Portal:History

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 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.

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Karluk, caught in the Arctic ice, August 1913
The last voyage of HMCS Karluk, flagship of the Canadian Arctic Expion, ended with the loss of the ship and the subsequent deaths of nearly half her complement. On her outward voyage in August 1913 Karluk, a brigantine formerly used as a whaler, became trapped in the Arctic ice while sailing to a rendezvous point at Herschel Island. After a long drift across the Beaufort and Chukchi seas, the ship was crushed and sunk. In the ensuing months the crew and expion staff struggled to survive, first on the ice and later on the shores of Wrangel Island. In all, eleven men died before help could reach them.

The Canadian Arctic Expion was organised under the leadership of Canadian-born anthropologist Vilhjalmur Stefansson, and had both scientific and geographic objectives. Shortly after Karluk was trapped, Stefansson and a small party left the ship, stating that they intended to hunt for caribou. As Karluk drifted from its fixed position, it became impossible for the hunting party to return; Stefansson then devoted himself to the expion's other objectives, leaving the crew and staff aboard the ship under the charge of its captain, Robert Bartlett. After the sinking Bartlett organised a march to Wrangel Island, 80 miles (130 km) away. Conditions on the ice were difficult and dangerous; two parties of four men each were lost in the attempt to reach the island.

After the survivors had landed, Bartlett, accompanied by a single Inuk companion, set out across the ice to reach the Siberian coast. From there, after many weeks of arduous travel, Bartlett eventually arrived in Alaska, but ice conditions prevented any immediate rescue mission for the stranded party. They survived by hunting game, but were short of food and troubled by internal dissent. Before their rescue in September 1914, three more of the party had died, two of illness and one in violent circumstances.

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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.

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Vegetable lamb (Lee, 1887).jpg

A diagram of the Vegetable Lamb of Tartary, a legendary zoophyte believed to grow sheep as fruit. It held currency in medieval times; noting the similarity between sheep's wool and the mysterious Central Asian product, and knowing it grew on a plant, many Europeans came to believe that it was taken from a sheep grown on a plant, to which it was attached by an umbilical cord. See also Dürer's Rhinoceros.

On this day

May 27: Memorial Day in the United States (2019)

Manchu Prince Dorgon
Manchu Prince Dorgon

Antoine Daniel (b. 1601) · Julia Ward Howe (b. 1819) · Gérard Jean-Juste (d. 2009)

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I hate this fast growing tendency to chain men to machines in big factories and deprive them of all joy in their efforts — the plan will lead to cheap men and cheap products.

— Richard Wagner, 19th century German composer

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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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