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Etymology of History

History comes from Latin Historia. Now one thing others forget to mention is that in romance languages the H in this word is silent. So properly the word should be read as history not History. But because English broke reading rules we have this issue. Other examples include Jesus instead of Issus and John instead oh Ion. Around that same time - the 1960s and 70s - there was a book called 'Herstory' - the History of Women - or something just like that - not Gerda Lerner's book but another and that back was thought to have a very clever title.

History as a word and term sounds as if it leans toward men but as another poster pointed out the history of the word history tells us that it's not intended to. Nor would 'Ourstory' be quite correct - the point of looking at minority experiences in history is to understand how they diverge, how they are different and what makes them so. 'Ourstory' has been told many many times and when you call it 'Ourstory' it ends up back where we started with more 'His History'.Folk etymologies are so inherently funny that it is hard not to be offensive when commenting them. They are often so superficial that it is evident that they ignore even the structure of English, at a level that a foreigner like me, is able to see the trick. Personal pronouns (like "his") cannot be used to form nouns (like "history") in any indo-european language that I know of -- unless someone can enlighten me with examples. "History" is a Greek word that came to English via Latin and French. Because it is different, strange, "stranger" even, people come up with lots of explanations for its use, and propose a ban. It is more or less like the n-word, except that none uses "History" to offend people.

  1. Portuguese: HistÛria (seu/sua)
  2. Spanish: Historia (suyo/suya)
  3. French: Historie (lui)
  4. Italian: Storia (lei)


Historiography deals with the writing of history. In the broadest sense, it is the study of the history of history (as it is described by historians). Historiography has several facets, but for the purposes of a researcher trying to situate his work in the context of other historians' work on a particular topic. Historiography is simply something to keep in the back of your mind when you read a text or sift through your various sources as you prepare to write. Occasionally, a historiographical insight is worth a footnote or perhaps even an aside in the main text of your paper (in which case it will already have had an impact upon, and will have raised the quality of your thinking and writing on history).

Philosophy of History

"Historical theory" is a concept that is used in different ways. Often researchers will have a "theory" about historical events and connections ñ an orderly preconceived impression of the phenomenon to be studied. Used in this way, "theory" means the same thing as "hypothesis".

The concept of history plays a fundamental role in human thought. It invokes notions of human agency, change, the role of material circumstances in human affairs, and the putative meaning of historical events. It raises the possibility of learning from history. And it suggests the possibility of better understanding ourselves in the present, by understanding the forces, choices, and circumstances that brought us to our current situation. It is therefore unsurprising that philosophers have sometimes turned their attention to efforts to examine history itself and the nature of historical knowledge. These reflections can be grouped together into a body of work called ìphilosophy of history. This work is heterogeneous, comprising analyses and arguments of idealists, positivists, logicians, theologians, and others, and moving back and forth over the divides between European and Anglo-American philosophy, and between hermeneutics and positivism.

There are different ways the word ëhistoryí might be defined, so we had better start out by defining our terms. For example, you could define history as the sum total of past events.  But that ís not how historians or even philosophers of history would define it.  The problem with that definition is that it encompasses every single event that has so far happened in the Universe ñ from the big bang to the emergence of humankind and everything in between.  We do sometimes talk about history in this broad and inclusive sense, but that ís not what weíre talking about today. An alternative definition is the sum total not of everything that has happened in the universe, but the study of the sum total of past human actions.  Although that seems like a better, because more restrictive, definition, we do need to be careful.  Our first definition equated history with past events.  Our second definition talked about the study or representation of past events.  The world ëhistoryí is used both ways.  That is, sometimes we use the word ëhistoryí to refer to a sequence of past events.  Sometimes we use it to refer to the study and representation of past events.   There are deep and interesting philosophical questions about both the past itself and the representation of the past.

Marxian theory of History

Karl Marx (1818ñ1883) was a German philosopher and sociologist whose scientific approach to history, combined with his revolutionary socialism, and has made him one of the most influential, famous, and indeed infamous, intellectuals who ever lived. His major works were The Communist Manifesto (1848) and Capital (1867). The first was written during the Revolutions of 1848, and aimed to explain the political program of the Communist Party to a popular audience. The second was much more serious. Socialists had long believed they had both morality and science on their side, but Marx seemed to prove it, for his critique of capitalism was situated within a theory that explained the entire human past, and also predicted the future. In other words, it was a genuine science of history, just as Newton had established for physics and Darwin for biology.

Marxís method was empiricist and positivist, and his assumptions determinist, materialist, and historicist. His principle debts were to Adam Smith, David Ricardo, Augusta Comte, and GWF Hegel. He argued that history, like any science, was a law-governed process, and therefore susceptible to prediction based on observation. This was not to say that individual human decisions were necessarily determined, but only that there was one and only one rational way for a person to pursue their interests under a given set of circumstances. People who did not adopt it, for whatever reason, would find themselves at a disadvantage in competitive struggle, and must sooner or later either reform or be eliminated by more rational competitors.

Periods of History

AP World History divides history up into six periods. Let's take an in-depth look at these six periods, which include: Period 1 - Technological and Environmental Transformations, from 8000 B.C. to 600 B.C.; Period 2 - Organization and Reorganization of Human Societies, from 600 B.C. to 600 A.D.; Period 3 - Regional and Trans regional Interactions, from 600 to 1450; Period 4 - Global Interactions, from 1450 to 1750; Period 5 - Industrialization and Global Integration, from 1750 to 1900; and Period 6 - Accelerated Global Change and Realignments, from 1900 to the present. Each period has its own distinct characteristics. Let's take a look at each of the six periods and learn about their defining characteristics. 

Stone Age (50,000ñ3000 BCE) 

The Stone Age

Refers to the broad range of ëpre-historyí which lasted from approx. 30,000 BC to 6,000BC where the first metals started to be used. In the stone age, use of metals was scarce, and the most common building materials and weapons were wood and stone. Much of this history is undocumented, though some archaeological evidence persists.

Bronze Age (3000ñ1300 BCE)

The Bronze age refers to the broad period of history when cultures in Europe, Asia and other parts of the world made the first uses of bronze, from mining copper and tin. Bronze enabled more powerful tools and weapons. It was an age where the first writing systems became devised and used.
Ancient Egypt (3000ñ300 BCE) Ancient Egypt was a civilization which inhabited the banks of the Nile. Egypt was successful in using technology to increase agricultural production, giving spare labor for other pursuits, such as cultural, religious and military. Egypt was ruled by powerful Pharaohs, though there began a slow decline after being invaded by foreign powers. By 30 BC Egypt fell under the rule of the Roman Empire.

Ancient Rome (8th Century BCEñ476 CE) 

The Roman Empire was centered on the city of Rome and the Italian peninsula. Rome went through different phases, from classical Republic government to autocratic Emperors. At its peak, the power of Rome extended throughout the majority of Europe, laying many foundations of Western civilizations. Towards the end of the Roman Empire, it adopted Christianity as its official religion; this helped the religion to spread across Europe.

Middle Ages (Europe, 4CEñ1500CE)

Also known as the post-classical era. The Middle Ages stretches from the end of the Roman Empire and classical period and the Renaissance of the 15th Century. It includes the rise of Islam in the Middle East. The Middle Ages is often considered a period of relative cultural ëdarknessí, with severe wars (e.g. 100-year war, crusades), plagues, religious persecution and a relative lack of learning.

Islamic Golden Age (Middle East, 750CEñ1300CE)

This refers to a period in the Islamic World which saw a flourishing of science, mathematics, and preservation of classical writings, such as Aristotle. The Islamic Golden Age saw the creation of centers of learning, science, and culture, beginning with the House of Wisdom in Baghdad.

Age of Discovery (or Exploration) (Europe, 1400CEñ1700CE)

The Age of Discovery refers to a period in the late Middle Ages/Renaissance where foreign travel and discovery was an influential part of European societies. In the Age of Discovery, European powers discovered and settled in different continents, changing the fate of the Americas, Africa and Asia.

History of Religion

As with many cultural advancements and inventions, the 'cradle of civilization' Mesopotamia has been cited as the birthplace of religion. When religion developed in Mesopotamia is unknown, but the first written records of religious practice date to c. 3500 BCE from Sumer. Mesopotamian religious beliefs held that human beings were co-workers with the gods and labored with them and for them to hold back the forces of chaos which had been checked by the supreme deities at the beginning of time. Order was created out of chaos by the gods and one of the most popular myths illustrating this principle told of the great god Marduk who defeated Tiamat and the forces of chaos to create the world. Egyptian religion was similar to Mesopotamian belief, however, in that human beings were co-workers with the gods to maintain order. The principle of harmony (known to the Egyptians as ma'at) was of the highest importance in Egyptian life (and in the afterlife), and their religion was fully integrated into every aspect of existence. Egyptian religion was a combination of magic, mythology, science, medicine, psychiatry, spiritualism, herb ology, as well as the modern understanding of 'religion' as belief in a higher power and a life after death. The gods were the friends of human beings and sought only the best for them by providing them with the most perfect of all lands to live in and an eternal home to enjoy when their lives on earth were done. This principle of order is also paramount in the world's oldest religion still being practiced today: Hinduism (known to adherents as Sanatan Dharma, 'Eternal Order'). Although often viewed as a polytheistic faith, Hinduism is actually henotheistic. There is only one supreme god in Hinduism, Brahma, and all other deities are his aspects and reflections. Since Brahma is too immense a concept for the human mind to comprehend, he presents himself in the many different versions of himself which people recognize as deities such as Vishnu, Shiva, and the many others. The Hindu scriptures number the gods at 330 million, and these range from those who were known at a national level (such as Krishna) to lesser-known local deities. Remembrance of the dead and the part they still play in the lives of those on earth was an important component of all ancient religions including the belief system of the Maya. The gods were involved in every aspect of the life of the Maya. As with other cultures, there were many different deities (over 250), all of whom had their own special sphere of influence. They controlled the weather, the harvest, they dictated oneís mate, presided over every birth, and were present at oneís death. The importance of remembrance of the dead as part of one's religious devotions was integral to the beliefs of the Greeks as well. Continued remembrance of the dead by the living kept the soul of the deceased alive in the afterlife. The Greeks, like the other cultures mentioned, believed in many gods who often cared for their human charges but, just as often, pursued their own pleasure. The resonant spiritual message of these different religions is repeated in texts from Phoenicia (2700 BCE) to Sumer (2100 BCE) to Palestine (1440 BCE) to Greece (800 BCE) to Rome (c. 100 CE) and went on to inform the beliefs of those who came later. Although he does not actually die, after his symbolic 'resurrection' he saves the country from famine, providing for the people in the same way as other regenerative figures. This theme of life-after-death and life coming from death and, of course, the judgment after death, gained the greatest fame through the evangelical efforts of St. Paul who spread the word of the dying and reviving god Jesus Christ throughout ancient Palestine, Asia Minor, Greece, and Rome (c. 42-62 CE). Paul's vision of the figure of Jesus, the anointed son of God who dies to redeem humanity, was drawn from the earlier belief systems and informed the understanding of the scribes who would write the books which make up the Bible.

Cultural History

Cultural history is not simply the study of high culture or alternatively of peoples' past rituals. It is best characterized as an approach which considers the domain of representation and the struggle over meaning as the most fruitful areas for the pursuit of historical understanding. In its modern form it evolved to a certain extent out of the 'new' social, economic and women's histories of the 1960s and 1970s, which sought to understand the lives of non-elites and women, but whose use of structures of class was increasingly seen as reductionist, ignoring the assumptions and judgments actually shaping, say, women's experiences.

Economic History

The term classical economics was first used by Karl Marx (1818 ñ 1883) to describe early economists like Adam Smith (1723 ñ 1790), David Ricardo (1772 ñ 1823), John Stuart Mill (1806 ñ 1873) and Thomas Robert Malthus (1766 ñ 1834). Most important is Smithís work An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (1776) because it marks the starting point of economics as a science.  Economic theories are more of a guide than a rule. While used to guide policy and principle, natural tendencies of systems are influenced by human factors and interventions, whether it is state, social or market manipulation that falls outside the boundaries of "fair trade of goods and services". In reality, economies will go to any extent granted, or taken, to gain wealth or advance value.

Still today, Smithís concept of the ëinvisible handí shapes our understanding of the market economy. It is interpreted as the work of the price mechanism bringing together supply and demand in a market. The result is that the market economy simultaneously maximizes the benefits for consumers and firms.

Environmental History

Environment includes climate, geology, plants, animals, insects, and microbes; rates of reproduction of organisms and reproductive success and failure. An ecosystem is a local or regional grouping of biotic and abiotic components functioning together. Ecologists have contributed concepts such as the balance of nature, the stability-diversity hypothesis, and chaos theories, some of which are undergoing revision as the science of ecology continues to develop.

These include technologies and ways of organizing production. Examples are gathering, hunting, fishing; pastoral (or herding) economies, hydraulic or irrigation economies; industrial capitalism. The material base of the economy differs in various regions such as the arctic, the tropics, and the temperate plains. From the ecosystem, humans extract resources for subsistence or the market, food being one of the most important. An agro ecosystem is organized for agricultural production to feed a group of humans. The capitalist mode of production in agriculture is broader than the organization of labor. It also includes land and nature (especially capitalized nature) as marketable commodities.

The idea of "Environmental" has many meanings that change over time, including human perceptions of the natural world and ideas of order and process.

World History

A comparative, Tranís regional and transcultural approach to the study of history, World History offers a global perspective on past events, as well as cultural and geographic developments over time. Instead of focusing on discrete events, World History takes a big-picture approach to history and considers how those events relate to each other in a larger human story.

The history of world covers approximately 4 billion years (4,567,000,000 years), from Earthís formation out of the solar nebula to the present. Earth formed as part of the birth of the solar system: what eventually became the solar system initially existed as a large, rotating cloud of dust and gas.It was composed of hydrogen and helium produced in the Big Bang, as well as heavier elements produced by stars long gone.

There are a few key qualities that set world history apart from other types of history. World historians use a wide spatial lens, though they do not always take the entire world as their unit of analysis. They tend to de-emphasize individual nations or civilizations, and focus instead on regions defined differently, including zones of interaction or on the ways in which people, goods, and ideas moved across regions through migration, conquest, and trade. Most world historians think that history should be studied on a range of chronological and spatial scales, including, but not limited to, very large ones. Some world history has a narrow temporal framework, examining developments around the world in a single decade or even a single year. Other historians use an expanded timeframe, beginning with the Big Bang to examine history on a cosmic scale. Histories of single commodities such as salt, sugar, or silver can be world history, as can those of single individuals, organizations, or ideas. 

History Geography Locations

Pioneer Greek geographer "Hecataeus" is widely recognized as the Father of Geography. Hecataeus was a resident of Miletus. Very little is known about his date of birth and early life but he was a great statesman and pioneer geographer.  He was the first writer of Greek prose. He collected and classified information of the known Greek world and the unknown distant areas. His main book is Ges-periodos which was published most probably before the end of the 6th century. Ges-periodos is the first systematic description of the world and because of this fact Hecataeus is known as the "Father of Geography".

The map redrawn in the 15th century by Arab scholars, includes Sri Lanka (Taprobane) and the Malay Peninsula (Aurean Chersonese or Golden Chersonese), which, incidentally, is mentioned several times by Columbus as his destination when sailing towards America. The original map, Al Mausdi says, included the latitude and longitude of almost 4.530 towns and cities and 200 mountain ranges, but it was redrawn during the centuries.  However, the important part of his work is not the map. Is the concept behind the map or the invention of latitude and longitude and three map projections he described mathematically (as any geographer does). He not only mapped the Earth (as any cartographer does): he gave us a system with the Earth at the center of the Universe, the Ptolemaic system.

America is located on a different continent full of rich resources thus allowing it to be powerful in its region by population and raw resources. The distance away from other world powers put America at a advantage of not being invaded on their own soil.
Britain is part of Europe but isolated by the English Chanel. This allowed for protection against the Germanís in World War 2 and also made the naval force in Europe as their empire grew.
Chinaís south east regions are full of fertile land perfect for growing crops which lead to rice farming with had much more calories than wheat crops in Europe leading to a larger population.
India is mostly surrounded by sea so its borders with other countries are minimal allowing for good defensive positions such as against the Mongol invasion they successfully repelled while also having a large land mass and ability to grow rice for their population.

Intellectual History

Intellectual history is an unusual discipline, eclectic in both method and subject matter and therefore resistant to any single, globalized definition. Because intellectual historians are likely to disagree about the most fundamental premises of what they do, any one definition of intellectual history is bound to provoke controversy. In this essay, Peter Gordon offers a few introductory remarks about intellectual history, its origins and current directions.

In the course of the 1960s and 1970s, the mirror-image of this philistinism became common, particularly in the form of the claim that ideas of any degree of systematic expression or formal sophistication did not merit detailed historical scrutiny because they were, by definition, only held by a small, educated minority. The fact is, of course, that much which legitimately interests us in history was the work of minorities (not always of the same type, be it noted), and it remains true, to repeat an adaptation of a famous line of E. P. Thompson's that I have used elsewhere, that it is not only the poor and inarticulate who may stand in need of being rescued from the enormous condescension of posterity.

Judgment of History

To pass moral judgments on the past is to fall into the fallacy of imagining that somewhere, behind the veil, the past is still happening ... as if [it is] now being enacted in the next room and we ought to break open the door and stop it. These things have been; they are over; there is nothing to be done about them.

Moral judgmentís by historians risk the application to the past of present- day standards ñ or prejudices ñ when the chief duty of a historian is to approach the past on its own terms. Yet I would venture that judging the past is one of the primary ways that the public engages with history and that it can even have serious historical merit, if the judgments are framed within the principles of its age.

Take Carrís study of Henry VIII. Historians have tussled over the question of whether Henry was a tyrant. Geoffrey Elton always argued that Henry was not, because he acted within the confines of the law, in contrast to the Oxford English Dictionaryís first definition of a ëtyrantí: ëOne who seizes upon the sovereign power in a state without legal right; an absolute ruler; a usurper.í This is reflected in a 16th-century definition. In 1583 Sir Thomas Smith stated that ëa tyrant they name him, who by force comes to the monarch against the will of the people, breaks laws already made at his pleasure Ö and makes other without the advice of his peopleí. Henry VIII did none of these things. He made laws with the consent of his people in Parliament and abided by them. The most fundamental argument that Gorman deploys in this regard I term his Davidson Ian view of belief and language. It attempts to rule out the very possibility of basic factual disputes by appeal to what a shared language presupposes since Gorman insists that postmodernists must share with others standards of consistency.

The postmodernist thus relies on, that is needs the possibility of, conflict or inconsistency in the way we count reality in order to express the position. But once standards for judging consistency and inconsistency are available, the holistic empiricist position overcomes this approach.

Since the First World War, no prime minister of this country has done something as terrible as Tony Blairís invasion of Iraq. This unprovoked war caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people and the mutilation of hundreds of thousands more. It flung the whole region into chaos, chaos which has been skillfully exploited by terror groups. Today, three million people in Iraq are internally displaced, and 10 million need humanitarian assistance.

Yet Mr. Blair, the co-author of these crimes, whose lethal combination of appalling judgments and tremendous powers of persuasion made the Iraq war possible, saunters the world, picking up prizes and massive fees, regally granting interviews, cloaked in a force field of denial and legal impunity.


The lists of some historians are following:

  • Noam Chomsky(American)
  • NiccolÚ Machiavelli(Italian)
  • Michel Foucault(French)
  • Herodotus(Greek)
  • David Hume(Scottish)
  • Ibn Battuta(Moroccan)
  • Ibn Khaldun(Egyptian,Tunisian)
  • Alexis de Tocqueville(French)
  • Xenophon(Greek)
  • Thomas Carlyle(Scottish)
  • Friedrich Schiller(German)
  • Strabo(Greek)
  • David McCullough(American)
  • Will Durant(American)
  • Mahadev Govind Ranade(Indian)
  • Henry Adams(American)
  • Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr.(American)
  • V. Gordon Childe(Australian)
  • Bernard Berenson(American)
  • Michael King(New Zealander)
  • Anna Comnena(Greek)
  • Lord Acton(German,Italian,British)
  • Alfredo Pareja Diezcanseco(Ecuadorian)
  • Alan John Percival Taylor(British)
  • Franjo Racki(Croatian)