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Naseer Ahmed Chandio Naseer Ahmed Chandio is offline
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Arrow History an overview

History is systematically collected information about the past. When used as the name of a field of study, history refers to the study and interpretation of the record of humans, families, and societies as preserved primarily through written sources. History is thus usually distinguished from prehistory by the widespread adoption of writing in the area under study. Knowledge of history is often said to encompass both knowledge of past events and historical thinking skills.
Traditionally, the study of history has been considered a part of the humanities. However, in modern academia, history is increasingly classified as a social science, especially when chronology is the focus.

Because history is such a broad subject, organization is crucial. While several writers, such as H.G. Wells and Will and Ariel Durant, have written universal histories, most historians specialize.
There are several different ways of classifying historical information:
  • Chronological (by date)
  • Geographical (by region)
  • National (by nation)
  • Ethnic (by ethnic group)
  • Topical (by subject or topic)
Some people have criticized historical study, saying that it tends to be too narrowly focused on political events, armed conflicts, and famous people and that deeper and more significant changes in terms of ideas, technology, family life and culture warrant more attention. Recent developments in the practice of history have sought to address this.
Historical records

Historians obtain information about the past from various kinds of sources, including written or printed records, coins or other artifacts, buildings and monuments, and interviews (oral history). For modern history, primary sources may include photographs, motion pictures, and audio and video recordings. Different approaches may be more common in the study of some periods than in others, and perspectives of history (historiography) vary widely.
Historical records have been maintained for a variety of reasons, including administrative (such as censuses, tax records, commercial records), political (glorification or criticism of leaders and notable figures), religious, artistic, sporting (notably the Olympics), genealogical, personal (letters), and entertainment.
History and prehistory

Traditionally, the study of history was limited to the written and spoken word. However, the rise of academic professionalism and the creation of new scientific fields in the 19th and 20th centuries brought a flood of new information that challenged this notion. Archaeology, anthropology and other social sciences were providing new information and even theories about human history. Some traditional historians questioned whether these new studies were really history, since they were not limited to the written word. A new term, prehistory, was coined, to encompass the results of these new fields where they yielded information about times before the existence of written records.
In the 20th century, the division between history and prehistory became problematic. Criticism arose because of history's implicit exclusion of certain civilizations, such as those of Sub-Saharan Africa and pre-Columbian America. Additionally, prehistorians such as Vere Gordon Childe and historical archaeologists like James Deetz began using archaeology to explain important events in areas that were traditionally in the field of history. Historians began looking beyond traditional political history narratives with new approaches such as economic, social and cultural history, all of which relied on various sources of evidence. In recent decades, strict barriers between history and prehistory have thus largely disappeared.
There are differing views for the definition of when history begins. For many, history has become a general term meaning the study of everything that is known about the human past (but even this barrier is being challenged by new fields such as Big History). Sources that can give light on this past, such as oral history, linguistics, and genetics, have all become accepted by mainstream historians. Nevertheless, archaeologists distinguish between history and prehistory based on the appearance of written documents within the region in question. This distinction remains critical for archaeologists because the availability of a written record generates very different interpretive problems and potentials.

The term history entered the English language in 1390 with the meaning of "relation of incidents, story" via the Old French historie, from the Latin historia "narrative, account." This itself was derived from the Ancient Greekστορία, historía, meaning "a learning or knowing by inquiry, history, record, narrative," from the verbστορεν, historeîn, "to inquire."
This, in turn, was derived from στωρ, hístōr ("wise man," "witness," or "judge"). Early attestations of στωρ are from the Homeric Hymns, Heraclitus, the Athenian ephebes' oath, and from Boiotic inscriptions (in a legal sense, either "judge" or "witness," or similar). The spirant is problematic, and not present in cognate Greek eídomai ("to appear").
στωρ is ultimately from the Proto-Indo-European *wid-tor-, from the root *weid- ("to know, to see"), also present in the English word wit, the Latin words vision and video, the Sanskrit word veda, and the Slavic word videti and vedati, as well as others. (The asterisk before a word indicates that it is a hypothetical construction, not an attested form.) 'στορία, historía, is an Ionic derivation of the word, which with Ionic science and philosophy were spread first in Classical Greece and ultimately over all of Hellenism.
In Middle English, the meaning was "story" in general. The restriction to the meaning "record of past events" in the sense of Herodotus arises in the late 15th century. In German, French, and indeed, most languages of the world other than English, this distinction was never made, and the same word is used to mean both "history" and "story". A sense of "systematic account" without a reference to time in particular was current in the 16th century, but is now obsolete. The adjective historical is attested from 1561, and historic from 1669. Historian in the sense of a "researcher of history" in a higher sense than that of an annalist or chronicler, who merely record events as they occur, is attested from 1531.

Historiography has a number of related meanings. It can refer to the history of historical study, its methodology and practices (the history of history). It can also refer to a specific a body of historical writing (for example, "medieval historiography during the 1960s" means "medieval history written during the 1960s"). Historiography can also be taken to mean historical theory or the study of historical writing and memory. As a meta-level analysis of descriptions of the past, this third conception can relate to the first two in that the analysis usually focuses on the narratives, interpretations, worldview, use of evidence, or method of presentation of other historians.

Historical methods

The historical method comprises the techniques and guidelines by which historians use primary sources and other evidence to research and then to write history.
Ibn Khaldun laid down the principles for the historical method in his book Muqaddimah. Other historians of note who have advanced the historical methods of study include Leopold von Ranke, Lewis Bernstein Namier, Geoffrey Rudolph Elton, G.M. Trevelyan and A.J.P. Taylor. In the 20th century, historians focused less on epic nationalistic narratives, which often tended to glorify the nation or individuals, to more realistic chronologies. French historians introduced quantitative history, using broad data to track the lives of typical individuals, and were prominent in the establishment of cultural history (cf. histoire des mentalités). American historians, motivated by the civil rights era, focused on formerly overlooked ethnic, racial, and socio-economic groups. In recent years, postmodernists have challenged the validity and need for the study of history on the basis that all history is based on the personal interpretation of sources. In his book In Defence of History, Richard J. Evans, a professor of modern history at Cambridge University, defended the worth of history.

Historians often claim that the study of history teaches valuable lessons with regard to past successes and failures of leaders, military strategy and tactics, economic systems, forms of government, and other recurring themes in the human story. From history we may learn factors that result in the rise and fall of nation-states or civilizations, the strengths and weaknesses of various political, economic, and social systems, and the effects of factors such as trade and technology.
One of the most famous quotations about history and the value of studying history, by Spanishphilosopher, George Santayana, reads: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." The GermanPhilosopher, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel remarked in his Philosophy of History that "What history and experience teach us is this: that people and government never have learned anything from history or acted on principles deduced from it." This was famously paraphrased by the Britishstatesman, Winston Churchill, who said "The one thing we have learned from history is that we don't learn from history."
An alternative view is that the forces of history are too great to be changed by human deliberation, or that, even if people do change the course of history, the movers and shakers of this world are usually too self-involved to stop to look at the big picture.
Yet another view is that history does not repeat itself because of the uniqueness of any given historical event. In this view, the specific combination of factors at any moment in time can never be repeated, and so knowledge about events in the past can not be directly and beneficially applied to the present.
["Satisfaction is death of Struggle"]
[Naseer Ahmed Chandio]
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