Wikipedia:Wikipedia's oldest articles
This page describes the earliest edits and articles that are in the current English Wikipedia database.
Wikipedia originally used UseModWiki (also known as Phase I software), which did not keep page history reliably, and often deleted it after a couple of weeks. It originally used CamelCase for making links, rather than the "free links" surrounded by brackets that are used today. Many pages were moved by cut and paste from CamelCase to regular titles, and some very early edits survive at these CamelCase titles; an example is this edit to SabBath by Larry Sanger. Some users have contributions under a CamelCase version of their username, such as JimboWales.
No history was imported from the UseModWiki era of Wikipedia when it migrated to the Phase II software, the predecessor to MediaWiki. Brion Vibber later imported all existing edits from UseModWiki to the current Wikipedia database (see Wikipedia:Usemod article histories). There is a copy of the Wikipedia database, with history up to 20 December 2001 UTC, at the Nostalgia Wikipedia, which contains several edits that cannot be found in the current Wikipedia database. In December 2009, it became possible to import revisions from the Nostalgia Wikipedia directly to the English Wikipedia.
Earliest surviving edits and other data
In December 2010, Wikipedia backups containing all edits from Wikipedia's inception to 17 August 2001 were discovered by Tim Starling, although many of these edits are not present in the current database. The earliest edit found was made to HomePage on 15 January 2001, reading "This is the new WikiPedia!" However, Jimmy Wales has stated that he made Wikipedia's first edit, a test edit to the homepage with the text "Hello, World!", after installing UseModWiki. This edit is not present in the older archives, and Tim Starling has speculated that it may have been made on a test wiki that was later deleted.
No edits survive in the database from 15 January 2001, the day that Wikipedia was founded. Here is a list of edits that have survived from the next day, 16 January. The list was compiled from an SQL query on the live database made in March 2004. The oldest edit is listed first:
- Wikipedia:UuU found here and in Nostalgia Wikipedia
- Transport found here
- User:ScottMoonen found here
The oldest article for which there is no break in the history because of being changed into a redirect is William Alston, which has some revisions that were history merged in from 17 January 2001. See this diff between the CamelCase and non-CamelCase versions; the first two edits to the article were at the title "WilliamAlston". The oldest page where this occurred without intervention was List of female tennis players, which has a version from 6 February 2001. The earliest numbered revisions, such as Revision #1 and Revision #5, were among the first edits made after Wikipedia converted from UseModWiki to the Phase II software.
Special:Ancientpages lists those pages that haven't been edited for the longest time. As of June 2013, the page was last updated on 27 January 2013 and includes articles from May 2005, meaning the articles listed had remained unchanged for over seven years. Because it uses MediaWiki, all modern special pages work on the Nostalgia Wikipedia. The oldest entry on the ancientpages list on the Nostalgia Wikipedia is StandardPoodle, which has an entry from 17 January 2001. Similar functionality can also be found at Wikipedia:Dusty articles.
Archived copies of Wikipedia articles from early 2001
The appearance of some Wikipedia articles in early 2001 has been preserved by the Wayback Machine. Early examples include GNUFreeDocumentationLicense and AccessibleComputing; Wayback's preserved versions are those of January 20. The front page from February 28 can also be viewed.
- The discussion that inspired the creation of this page from the village pump
- Wikipedia:Milestone articles, which lists article number 200,000, 500,000, 1,000,000, etc.
- Category:Redirects with old history, which lists all the CamelCase articles before the automated conversion
- Wikipedia:New topics, new articles from 2001–02
- Wikipedia:Wikipedia NEWS, a summary of interesting content added in 2001