What is History and Why Study of History is Important

What is History and Why Study of History is Important

Introduction – What is History?

What is History? History in simple words is the study of the past. Every day, we witness some events happening around us. Some events cause a deep and everlasting impact on our human society. Some events have immediate and visible impacts, however, some events are not so visible, but, they are shaping our societies over time.

History in my view is a tool to study and analyze the past events, experiences, and phenomena that have shaped the world and societies over time. It records human actions, ideas, developments, and what were the causes and effects on a major scale on humanity. So, it involves examination and analysis. Something that is affecting you personally, your family does not become History.

The events happening today that are changing the world or society are being recorded. Evidence is being collected. Like Photos, videos, and documents. The coming generations will know about the event that changed the society in their past, they will not simply believe the words spoken, they will need evidence or proof about it. That is what historians do. They study and analyze the history and provide valid proof of the event.

So, we now know what is History. People who shape the future by studying history and analyzing them are called historians. Let us see “Who are the Historians?”

“Our same present is the past for coming generations. Make it so grand today, that they are proud of their History.”

~ Nitesh Sinha

Who are the Historians?

Historians are awesome people writing History. They do not create history, however, they write it. The main idea here is to collect and analyze the evidence from their point of view. You read history, however, the source from where you get the reading is important. That can change the whole view of how you look back at the past.

Historians gather evidence from a different and wide range of sources. It includes written records, archaeological evidence, oral traditions, and visual materials. They critically analyze these evidence sources to create an understanding and interpretation of the past. A point to remember is Historians are human beings, and their analysis may be different. So, you get different insights when you read History by different historians.

Human civilization has spent more time on this Earth. So, with time the range of History is also growing. History is getting larger and broader. It ranges from ancient civilizations and pre-historic human societies and current events. The History we know today is an analysis of the rise and fall of empires, political revolutions, social movements technological advancements, cultural transformations, and the interactions between different regions and civilizations.

By examining and analyzing the past, history provides a deeper understanding of human behavior, collective memory, and the forces that have shaped our world today. So, the responsibilities of a historian are important for the society. What analysis and evidence they provide may change the perspective of coming generations towards us.

The vastness of history cannot be captured in one go. So, there are classifications. So, what are the types of history?

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Types of History

As we previously discussed, history is vast. As a result, they have been divided into sub-categories for better understanding. They concentrate on various topics and historical viewpoints. The first is based on the timeline and the second is on the main topics covered.

Types of History

1. Categories of History Based on Time

Based on time, history can be divided into several periods. These classifications are frequently used to aid in the study and arrangement of historical events and developments. Here are several frequently accepted time-based historical categories:

a) Pre-history

This period refers to when writing systems and recorded history were not in place. It includes the development of the first human civilizations, the development of tools made of stones, the development of agriculture, and the development of human beings from groups of hunters to settled civilizations.

b) Ancient History

Ancient history in general covers the period when the writing systems were invented to the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 CE. It includes the civilizations of Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, Rome, Persia, China, India, and other early civilizations that laid the formation of human civilization.

c) Medieval history

Medieval history generally includes the time from the fall of the Western Roman Empire to the start of the Early Modern period in the 15th century. It includes the Byzantine Empire, the Islamic Golden Age, feudalism, the Crusades, and the development of nation-states in Europe during the Middle Ages.

d) Early Modern History

The term “early modern history” refers to the time from the 15th to the late 18th centuries. The Renaissance, Reformation, Age of Exploration, Scientific Revolution, Enlightenment, and the growth of colonial empires are all part of it.

e) Modern history

Modern history generally begins with the French Revolution in 1789 and continues to the present-day. The Industrial Revolution, the creation of nation-states, the spread of democracy, imperialism, World War I, World War II, the Cold War, decolonization, and the modern age are all covered.

f) Contemporary History

The period from the end of World War II to the present day is referred to as contemporary history. Recent events, geopolitical shifts, globalization, technical progress, social movements, and other key phenomena that have shaped the modern world are all included.

It’s crucial to remember that these time-based classifications aren’t set in stone and can shift depending on regional and cultural perceptions. Furthermore, within each time, there may be additional subdivisions or specific designations to focus on specific subjects or places.

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2. Categories of History Based on the Field of Study

History is divided into numerous categories or subfields that focus on diverse aspects and viewpoints of the past. Among the major types of history are:

a) Political History

The study of society’s political structures, institutions, and activities, such as governments, leaders, political principles, and struggle for power, is known as political history.

b) Social History

Social history is the study of social structures, everyday life, cultural practices, and ordinary people’s experiences within a specific historical environment. It explores subjects including family life, financial status, gender roles, labor, and popular culture.

c) Economic History

Economic history is the study of a society’s economic activities, processes, and transformations across time. It investigates elements like commerce, industry, agriculture, technical breakthroughs, economic policies, and their effects on society and individuals.

d) Cultural History

Cultural history examines the beliefs, values, ideas, artistic expressions, and intellectual developments of a particular society or period. It explores the cultural artifacts, literature, art, music, religion, and intellectual movements that have shaped human experiences.

e) Military History

Military history is the study of warfare, military strategies, tactics, and the impact on society of battles. It studies the beginnings and consequences of wars, the development of military technology, and the cultural and social aspects of armed conflicts.

f) Intellectual History

Intellectual History: The study of the development of ideas, concepts, theories in science, and thought processes throughout history is known as intellectual history. It investigates the evolution of human thinking, intellectual successes, and the effect of ideas on culture and society as a whole.

g) Diplomatic History

The study of international politics, diplomatic activities, treaties, alliances, and the connections that exist between different nations and civilizations is known as diplomatic history. It focuses on the diplomatic actions, treaties, and tensions that impacted global events.

h) Environmental History

Environmental history studies the connections between civilizations and the natural environment throughout time. It studies how human activities such as agriculture, industrialization, and urbanization have impacted landscapes, ecosystems, and the sustainability of the planet over time.

These are just a few of the many subfields that make up the study of history. Every form of history gives unique insights into numerous aspects of the human experience, allowing an in-depth knowledge of the past. Historians often integrate multiple approaches to gain a holistic view of historical events and phenomena.

Huh! This was exhaustive. We looked at the types of history. However, have you ever wondered Why the Study of History is Important? Let us look into a small summary.

Here are the Top 10 History Books that you can buy on Amazon.

Why Study of History is Important

History is a mirror that reflects humanity’s evolution over time. It reminds us of our successes and mistakes, our forward and backward steps, and our collective experiences that have molded the society we currently live in. History provides wonderful insights into every aspect of human existence, from the big stories of ancient empires to the little details of daily living.

History teaches us many lessons that we may apply to today’s problems. We may learn about the origins and consequences of cultural shifts by studying historical events and patterns. We may learn about the effects of authoritarianism by studying the rise and collapse of dictatorial governments, or we can learn about the value of inclusion and equality by researching civil rights campaigns. The effects of colonialism, the influence of technical breakthroughs, and the force of social movements are all taught to us by history. These lessons help us make better judgments, negotiate difficulties, and deal with current issues.

As we face the problems of the present, history acts as a compass, pointing us in the direction of a brighter future. Understanding the underlying causes of conflicts, social inequities, and environmental degradation allows us to create effective solutions. History shows us the value of diplomacy, discussion, and collaboration in conflict resolution. It inspires by highlighting human tenacity, inventiveness, and compassion throughout history. We may imagine alternate possibilities, question dominant myths, and move towards a more equitable, inclusive, and sustainable society by studying history.

This was a small summary of why the study of history is important. I have written a few lines here, however, I know it is vast. If you can give me some idea on this, your comments are welcome. We will put it in your name with your comments.

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Conclusion

History is an assembly formed up of a lot of people, events, and ideas. It gives us a deep insight into who we are, where we came from, and where we are going. It gives us the information and insight we need to face today’s difficulties and construct a brighter tomorrow. Allow history to serve as a guide, a source of inspiration, and a store of human experiences. By learning from history, we may construct a path toward development, fairness, and peace in the world we share.

In my opinion, historians have a great responsibility on them to provide correct historical facts. Their exploration and analysis of history should not be based on biases and personal interests. I am saying this because I am from India and no country other than India knows how distorted history has shaped today’s generations.

Religious clashes and political dramas that we see today are all due to tweaked history. Historians who were not there from India or did not even have an idea about the country wrote the history. As an Indian, I feel like a slave today. Somewhere, there was a miss-handling of the historical facts.

So, I encourage everyone to read history and analyze themselves. We have lost a lot of treasures and still losing them. I will write more posts on history and try to be nonbiased.

Points we read In this post: What is History, Who are the Historians, Types of History, Why Study of History is Important, Categories of History Based on Time, Categories of History Based on the Field of Study.

Here are the Top 10 History Books that you can buy on Amazon.

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