The History Portal
(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 often considered within the Western tradition to be the "father of history", or by some the "father of lies", 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.
The exact nature of Sino-Tibetan relations during the Ming Dynasty
(1368–1644) of China
is unclear. Analysis of the relationship is further complicated by modern political conflicts, and the application of Westphalian sovereignty
to a time when the concept did not exist. Some Mainland Chinese
scholars, such as Wang Jiawei & Nyima Gyaincain, assert that the Ming Dynasty had unquestioned sovereignty
, pointing to the Ming court's issuing of various titles to Tibetan leaders, Tibetans' full acceptance of these titles, and a renewal process for successors of these titles that involved traveling to the Ming capital. Scholars within the PRC also argue that Tibet has been an integral part of China since the 13th century, thus a part of the Ming Empire. But most scholars outside the PRC, such as Turrell V. Wylie, Melvin C. Goldstein, and Helmut Hoffman, say that the relationship was one of suzerainty
, that Ming titles were only nominal, that Tibet remained an independent region outside Ming control, and that it simply paid tribute
until the reign of Jiajing
(1521–1566), who ceased relations with Tibet.
Some scholars note that Tibetan leaders during the Ming frequently engaged in civil war and conducted their own foreign diplomacy with neighboring states such as Nepal. Some scholars underscore the commercial aspect of the Ming-Tibetan relationship, noting the Ming Dynasty's shortage of horses for warfare and thus the importance of the horse trade with Tibet. Others argue that the significant religious nature of the relationship of the Ming court with Tibetan lamas is underrepresented in modern scholarship. In hopes of reviving the unique relationship of the earlier Mongol leader Kublai Khan (r. 1260–1294) and his spiritual superior Drogön Chögyal Phagpa (1235–1280) of the Tibetan Sakya sect, the Ming Chinese Yongle Emperor (r. 1402–1424) made a concerted effort to build a secular and religious alliance with Deshin Shekpa (1384–1415), the Karmapa of the Tibetan Karma Kagyu. However, Yongle's attempts were unsuccessful.
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
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.
Did you know...
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
December 12: Feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe (Catholicism); Yule Lads begin arrival in Iceland
- 627 – A Byzantine army under Emperor Heraclius defeated Emperor Khosrow II's Persian forces, commanded by General Rhahzadh, near present-day Mosul, Iraq.
- 1388 – Unable to defend her possessions, Maria of Enghien sold the Lordship of Argos and Nauplia to the Republic of Venice.
- 1939 – The Royal Navy destroyer HMS Duchess (pictured) collided with HMS Barham, the battleship she was escorting, sinking with heavy loss of life.
- 1979 – A 8.2 earthquake struck just offshore of Tumaco, Colombia, causing at least 300 deaths, mostly by the resulting tsunami.
- 2012 – North Korea made its first successful satellite launch, as Kwangmyŏngsŏng-3 Unit 2 successfully reached orbit.
Samuel Hood, 1st Viscount Hood (b. 1724) · Gustave Flaubert (b. 1821) · Evelyn S. Lieberman (d. 2015)
Truth alone will endure, all the rest will be swept away before the tide of time. I must continue to bear testimony to truth even if I am forsaken by all. Mine may today be a voice in the wilderness, but it will be heard when all other voices are silenced, if it is the voice of Truth.
— Gandhi, Indian political and spiritual leader
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