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Wikijunior:Introduction to History/Introduction

People have been around for a long time. More than four thousand years ago, they were building pyramids in Egypt. Three thousand years ago, the Zhou dynasty ruled in China, King David sat on the throne in Israel, and the Greeks were fighting a war against Troy. Two thousand years ago, Jesus and Augustus Caesar were alive. A thousand years ago, William the Conqueror invaded England. And just a few dozen years ago, Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. The fascinating thing about history that by re-telling the past, it teaches us about the present and in doing so, it lays the foundation for our future. Think about that! Everything you see around you every day, every item you use and every word you say has is own unique history. So, on the one hand, history is a linear sequence of events while on the other it is the story that explains why things are they way they are.

People learn history for many reasons. You may want to understand how things happen, and why. You may be interested in the great art or the great scientific discoveries of the past. You may want to learn the truth behind stories you have heard about Helen of Troy or Romeo and Juliet. Or you may just want to hear entertaining stories that are true.

How to begin? One way is to begin at the beginning, with the history of people who lived near river banks, such as the Fertile Crescent, the Indus Valley, the Huanghe Valley and the Nile Valley civilisations. The trouble with that is that you may grow up and grow old before you ever get to the history that your parents and grandparents lived through. Some people begin by learning the history of their own land, and leave for later the history of other lands and other peoples. Some people are only interested in things that are happening now, or in their lifetimes, or in their parents or grandparents lifetimes.

It seems to me that the best way to learn history is to make several quick passes through different sections of history, so you can find your passion and become an expert in the era -- like the one you read in the first paragraph of this Wikibook. If you want to know more, you can branch off to study any of the many topics that are lightly covered here.

However, it is not all different.