History (from Greek ἱστορία - historia, meaning "inquiry, knowledge acquired by investigation") is an umbrella term that relates to past events as well as the discovery, collection, organization, and presentation of information about these events. The term includes cosmic, geologic, and organic history, but is often generically implied to mean human history. 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 support the "disinterested investigation" required of the discipline of history. Events occurring prior to written record are considered prehistory.
Herodotus, a 5th century B.C. Greek historian is considered to be the "father of history", and, along with his contemporary Thucydides, helped form the foundations for the modern study of human history. Their influence has 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.
Read more about History: Etymology, Description, History and Prehistory, Historiography, Philosophy of History, Historical Methods, Areas of Study, Historians, The Judgement of History, Pseudohistory, Teaching History
Famous quotes containing the word history:
“We aspire to be something more than stupid and timid chattels, pretending to read history and our Bibles, but desecrating every house and every day we breathe in.”
—Henry David Thoreau (18171862)
“I believe that in the history of art and of thought there has always been at every living moment of culture a will to renewal. This is not the prerogative of the last decade only. All history is nothing but a succession of crisesMof rupture, repudiation and resistance.... When there is no crisis, there is stagnation, petrification and death. All thought, all art is aggressive.”
—Eugène Ionesco (b. 1912)
“America is the only nation in history which, miraculously, has gone directly from barbarism to degeneration without the usual interval of civilization.”
—Attributed to Georges Clemenceau (18411929)