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5 Websites To Go Back In Time & Find Out What Happened This Day In History

Saikat Basu 23-03-2011

The next best thing to a time machine is definitely the digital database which store gazillion bytes of data.  Thanks to it and the browser, we can literally go back in time and access a nugget of information. Going back to a historical date and learning which major event shaped the future is not only an educational journey, but it can be one of fun too.


For instance, tell me which important event took place on December 17th? History will record it as the day that sparked the Jasmine Revolution that’s still changing our future. But on the same date another event took place more than 100 years back which set our future. The answer: It was also the date of the first airplane flight by Orville and Wilbur Wright at Kitty Hawk.

So, meander along to these websites and go back in time to see what happened this day in history.

This Day In History

this day in history

It was while reading this page that I got the idea. The page always turns over to the current day and date to give you a peek into what happened today in the past. There’s usually a lead story with multimedia frills. On the left column, the site captures the other significant events of this day in history categorized under different headings. You can also jump back and forth into time using the calendar. You can also have ‘This Day in History’ delivered to your inbox.

BBC – On This Day

this day in history website
BBC generally has an eye on world events. So, it can dip into its huge archive of news nuggets and pick up the ones that were momentous on this very day in the past. It’s About page says that On This Day is a showcase of some of the most significant as well as some of the quirkier stories broadcast by BBC News since 1950. It also covers the years of the Second World War (1939-45). The interesting part is the “In Context” side note which basically shows the effects and what happened next due to the event. You can search by date, by year, by theme, and by witness accounts.


New York Times – On This Day

this day in history website

New York Times has a cool educational resource called The Learning Network which is a blog. It’s currently in the midst of a change, but you can still dive into the news items from the past. The design of the The Learning Network is student friendly with months and dates clearly linked to past archival content. Every major event across the centuries is lined up for your study. You can also check out birthdays and obituaries.

Library of Congress – American Memory

this day in history website

You can expect the largest library in the world to keep abreast of all that has happened in the past. The Library of Congress doesn’t disappoint with its History Archive and the 365 pages in the Today in History Archive. The only limiting factor is that it is limited to American history. You can carry out a full text search of the archive, jump to certain date, or just go from month to month. 



this day in history

You can search Wikipedia by date and of all the resources, Wikipedia probably gives you pay dirt as its linked pages are treasure trove of historical information. On the landing page itself, you can spy the On this day…feature. Clicking on the date takes you into the wiki page for the day and this becomes a portal for further exploration. You can also catch up with what happened in recent years. The calendar is also a handy jumping off point to other days.

What happened today, all those years ago, could be just another online tool for education or an interesting way to look at history . If you remember my earlier post on 7 Historical Websites That Let Us Go Back & Take Another Peek At History 7 Historical Websites That Let Us Go Back & Take Another Peek At History Read More , it clearly demonstrates that the web is like a time capsule which not only archives everything but also allows us to flit from the present into the past with a click.

Do you think that such websites add an extra edge to our education?


Image Credit: Shutterstock

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  1. Boussakka
    March 24, 2011 at 12:49 am

    very intersting
    thanks so much Basu