Lesson: History and Historical Periods


Although History is made up of many people's stories of the past, as a science History is the investigation, analysis, organization and presentation of information about past events in the most objective way. Historians discover, collect and investigate different versions of the same event to understand and objectively determine the characteristics of the event and the patterns of cause and effect that determine them.

Trying to help people understand History, historians have divided it into different periods or stages.

This stages are:
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Prehistory: it is the period that goes from the beginning of human life on Earth, 2 million years ago, until de invention of writing, around the year 3500 B.C.
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Ancient History: it goes from the beginning of written history, around the year 3500 B.C., until the fall of the Western Roman Empire, 476 A.D.
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Middle Ages: that goes from the fall of the Western Roman Empire, in the year 476 A.D., until the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus in 1492 or the conquest of Constantiniple by the Turks in 1453.
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Early Modern Ages: that goes from the discovery of America by Columbus in 1492 to the French Revolution in 1789.
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Modern Ages or Contemporary History: it goes from the French Revolution in 1789 until nowadays.

These historical blocks are designed to help people understand what happened in the past allowing us to locate past events, people and facts and to compare them with the ones that happened in other periods.

Although there is an agreement in the basic characteristics, these periods may vary from one civilization to the other.

Nevertheless, we may understand that nothing happens all at once. Life does not stop on December 31 of one year, and begin all over in a different manner on January 1 of the next.

Exercises and Activities