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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 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.

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Facsimile of the Act of February 16
The Act of Independence of Lithuania (Lithuanian: Lietuvos Nepriklausomybės Aktas) or Act of February 16 was signed by the Council of Lithuania on February 16, 1918, proclaiming the restoration of an independent State of Lithuania, governed by democratic principles, with Vilnius as its capital. The Act was signed by all twenty representatives, chaired by Jonas Basanavičius. The Act of February 16 was the end result of a series of resolutions on the issue, including one issued by the Vilnius Conference and the Act of January 8. The path to the Act was long and complex because the German Empire exerted pressure on the Council to form an alliance. The Council had to carefully maneuver between the Germans, whose troops were present in Lithuania, and the demands of the Lithuanian people.

The immediate effects of the announcement of Lithuania's re-establishment of independence were limited. Publication of the Act was prohibited by the German authorities, and the text was distributed and printed illegally. The work of the Council was hindered, and Germans remained in control over Lithuania. The situation changed only when Germany lost World War I in the fall of 1918. In November 1918 the first Cabinet of Lithuania was formed, and the Council of Lithuania gained control over the territory of Lithuania. Independent Lithuania, although it would soon be battling the Wars of Independence, became a reality.

Selected biography

Nikita Zotov, rotogravure by Alexandr Osipov, 1882–1883
Count Nikita Moiseevich Zotov (Russian: Никита Моисеевич Зотов) (1644 – December 1717) was a childhood tutor and life-long friend of Russian Tsar Peter the Great (Russian: Пётр I Алексеевич, "Великий"). Historians disagree on the quality of Zotov's tutoring. Robert K. Massie, for example, praises his efforts, but Lindsey Hughes criticizes the education that he gave to the future Tsar.

Not much is known about Zotov's life aside from his connection to Peter. Zotov left Moscow for a diplomatic mission to Crimea in 1680, and returned to Moscow before 1683. He became part of the "Jolly Company", a group of several dozen of Peter's friends that eventually formed The All-Jesting, All-Drunken Synod of Fools with Zotov being appointed "Prince-Pope" of the Synod, and regularly presiding over their entertainments and festivities. He accompanied Peter on many important occasions, such as the Azov campaigns and the extorturing information from the Streltsy on high treason after their uprising. Zotov held a number of state positions, including c.1701 a head position in the Tsar's personal secretariat (Russian: Тайная канцелярия). Three years before his death, Zotov married a woman 50 years his junior. He died in December 1717 of unknown cause.

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The San Francisco Mission District burning in the aftermath of the San Francisco earthquake of 1906, April 18, 1906. The majority of the city's buildings were wood; taken on a rooftop near the fire by H. D. Chadwick, this image shows them burning heavily following the 7.9 MW earthquake.

On this day

August 20: Day of Restoration of Independence in Estonia (1991); St. Stephen's Day / State Foundation Day in Hungary

Mercedes-Benz O305 bus on the O-Bahn
Mercedes-Benz O305 bus on the O-Bahn

Henry Every (b. 1659) · Phil Lynott (b. 1949)  · Amy Adams (b. 1974)

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What is the use of living, if it be not to strive for noble causes and to make this muddled world a better place for those who will live in it after we are gone?

— Winston Churchill, British statesman

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War

"In my dreams I hear again the crash of guns, the rattle of musketry, the strange, mournful mutter of the battlefield."
Douglas MacArthur

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