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Portal:History

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The History Portal

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 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 article

Facsimile of the Act of February 16
The Act of Independence of Lithuania (Lithuanian: Lietuvos Nepriklausomybės Aktas) or Act of February 16 was signed by the Council of Lithuania on February 16, 1918, proclaiming the restoration of an independent State of Lithuania, governed by democratic principles, with Vilnius as its capital. The Act was signed by all twenty representatives, chaired by Jonas Basanavičius. The Act of February 16 was the end result of a series of resolutions on the issue, including one issued by the Vilnius Conference and the Act of January 8. The path to the Act was long and complex because the German Empire exerted pressure on the Council to form an alliance. The Council had to carefully maneuver between the Germans, whose troops were present in Lithuania, and the demands of the Lithuanian people.

The immediate effects of the announcement of Lithuania's re-establishment of independence were limited. Publication of the Act was prohibited by the German authorities, and the text was distributed and printed illegally. The work of the Council was hindered, and Germans remained in control over Lithuania. The situation changed only when Germany lost World War I in the fall of 1918. In November 1918 the first Cabinet of Lithuania was formed, and the Council of Lithuania gained control over the territory of Lithuania. Independent Lithuania, although it would soon be battling the Wars of Independence, became a reality.

Selected biography

Ramón Emeterio Betances
Ramón Emeterio Betances y Alacán (April 8, 1827 – September 16, 1898) was a Puerto Rican nationalist. He was the primary instigator of the Grito de Lares revolution and is considered to be the father of the Puerto Rican independence movement. Since the Grito galvanized a burgeoning nationalist movement among Puerto Ricans, Betances is also considered "El Padre de la Patria" (Father of the Puerto Rican Nation). Because of his charitable deeds for people in need, he also became known as "The Father of the Poor."

Betances was also a medical doctor and surgeon in Puerto Rico, and one of its first social hygienists. He had established a successful surgery and ophthalmology practice. Betances was also a diplomat, public health administrator, poet and novelist. He served as representative and contact for Cuba and the Dominican Republic in Paris.

An adherent of Freemasonry, his political and social activism was deeply influenced by the group's philosophical beliefs. His personal and professional relationships (as well as the organizational structure behind the Grito de Lares, an event that, in theory, clashes with traditional Freemason beliefs) were based upon his relationships with Freemasons, their hierarchical structure, rites and signs.

Did you know...

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1863 Meeting of Settlers and Maoris at Hawke's Bay, New Zealand.jpg

An 1863 meeting between Maoris and settlers in Hawke's Bay Province, New Zealand. This was during the Invasion of the Waikato, and, although the Maoris and settlers in this region had always got along fairly well, the situation grew somewhat tense, and so this meeting was held to allow them to talk things over, and resulted in a reaffirmation of friendship and peace between the groups.

On this day

December 14: Martyred Intellectuals Day in Bangladesh (1971); Monkey Day

George W. Bush (l) and Nouri al-Maliki (r) defend themselves against a thrown shoe
George W. Bush (l) and Nouri al-Maliki (r) defend themselves against a thrown shoe

Aldfrith of Northumbria (d. 704 or 705) · Louis Marshall (b. 1856) · Lupe Vélez (d. 1944)

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Time's glory is to command contending kings,
To unmask falsehood, and bring truth to light.

— William Shakespeare, playwright

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Forum Romanum April 05.jpg
Ancient Rome

"The traveler who has contemplated the ruins of ancient Rome may conceive some imperfect idea of the sentiments which they must have inspired when they reared their heads in the splendor of unsullied beauty."
Edward Gibbon

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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

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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

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