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Herodotus (c. 484 BC – c. 425 BC), often considered the "father of history"

History (from Greek ἱστορία, historia, meaning "inquiry, knowledge acquired by investigation") is the study of the past as it is described in written documents. Events occurring before written record are considered prehistory. It is an umbrella term that relates to past events as well as the memory, discovery, collection, organization, presentation, and interpretation of information about these events. Scholars who write about history are called historians.

History can also refer to the academic discipline which uses a narrative to examine and analyse a sequence of past events, and objectively determine the patterns of cause and effect that determine them. Historians sometimes debate the nature of history and its usefulness by discussing the study of the discipline as an end in itself and as a way of providing "perspective" on the problems of the present.

Stories common to a particular culture, but not supported by external sources (such as the tales surrounding King Arthur), are usually classified as cultural heritage or legends, because they do not show the "disinterested investigation" required of the discipline of history. Herodotus, a 5th-century BC Greek historian is considered within the Western tradition to be the "father of history", and, along with his contemporary Thucydides, helped form the foundations for the modern study of human history. Their works continue to be read today, and the gap between the culture-focused Herodotus and the military-focused Thucydides remains a point of contention or approach in modern historical writing. In East Asia, a state chronicle, the Spring and Autumn Annals was known to be compiled from as early as 722 BC although only 2nd-century BC texts have survived.

Ancient influences have helped spawn variant interpretations of the nature of history which have evolved over the centuries and continue to change today. The modern study of history is wide-ranging, and includes the study of specific regions and the study of certain topical or thematical elements of historical investigation. Often history is taught as part of primary and secondary education, and the academic study of history is a major discipline in university studies.

Selected periods of history

Selected images

Selected histories by subject

Selected historical figures

Selected historical disciplines

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Selected historical concepts

On this day

February 18: Family Day in various regions of Canada (2019); Washington's Birthday (Presidents' Day) in the United States (2019)

Chelsea Manning
Chelsea Manning

Angilbert (d. 814) · William Phips (d. 1695) · Bidzina Ivanishvili (b. 1956)

More anniversaries:

History in the making...

17 February 2019 – 2019 Daytona 500
Denny Hamlin wins the 2019 Daytona 500. (Fox News)
16 February 2019 – Sinai insurgency
Militants attacked an army checkpoint in Sinai Peninsula killing and injuring 15. It is believed that 11 were killed but that has not been confirmed. Seven militants also died in the attack. (The National) (The Times of Israel)
16 February 2019 – Afghanistan War
32 Afghan border security troops are killed by a Taliban attack in Kandahar, Afghanistan. (The New York Times)
15 February 2019 – 2019 Kaduna State massacre
66 people were killed by gunmen in Nigeria's Kaduna State including 34 victims being either women or children. The attack happened one day before the scheduled election before it was delayed another week. (Al Jazeera) (BBC)
15 February 2019 – Amazon HQ2
After announcing that it was canceling its New York City headquarters plans the day before, Amazon announces that it will keep its second headquarters in Virginia. (CNET)
15 February 2019 – Aurora, Illinois shooting
Five people are dead and six others are injured during a mass shooting in Aurora, Illinois. The suspected shooter was later killed by police. (CBS Chicago)
15 February 2019 – Brumadinho dam disaster
Eight Vale employees from Minas Gerais are arrested over alleged involvement in a dam collapse that killed at least 166 people. (Financial Times) (The Wall Street Journal)
15 February 2019 – United States–Mexico barrier, Trump wall
U.S. President Donald Trump declares a National Emergency Concerning the Southern Border of the United States. (Fox News)
The American Civil Liberties Union and watchdog group Public Citizen announced they will file lawsuits challenging the legality of President Trump’s emergency declaration. (Time) (CBS News)
15 February 2019 – 2020 United States presidential election, 2020 Republican Party presidential primaries
Former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld announces the launching of a presidential exploratory committee to run for President of the United States in the 2020 United States presidential election. (CNN)
14 February 2019 – 2019 Pulwama attack
At least 46 members of India's security forces are killed when a suicide bomber blew himself up as a convoy of military vehicles drove on a highway in Jammu and Kashmir. (BBC)
14 February 2019 – Iraqi insurgency (2017–present)
A roadside bomb blast kills 8 Shiite militiamen and wounds others. (France 24)
14 February 2019 – Special Counsel investigation
Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe confirms he ordered the probe on U.S. President Donald Trump for obstruction of justice, citing concerns that arose from the dismissal of James Comey. (CBS News)
14 February 2019 – Political appointments by Donald Trump
The U.S. Senate votes to confirm Trump nominee William Barr as United States Attorney General with a vote of 54–45. (NBC News)
13 February 2019 – 2019 Khash-Zahedan suicide bombing
At least 27 Iranian Revolutionary Guards are killed after a suicide bombing attack in southeastern Iran. The attack is claimed by Jaish ul-Adl militants. (The New York Times) (Reuters)
13 February 2019 – Foreign involvement in the Syrian Civil War
The Kremlin announces that Russia, Iran and Turkey will hold their fourth round of talks in Sochi on Thursday with regards to their roles in the Syrian Civil War. (Al Jazeera)
13 February 2019 –
The Public Prosecutor General of Germany announces the arrest of two members of the Syrian military intelligence service on charges of crimes against humanity. The arrests happened the day before in the states of Berlin and Rhineland-Palatinate. (DW)
13 February 2019 – Special Counsel investigation
U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson rules that political consultant and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort breached his plea deal with special counsel Robert Mueller by intentionally lying, about three of five matters, to investigators and the federal grand jury. (BBC) (Daily Mail)
13 February 2019 – Trump administration dismissals and resignations
FEMA Administrator Brock Long announces his resignation. (Fox News)
12 February 2019 – Delhi hotel fire
At least 17 people are killed in a fire at a hotel in Delhi, India. (BBC)


History (timelines) – records of past events and the way things were. It is also a field responsible for the discovery, collection, organization, and presentation of information about the past.


History by region – Ancient Egypt • Ancient Greece • Ancient Rome • History of China • History of the Middle East • History of Mesoamerica • History of India

History by continent – Africa • The Americas • Antarctica • Asia • Australia • Eurasia • Europe • North America • Oceania • South America

List of time periods Prehistory • Protohistory • Ancient history • Modern history • Future history

The Ages of history – Stone Age • Copper Age • Bronze Age • Iron Age • Dark Ages (historiography) • Middle Ages • Age of Discovery • Renaissance • Age of Enlightenment • Industrial Age • Space Age • Information Age

History by subject

Cultural history Money • Sport
History of art Dance • Film • Music • Painting • Theatre
History of philosophy Ancient • Medieval • Modern • Contemporary
History of logic
History of science Theories/sociology • Historiography • Mathematics • Pseudoscience • Scientific method
History of the natural sciencesAstronomy • Biology • Chemistry • Ecology • Geography • Physics • Geology
History of the social sciencesAnthropology • Economics • Education • Geography • Linguistics • Political science • Psychology • Sociology
History of science by era In early cultures • In Classical Antiquity • In the Middle Ages • In the Renaissance • Scientific Revolution
History of technology Agriculture & agricultural science • Architecture • Biotechnology • Chemical engineering • Communication • Computing (Computer science, Software engineering) • Electrical engineering • Invention • Materials science • Measurement • Medicine • Military technology • Transport

Recognized content

Featured articles

Good articles


History by period
History by decade
1910s • 1920s • 1930s • 1940s • 1950s • 1960s • 1970s • 1980s • 1990s • 2000s • 2010s
History by century
19th century • 20th century
History by era
Archaeology • Quaternary prehistory • Silurian
Ancient history
Classical civilization (Ancient Olympic Games)
Ancient Egypt • Ancient Germanic Culture • Ancient Greece • Ancient Japan • Ancient Near East • Ancient Tamil civilization • Ancient Rome (Military of ancient Rome)
Middle Ages
Byzantine Empire • Holy Roman Empire • Medieval Britain
Colonialism • Piracy
Modern history
Civil rights movement • Early modern Britain
Current events
Sports • National Register of Historic Places
History by region
American Old West • Anglo-Saxon England • Austria-Hungary • British Empire • Bulgarian Empire • Imperial China • East Germany • European military history • German Empire • Canada • Holy Roman Empire • Indian independence movement • Khitan • Mesoamerica • Nazi Germany • New France • North America • Ottoman Empire • Russian Empire • Sasanian Empire • Soviet Union • Transylvania • Weimar Republic
History by subject
Crown of Aragon • Disasters • Heraldry • History of art • History of the Latter Day Saint movement • History of Science
Aztec mythologyGreek mythologyHindu mythology
Ancient Olympic Games
War of 1812 • American Revolutionary War • American Civil War • Ancient warfare • Arab–Israeli conflict • Cold War • Crusades • Italian Wars • Liberation War • Military history of France • Military history of Africa • Military history of the Ottoman Empire • Napoleonic Wars • September 11 attacks • Spanish American wars of independence • Syrian Civil War • World War I • World War II

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