Meaning and Importance of History
The term History originates from the Greek word “Historia” which means to question or to ask, to search or inquire for the truth and then report the findings.
History is the study of the ancient actions and thoughts of men and women who lived in the past.
It is the narrative of past events involving human being actions/activities
Importance of History
Sources of History
- History helps students to know the origin of Man and his/her developments up to the current time.
- History helps students to analyze information and search for the truth.
- History helps students to know past achievements and failures of man.
- History helps students to have greater sense of patriotism and Nationalism.
- History helps students to learn how people depend on each other.
- Through History Students will appreciate their culture and other people’s culture.
- History helps students to learn when and where important events took place.
- History helps students to understand social, economic and political changes in our society.
- Oral tradition
Oral Tradition refers to the Historical information that is handed down by word of mouth and usually it is transmitted by elders from one generation to another.
They are kinds of testimony which are transmitted verbally from one generation to other generation.
Types of Oral Tradition
- Cultural practices
These are kept in the form of religion, music, jokes, arts, poems and superstition believes.
- Narration of Past events
This type of Oral tradition involving telling of stories about people and events in the past, it can be in the form of epics or myths.
Advantages of Oral Tradition
Disadvantages of Oral Tradition
- They gives information that cannot be obtained easily from other sources.
- Oral traditions easily to be learnt and remembered.
- They are entertaining because they combine both enjoyment and learning process.
- They are primary sources for other sources of Information.
- They rely heavily on human memory.
- Information may be biased in favor of certain things.
- Mass information obtained referred to the rulers or prominent leaders in the society.
- Presenters may exaggerate some information making it difficult to differentiate between the truth and what imagined.
- Archaeology And Historical Sites
The term archaeology come from the Greek word ‘Archaios’ which means early or ancient.
Archaeology is the scientific study of the remains of past human cultures through excavation of sites and artifacts.
It is the method of studying the past basing on materials recovered from the sites.
People who study and explain the remains of early mankind are called Archaeologist
. Examples of archaeologists are Doctor Leakey and his wife who researched on the earliest man at the Olduvai Gorge.
Evidence of Past culture is obtained from three main sources:
- Artifacts – These are the objects made, modified and used by early man which includes tools such as, weapons, clay tables, stone tools and iron tools.
- Eco facts - These are natural objects which were not made by man but they are also found next to artifacts, they include remains of plants and animals, they are found in the early man’s dwelling or settlements. Examples of eco facts are seeds, animal bones, horns, and sediments.
- Features – These are the buildings/spaces built by the ancient man, they include dwellings/ houses, tombs, storage pits, cities and irrigation canals, Examples of features are Egyptian pyramids and Great Zimbabwe.
These are places at which remains of man’s past activities may be found, these places are also called Archaeological sites. Examples in Tanzania includes Olduvai Gorge, Lake Eyasi, Isimila, Kalenga, Kondoa, Mikindani, Bagamoyo and Ujiji.
Advantages of Archaeology and Historical sites
Disadvantages of Archaeology and Historical sites
- They provide detailed information on material culture.
- They provide history real since the learners can see and touch the objects.
- Through Archaeology it is possible to establish the ages of the materials and determine when certain developments took place.
- It is also used as Tourist attractions.
- It is very useful method in reconstructing history of ancient man.
Dating Methods in Archaeology
- It is very expensive.
- Some Historical sites are found in very remote areas.
- Visiting Historical sites consume time.
- Archaeological method cannot be used to study the recent history.
- There is lack of enough personal with the technical knowledge.
Prepared by: MyElimu Teachers