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World History Portal | Britannica

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World History

Does history really repeat itself, or can we learn from the mistakes of those who came before us? History provides a chronological, statistical, and cultural record of the events, people, and movements that have made an impact on humankind and the world at large throughout the ages. Investigating the causes and results of past events is critically important in gaining a full understanding and perspective of present-day issues. Browse Subcategories Accidents & Disasters Age of Revolutions The Ancient World Historians Historic Dynasties & Families Historic Nobility Global Exploration The Middle Ages Military Leaders The Modern World Prehistoric Age United States History Wars, Battles & Armed Conflicts

Featured content, July 03, 2020

Queen Elizabeth's Court Occultist Was John Dee a sorcerer or a scholar? #WTFact / World History Written By Michael Ray Did the Vikings Discover America? Learn how the Vikings beat Christopher Columbus to America by 500 years. Demystified / World History Written By Jeff Wallenfeldt Pablo Escobar: 8 Interesting Facts About the King of Cocaine Get to know the infamous drug kingpin. List / World History Written By Amy Tikkanen What was Ulysses S. Grant’s policy regarding Reconstruction? What was Ulysses S. Grant’s policy regarding Reconstruction? Companion / World History Written By Myles Hudson 25th Anniversary of Operation Desert Storm On the morning of January 17, 1991, an international coalition led by the United States launched the first military strikes... Spotlight / World History World War II World War II, conflict that involved virtually every part of the world during the years 1939–45. The principal belligerents... Encyclopedia / World History Written By John Graham Royde-Smith | See all South African War South African War, war fought from October 11, 1899, to May 31, 1902, between Great Britain and the two Boer (Afrikaner)... Encyclopedia / World History Cold War Cold War, the open yet restricted rivalry that developed after World War II between the United States and the Soviet Union... Encyclopedia / World History

World History Quizzes

British Culture and Politics In what year was King John forced to sign the first Magna Carta? Mercantile theory holds that colonies best serve their mother... Quiz / World History USA Facts How many stars are there in the American flag? From airlines to the Pony Express, count your stripes in this test of all... Quiz / World History A Study of History: Who, What, Where, and When? When was the world’s first detective bureau founded? Where was the 1939 World’s Fair held? From Karl Marx to penicillin,... Quiz / World History Criminality and Famous Outlaws How many prisoners escaped from Alcatraz? With what country is the outlaw Ned Kelly associated? From bandana-wearing pirates... Quiz / World History Ancient Civilizations From ancient Egyptians and Phoenicians to the metal associated with the end of the Stone Age, test your knowledge of deities,... Quiz / World History Ancient Egypt: Fact or Fiction? Aside from pyramids, a famous boy king, and hieroglyphics, how much about ancient Egypt do you really know? Travel deeper... Quiz / World History Mohandas Gandhi: Fact or Fiction? He inspired Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s nonviolent protest for civil rights, but how much about Mohandas Gandhi do you really... Quiz / World History Exploring Korea and China: Fact or Fiction? Does North Korea have a democratic government? Was China the first communist state? From slavery to the United Nations, learn... Quiz / World History World War I: Fact or Fiction? Did Canada fight on the side of Britain in World War I? Was Italy an ally of Germany in World War I? From the Flying Tigers... Quiz / World History World War II: Fact or Fiction? Does the term "D-Day" refer to the invasion of Japan? Did Turkey fight on the side of Germany in World War II? Sort fact... Quiz / World History

World History Videos

American Revolution: Paul Revere Video / World History Travel across the United States with gold miners to explore the dynamics of the California Gold Rush Video / World History American Civil War: Battle of Gettysburg Video / World History Spanish Civil War Video / World History American Civil War: Gettysburg, Battle of Video / World History Compare the Progressive politics of Teddy Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and Woodrow Wilson Video / World History This Week in History: October 7–11 Video / World History Top Questions: Meiji Restoration Video / World History Cyclone Pam: effect on Vanuatu Video / World History Learn how the father of the Constitution sponsored the Bill of Rights and led the U.S. through the War of 1812 Video / World History Image Gallery World History View Gallery Never Miss a Day in History Sign up for daily fun facts about this day in history, updates, and special offers delivered right to your inbox. Thank you for subscribing! Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox.

World History Subcategories

Accidents & Disasters Technology and its related processes have been the site of great innovation and advancement over the course of time, but sometimes such improvements came at a high price, after serious accidents, disasters, or tragedies belatedly prompted closer scrutiny of existing procedures. Advances in science have also improved the accuracy of human predictions on some of nature's most forceful manifestations, but earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, and other natural phenomena still yield devastating consequences worldwide. Articles Age of Revolutions This general category includes a selection of more specific topics. Articles The Ancient World The modern world has inherited many cultural elements from ancient civilizations, from communications systems to ways of improving technology. Their stories, battles, and views on life are still relevant today for a full understanding of our world and our cultural legacy. Articles Historians This general category includes a selection of more specific topics. Articles Historic Dynasties & Families This general category includes a selection of more specific topics. Articles Historic Nobility This general category includes a selection of more specific topics. Articles Global Exploration This general category includes a selection of more specific topics. Articles The Middle Ages The Middle Ages comprise the period in European history that began with the collapse of Roman civilization in the 5th century CE and lasted until the dawn of the Renaissance in the 13th, 14th, or 15th century. This interval of time saw the development of the Gothic style of art and architecture, flying buttresses and all. It was also the era of the Crusades and of papal monarchy, and it was during this period that the idea of Europe as a distinct cultural unit emerged. Articles Military Leaders This general category includes a selection of more specific topics. Articles The Modern World This general category includes a selection of more specific topics. Articles Prehistoric Age The prehistoric age covers the millions of years that transpired before human beings began to create written records of their life and of the world in which they lived. Archaeology and similar fields of study allow us to fill in the gaps and piece together an image of what life was like for our ancestors, including what kinds of flora and fauna they might have encountered. Articles United States History As with most nations, the history of the United States contains a number of twists and turns throughout the centuries, from the time of English colonization of North America up to the modern-day America that we're familiar with. Learn more about the people, events, and movements that left an indelible mark in history and shaped the development of the United States as a nation. Articles Wars, Battles & Armed Conflicts Wars, battles, and other domestic or international conflicts, whether armed or diplomatic, are often the outcome of a dispute over natural resources or a struggle for power, influence, and wealth. Major conflicts between nations, peoples, and political groups can end up shifting the cultural and political geography of the world and can also effect change, whether intentional or not, in societal values and the balance of power. Articles Britannica Premium Subscription Did you know you’re not getting the full Britannica experience? Sign up for Premium to get access to all of our trusted content and exclusive originals for only $5.99/month. July 4th Savings! Get 50% off!