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Humans are just so fascinating, which is why history just might be the most engrossing topic to learn about. Whether you’re a student or just someone who wants to learn, here are five websites that look at different parts of history in unique ways.
I outlined some history education resources earlier this year, and you all seemed to like it, so I’m back at it again today. These sites are all different, but they all offer ways to look at the past and learn something.
Old Maps Online: See How Any Place Used to Look
Have you ever wanted to trace the history of your house, or even your neighborhood? It’s easy to think of history as something that’s about important men in faraway places, but history is happening everywhere – even your own neighborhood. Old Maps Online brings this idea alive, by letting you see old maps from any area on earth. Just type a city or location, then start exploring maps from other decades.
I recently moved to Oregon’s Silicon Forest, an area that’s seen massive construction since Intel set up shop. Using Old Maps Online, I can check out just how fast this has all been: as recently as 1990 my densely populated neighborhood was a forest and a field, no houses in sight.
Kind of crazy to think about, and I’m sure you can find all sorts of patterns looking at your own home.
Histography: Interactive Timeline Based on Wikipedia
Too many history classes focus on memorizing dates instead of culture and context, but that doesn’t mean knowing when things happened into relation to each other isn’t interesting. Histography is a fascinating way to put things in context: this interactive timeline lets you explore history as a series of Wikipedia articles.
Ever dot represents an article on the online encyclopedia that refers to an event. Everything is arranged in order, so you can learn when things happened in context. Dive in and see what you can find, okay? Report your findings in the comments below.
Music Timeline: Explore The History of Music
So far as we know, humans have pretty much always made music, but things really got interesting in the last 60 years or so. Recorded music spawned global genres of music, which in turn spawned sub-genres. Music Timeline is an attempt to map all of this out through history.
You’ll see when particular genres were most popular, along with key albums that came along the way. Click any genre and you’ll be taken to another timeline, outlining the rise and fall of sub-genres. It’s a fascinating look at modern music history, so dive in.
Career Of Founders: Compare The Lives of Entrepreneurs
How much can you really accomplish in your life? It all depends on your relationship with time, really, but if you need some inspiration to get going I recommend checking out the Career Of Founders. It’s an interactive infographic that shows you milestones in the lives of people like Steve Jobs, Colonel Sanders, Bill Gates, and many more.
You’ll see how old these people were at pivotal moments in their lives. There’s a lot of diversity here: some people start early and keep building, but others don’t have a lot of success until relatively late in life It just goes to show that it’s never too early, or too late, to try something new.
Spurious Correlations: Randomly Generated Charts That Mean Nothing
One way of learning from history is through statistics, but to do this well you need to know a thing or two about statistics. With this in mind, we end with a site that teaches a valuable lesson: just because two things look related on a chart doesn’t mean they have anything to do with each other. Spurious Correlations is a collection of such charts
Just because two things line up on a chart doesn’t mean they’re connected – it could be just a coincidence. This is what’s meant when people say “correlation is not causation”, and the lesson is easier to learn after browsing this site for a while. Unless, of course, you sincerely believe that Nicolas Cage movies are causing people to drown in pools. If that’s the case, I’m not sure what to say.
What Will You Learn About History?
The world’s a big place, and there’s a lot to explore out there. I want to know which sites have taught you a thing or two about history, so please recommend any such sites in the comments below. While you’re at it, feel free to point out any highlights from the above sites – I always love to learn.