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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 past as it is described in written documents, and the study thereof. Events occurring before written records are considered prehistory. "History" 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 also includes 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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Brazilian battleship Minas Geraes firing a broadside.jpg
A South American dreadnought race involving Argentina, Brazil, and Chile began when the Brazilian government announced its intention to purchase three dreadnoughts—powerful battleships whose capabilities far outstripped older vessels in the world's navies—in 1907. Two ships of the Minas Geraes class were laid down immediately with a third to follow. The Argentine and Chilean governments immediately canceled a naval-limiting pact between them, and both ordered two dreadnoughts (the Rivadavia and Almirante Latorre classes, respectively). Meanwhile, Brazil's third dreadnought was canceled in favor of an even larger ship, but the ship was laid down and ripped up several times after repeated major alterations to the design. When the Brazilian government finally settled on a design, they realized it would be outclassed by the Chilean dreadnoughts' larger armament, so they sold the partly-completed ship to the Ottoman Empire and attempted to acquire a more powerful vessel. By this time the First World War had broken out in Europe, and many shipbuilders suspended work on dreadnoughts for foreign countries, halting the Brazilian plans. Argentina's two dreadnoughts were delivered, as the United States remained neutral in the opening years of the war, but Chile's two dreadnoughts were purchased by the United Kingdom. In the years between the First and Second World War, many naval expansion plans, some involving dreadnought purchases, were proposed. While most never came to fruition, in April 1920 the Chilean government reacquired one of the dreadnoughts taken over by the United Kingdom. No other dreadnoughts were purchased by a South American nation, and all were sold for scrap in the 1950s.

Selected biography

A 32–33-year old Pedro Álvares Cabral in an early 20th-century painting.
Pedro Álvares Cabral (Portuguese pronunciation: [ˈpeðɾu ˈaɫvɐɾɨʃ kɐˈβɾaɫ] in European Portuguese or Portuguese pronunciation: [ˈpedɾʊ ˈaʊ̯vaɾɪs kaˈbɾaʊ̯] in Brazilian Portuguese; c. 1467 or 1468 – c. 1520) was a Portuguese noble, military commander, navigator and explorer regarded as the discoverer of Brazil. Cabral conducted the first substantial exploration of the northeast coast of South America and claimed it for Portugal. While details of Cabral's early life are sketchy, it is known that he came from a minor noble family and received a good education. He was appointed to head an expedition to India in 1500, following Vasco da Gama's newly opened route around Africa. The object of the undertaking was to return with valuable spices and to establish trade relations in India—bypassing the monopoly on the spice trade then in the hands of Arab, Turkish and Italian merchants.

Cabral was later passed over, possibly as a result of a quarrel with Manuel I, when a new fleet was assembled to establish a more robust presence in India. Having lost favour with the King, he retired to a private life of which few records survive. His accomplishments slipped mostly into obscurity for more than 300 years. Decades after Brazil's independence from Portugal in the 19th century, Cabral's reputation began to be reassessed by Emperor Pedro II of Brazil. Historians have long argued whether Cabral was Brazil's discoverer, and whether the discovery was accidental or intentional. The first question has been settled by the observation that the few, cursory encounters by explorers before him were barely noticed at the time and contributed nothing to the future development and history of the land which would become Brazil, the sole Portuguese-speaking nation in the Americas. On the second question, no definite consensus has been formed, and the intentional discovery hypothesis lacks solid proof. Nevertheless, although he was overshadowed by contemporary explorers, Cabral today is regarded as a major figure of the Age of Discovery.

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HMS Doterel.jpg

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Nofretete Neues Museum.jpg

The Nefertiti Bust is one of the most famous pieces of ancient Egyptian artwork in the world. Nefertiti was the Great Royal Wife of Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaten; her bust, attributed to the sculptor Thutmose, was one of the most copied works on ancient Egypt, and is notable for exemplifying the understanding ancient Egyptians had regarding realistic facial proportions.

On this day

June 25: Statehood Day in Croatia and Slovenia

Michael Jackson in 1993
Michael Jackson in 1993

Giovanni Battista Riccioli (d. 1671) · Ebenezer Pemberton (d. 1835) · Margaret Anstee (b. 1926)

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There cannot be two suns in the sky, nor two emperors on the earth.

— Confucius, Chinese Sage and Philosopher

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Joseph Smith receiving golden plates.jpg
History of the Latter Day Saint movement

"Well, church history actually is what we would call a constitutional issue in this church. On the day the church was organized, a revelation was given that there would be a history kept, and faithfully; really since that day, the church has kept history."
Marlin K. Jensen

This is a very old picture.

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