If you want to understand any place or any people in the world, you need to understand the history of that land. History can be boring though, especially if it’s not told right. And that’s where these five apps and storytellers differ.
No one dislikes history. You can only dislike the way we were taught history. Find the right teacher and it’s like opening up a treasure trove of tales. There are stories of heroes and villains, warriors and saints, lovers and siblings. And here are the teachers you need to enrapture your mind.
You probably know more about BBC Earth’s fantastic programming because of Sir David Attenborough’s fantastic science and nature TV shows on Netflix. But there’s a lot more to the organization, and this is one of the best examples.
BBC Earth made an interactive 25-slide presentation marking the biggest events in Earth’s history. It starts from the birth of our planet, and ends at 200,000 years ago, when the human race was born. Each event along the way is explained in detail, with some accompanied by an illustrated video.
Along the way, you will find the birth of the mammals, “the Great Dying”, and the many extinction events too. It’s a fascinating exploration of our planet’s history.
2. Chronas: A Moving Map Powered by Wikipedia [No Longer Available]
Wikipedia has all the historical information you could ever need. But, well, browsing it isn’t that fun, right? You usually have to depend on round-ups of weird and interesting Wikipedia articles. Well, Chronas offers something new for the history buff.
Using the data on Wikipedia, developer Dietmar Aumann made a map of world history. At the bottom, you will find a timeline that you can move back and forth to look at what mankind has done.
As Aumann describes it, it’s all about visualizing realms through history: “The goal was to get a better understanding of how the world’s history is interconnected. What happened in Asia when Rome dominated Europe? What happened in Arabia when Kublai Khan proclaimed himself the emperor of China?”
While I was a little skeptical at first, it actually works splendidly. Take, for example, this flowchart on the rise of Hitler and the Nazis. It shows the chain of events from the Treaty of Versailles, whose outcomes led to the rise of Hitler among those who subscribed to Nazi philosophies. And it takes you a little further, showing how those events led to circumstances that would form the basis of Word War II.
Through a series of flowcharts, you could learn everything about history made by man, especially after civilization.
If reading isn’t your thing, a series of educational YouTube videos is just what the doctor ordered. Author John Green’s 42-episode crash course will take you through everything you need to know about history.
From the dawn of civilization, to empires and wars, to revolutions in recent years, this video series covers all the important topics. You will instantly take to Green’s narrative style, and the production quality is so good that you’ll be entertained throughout.
In fact, for teachers and students, Green released a crash course curriculum. Lessons, activities, and video questions come together to form a new way of learning.
History is historically passed on through oral story-telling. And boy, if you haven’t heard Nate DiMeo’s podcast, The Memory Palace, then you need to queue up episodes right now. It’s a whole new take on telling stories from history with just a single voice.
Memory Palace is different from some of the famous history podcasts like Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History. DiMeo takes one story, researches it meticulously, and presents its tale in a short 10-minute podcast. These are subjects you won’t often hear about. Like The White Horse, the first gay bar in America. Or the tale of Eugenia Kelly, The Pirate Queen, whose mother took her to court for the scandalous act of dancing.
DiMeo’s episodes are short not because they lack detail, but because he knows how to write them perfectly. His droning voice only adds to the effect of learning history anew.
What’s Your Favorite History Resource?
Do you like to read about history, listen to podcasts, or watch videos? How do you get your history fix, and from which sites or creators?