History is inherent to any society or culture. It’s the heritage of our past and the people and events that played an important role in the shaping of, what we now call, “our” culture or society.
History is based on real events and characters, on facts and accepted theories. It comes with evidence and can never be based on rumors, myths or legends.
It is mainly used for educational or informational purposes and it’s our way to understand the past and, through this, also our present. This knowledge and information then even helps us to predict the future.
But history is not merely something that is based on facts. Opposed to annals or chronicles, history doesn’t only establish facts of what exactly happened, but also why a particular event happened in the first place. It’s, thus, not only about the “what” of the events in the past but also the “why”. And it even goes further by interpreting the significance of the happening. In a way, we could say that history adds a certain narrative to the bare facts of the past.
Through history teaching, people acquire a particular cultural identity. This is the identity of our social group or nation. It’s what we understand that makes us who we are and that defines us as a cohesive social group.
Nevertheless, as history can be interpreted in different ways, it can also be altered or completely re-written. By transmitting only part of the facts or just one side of the story, history is altered.
And this can be very dangerous, both for our own society as well as for others, and moreover for the cohesion between both.
In our Shared (Hi)stories, you will find several short stories on cultural events and persons and how each part of history always has different sides to it.