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Portal:History

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History is the discovery, collection, organization, analysis, and presentation of information about past events. History can also mean a continuous, typically chronological record of important or public events or of a particular trend or institution. Scholars who write about history are called historians. It is a field of knowledge which uses a narrative to examine and analyse the sequence of events, and it sometimes attempts to objectively investigate the patterns of cause and effect that determine events. Historians debate the nature of history and its usefulness. This includes discussing the study of the discipline as an end in itself and as a way of providing "perspective" on the problems of the present. The stories common to a particular culture but not supported by external sources (such as the legends surrounding King Arthur) are usually classified as cultural heritage rather than as the "disinterested investigation" needed by the discipline of history. Events of the past prior to written record are considered prehistory.

Amongst scholars, fifth century BC Greek historian Herodotus is considered to be the "father of history"; the methods of Herodotus along with his contemporary Thucydides form the foundations for the modern study of history. Their influence (along with other historical traditions in other parts of their world) has spawned many different interpretations of the nature of history which has developed over the centuries and are continuing to change. The modern study of history has many different fields, including those that focus on certain regions and those that focus on certain topical or thematic 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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Core Western Ganga Territory
The Western Ganga dynasty (350–1000 CE) (Kannada: ಪಶ್ಚಿಮ ಗಂಗ ಸಂಸ್ಥಾನ) was an important ruling dynasty of ancient Karnataka in India. They are known as Western Gangas to distinguish them from the Eastern Gangas who in later centuries ruled over modern Odisha. The general belief is the Western Gangas began their rule during a time when multiple native clans asserted their freedom due to the weakening of the Pallava empire in South India, a geo-political event sometimes attributed to the southern conquests of Samudragupta. The Western Ganga sovereignty lasted from about 350 to 550 CE, initially ruling from Kolar and later moving their capital to Talakad on the banks of the Kaveri River in modern Mysore district.

After the rise of the imperial Chalukyas of Badami, the Gangas accepted Chalukya overlordship and fought for the cause of their overlords against the Pallavas of Kanchi. The Chalukyas were replaced by the Rashtrakutas of Manyakheta in 753 CE as the dominant power in the Deccan. After a century of struggle for autonomy, the Western Gangas finally accepted Rashtrakuta overlordship and successfully fought alongside them against their foes, the Chola dynasty of Thanjavur. In the late 10th century, north of Tungabhadra river, the Rashtrakutas were replaced by the emerging Western Chalukya Empire and the Chola dynasty saw renewed power south of the Kaveri river. The defeat of the Western Gangas by Cholas around 1000 resulted in the end of the Ganga influence over the region.

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Modern artist's impression of Shen Kuo
Shen Kuo (Chinese: 沈括; pinyin: Shěn Kuò; Wade–Giles: Shen K'uo) (1031–1095), style name Cunzhong (存中) and pseudonym Mengqi (now usually given as Mengxi) Weng (夢溪翁), was a polymathic Chinese scientist and statesman of the Song Dynasty (960–1279). Excelling in many fields of study and statecraft, he was a mathematician, astronomer, meteorologist, geologist, zoologist, botanist, pharmacologist, agronomist, archaeologist, ethnographer, cartographer, encyclopedist, general, diplomat, hydraulic engineer, inventor, academy chancellor, finance minister, governmental state inspector, poet, and musician. He was the head official for the Bureau of Astronomy in the Song court, as well as an Assistant Minister of Imperial Hospitality. At court his political allegiance was to the Reformist faction known as the New Policies Group, headed by Chancellor Wang Anshi (1021–1086).

In his Dream Pool Essays (夢溪筆談; Mengxi Bitan) of 1088, Shen was the first to describe the magnetic needle compass, which would be used for navigation (first described in Europe by Alexander Neckam in 1187). Shen discovered the concept of true north in terms of magnetic declination towards the north pole, with experimentation of suspended magnetic needles and "the improved meridian determined by Shen's [astronomical] measurement of the distance between the polestar and true north". This was the decisive step in human history to make compasses more useful for navigation, and may have been a concept unknown in Europe for another four hundred years (evidence of German sundials made circa 1450 show markings similar to Chinese geomancer compasses in regards to declination).

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1783 balloonj.jpg

The Montgolfier brothers' balloon, 75 feet tall and 50 feet wide, was the first balloon to carry human passengers in 1783. This etching from 1786 depicts the historical flight with engineering properties and a description of its elaborate design.

On this day

September 20

Great Buddha, Kamakura, Japan
Great Buddha, Kamakura, Japan

Veit Stoss (d. 1533) · Herbert Putnam (b. 1861) · Edith Rogers (b. 1894)

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Strike an enemy once and for all. Let him cease to exist as a tribe or he will live to fly in your throat again.

— Shaka, 19th century Zulu king

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History of China

"No victory of arms, or tyranny of alien finance, can long suppress a nation so rich in resources and vitality. The invader will lose funds or patience before the loins of China will lose virility; within a century China will have absorbed and civilized her conquerors, and will have learned all the technique of what transiently bears the name of modern industry..."
Irving Babbitt

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