Topic 1: Sources And Importance Of History - History Form 1

Topic 1: Sources And Importance Of History – History Form 1

Topic 1: Sources And Importance Of History - History Form 1

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MEANING AND IMPORTANCE OF HISTORY

The following are the definitions of history:
  • History is the study of the past and present human activities in order to prepare for the future.
  • History is a record of events pertaining to human activities his social, economic, and from political development from the past the present and the future.
  • History is the subject that deals with the study of the past human events and activities in different times.
  • History is the study of the past events from the earliest times to the present.
  • History can also refer to an academic discipline which uses a narrative to examine and analyze the sequences of past events and objectively determine the patterns of cause and effect that determine them.

NOTE: History is the records of human activities which enable man to survival and attain essential needs from the environment. The basic needs of humankind include food, shelter and clothing.

THREE AREAS OF HISTORY STUDY

A. POLITICAL HISTORY

This refers to the study of political issues of history such as the duration of independence of African countries and their political leaders.

B. SOCIAL HISTORY

This refers to the study of social issues of history such as origins of some people’s taboos and their general ethics.

C. ECONOMIC HISTORY

This refers to the study of economic issues of history or activities such as industrial manufacturing, agricultural organization, animal husbandry and other economic activities.

IMPORTANCE OF STUDYING HISTORY

  1. To know the origin of man and his achievement and development up to the present time. Through history we learn about the origin of man and the origin of our societies.
  2. History inspires people to preserve their culture and other people’s culture through inheriting the past.
  3. To develop an understanding and appreciation of the cultural, political, economic and technological advancements made by African societies before and after colonial ruler ship.
  4. To develop the basic skills of critical thinking, reasoning, judgment, and effective participation in human developmental activities.
  5. It helps us learn about technological transformations of man, for example primitive livelihood to advanced livelihood (using of stones and wood tools to iron tools)
  6. To understand how humans adapted to their environment and how the struggled to earn a living from the environment. This therefore looks at the long struggle of man by exercises of his reason to understand the environment and to act up on it.
  7. To understand the social, economic, and political changes of our society for example we learn about the types of government we had before independence
  8. To understand various past human activities such as farming, pastoralist, trading, hunting, fishing, gathering and so on.
  9. History enables us to get skills and knowledge that will help us in our future careers, for example sociologists, anthropologists, lawyers, history teachers etc.
  10. To learn when, how and where important events took place. For example we know when our country got her independence and where independence ceremony took place
  11. To learn how to analyze information and search for truth, it enables us to assess historical Information and events
  12. It help us to know the past achievements and failure of man and we can use lessons from the past to improve the present and the future
EXERCISE 1:

1. What is history?

2. Explain the importance of studying history.

Topic 1: Sources And Importance Of History – History Form 1

SOURCES OF HISTORY

Sources of history refer to the avenues or means that can be used to get or obtain historical information. Replying on a single source of history evidence will not satisfy your curiosity as one source links you to the other. It is therefore crystal clear that no single source of history can stand on its own. Common sources of history together with their functions, advantages and limitations are described below:

Therefore, the following are sources of history/historical knowledge:

1. Oral tradition

2. Historical sites/Antiquities

3. Written records/Documents/Literate

4. Archives

5. Museums

6. Archaeology

7. Electronic sources

8. Anthropology

9. Linguistics studies

1. ORAL TRADITION

Oral tradition refers to the history that involves the passing information by word of mouth through talking and listening. Normally is done by elders and old people. It is a source of history in pre-literate or illiterate societies. Oral tradition passes historical information into two ways; hence there are two types of Oral traditions:

1. Cultural practices: This is the form of art, music, religion, riddles, songs, proverbs, superstition, poems and stories.

2. Narration of past events: This is the telling of stories about people and events in the past. They include epics, and myths.

FUNCTION OF ORAL TRADITION

1. To entertain the society e. g story telling.

2. To educate the society about their past life and present

3. To collect and pass historical information between generations in the society.

4. To narrate important or interesting past events like floods, drought, war, diseases etc.

5. T o explain the society’s culture.

THE ADVANTAGES OF ORAL TRADITIONS

1. It preserve and reveal historical information which are not recorded

2. Both illiterate and literate people can obtain historical information.

3. Oral tradition provides warning and teachings.

4. Is the easiest and cheapest method of obtaining information.

5. It provides first hand information, since it involves physical interaction.

6. It provides entertainment to the members of the society through riddles, jokes and songs.

LIMITATIONS OF ORAL TRADITIONS

1. It needs much attention and power of memory

2. False information can be given by story teller.

3. Narration of historical events are centered to those people of status i. e Kings, Queens, Chief

4. There are language problems when narrator uses vernacular language.

5. It is difficult to distinguish what is real and what is imaginary information.

6. Translation is very difficult because some languages are no longer in existence.

7. They consume time because the story tellers use much time to tell the stories about the historical events

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AN OLD MAN NARRATING STORY TO HIS FAMILY
2. HISTORICAL SITES (ANTIQUITIES)

Historical sites are special places where by the past remains of plants and animals are found. OR Are the places which have remains of the past physical development of man are found.

MATERIALS FOUND IN THE HISTORICAL SITES
  • Tools used in long time-ago such as arrows, axes and hoes.
  • Animal and human bones and skulls
  • Drawings and paints on rocks
  • Building, ruins, towers, caves and forests

1. IN TANZANIA. Example of historical sites includes:

  • Isimila ( Stone Age site containing stone tools used by man)
  • Olduvai George(the home of the first man)
  • Kondoa Irangi (rock painting on caves)
  • Bagamoyo ( Kaole ruins)
  • Kilwa kisiwani (Arab building)
  • Engaruka basin in Arusha.
  • Zanzibar(Stone town) etc

2. IN UGANDA. Nsongezi, Biggo, Ntubi, Rusinga Island, Magosi and Ishago

3IN KENYA. Lake Rudolf (Turkana), Lake Naivasha, Njoro, Olorgesailie, Lake Magadi, Lamu, Gamble’s caves Mombasa and Mt. Kenya.

FUNCTIONS OF HISTORICAL SITES

1. To preserve historical information for the coming generations.

2. They serve as storehouses of culture, because they contain a variety of information.

3. They are the symbols of social cultural heritage to the society concern past human tools, rock, and paints

4. Some historical building retain their original function example old mosques and churches

ADVANTAGES OF HISTORICAL SITES

1. They help for practical historical learning e.g. through observation of past human tools, rock, paints.

2. They used to reveal past settlement patterns, levels of technology, economic development of political organization reached by the past societies.

3. They act as centers of tourism.

4. They act as the resource centers to researchers.

5. They provide employment opportunities e. g. guiders

6. They compliment other sources of historical information.

DISADVANTAGES OF HISTORICAL SITES

1. They bring confusion to interpret the remains found in historical sites

2. Many of historical sites are found on remote areas hence difficult for many people to visit them.

3. It is costly to travel to the historical sites.

4. Some sites are very old and need to be treated with great care.

5. They are protected area; hence one cannot take away anything in the site

A MAP OF EAST AFRICA TO SHOW HISTORICAL SITES

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3. ARCHAEOLOGY

Archaeology refers to the scientific study of past human remains by digging up and study object found in the ground. Archaeology involves excavations (digging) of the remains of man’s past found in graves, human and animal bones, seeds and food remains. The one specializes in archeology is called Archaeologist.

Q n: Who is an Archaeologist?

Archaeologist refers to the people who study about past human remains. The famous archaeologist in East Africa was Dr. Louis Leaky with his wife Mary Leakey who discovered the skull of Zinjanthropus (man of zing) in Olduvai Gorge Arusha in 1959.

Q n: What is Artifacts?

Artifacts are the remains of the material culture made by the people of the past. Or are man-made objects of cultural or historical interest.

Q n: What is Archaeological site?

Archaeological site refer to the place where the past human remains are found.

EXAMPLES OF ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITES IN EAST AFRICA ARE:

  • In Tanzania: Lake Natron, Olduvai Gorge, Isimila, Engaruka, Kaole, and Kilwa
  • In Kenya: Koobi Fora, Olergesaille, Kariandusi, and Lewa Downs
  • In Uganda: Kafu Valley, Ntusi, Nsongezi, Lohi and Magosi.
FUNCTIONS OF ARCHAEOLOGY

1. It gives important information about man through different stages.

2. It is a useful method of revealing soil covered historical remains.

3. It arouse curiosity of searching past man historical information.

4. It entertains the societies.

5. It used to date materials from the past.

6. It recreate past events using actual objects. E.g Settlement patterns shown by arrangement of ruins.

ADVANTAGES OF ARCHAEOLOGY

1. It helps people to know when and how people lived in a certain place.

2. Past objects tell us about the life and culture of past people.

3. It helps us to know and reveal the technology, pastoral, agricultural and commercial activities of the past man.

4. It gives details of the material culture of the society, example types of ornaments or money used in the past

5. It reveals religious beliefs of the past man

6. It compliments other sources of information through archaeology e.g. History

DISADVANTAGES OF ARCHAEOLOGY

1. It consumes time because of excavation.

2. It cannot be used to study recent history.

3. Dating of artifacts is done by estimation.

4. It needs full experts and advanced technology.

5. It is expensive because it required hired labourers to dig the site, collect artefacts and examine them.

6. It is difficult to locate archaeological sites

4. ARCHIVES

Archives are places where collection of public and private documents and old record are preserved. A person who keeps documents in the Archives is known as Archivist. The study and practice of organizing, preserving and providing access to information and materials in archives is known as Archival science.

RECORDS AND DOCUMENTS KEPT IN ARCHIVES ARE:

  • Personal letters, diaries, minutes of meetings, trader’s writings, personal and government files, political parties’ documents, photographs and sound records. These may be from Missionaries, private and public companies, government departments, schools
  • EXAMPLES OF ARCHIVES IN TANZANIA IS: The national Archives in Tanzania in Dar es Salaam
FUNCTIONS OF ARCHIVES

1. Archives preserve public and private records that have enduring value to the society.

2. The records in archives are made available for use by the public.

3. Archives collect records of enduring value from various places. For example, the nation archives have records from different regions of the country.

4. Archives staff maintains registers of the record in the archives.

5. Archives have facilities for restoring damaged documents of enduring value.

6. The historical information in the archives ensures continuity. For example, company policies from previous years can still guide the employee today.

ADVANTAGES OF ARCHIVES

1. Archives are used by researchers to get data or information.

2. Documents in archives cover both past and recent history

3. They provide first hand-information

4. Easy to get historical information from different places and different people in one place

5. Documents in archives are used as legal evidence

DISADVANTAGES OF ARCHIVES

1. It may lead false information, if author is biased.

2. Illiterate people cannot get historical information.

3. It is not easy to get information of society whose information is not documented.

4. It is time consuming to find specific information from the archives

5. It is non renewable once disrupted either by wind or other external force.

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AN ARCHIVE

5. MUSEUMS

Museums refer to the places or buildings where historical artifacts, information and other objects are preserved and shown to the public. It involves all items which show culture, political economic and technological development from the past to the present.

What is Museum Curator?

Museum curator refers to the specialist in the museums who help to direct and explain to the people what is in the museums.

Museum can be: National, Regional, District and Village level.

MATERIALS FOUND IN THE MUSEUMS ARE:

Early coins, paintings, scriptures, photographs, clothes, cowries’ shells, pictures, religious and ceremonial symbols, tools and archaeological remains of plants and animals.

EXAMPLES OF MUSEUMS IN TANZANIA ARE

  • National Museums in Tanzania in Dar es Salaam.
  • Bagamoyo Museums in Bagamoyo.
  • Mwalimu J.K.Nyerere Museums in Butiama.
  • Kalenga Museums in Iringa.
  • Shinyanga Mazingira Museums in Shinyanga.
  • Arusha Declaration Museums in Arusha.
  • House of Wonders in Zanzibar.
FUNCTIONS OF MUSEUMS

1. Preserve historical documents and objects for future generations.

2. Museums educate the society

3. It is the place for tourist and study tour.

4. It is the center for cultural and national identity.

5. It entertain the society

6. It is the source of living history

ADVANTAGES OF MUSEUM

1. It preserves objects which are used as the teaching aids.

2. Museum covers both past and recent history

3. It used by researcher as the source of information

4. It acts as tourist center.

5. It provides security for the artefacts.

6. It entertain the society

DISADVANTAGES OF MUSEUM

1. It needs skilled people to direct the visitors or learners in the museums.

2. It is time consuming to find information from various museums

3. Poor preservation of the past items can distort information. E.g Books, bones, pictures etc

4. Some historical remains cannot be housed Example the ruins of a house.

5. Museums are expensive to put and maintain.

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MUSEUMS

6. WRITTEN RECORDS

Written records are the documents which comprise written historical information.

EXAMPLE OF WRITTEN DOCUMENTS ARE: books, letters, maps, magazines, journals, news papers and pamphlets.

Written records can be found in libraries, schools, colleges, universities, internet cafes, offices and bookshops.

FUNCTIONS OF WRITTEN RECORDS

1. Written records provide graphic pictures of society.

2. These records reflect public opinion at the time of writing. For example, the letter to the editor in news paper expresses the readers’ feelings on current issues.

3. Written records serve as stores of a large variety of information, including discoveries, government policies, statements, religious beliefs, fashion, speeches and agreement.

4. To provide In-depth reports of daily events for example a daily news papers.

ADVANTAGES OF WRITTEN RECORDS.

1. Information in written records is well organized under specific topics.

2. Written records can be translated into different languages.

3. They are helpful in doing researches.

4. They can be kept for long time.

5. They provide first-hand information

6. Written materials are easily available for public uses.

DISADVANTAGES OF WITTEN RECORDS

1. It can give false information if they are biased by the author.

2. Some written documents can be destructed by wind, water, light and heat

3. Illiterate people cannot get information.

4. Written materials are too expensive for the majority of people. E.g Daily newspapers or Magazines.

5. It is time- consuming to read several records.

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WRITTEN RECORDS

7. LINGUISTICS

Linguistic refers to the scientific study and analysis of language. It includes study of sound, structure, information and relationship between various language groups.

ADVANTAGES OF LINGUISTICS

1. It helps to get information from various sources.

2. Enables to discover links between different people.

3. It helps to determine dates f historical event e .g “Aluta continua” (Period of struggle for independence in Mozambique).

4. It helps to know the origin of various languages

5. It provides employment to the people.

LIMITATIONS OF LINGUISTICS

1. It is costly to learn a particular language

2. It may encounter language biasness

3. The present language may be corrupted.

4. Various languages may have similar words but different meaning.

5. It is time consuming to learn the particular language

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8. ANTHROPOLOGY

Anthropology refers to the study of the society’s cultural systems, beliefs and ideas.

Who is an Anthropologist?

Anthropologist refers to the person who studies the society cultural system beliefs and ideas.

The study can give important information about movements, settlements and production activities of the past.

ADVANTAGES OF ANTHROPOLOGY
  1. It helps people to experience the ways of life.
  2. It help to know aspects of social, political and economy of a particular community
  3. It helps to determine peoples past life.
  4. It help to understand social structure in the society
LIMITATION OF ANTHROPOLOGY
  1. It is time consuming
  2. Researchers may not adopt to new environment
  3. It is expensive as it involve living with people who research is conducted
  4. People can own culture once adapting to the new environment of study.
  5. It is risk to the Anthropologist in some environment.

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9. ELECTRONICS

Electronic sources are electronic devices or equipments that provide information. EXAMPLES OF ELECTRONIC SOURCES ARE: Televisions, Radios, Films, and Audio C d’s, Audio Tapes, Computers, Cassette, and Videos etc

Q n: What is Microfilms?

Microfilms are small photographs that contain printed matters. They are used to enlarge films so that they can be seen clearly.

MERITS OF ELECTRONIC SOURCES
  1. They provide entertainment
  2. They provide education to the people
  3. They are easily to be updated or changed
  4. They help to transfer information from one place to another
  5. They are simple and quick methods of delivering information
DEMERITS OF ELECTRONIC SOURCES
  1. They are expensive for example buying TVs’, Computers etc
  2. They may cause health problems to the users. Example eyes problems( blindness)
  3. They consume time to listen or watch videos
  4. They may lead to bad manners i.e watching bad videos pictures

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ELECTRONIC DEVICES

DIVIDING OR DATING HISTORICAL EVENTS

Dating in history refer to assigning time to a given historical facts or events.

In dividing time, we start with Zero (0), the year when the Jesus Christ was born. The years before his birth refer to as B.C which means years Before Christ Examples 7B.C or 120 B. C.

The years after his birth refer to as A.D which means Anno Domino or In the years of our Lord. For example Tanganyika got her independence in 1961 A.D.

Muslims start their Calenda after Hijra (A.H) when Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) fled from Makkah to Madina In 622 A.H.

THE CATEGORIES OF DETERMINING TIME IN HISTORY

1. Day – is a duration of twenty four hours (24hrs)

2. A week – is a duration of seven days (7days)

3. Month – is the duration of four weeks (4 weeks)

4. A year – is a duration of twelve months (12 moths)

5. A decade – is a duration of ten years (10 yrs)

6. A century – is the duration of one hundred years (100 yrs)

7. A millennium – is the duration of thousand years (1000 yrs)

8. A generation – is the average differences on ages between a child and his/her parent.

9. Age – is the period based on ma’s economic activities and type of tools used e .g stone age, Iron Age, industrial age, science and technology age, etc.

10. A period – is the duration of time determined by one continuous event lasting for number of years e. g Period of slave trade in East Africa, Period of long distance trade and A Period of colonial rule in Africa

11. An Era– refer to one or more periods. Example a period of British and German colonization can be called the colonial era in Tanganyika.

12. Year ZERO – present the year when Jesus Christ was born

13. A.D-It is known as Anno Domino (A.D) meaning the year of the Lord

14. B.C– All years before zero are called (B.C) meaning (Before Christ)

15. Hijra– Is the Muslim starting date (the time when Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) fled from Makkah to Madinah).

METHODS OF FIXING OR DETERMINING DATES

Dating is an action in which historians assign time to all historical information. Dates are instrument in a science of history; these historians divided dates into four way:

1. Recalling events:- This involve fixing dates by remembering or recalling important events took place in the past examples of events are drought, farming, floods, birth, eruption of diseases etc.

2. By studying languages: –This involves fixing dates by using names to remember dates of some events. E .g Word “Karafuu” started when Cloves were introduced in Zanzibar also the word Rahim and Marhaba reminds us the coming of Arabs in East African Coast.

3. Carbon-14: Carbon-14:- Carbon-14 refers to the scientific method of determining or fixing dates. It used in the finding dates for remains of animals or plants which died beyond 5000 years ago. Carbon 14 is a gas found in carbon-dioxide which exists in the atmosphere. It absorbed by plant and other living organisms. When died carbon 14 that starts to decay at a fixed rate from the time of death.

4. Geological periods:-These are spans of time characterized by certain condition and specific types of animals existed. For example there were Dinosaurs on the earth during Jurassic Periods.

WAYS OF SHOWING THE CHRONOLOGICAL ORDERS OF EVENTS

What is chronology?

Chronology is the arrangements of historical events according to the order they occurred. Events are arranged from the earliest to the latest.

The following are ways:

  1. Time line
  2. Time Chart
  3. Time Graph
  4. Family Tree
  5. TIME LINE

Time line is the line or bar on which time of events is marked from left (earliest) to the right(latest) or bottom to top. Timeline can be vertical or horizontal.

  1. Vertical timeline.
  2. Horizontal timeline
10000A.D 15000A.D 1961 1964 15000

Years

Events:

A: Independence of Tanganyika.

B: Emergence of Ntemi system of organization.

C: Zanzibar Revolution.

D: Independence of Zanzibar.

E: Iron Age.

Time chart.

This is the table with columns, the left with dates and the rights with events corresponding to the dates.

YEARS EVENTS
1 1961 Independence of Tanganyika
2 1992 Multiparty system in Tanzania
3 1999 Dearth of J.K Nyerere
4 1964 Union between Tanganyika and Zanzibar
5 1700 The end of the Portuguese rule in Africa

Time graph

Time graph is a set of bars of different heights with time at the bottom and organized from the shortest representing an earliest events to the tallest bar representing the latest of the events

Family tree/Pedigree Chart

This is the chart representing family relationship between people of two or more generation in a tree structure

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