly living in an evolutionarily accelerating world. (Let's hope we don't succumb to its concomitantly accelerating hazards.) By all means, add a brief methodologic disclaimer to the graph's caption if you must, but reinstate the graph as a visual reflection of observed trends. logologist|Talk 23:07, 31 December 2005 (UTC)

The graph needs more than a disclaimer, it needs an entire article. And it has one. There are dozens of ways of looking at world history, this graph represents just one theory. We report on what people do, not what we think they should do. Wikipedia is not a soapbox for pet theories. If you want, create an article about "history theories" - but see historiography first which allready lists a bunch, and Simons list above. --Stbalbach 23:27, 31 December 2005 (UTC)
  • I like the x-axis but not the y. I'd quite happily see a one dimensional logarithmic time line with some major events on it. This would neatly sumirise the major events in a visual form. But it would be not have the rather POV interpretation of the graphic. The y-axis just seems fishy to me. --Salix alba 01:39, 16 January 2006 (UTC)

Changes to Agriculture section

I removed the reference to Ohalo II because it's clear in the cited article by Weiss et al that the cereal grains there are harvested from the wild, not sown. They say explicitly "In sum, the plant remains from Ohalo II prove that broad-spectrum foraging was a strategy for plant collecting as well as for hunting in the UP"

Removed text: Recent findings of considerable quantities of grains in the Ohalo II paleolithic site in modern Israel seem to suggest that cereals had been intentionally sown (without the agriculture-associated additional caretaking activities like fertilization, land clearance, etc.) since 21,000 BC (PNAS 101 p. 9551-9555). Mark Nesbitt 21:30, 11 January 2006 (UTC)


I have modified this text:

If the operative definition of agriculture includes large-scale intensive cultivation of land, mono-cropping, organised irrigation, and use of a specialised labour force, the title "inventors of agriculture" would fall to the Sumerians, starting ca. 5,500 BC.

because the operative definition of agriculture is in fact the husbandry of domesticated plants (and animals). Agriculture started in the Middle East c. 10,000 years ago, well before the Sumerians. The novel aspects of Sumerian agriculture are irrigation and (increased) labour specialisation, so I have reworded to include these.Mark Nesbitt 13:55, 19 January 2006 (UTC)

New historiography section

I added a section on the historiography of world history. Not being a world history specialist, its cursory, but probably acceptable for the purposes of an encyclopedia article (I hit the big four points: predisiciplinary world history sucked, Marx made teleography credible, Braudel did important stuff, most current work is thematic). I'm actually seriously troubled that few if any wikihistory pages have historiographies. Fifelfoo 02:07, 13 January 2006 (UTC)

Does this belong at World History, which describes the methodology of world history, rather than in this article which is explicitly a narrative history? Would suggest moving your text but adding a sentence or two in History of the World to make it clear that the historiography is dealt with in the companion article World History. This would also make it clearer why there are two articles with similar names and how they differ. Mark Nesbitt 10:58, 13 January 2006 (UTC)
World History is a distinct field of history that emerged in the 1980s, it is not the right article for a broad historiography. --Stbalbach 14:40, 13 January 2006 (UTC)
I want this section to be changed. I don't agree with the information and the it is outdated. Voltaire and Hegel had history designs which weren't creationist, so writing history from a non-creationist POV started before Karl Marx and Fernand Braudel. I miss modern historians and sociologists like Wallenstein, Barington Moore and Pommeranz. I want to have it focused on the present debate in world history. A special historiography can be made at the end of the article, but if Karl Marx and Fernand Braudel are put there, then it should be explaned why they belong to this article with a special focus on possible disadvantages. Problem is that i have too little time.--Daanschr 13:53, 13 January 2006 (UTC)
I agree the current historiography section has some interesting perspectives but misses a lot. See also Universal History. --Stbalbach 14:40, 13 January 2006 (UTC)

I guess the issue at hand is 'does this article needs a historiography section', or is 'see also' enough. I think that a short section at the bottom, with details template would be useful. It should also be combined with 'theories of history' and such as we discussed above when dealing with the Technological singularity graph appropriateness issue.--Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus Talk 22:40, 15 January 2006 (UTC)

Globalization and Westernization

Needs some work. I find this section needs work on being neutral also. 22:16, 13 January 2006 (UTC)

We can't change anything, if you don't say what should be changed.--Daanschr 08:58, 14 January 2006 (UTC)
Well, I'm changing a few things in this section. It's pretty rediculously biased (both Euro-centric and seems to elevate "socialists and liberals"), and I'm going to add the POV-section template to this section. I am going to remove what it says about socialists and liberals, etc. if no one objects.Robotbeat 18:31, 25 January 2006 (UTC)
Also, the last part over-emphasizes the American influence in culture and ignores the European influences. Wikipedia isn't about being controversial or "A New Perspective." It is supposed to be as neutral as possible while giving a good idea of what is known. I don't think that over-emphasizing and then demonizing Western culture is necessarily a neutral stance. I tried to make things sound more neutral, but the whole style and focus of this section is pretty unorthodox and debatable. Remember that this is an encyclopedia. Robotbeat 20:13, 25 January 2006 (UTC)
As a detail point, it's pretty absurd to call the League of Nations and the United Nations "equally feebl[e]". This is obviously not NPOV.
POV and NPOV is a silly contradiction. Neutrality doesn't exist.--Daanschr 20:20, 15 March 2006 (UTC)

Era Proposal

One can imagine that alot of folks from around the world read this article, and I believe the Era notations are confusing and inconsistent. Some portions of the article refer to BC, and some to BCE and CE. Because of the mixed opinions of Wikipedians, I think it would be best to edit the site to refer to year prior to 1 as with BC, and to years after and including 1 as with CE (eg.- 200 BC but 200 CE). Also, a note should be included at the bottom of the page referring to what CE means, or a link to Common era should be supplied with CE, because many around the world who use the Gregorian calendar still do not undersant BCE and CE. Any objections? PatrickA 20:10, 14 January 2006 (UTC).

Due to the absence of rebuttal, I am enforcing my above reccomended changes. If you read this article and disagree with the changes, revert them and provide an explanation here. Darwiner111 22:17, 14 January 2006 (UTC).
I would have preferred to stick with either BC/AD or BCE/CE for consistency. You were concerned about confusion and consistency and I don't see how mixing these together helps; now users have to be familiar with both notations to understand the document. I don't really mind which is used, though BCE/CE seems to be gaining prevelence in newer material. darkliighttalk 22:13, 15 January 2006 (UTC)
Thanks for your input. I will replace CE with AD for consistency per your comment. Although you say BCE and CE are being used more in newer documents, not everyone knows they exist and to insert them could be considered POV because we would be promoting a new system. Using the currently accepted system is better. PatrickA 22:26, 15 January 2006 (UTC).
After reading your user page I don't think you were acting with a NPOV. If a consensus is necessary, per Knowledge Seeker, i'll vote for BCE/CE. darkliighttalk 07:52, 16 January 2006 (UTC)
I've also noticed tht BCE and CE are becoming the new norm. They're also a bit more neutral. But I don't really mind either way. - Pyro19 06:16, 16 January 2006 (UTC)
It doesn't matter too much to me either way. In this case, User:PatrickA/User:Darwiner111 (the same user, as should be obvious from above), is correct, in my opinion. The article was originally written using BC, not BCE, although a consensus for change on the talk page could override that, of course. — Knowledge Seeker 07:00, 16 January 2006 (UTC)
I would welcome the new universal convention, using BCE and CE. logologist|Talk 07:04, 16 January 2006 (UTC)

Shouldn't there be some general Wikipedia guideline about what dating systems we use? While my first answer is 'it doesn't matter as long as we are being consistent', on the second thought I think it we need to be consistent throught the entire project: if we use BCE here, and CE somewhere else, confusion will abound.--Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus Talk 07:35, 16 January 2006 (UTC)

The general guideline that has emerged is similar to the solution to the American/British English difference. There has been a lot of impassioned argument both for using BC/AD and BCE/CE, with both sides making very good arguments. Current practice is to be consistent within an article, using whatever format was originally used. Since this article was originally writted with "BC", PatrickA/Darwiner111 was correct to change the BCEs and CEs for consistency. It would not be appropriate, however, to edit a different article that used BCE/CE and change them to BC/AD. Even if an article were originally written in one style, if the article's editors decide on the talk page that there is good reason to change to the other style, that of course is completely acceptable as well. Some feel that BCE/CE is more appropriate for scientific or non-Christian topics. — Knowledge Seeker 08:59, 16 January 2006 (UTC)
I'm in favour of BC/AD.--Daanschr 16:19, 16 January 2006 (UTC)

I have no problem with the article being written with either BC/AD or BCE/CE. PatrickA was perfectly in the right to revert me if that's the consensus here. But I do have a problem when User:Jordain abuses other users in edit summaries.--Alhutch 07:28, 27 January 2006 (UTC)

Or maybe not, since it appears User:PatrickA and User:Jordain were both sockpuppets of User:Darwiner111. Oh well.--Alhutch 07:33, 27 January 2006 (UTC)
As the original creator of this article, I really don't care if my BC/AD is replaced with BEC/CE. In fact I usually use BCE/CE myself. - SimonP 14:34, 27 January 2006 (UTC)
That's how it stands right now, so I guess we might as well just leave it.--Alhutch 14:37, 27 January 2006 (UTC)
Yes, the only thing I do really care about is avoiding another pointless edit war. - SimonP 14:39, 27 January 2006 (UTC)

Since the original author agrees the BCE/CE is acceptable, then according to Wiki standards, the article can remain in its present form of using BCE/CE. This is also part of trying to make this article less Eurocentric, which involves not only the topics which are covered, but also the terminology used. Thanks Hmains 00:56, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

I'm not seeking to be argumentative or overly dramatic. With that said... the "original format" argument seems not only empty, but un-Wikipedian, as does the "intent of the original author". The whole point of a dynamic encyclopedia is to be bold and make changes because you believe they ought to be made. "Because it was that way before" isn't really an amazingly compelling argument, is it? Otherwise we'd devolve into a strict WP:Wait for advice from Jimbo policy 'round here. I know, I know, this has been argued in circles and to a virtual stand-still before, but that doesn't seem to me to be a really great reason to pre-emptively stand still. I suppose Wikipedia can't decide how to consistently spell "color" ("colour"?), so perhaps this one also simply needs to be filed in the "no consensus possible" drawer. But that's insanely frustrating to me. (I, for the record, am a BCE/CE proponent, but am with SimonP in avoiding reversion lunacy here.) Phew, I'm done. JDoorjam Talk 01:01, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

The article describes both the Neolithic and Mesolithic periods at beginning at roughly the same time; in fact, since Mesolithic is described as beginning 10,000 BP (= 8,000 BC/BCE), and Neolithic as beginning 10,000 BCE, the Mesolithic seems to be described as beginning first, despite the name "New Stone Age" for the Neolithic.

I, too, was confused by the Stone Ages chronologies. Perhaps someone conversant with those periods could review them. logologist|Talk 02:36, 11 January 2007 (UTC)

New chapters

I made some new chapters. The text still needs much work.--Daanschr 16:16, 16 January 2006 (UTC)

Too much focus on Europe

I want to get rid of too much focusing on Europe. I think that 'Age of Discovery', which i changed into 'mercantile dominance of Europe' should be merged with 'Rise of Europe'.--Daanschr 16:22, 16 January 2006 (UTC)

I agree. There is too much Eurocentrism. --Revolución (talk) 01:32, 22 January 2006 (UTC)

Topical rather than chronological

This article is divided topically, rather than chronologically. Most "history of [x]" articles are the opposite. Was this form decided, or has it just happened? Would there be any point in creating a sister article documenting the history of the world chronologically? --Oldak Quill 18:10, 16 January 2006 (UTC)

Well, it seems obvious to me that this article needs to be split into subarticles. I think we can should have both topical and chronological overview, then detailed articles for both. Besides, the current sectioning seems to be a confusing mix of both - 'the worst of both worlds', I am afraid.--Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus Talk 19:18, 16 January 2006 (UTC)
I think detailed articles for the chronology already exist as 1st century and whatnot. But yes, I agree with this approach. --Oldak Quill 20:12, 16 January 2006 (UTC)

World History (proper noun) is usually topical based, but of course World History is just one approach to world history. Chronology of events is another more traditional approach. I think whatever we do in the "History of the world" article should mirror current mainstream practices in the academic world, as of 2006, in how to approach world history, which I think is World History? With other approaches perhaps have their own articles under more descriptive titles. --Stbalbach 21:26, 16 January 2006 (UTC)

I'm in favour of quality. At the moment, the article is still a mess. Maybe a complete startover is needed. I'm not an expert in the present approach of the academic world of world history. I have the idea that it is mainly topically and doesn't give an overview. World historians make comparisons between regions in the world in long distances of time.--Daanschr 13:29, 17 January 2006 (UTC)

Topical, chronological, how about regional? Chronological might be better than topical, but I think regional, while not being better than chronological, is better than topical, if that made any sense. --Revolución (talk) 20:40, 22 January 2006 (UTC)

A difficult one... at the moment the page reads like 1066 and all that, i.e. an inaccurate and selective precis of memorable bits of the history of the world. But to do something topical or regional needs areal gift for synthesis. Unless we have a budding Jared Diamond or Felipe Fernández-Armesto in our midst, I'm a bit at a loss to know what to do. Mark Nesbitt 21:28, 22 January 2006 (UTC)

I think it should be chronological. --Revolución (talk) 00:35, 27 January 2006 (UTC)

Parasitic Cities

The term "parasites" implies a negative value judgment. The very broad incidence of cities on the other hand suggests they offered substantial value to their societies, for example as markets and sites of specialized expertise. The relationship appears symbiotic.RRGLASG 17:18, 25 January 2006 (UTC)

expansion ideas

possible items to add or expand:

  • Polynesian/Pacific civilizations
  • North and South American Pre-Columbian civilizations
  • Arctic and sub-artic peoples of Europe, Asia and North America
  • Korean civilization
  • Japanese civilization
  • SouthEast Asian states/civilizations
  • Germanic tribes (by name) invading Roman empire
  • Asias steepe tribes (by name) invading Europe (East, Cental, South, West)
  • South Asian states/civilizations
  • religious states/empires: Hindu, Buddhist, Christian, Jewish, Muslim, etc
  • sub-Saharan states/civilizations

thanks Hmains 18:50, 27 January 2006 (UTC)


I have been trying to get this chronological, as well as others. I changed the titles of some sections,like "hunter-gatherers" --> Early humanity and "Agriculture" --> Development of agriculture but I am afraid I don't know what to do with all the extra information that doesn't fit into the time period. This may require a rewrite. --Revolución (talk) 22:06, 27 January 2006 (UTC)

Africa, but where?

The numbers and research shows Africa was where humans were first, I always thought it was in the Middle East. After skimming the article link, it does say that the Middle East is included in the "Africa is origin" statement. Anyone have extra info on this matter? 15:15, 7 February 2006 (UTC)

Middle east probably saw the first cities. But the most popular theories of humans' origin (at least those that make Scientific American) will show maps that show a point of origin somewhere in southwest Africa. However, that is properly anthropology, not history.... --Alvestrand 15:50, 7 February 2006 (UTC)
Agree with above. My A World History and Oxford Atlas of World History agree that humanity arose in Africa, and there is pretty good evidence for that. Agriculture originated independently in several locations including the Middle East, where it was probably first, but the first civilization was almost certainly at Sumer in the Middle East. — Knowledge Seeker 05:24, 14 February 2006 (UTC)
"almost certainly at Sumer" (!) __ and what; almost UNcertainly at Egypt?! La! :-) -- Maysara 14:00, 20 March 2006 (UTC)

Two religion sections?

The article has a section for religion and philosophy and I think that we should group its origins and development together in this section. So I think the Development of religion subsection within the Neolithic Period should be moved here. That should have the added benefit of making it easier to expand in the future too. Any thoughts? --darkliighttalk 04:16, 14 February 2006 (UTC)

Requesting your help at History of Earth

Greetings, history lovers. Inspired by your example, I have been working on a broad History of Earth, from the planet's formation to today. It is a rather daunting task, and I would appreciate any help or suggestions you could provide regarding the section on human history (or any other, for that matter). Please see Talk:History of Earth#Human history for more information. Thank you. — Knowledge Seeker 07:04, 15 February 2006 (UTC)

The following discussion is an archived debate of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the debate was no consensus. —Nightstallion (?) 11:41, 25 May 2006 (UTC)

Requested move: page title

Page title

This should be History of the world, not History of the World right? "World" isn't normally capitalized. Although wouldn't something like Human history be better? — Knowledge Seeker 01:52, 31 December 2005 (UTC)

I did originally create it as "History of the world", but it was later moved to the current title. Arguably both are permissible, something like the Internet/internet debate. - SimonP 01:58, 31 December 2005 (UTC)
Wikipedia:Naming_conventions#Lowercase_second_and_subsequent_words advise to avoid capital letters in titles, therefore I'd support moving to lowercase version.--Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus Talk 10:19, 31 December 2005 (UTC)
I agree. Appleseed (Talk) 17:07, 31 December 2005 (UTC)

Human history would be a better name. "History of the world" is a bit too ambiguous. Ashibaka tock 22:23, 8 January 2006 (UTC)

History of humanity?--sansvoix 08:05, 9 January 2006 (UTC)
Most of the human history is about hunter-gatherers. Only the last few thousand years, there has been civilization. Maybe the title could be 'History of human civilization.'--Daanschr 08:21, 9 January 2006 (UTC)

History of humanity or History of human civilization both sound good to me. History of the world should, in my opinion, cover all 4.6 billion years of Earth's history, at least in a cursory fashion. Hmmm...maybe I should write it. — Knowledge Seeker 08:25, 9 January 2006 (UTC)

World doesn't only mean earth. It also means all humans presently. Maybe there should be a link to physical history of the earth, or to earth above the article.--Daanschr 08:27, 9 January 2006 (UTC)
There are historians who are specialized in worldhistory. Worldhistory (probably) means history of humanity and modernization for them.--Daanschr 08:30, 9 January 2006 (UTC)
"History," otherwise unspecified, customarily means human history. Specifying it as "human" history is redundant. The qualifier "of the world" conveys that this article treats of universal, rather than merely regional, national or local history.
"History of humanity" will be readily confused with "Paleoanthropology."
"Civilization" refers to life centered on cities, or at least permanent habitations. Much of human history involved "uncivilized" peoples, if at times peripherally.
The hunter-gatherer stage is prehistory.
Four billion years of earth is geology.
logologist|Talk 08:33, 9 January 2006 (UTC)
Historians used to study history by examining texts from the past. Only civilizations have texts. Archeology deals with prehistoric data. Since the 1960s other sciences are introduced to give better (more scientifical) answers to historical questions and to ask new questions to make history more scientifical.--Daanschr 12:34, 9 January 2006 (UTC)

While I still think World history or Human history would be more appropriate, I can understand the arguments given above. If no one minds, I'm going to work on History of Earth as the story of our planet, the kind of article I was expecting to find here. Thanks! — Knowledge Seeker 06:57, 10 January 2006 (UTC)

I agree with Knowledge Seeker. Either of those titles is better then this, the current title should be the history of the planet. History of the world should be a disambig between the History of human civilization, History of Earth and World history.--Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus Talk 22:37, 15 January 2006 (UTC)
I agree with Knowledge Seeker and Piotrus. History of the world is ambiguous and the page should probably serve as a disambiguation. The article discuses our development from prehistory to current times, so another title I thought might work would be Development of Humanity or something similar. darkliight 01:27, 16 January 2006 (UTC)
Check out Big History -- it's one perspective in the study of World History - whatever article you write, it should follow an established historiographical tradition, not one you make up based on arbitrary boundries or personal visions, to avoid problems with original research claims, and also to guide what other editors should included in the article. We report on what other people say, not what we want to say. Somthing as broad as the history of the earth can take any number of established approaches. Otherwise it turns into a mash up of approaches, as other editors add or fork the article to take their own approach, and it can be confusing. --Stbalbach 07:28, 10 January 2006 (UTC)
Thanks! Replied at your talk page. — Knowledge Seeker 07:37, 10 January 2006 (UTC)
We could use the data from the links to world history websites of the article of World History to make this article better. Especially the online Journal of World History[6] should give lots of information about the subject.--Daanschr 09:17, 10 January 2006 (UTC)
Maybe it is a good idea if World History and History of the World will be merged?--Daanschr 09:22, 10 January 2006 (UTC)
Most definetly not. World History is a field of historical study, while History of the World should be a disambig, as I described above.--Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus Talk 22:37, 15 January 2006 (UTC)

I think we should make this a disambig a few days after the improvement drive ends. Ashibaka tock 15:08, 17 January 2006 (UTC)

Page move

The page was moved from History of the world to "History of the World" earlier today without any discussion. Based on above, I moved it back. Please discuss if you feel this is in error. — Knowledge Seeker 01:20, 23 January 2006 (UTC)

I don't think it's strange at all to capitalize the word "World". Just try Googling "history of the world" and you will see how much world is capitalized in that phrase. --Revolución (talk) 22:43, 26 January 2006 (UTC)
Hmmm...I just tried it, and I didn't actually find much capitalization. That is, there were several "History of the World"s, but that was when the phrase was a title, and usually (but not on Wikipedia), most words are capitalized. On Wikipedia, only proper nouns are capitalized, so "Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome" in most works becomes "Severe acute respiratory syndrome" on Wikipedia. We'd have to see a "history of the World" to show unambiguous intention to capitalize world, and I didn't see that on my cursory search at least, although there were several "history of the world"s showing lowercasing. And of course, as above, my dictionary at least doesn't capitalize world—does yours? Finally, the reason I moved the page back is that this was discussed only a couple sections ago and then moved—to then come and move it back without discussion or explanation here seems not to be the right course of action to me. — Knowledge Seeker 03:03, 27 January 2006 (UTC)

Name ambiguity

The current name of this article, History of the world, seems unnecessarily ambiguous. Why not simply rename this to Human history, a much more common term for referring to the history of humankind? The current name will mean that users who aren't familiar with the page won't understand what its scope is; "the world" is an extremely ambiguous phrase, even verging on colloquial. This change will also make clearer the distinction between this page and History of Earth, since "the world" much more commonly refers to the planet Earth (or the entire universe, in the vague) than to humanity. -Silence 20:00, 20 May 2006 (UTC)

  • Support - you're right; "History of the world" really sounds ambiguous - yet "Human History" sounds more encyclopedic. Maysara 20:55, 20 May 2006 (UTC)
  • Hello Noisy, -- what was it precisely that you wanted to point to in Category:History by region?! Anyway, I can't see how a supposed "general structure/naming of history articles" may prevent this very reasonable renaming! And if so, then, it seems that this general structure/naming needs to change itself, rather than restraining oneself from making such a reasonable renaming. (thank you, I left a note on Portal:History's talk-page.) Best, Maysara 14:59, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
What I wanted to point out was that the predominant naming convention within the set of history structures is 'History of/by ...'. There have been long-standing discussions about the general structure/naming for both categories and articles (across the whole of Wikipedia, although generally discussed on an area-by-area basis), and, over the years, the convention that is generally adopted is 'XXX by/of YYY'. There doesn't seem to be any specific guidance in Wikipedia:Naming conventions, but a related guidelie is at Wikipedia:Naming conventions (categories)#Miscellaneous "of country". Noisy | Talk 23:54, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
By the way, see also #Page title and #Page move, above. Also note that this article was the subject of an improvement drive at the beginning of the year, and the 'Page title' discussion seems to have arisen out of that, and resulted in the status we see now. Noisy | Talk 00:01, 22 May 2006 (UTC)
  • Thank you once more for pointing to the earlier, also quite recent discussion on the issue. It seems clear to me now that this title needs really be changed. However, if it is for some reason so important to keep the formula "XXX by/of YYY", the title may be changed to "History of Human" (or "of Humanity" as suggested earlier). Is that alright?! The main problem is that the Human is one thing, "THE World" is another. This article is about the history of the earlier, only. But that so many requests to move have been suggested, is itself quite sufficiently indicative that there IS a problem with the current title. I rearranged the headers and put them together as they address the same topic. Thank you, __ Maysara 02:27, 22 May 2006 (UTC)
  • Oppose. "Human history" is not a great name. I'm not opposed to renaming, but the new name should have been discussed more informally before putting it up for a vote. No choice but to vote no, simply because I dont like the new name choice. Sorry. BTW interesting, Silence and Noisy. --Stbalbach 20:35, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
  • You don't like it - just that! You mean you don't like the way it "sounds", for example; its "phonological" properties, such as you'd possibly have liked it if it were, "Hamun Hitrosy", for example! Or is it something that is a little less personal than that. I mean what is it precisely that makes you vote to keep "history of the world" and just not like "human history" and that at the same time is based on an argument that could be of value to others? But anyway, please note that User:Silence who suggested this, is primarily concerned with the connotations and inferences that the different titles bear, in their most immediate reception by the readers, thus, the apprehension of what the article is about more easily and clearly. I truly believe that the current name is very likely to be "ambiguous" and vague for many readers, as it actually was for User:Silence, and myself too. It is only by being aware of this, that the value of renaming manifests itself to us: "Human History" is certainly more accurate and apprehensible than "History of the world". For, what does "the world" mean here, precisely? How can you tell?! Finally, just let me assure you that User:Silence came to US with no personal "disliking" to the current title, which means that, his concern at least "could be" the concern of others as well, and obviously it is; this is how the "publishing" of His/Her suggestion becomes justified and ligetimate. Otherwise, for example, if He/She would have liked it better had it been "Hirtosy of the wrold", I don't think He/She would have even thought of suggesting it here! So, I hope there can be some "sense" of your vote, that can be shared by others, if not in agreement, then, at least, in "understanding". public openions require impersonal justifications! __ Thank you, Maysara 22:19, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Why not rename this article "World history," and use the current "World history" article as a closing section? KonradWallenrod 23:22, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Our history articles are primarily organized by geographical region: by country and by continent. It is useful to have this article at the top of the hierarchy. I would also oppose a move to "world history." World history is a very specific approach to history, and that term today carries a great number of extra associations. - SimonP 00:10, 22 May 2006 (UTC)
  • And "the World" resembles what Geography, precisely? What definite place with what boundaries? It is precisely from here that the ambiguity arise. However, I can't see what fatalistic problematicity or unfitness there is, in having it titled "Human History" or "History of Human", without having to compromise its surmounting the hierarchy! As User:Silence has already said, "THE World" is an expression that, yes, includes Human, but does not refer to Human in any particularity. There is something wrong with your hierarchy because it will be found that the epistemology of a history sometimes simply belongs to no geography, and to no particular historical entity, apart from Humanity itself, in all generality and abstraction. In fact, "World History" is one such history; and the title is an example of one that is quite abstract, ambiguous, too, and that does not conform to the naming rules of WP's hierarchy although it is an article on history! I'm afraid that the concern of this article, here, is the Human, and not the World. The Moon, for example, is mentioned here because Human stepped on it, not because it, the Moon, exists in the World. Finally, an unnecessary controller, restriction, and confinement, aught not function as a rule! But in a WIKI, there are generally NO rules, or so is the supposed! Best, __ Maysara 02:01, 22 May 2006 (UTC)
  • Support. The simple fact is, Human history, History of humanity and Development of humanity all describe this page much better than History of the world. History articles organised by geographical region are fine, but this article is not about a geographical region, or the history of one. It's about human history, almost exclusivley cultural and technological at that. --darkliight[πalk] 12:07, 22 May 2006 (UTC)
  • Support. I agree that the current title is rather ambiguous. If "the world" is meant to be interpreted as "since civilization of human beings" — that isn't clear enough. Human history or similar is certainly a better choice. — CRAZY`(IN)`SANE 14:27, 22 May 2006 (UTC)
  • Support. This article is about the history of humans, not the world. --Ezeu 14:45, 22 May 2006 (UTC)
  • Comment. At Wikipedia we report on what others do -- we don't invent our own conventions based on what we think is right. A search of web sites and books called "History of the world" is the standard; books called "history of humanity" or "human history" are rare indeed. --Stbalbach 14:52, 22 May 2006 (UTC)
  • You will find similar notable publications using "Human History" and "History of Human" as well. Anyway, there is no original research in titling. Selection of titles is supposed to be governed by deductive and logical rules, not this or that convention. You say "report on what others do" as if that "others" is ultimately consistent and perfectly immutable. While the fact is: Truth is not one!; both "History of the World" and "Human History" can be right. And if convention of others should be the ultimate source, then, which others are we going to trust: (Yom Kippur War is an example of a WP article, where trusting an "others" for titling, has caused the title to reflect the perspective of only one party of the war and not the other. But what do we do, we just submit to agreement and consensus in here because it is "our own convention" where there simply can be no other convention). And to put it bluntly, "History of the World" is less logical than "Human History". And to be "less logical" is to at least open the door to total illogicalness (I mean that a reader can possibly associate the "World" with ANYTING IN THE WORLD, and you never know. While he/she will be "compelled" to associate Human with Human, since this what Humans are about, being quite rational. An intelligent title aught to compell its reader - an intelligent reader aught to want to be compelled!) There is absolutely nothing wrong in treating that problem by "our own conventions". And if one should have no trust to the "intelligence" and "good faith" of such "our own conventions", I can't see how one should still have trust to that faraway conventions of the "others", and let alone the "reporting on what they do" thereafter. However, we're interested in the rational of your opinion, not in whether that opinion concords with one "mainstream convention" or another: In respect to what this article is about, do you not believe that "Human History" is more easily and accurately understood than "History of the World"? Why?! That's all, __ Maysara 16:06, 22 May 2006 (UTC)
  • Oppose "History of the World" is the traditional English pphrasing for this, and has been since Sir Walter Raleigh wrote one. Septentrionalis 04:39, 23 May 2006 (UTC)
  • As someone who previously participated in this this discussion, I was invited to offer my opinion. I did indeed suggest earlier that Human history might be a more appropriate title, but upon reflection, I no longer hold this opinion. I do think that in some ways, "history of the world" is ambiguous or misleading; some definitions of world refer to our planet and one of the reasons I wrote History of Earth was that I was expecting an article like that here. And yet, it can refer to the people and civilizations and such. But it seems pretty apparent that history of the world is the name for this field; indeed, I am currently reading William McNeill's excellent A World History and I could not easily find works titled "history of humanity" or "human history" covering this subject. Wikipedia's policy is clear: Use common names. Ultimately, it comes down to one word—metonymy. We often refer to an entity by another term with which it is associated. When we say Europe exerted such-and-such influence, we do not mean the continent itself exerted such influence but that the people and institutions on it do. In the same way, the history of Europe does not refer to its separation from Laurasia and such but refers to the history of the humans living on that continent. Even "Earth's history" is often used in science fiction to refer to the history of humans on Earth. Based on this, I now feel that the current title is the most appropriate, with whatever disambiguation notices may be appropriate. — Knowledge Seeker 09:00, 23 May 2006 (UTC)
"Human," however, has its own ambiguity, as seen in the word pair, "human, inhuman." An alternative might be "History of mankind" (though I can hear some feminists exclaim, "What about womankind?" — a spurious argument, as both "man" and "human" are used generically to denote the entire genus Homo, including both its sexes).
While I sympathize in principle with using common terms where possible, I am not necessarily convinced by the "most-common-usage" argument per se. Many ubiquitous terms and concepts are arrant nonsense, and it may sometimes be a boon to humanity to offer a clearer, more elegant term. logologist|Talk 04:38, 24 May 2006 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the debate. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

Article title straw poll and discussion, part 2

Although there's apparently some disagreement as to where the article should be moved, due to confusion over which article-naming conventions, if any, apply to this article, it's nonetheless clear that the article needs to be moved somewhere else: the current title is not only horribly ambiguous, to the point that noone has any chance of understanding what the contents of the article are about without actually reading the article, but is also quite colloquial—"the world" does not mean "humanity" except in selective, figurative contexts, hence its usage in certain book titles in order to convey an emotional sense of "hugeness" and expansiveness, and its comparative lack of usage in academic resources like general encyclopedias.

So, I encourage people to propose alternative titles for moving this article to. I've already stated my preference: human history, the title that's the simplest, the easiest to understand, and the most common by far. But since the last move-vote's results were warped by the fact that too many people voted against it based on where the move was proposed to go to, not based on whether it should be moved at all, this time we'll do the discussion and vote right: everyone propose what names you think this article would best go under, and then we'll vote/discuss on all those possibilities, not just an oversimplified two-option "human history or history of the world" selection. -Silence 21:52, 16 June 2006 (UTC)

This is pointless. We've only just had a debate about this - why open another one so soon after the last. Just let it lie. Noisy | Talk 23:30, 16 June 2006 (UTC)
I agree, most people found the current name to be be just fine. - SimonP 00:32, 17 June 2006 (UTC)
We have not "just had a debate about this"—we had a debate about a related sub-issue (the specific topic of whether to move to "human history", not of whether to move it anywhere at all), and that was almost a month ago. I'd have thought a month was plenty long enough time to let things settle down a bit before attempting to discuss the issue further. How long is the actual (apparently mandatory) waiting period? Four months? A year? Come on, now. The only reason it seems like we "just had a debate" is because this Talk page has been so inactive over the past 3 or 4 weeks, which is all the more reason to have the debate now, rather than having it when there's ongoing, active work being done here which a title discussion might interfere with. If you aren't interested in discussing the matter, you're free to ignore it and just focus on the contents of the page, regardless of the title; if you think the move shouldn't be done, you're free to vote "support" for keeping the article's original name; etc. But I don't see any reason to try to cut off any discussion or exchange of ideas in a simple, informal straw poll, no matter how strongly you feel that the current title is ideal. -Silence 01:46, 17 June 2006 (UTC)
Well the usual period is six months, but if you insist on being petty ... Noisy | Talk 12:25, 17 June 2006 (UTC)

Straw poll

This straw poll is designed to get a better idea of editors' opinions and consensus on this issue. It is non-binding and informal, and should be used to organize and facilitate discussion.
Feel free to vote and/or comment on all of the options which you have an opinion on: "support" and "oppose" votes are both acceptable, and you may vote on any number of the options, though only once for each option.
If you have a new suggestion for a naming option, feel free to add it to the list.

Keep article at History of the world
  1. Strong oppose. Highly ambiguous (most people who search for this term will probably really be looking for History of Earth), colloquial ("the world" in this meaning is an expression, not a literal term, and is not appropriate for an article title; book titles have lower standards than encyclopedia article titles, since they need to be eye-catching and dramatic more than accurate and clear), unencyclopedic. -Silence 22:43, 16 June 2006 (UTC)
  2. Support. A perfectly good name, and a the standard one for this subject. - SimonP 00:32, 17 June 2006 (UTC)
    In my experience, "History of the world" is much more commonly used to refer to the History of Earth, "the world" being an expression for our planet much, much more often than it's an expression for the human race. -Silence 01:46, 17 June 2006 (UTC)
    That is somewhat surprising as in the English language world is not synonymous with Earth as world almost always means "the human cosmos" and not the planet. I personally cannot think of a single source that presents the "history of the world" soley as the geological and biological timeline that "history of Earth" implies. Could you show me some such sources? - SimonP 03:44, 17 June 2006 (UTC)
  3. Oppose. Ambiguous, this article does not pertain to the world at all. --darkliight[πalk] 10:46, 17 June 2006 (UTC)
  4. Support. Noisy | Talk 12:25, 17 June 2006 (UTC)
  5. Support. Check out Amazon [7]: - first item starts out talking about human "recorded history" on page 39 of a thousand-page book. "History of the world" is used all the time to refer to human history. --Alvestrand 15:12, 17 June 2006 (UTC)
  6. Oppose. Vague, ambiguous, anthropocentric. Andre (talk) 02:14, 18 June 2006 (UTC)
  7. Suppport. Please see my comments during the previous discussion. This is the established term, regardless of whether we approve of it or not. World is used in its metonymical sense, just as Europe is in History of Europe. As the primary author of History of Earth, I would tend to have biases favoring the planetary history, but I feel this is the appropriate title here. — Knowledge Seeker 05:16, 19 June 2006 (UTC)
  8. Fanatic Neutral. I am a postmodernist.--Daanschr 17:53, 21 June 2006 (UTC)
Move article to Human history
  1. Support. Clear, simple, accurate, easily distinguished from history of Earth, etc. Also gets the most Google hits,[8] twice as many as "History of the world",[9] indicating that its usage is more than wide enough for an article. The "X of Y" naming convention doesn't really apply here because it's not a specific region or anything of the sort, and blind rule-following shouldn't get in the way of ease-of-use and accuracy anyway. -Silence 21:52, 16 June 2006 (UTC)
  2. Probably support. It's more concise. History of the world could mean a lot of things, including natural history. However, I'd like to see some other possible name proposals first before being 100% certain. DG 22:31, 16 June 2006 (UTC)
  3. Oppose. Academics use human history in a very different sense from history of the world. Human history generally refers to the history of human evolution as the term presents it as a subset of natural history, which is a wholly different discipline. - SimonP 00:32, 17 June 2006 (UTC)
    Can you provide a citation to back this claim up? In my experience, "human history" is used in referring to human evolution many times less often than "history of the world" is used in referring to the history of the planet Earth. There is thus less possible ambiguity by an order of magnitude: "the world" can refer to dozens of different things, but "human" is 100% explicit in what the topic of the article really is. -Silence 01:46, 17 June 2006 (UTC)
    Sure, a simple search of my local university library can demonstrate this. A search for "human history" comes up with books such as Past impersonal: group process in human history, Earthquakes in human history: the far-reaching effects of seismic disruptions, Plagues & poxes: the impact of human history on epidemic disease, Reflections of our past: how human history is revealed in our genes, Signs amid the rubble: the purposes of God in human history, Genes, memes and human history: Darwinian archaeology and cultural evolution, Mapping human history: discovering the past through our genes, Volcanoes in human history: the far-reaching effects of major eruptions. All of these deal primarily with the biological evolution of modern humans. By contrast a search on "world history" comes up with the type of history discussed in this article: Science and technology in world history : an introduction, Lost modernities : China, Vietnam, Korea, and the hazards of world history, A nation among nations : America's place in world history, etc. Not one of the first several hundred results deals with "history of the Earth" type topics. - SimonP 03:44, 17 June 2006 (UTC)
  4. Weak support. Much better, this term relates to the articles content. My only concern is it does not follow the apparent naming convention of other history articles. We have History of Earth, History of mathematics, History of Wikipedia etc ... you name it. --darkliight[πalk] 10:46, 17 June 2006 (UTC)
  5. Oppose. Noisy | Talk 12:25, 17 June 2006 (UTC)
  6. Support. It makes things a little clearer and it doesn't really hurt anything. Andre (talk) 02:14, 18 June 2006 (UTC)
  7. Oppose. Not only is this not the standard name of the topic, as SimonP points out, human history is usually synonymous with the history of human evolution. Indeed, a glance at the search results Silence provides shows most of them to be about the evolution of various Homo species outside the scope of this article. — Knowledge Seeker 05:16, 19 June 2006 (UTC)
  8. Support. I wanted to read about human history, and it redirected me to history of the world. i thought, "i don't want to read about the world, i want to read about humans and their history IN or ON this world. i believe a history of humans should include perhaps a brief description of evolution & prehistory, and a more in-depth look at tribes/societies/groups/migrations...etc or human history as it refers to the study and interpretation of past humans, families and societies as preserved primarily through written sources.Wow, I just wrote how i searched for human history, and i was redirected to history of the world. Then, when adding my two bits about moving the article, i looked up history and found that as logologist said, human history is redundant, therefore i should have really been redirected to history. these titles are very important in distinguishing articles.
Move article to History of humanity
  1. Weak oppose. Non-optimal, but acceptable. "History of humanity" is a bit less academic, clear, concise, and commonplace than "human history", but if it is truly mandatory to use the "X of Y" title-formula here (which I don't see any evidence of), this seems to be the next-best possibility proposed thus far (since "history of mankind", "history of humankind", "history of humans", etc. are all a bit clumsier). In other words, if "human history" is for some reason unacceptable, this would be my second choice. -Silence 22:43, 16 June 2006 (UTC)
  2. Oppose. Even worse than human history. - SimonP 00:32, 17 June 2006 (UTC)
  3. Support. Completly describes the articles content, follows an apparent pattern of history articles and leaves no room for confusion. --darkliight[πalk] 10:46, 17 June 2006 (UTC)
  4. Oppose. Noisy | Talk 12:25, 17 June 2006 (UTC)
  5. Weak support. It's about the same as human history. The difference is semantic at best. Andre (talk) 02:14, 18 June 2006 (UTC)
  6. Oppose. — Knowledge Seeker 05:16, 19 June 2006 (UTC)
Move article to History of civilization
  1. Weak support. Someone mentioned "History of human civilization", which I rather like. My only objection is it's rather redundant; the "human" ought to be struck. After all, is there any alternative? We do not know of any civilization which is not human civilization. DG 22:31, 16 June 2006 (UTC)
  2. Oppose. Better than "history of the world", but "civilization" is potentially ambiguous because of the variety of meanings explicated at civilization, and, unlike "human history", does not strictly encompass all of this article's topic (since it would probably exclude early hunter-gatherer tribes, etc.), in addition to being a significantly less common term than both "history of the world" and "human history". -Silence 22:43, 16 June 2006 (UTC)
  3. Oppose. Civilization is a very loaded term. - SimonP 00:32, 17 June 2006 (UTC)
  4. Oppose. I don't think this accuratly describes the articles content. I think this article could still be developed, but focused more on civilisation as opposed to humanity. --darkliight[πalk] 10:46, 17 June 2006 (UTC)
  5. Oppose. Noisy | Talk 12:25, 17 June 2006 (UTC)
  6. Oppose. Too specific - what about barbarism? Andre (talk) 02:14, 18 June 2006 (UTC)
  7. Oppose. — Knowledge Seeker 05:16, 19 June 2006 (UTC)


We've already had the discussion - see above. Noisy | Talk 12:25, 17 June 2006 (UTC)

no states before 1800 CE

There's a line in the section about the Neolithic Period that says, "Many humans did not belong to states before 1800 CE." This can't be true, but I don't know what to change it to. Does anyone know what it really should be? LeeWilson 13:15, 4 July 2006 (UTC)

I think that statement is probably accurate. Remember that states didn't exist at all until the 15th century, and then they were limited to Europe for a while. -- bcasterlinetalk 16:25, 4 July 2006 (UTC)
Nevertheless I think some changes should be made, for two reasons.
Number one, although the comment about there being no states until the 1800s occurs in the section about the Neolithic Period, states are mentioned previously in the Paleolithic section, namely in a comment stating that most hunter-gatherers societies developed or entered agricultural states. Number two, the section immediately after the Neolithic Period, entitled "Rise of Civilization," starts with a subsection called "State" (providing a link to the same page you just linked me to), and talks about states/city-states in the 4th and 3rd millennia BCE.
Overall, it appears that people are applying different definitions to the word state in different sections, making it rather confusing. Also, in my opinion it seems a little out of place to have a single sentence about the 1800s in a section about the Neolithic Period. - LeeWilson 16:26, 6 July 2006 (UTC)

The statement isn't true. Most of the world has had rulers of some sort for a very long time. State:"Although the term often refers broadly to all institutions of government or rule—ancient and modern—the modern state system bears a number of characteristics that were first consolidated in western Europe, beginning in earnest in the 15th century." --Nectar 00:51, 7 July 2006 (UTC)

Europe is not most of the world. As LeeWilson pointed out, the definitions vary -- but "rulers of some sort" doesn't really describe a state by most. The European paradigm mentioned in State wasn't applied to the rest of the world until well into the 19th century, as the article says. -- bcasterlinetalk 03:29, 7 July 2006 (UTC)
It requires qualification to state that the monarchies and empires that have existed on all the inhabited continents don't qualify as states. The above quote from the state article seems to regard such governments as states, but not as "modern states."--Nectar
I was assuming it's referring to nation-states, in which case the timeframe is certainly correct. But now that I look more closely at the context, it does seem to be referring to a broader definition of "state" as an alternative to "tribe". 1800 does seem a bit late, considering most of the world was divided up between empires at the point. But areas of the Americas, Australia, Polynesia, and Africa were probably still governed by tribes rather than states, so that "Many humans did not belong to states before 1800 CE" might be accurate all the same. -- bcasterlinetalk 17:48, 7 July 2006 (UTC)

Please remove this "History"

Please remove this entry from the encyclopedia. The content is of such poor quality as to not merit either reading or editing. In the absence of an entry on human history, perhaps a professional article will be submitted by a competent writer.