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The History Book

Book Description

The History Book is a fascinating journey through the most significant events in history and the big ideas behind each one, from the dawn of civilization to the lightning-paced culture of today. One hundred crystal-clear articles explore the Law Code of Hammurabi, the Renaissance, the American Revolution, World War II, and much, much more, bringing the events and people of history to life.

As part of DK's award-winning Big Ideas Simply Explained series, The History Book uses infographics and images to explain key ideas and themes. Biographies of key leaders, thinkers, and warriors, from Julius Caesar to Barack Obama, offer insight into their lives and further historical insight into these world-changing episodes.

The History Book makes the past 4,000 years of history accessible and provides enlightenment on the forces that shaped the world as we know it today, for students and history buffs alike.

Table of Contents

  1. INTRODUCTION
  2. HUMAN ORIGINS • 200,000 YEARS AGO–3500 BCE
    1. At least as important as Columbus’s journey to America or the Apollo 11 expedition • The first humans arrive in Australia
    2. Everything was so beautiful, so fresh • Cave paintings at Altamira
    3. The foundations of today’s Europe were forged in the events of the late Ice Age • The Big Freeze
    4. A great civilization arose on the Anatolian plain • The settlement at Çatalhöyük
  3. ANCIENT CIVILIZATIONS • 6000 BCE–500 CE
    1. To bring about the rule of righteousness in the land • The Law Code of Hammurabi
    2. All the lands have fallen prostrate beneath his sandals for eternity • The temples of Abu Simbel
    3. Attachment is the root of suffering • Siddartha Gautama preaches Buddhism
    4. A clue to the existence of a system of picture-writing in the Greek lands • The palace at Knossos
    5. In times of peace, sons bury their fathers, but in war it is the fathers who bury their sons • The Persian Wars
    6. Administration is in the hands of the many and not of the few • Athenian democracy
    7. There is nothing impossible to he who will try • The conquests of Alexander the Great
    8. If the Qin should ever get his way with the world, then the whole world will end up his prisoner • The First Emperor unifies China
    9. Thus perish all tyrants • The assassination of Julius Caesar
    10. By this sign conquer • The Battle of Milvian Bridge
    11. The city which had taken the whole world was itself taken • The Sack of Rome
    12. Further events
  4. THE MEDIEVAL WORLD • 500–1492
    1. Seek to enlarge the empire and make it more glorious • Belisarius retakes Rome
    2. Truth has come and falsehood has vanished • Muhammad receives the divine revelation
    3. A leader in whose shadow the Christian nation is at peace • The crowning of Charlemagne
    4. The ruler is wealthy but the state is destroyed • The An Lushan revolt
    5. A surge in spirit and an awakening in intelligence • The founding of Baghdad
    6. Never before has such a terror appeared in Britain • The Viking raid on Lindisfarne
    7. The Roman church has never erred • The Investiture Controversy
    8. A man destined to become master of the state • Minamoto Yoritomo becomes Shogun
    9. That men in our kingdom shall have and keep all these liberties, rights, and concessions • The signing of the Magna Carta
    10. The most potent man, as regards forces and lands and treasure, that exists in the world • Kublai Khan conquers the Song
    11. I did not tell half of what I saw, for I knew I would not be believed • Marco Polo reaches Shangdu
    12. Those who until now have been mercenaries for a few coins achieve eternal rewards • The fall of Jerusalem
    13. The work of giants • The construction of Angkor Wat
    14. He left no court emir nor royal office holder without the gift of a load of gold • Mansa Musa’s hajj to Mecca
    15. Give the sun the blood of enemies to drink • The foundation of Tenochtitlan
    16. Scarce the tenth person of any sort was left alive • The outbreak of the Black Death in Europe
    17. I have worked to discharge heaven’s will • Hongwu founds the Ming dynasty
    18. Cast down the adversaries of my Christian people • The fall of Granada
    19. I have newly devised 28 letters • King Sejong introduces a new script
    20. Further events
  5. THE EARLY MODERN ERA • 1420–1795
    1. As my city falls, I shall fall with it • The fall of Constantinople
    2. Following the light of the sun we left the Old World • Christopher Columbus reaches America
    3. This line shall be considered as a perpetual mark and bound • The Treaty of Tordesillas
    4. The ancients never raised their buildings so high • The beginning of the Italian Renaissance
    5. War has become very different • The Battle of Castillon
    6. As different from ours as day and night • The Columbian Exchange
    7. My conscience is captive to the Word of God • Martin Luther’s 95 theses
    8. He began war in Bohemia, which he subjugated and forced into his religion • The Defenestration of Prague
    9. Royalty is a remedy for the spirit of rebellion • The conquests of Akbar the Great
    10. They cherished a great hope and inward zeal • The voyage of the Mayflower
    11. We will cut off his head with the crown upon it • The execution of Charles I
    12. The very being of the plantations depends upon the supply of Negro servants • The formation of the Royal African Company
    13. There is no corner where one does not of talk shares • The opening of the Amsterdam Stock Exchange
    14. After victory, tighten the cords of your helmet • The Battle of Sekigahara
    15. Use barbarians to control barbarians • The Revolt of the Three Feudatories
    16. I have in this treatise cultivated mathematics so far as it regards philosophy • Newton publishes Principia
    17. As far as I think it possible for man to go • The voyages of Captain Cook
    18. I am the state • Louis XIV begins personal rule of France
    19. Don’t forget your great guns, the most respectable arguments of the rights of kings • The Battle of Quebec
    20. Assemble all the knowledge scattered on the surface of the earth • Diderot publishes the Encyclopédie
    21. I built St. Petersburg as a window to let in the light of Europe • The founding of St. Petersburg
    22. Further events
  6. CHANGING SOCIETIES • 1776–1914
    1. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal • The signing of the Declaration of Independence
    2. Sire, it’s a revolution • The storming of the Bastille
    3. I must make of all the peoples of Europe one people, and of Paris the capital of the world • The Battle of Waterloo
    4. Let us lay the cornerstone of American freedom without fear. To hesitate is to perish • Bolívar establishes Gran Colombia
    5. Life without industry is guilt • Stephenson’s Rocket enters service
    6. You may choose to look the other way, but you can never again say you did not know • The Slave Trade Abolition Act
    7. Society was cut in two • The 1848 revolutions
    8. This enterprise will return immense rewards • The construction of the Suez Canal
    9. Endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been and are being evolved • Darwin publishes On the Origin of Species
    10. Let us arm. Let us fight for our brothers • The Expedition of the Thousand
    11. These sad scenes of death and sorrow, when are they to come to an end? • The Siege of Lucknow
    12. Better to abolish serfdom from above, than to wait for it to abolish itself from below • Russia emancipates the serfs
    13. Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth • The Gettysburg Address
    14. Our manifest destiny is to overspread the continent • The California Gold Rush
    15. America is God’s crucible, the greatest melting pot • The opening of Ellis Island
    16. Enrich the country, strengthen the military • The Meiji Restoration
    17. In my hand I wield the universe and the power to attack and kill • The Second Opium War
    18. I ought to be jealous of the Eiffel Tower. She is more famous than I am • The opening of the Eiffel Tower
    19. If I could, I would annex other planets • The Berlin Conference
    20. My people are going to learn the principles of democracy, the dictates of truth, and the teachings of science • The Young Turk Revolution
    21. Deeds not words • The death of Emily Davison
    22. Further events
  7. THE MODERN WORLD • 1914–PRESENT
    1. You often wish you were dead • The Battle of Passchendaele
    2. History will not forgive us if we do not assume power now • The October Revolution
    3. This is not peace. This is an armistice for 20 years • The Treaty of Versailles
    4. Death is the solution to all problems. No man — no problem • Stalin assumes power
    5. Any lack of confidence in the economic future of the United States is foolish • The Wall Street Crash
    6. The truth is that men are tired of liberty • The Reichstag Fire
    7. In starting and waging a war, it is not right that matters but victory • Nazi invasion of Poland
    8. The Final Solution of the Jewish Question • The Wannsee Conference
    9. All we did was fly and sleep • The Berlin Airlift
    10. At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom • Indian independence and partition
    11. The name of our state shall be Israel • The establishment of Israel
    12. The Long March is a manifesto, a propaganda force, a seeding-machine • The Long March
    13. Ghana, your beloved country, is free forever • Nkrumah wins Ghanaian independence
    14. We’re eyeball to eyeball, and I think the other fellow just blinked • The Cuban Missile Crisis
    15. People of the whole world are pointing to the satellite • The launch of Sputnik
    16. I have a dream • The March on Washington
    17. I am not going to lose Vietnam • The Gulf of Tonkin Incident
    18. A revolution is not a bed of roses • The Bay of Pigs invasion
    19. Scatter the old world, build the new • The Cultural Revolution
    20. We shall defend it with our blood and strength, and we shall meet aggression with aggression and evil with evil • The Suez Crisis
    21. The Iron Curtain is swept aside • The fall of the Berlin Wall
    22. All power to the people • The 1968 protests
    23. Never, never, and never again • The release of Nelson Mandela
    24. Create an unbearable situation of total insecurity with no hope of further survival or life • The Siege of Sarajevo
    25. Today, our fellow citizens, our way of life, our very freedom came under attack • The 9/11 attacks
    26. You affect the world by what you browse • The launch of the first website
    27. A crisis that began in the mortgage markets of America has brought the world’s financial system close to collapse • The global financial crisis
    28. This is a day about our entire human family • Global population exceeds 7 billion
    29. Further events
  8. GLOSSARY
  9. QUOTE ATTRIBUTIONS
  10. CONTRIBUTORS
  11. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
  12. COPYRIGHT