Writing About History on Wizzley

by JoHarrington

Do you want to write a history article for Wizzley, but don't know which sub-category to select? Help is at hand! This is your guide through the eras and ages there to explore.

There are forty-six categories from which to choose, when writing a history article on Wizzley.

They have all been culled from the most searched for terms in the field. This is great in terms of attracting readers, but not so brilliant when navigating the mixture of timelines thus revealed.

It's patently time that somebody put them in order; and I feel like the woman for the job. Particularly since I'm likely to be the one referring to it!

Though remember that this is my very subjective (albeit educated) view. You may disagree with my descriptions.

An Introduction to Categorizing History on Wizzley

I'm not a member of the Wizzley team. I'm just an author and an historian making sense of it. It's your choice whether you follow, or even agree, with this at all.

Image: Clock FaceNaming historical ages was always going to be difficult on an international writing platform.

Countries or continents may have their own designations, which aren't shared beyond their borders. Others hit certain stages at different times, thus the name remains the same while the dates differ.

Such labels have always owed more to convenience than anything actually happening in the real world.  But if you want any hope of readers finding your work, then it's worth placing your articles in the correct Wizzley sub-category.

I have attempted here to date and explain each of the possible history sub-categories on Wizzley.  Some are set in stone by consensus.  Others are allocated by my own best guess.

The next historian on Wizzley may disagree.  (The comments section is the place for such debates, and I will endeavor to keep this up-dated with all the latest agreements.)  After all, what we make of these categories here is up to us.

Where dating is elongated, I've chosen the earliest and latest possible years for each era. 

By necessity, there is some overlap.  For example, your article about the storming of the Bastille could as easily go into The Age of Revolution, as The French Revolution.  Your Wizzle about The Battle of Gettysburg could insert well enough into Victorian Era, American History or Military History. 

My advice is to check your dates against the contents list.  Everything then boils down to where you wish it to go, as my definitions are not the final word here.

The Latest History Articles on Wizzley

This article is primarily a guide for history authors on Wizzley. If you're looking for histories to read, then here are some hot off the press!
When even those close to someone think that the Devil has come to claim him, we can infer that he has not been very popular. (by frankbeswick)
A look at Trotsky’s theory of permanent revolution and how it stood up in practice in Russia, China and Cuba (by SteveRogerson)
How accurate is the depiction of Robin Hood in films and books? (by SteveRogerson)
Philip Marsden has produced an interesting and original book about Cornwall (by frankbeswick)

General History Books

Buy these history timeline books to get a good overview of the whole of the human story from pre-prehistory until now.

Prehistoric Era (2.5m BCE-3300 BCE)

RAWR! Dinosaurs! Plus any human beings around before the Sumerians got clever with clay tiles and a stick.

I was being facetious about the dinosaurs.  They don't belong in history, despite many movie titles to the contrary.

History comes from the Old French word estoire. It means testimony, chronicle or story.  As much as I hate to say it, this makes a mockery of the Feminism railing against HIS-story, and can only be viewed in that light as a wry observation.

When we talk about history, we're referring to anything that can be reported. It might be verbally, as with oral history, or actual written documents.  What we're absolutely concerned with is the human story.

The human species was around well before 2,500,000 BCE, but they left us little but their bones to go on.  It's only at this time that we can start to piece together bits of testimony.  Generally that's in the form of oral history written down later.

Prehistory is therefore remembered human testimony and that, unfortunately, involves no T-Rex at all (not counting Marc Bolan's lot). 

Having said all of that, Wizzley has no earlier category at all.  I, for one, wouldn't sniff at articles about the dawn of the human species ending up in here too.  But dinosaurs actually belong over in Pets and Animals.

If historical people move like two-dimensional shadows through isolated events, then you're looking at them all wrong.

Early America (20,000 BCE-1418) and Pre-Columbian Era (20,000 BCE-1492)

This is your repository for stories about the millions of people (and races), who discovered the Americas before Christopher Columbus was anywhere near it.

Image:  First Natives of Brazil

To my mind, there is a fair amount of cross-over between these two history sub-categories.

The starting point is easy enough.  It's whenever human beings appeared in the Americas.  For most that's the Clovis people, who have been definitely dated to around 13,000 BCE. 

But I've given you another 7,000 years leeway, because of the debate raging amongst historians about their arrival. 

The earliest claim is for 20,000 BCE, when an Asiatic people crossed the Bering Straits on a land-bridge.  Or crossed the Atlantic, following an Ice Age glacier wall, from Iberia. Your history article, you take your pick!

However, both of these categories only really make sense if we're referring to the Americas. It's explicit in the first sub-category name and implicit in the second.

I've assigned the end dates based on the Portuguese turning up in 1418, or Christopher Columbus 'discovering' it all in 1492. 

Ancient Era (3300 BCE-600)

There will be some cross-over here with other sub-categories, but that's a matter for geography.

In short, if your article takes place in the Mediterranean (particularly Greece or the Roman Empire), during the later part of the Ancient Era, then check out the more focused sub-categories. If it doesn't, then stay here.

History really began on Earth with the Universe cooling and starting its long, gradual expansion. But we ignore that bit. We tend to look instead to the first moment when human beings began creating something that we can read.

The Ancient Era is when all of that kicked off with the Sumerians inventing the alphabet around 3300 BCE. It ended with the Middle Ages.

Read about the Ancient Era

Mycenaean Greece (1900 BCE-1100 BCE)

A period of lots of bloodshed, conquests and ferocious warriors taking time out from genocide to read a few verses from Homer.

Image: Mycenaean WomanThis historical sub-category shouldn't be too controversial to place.  It's Greece during the Mycenaean civilization.

Not much more to say about that!  Though I should defend my dating, as someone is bound to start looking pointedly towards 1600 BCE. 

I'm going for the earliest and latest possible dates for any sub-category, based on historians arguing about it.  While 1600 BCE is certainly the time when Helladic culture got subsumed under Minoan influence, that didn't happen overnight. 

The Mycenaean people were around before that, just not so big.

I can't see anyone whining about the collapse of the late Bronze Age taking this culture with it. That informed my end date of 1100 BCE.

Antiquity (776 BCE-600)

This is where you write about anything to do with Ancient Greece or Ancient Rome. It's also known as the Classical Age.

Ever since Homer started telling us tales, the ancient era has faded into view. 

This is largely viewed as the beginning of history, at least in terms of things written down.  Naturally the archaeologists, and those reading cuneiform or hieroglyphics, will be looking with raised eyebrows at such statements.

Based around the Mediterranean, Antiquity is the tale of Classical Greece and Rome. It's the earliest philosophers and the dawn of democracy. It's those epic odysseys and battles for Troy.

It's Roman Emperors trampling over most of Western Europe, or being insane in the senate.  But we mustn't overlook the Phoenicians too.

For many historians, Classical Antiquity ends with the death of the Roman Emperor Justinian I (565), or the rise of the Byzantium Emperor Heraclius (610).  None of these changes, between historical eras, are precise, so everyone is right.

It's up to us where we want to end it on Wizzley though.

Books about Classical Antiquity | Books about the Classical Age

Hellenic Period (323 BCE-30 BCE)

It took centuries to clear up the chaos left by Alexander the Great. Here's where we tell the world all about it.

Image: Alexander the GreatThis age is also known as the Hellenistic Period. 

It's fairly well established (albeit largely for the convenience of rich explorer, archaeologist Empire types, who were busy treasure-hunting fantasizing restoring the faded glory of the ancient world during the early 20th century).

The dates correspond with the death of Alexander the Great, through to the fall of the last of his cities.  Beyond this, his whole mixing pot brand of Macedonian-Asian civilization became a legacy, not a living and growing culture.

The articles here should only be about the remnants of Alexander's Empire, unless strands of his influence can be proven elsewhere.  It was a big enough conquest though, so there should be plenty of scope for stories!

The Dark Ages (372-1001)

This is when absolutely nothing happened whatsoever. Unless you happen to check the Welsh records.

It may look like we have a gap of about four centuries here, but we haven't.  The Ancient Era has us covered all the way to 600 CE.  What we actually have is another over-lap!

I've taken the Dark Ages in its 17th century sense. It lasted from the fall of Rome to the beginning of the High Middle Ages. 

It's one of my favorite periods in history and not at all dark. What those idiots between 1330 and the 19th century were waffling on about was source material. Particularly the fact that we find little in Latin during this period, on account of the Huns putting the boot into the Roman Empire.

The Dark Ages is suddenly very light indeed, when you start checking what was written in other languages.  In my native Britain, the compilers of many Welsh texts, the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles and, indeed, the Venerable Bede and Gildas would have been fascinated to discover that nothing was written down.

Books Written in the Dark Ages

Move along, nothing to see here. Nothing here counts, as they weren't written in Latin. Move on, even if they are now all translated into English.

The Middle Ages or Medieval Times (476-1485)

Lovely, long historical period for us all to populate with world history Wizzles!

Though we all love to talk about Medieval Times, you won't find much agreement amongst historians about the exact dates.

I've started with 476, because that was the date used by the historian who coined the phrase 'Middle Ages'.  Leonardo Bruni was the man behind that one, in his History of the Florentine People.

Ending the period is a little more problematic, but I've gone for 1485.  That will deliver Wizzley's history authors quite nicely into the Post Medieval category.  We can't have it called that without drawing a line over the Middle Ages first!

(Incidentally Middle Ages is just the English translation of Medieval, so we can use them interchangeably here.)

The Age of Discovery (1418-1778)

Your safest ground is in the late 15th and the 16th centuries. Most accounts stop this age around 1660, when the mainland Americas were taken.

Image: Pirate Jolly RogerOf course human beings have been exploring and discovering places since the beginning.  But the era commonly referred to as the Age of Discovery is largely a medieval European story.

It all really begins in 1418, when the Portuguese set sail from Africa to see what was out there.  It gathered pace after the fall of Constantinople in 1453.  However, until the mid-16th century, this should largely be a Spanish and Portuguese story.

The Age of Discovery concerns the 'discovery' of the Americas.  Plonk your Christopher Columbus tales in here.

By the 1550s, every European country with a decent navy was sending pirates privateering their way across the Atlantic after land grabs and goodies.  By then, you can start writing about France, Italy, Britain, the Netherlands etc.  This ends in 1778, with the discovery of Hawaii leaving nothing much else to find.

There is a parallel history over in Northern Europe, which would fit nicely here.  That's Russia taking Siberia (1640-1660).

For the Age of Discovery, think historical accounts of pirates, European Empires, Conquistadors killing Aztecs, Russians getting rich off the fur trade and all associated stories.

Books about the Age of Discovery

The Renaissance (1401-1630)

A brand new way of approaching art, or the last salvo of classical antiquity? Either way, this period led to some of Europe's most important cultural treasures.

Image: Mona LisaI've taken as my starting point here the almighty artistic battle to build some doors for Florence Cathedral.

Lorenzo Ghiberti and Filippo Brunelleschi both wanted that contract. The clash resulted in a competitiveness throughout the art communities of the city, then Italy, and finally the rest of Europe.  The cultural rebirth was on!

When it ended is more open to debate. The Renaissance spread by increments through Europe, so there will be different dates for each country. 

Britain was the last one to catch on and it ended there in 1630.

There is going to be a great deal of cross-over here between this sub-category and others. This is fine. The Renaissance is all about art and ideas, not ordinary lives.

Post Medieval (1485-1705)

From the Renaissance to the Enlightenment, there is plenty of choice for sub-categories during the Post Middle Ages.  But they are often very narrow in their scope.

This one should reign supreme for all historians who aren't quite sure which of the other eight is appropriate.  Surprisingly enough, there are only two Wizzles in here at the time of writing!

I've taken the usual years for this - from the start of the Tudor dynasty in England to the beginning of the Modern Age. 

The debate here is whether this category should relate to archaeology only.  I vote no.

Read about the Post Medieval World

Should Post Medieval on Wizzley Relate only to Archaeology?

JoHarrington on 08/11/2013

It was originally a solely archaeological term.

cmoneyspinner on 08/10/2013

Only to Archaeology? Uuuhh ... duh? (???)

Tudor Period (1485-1603) and Elizabethan Age (1558-1603)

This is very much the preserve of some British countries, plus small areas of France and Ireland. The Tudors were British monarchs.

Image: Queen Elizabeth IThe historical period covered by this category should not cause any controversy.  I've designated the time between the Battle of Bosworth and the death of Elizabeth I.

In short, that is the entire duration of all Tudor monarchs on the English throne.  However, one of them has her own sub-category too!  I've simply used the dates of Elizabeth's reign for that.

What might be more taxing is the countries involved here.  England, Wales and Cornwall are in before we even begin (though the Cornish do have room for debate). 

The early Tudor monarchs had a claim on Calais, in France; but that was lost in 1558. Mary Tudor was Queen of Spain, Naples and Sicily too, but only as the consort of King Philip.

There was also the Lordship of Ireland, followed by the Kingship of Ireland in 1542. That covers the rest of the Tudor Period. Though again some care should be taken about where in Ireland your story is set. Going too far beyond The Pale will mire you in Gaelic ire.

For any other countries and places, then the Post Medieval sub-category is probably the one for you!

History is an on-going tale, which directly affects the modern day. Each event is part of a domino effect causing ripples across the world.

The Colonial Period (1534-1900)

This could possibly refer to the US Colonial Period, which was 1630-1763.

Closely related to the Age of Discovery was the unhappy propensity of European nations to start claiming other people's countries for their own. 

(I learned today that only 22 nations in the entire world haven't been invaded by Britain at some point.  It's not something that I'm proud of here. Though in the defense of my bloodline, that was all England and they invaded Wales first.)

The true heyday of the colonies came from 1534, when all of those countries had got bored of mere genocide and plunder. Emigrant populations and/or prisoners started to be shipped overseas, in order to stick a flag into their new foreign homes.

This went on until 1900, though there are people in the Middle East who would be surprised to learn that it's over.

All colonial histories could technically go in here.  However, it's worth noting that the USA has a historical era with precisely this name.  If so, then the US Colonial Period was from 1630-1763.

Jacobean Era (1567-1625), or (1685-1759)

All hail King James VI of Scotland and the first of England.

This is perhaps the easiest of all the historical periods to pin down. The Jacobean Era is established as the reign of King James.  That was from 1567 in Scotland, and 1603 in England.

However, there is also a case for the Jacobite struggles which stretched well into the 18th century. Before you opt for this category, check out the discussion about the Stuarts described below.

We're strongly considering reserving the Jacobean Era on Wizzley for the Jacobite Risings alone.

Read about King James I/ VI

Stuarts (1371-1714)

A lot of leeway in centuries covered, but be very careful, as there's something specific inferred by this sub-category title.

The Stuart Dynasty ruled in Scotland, then England too, between the years 1371-1714.  It depends up on the location, as to when your history articles are appropriately placed in here.

Scottish articles may cover the whole period, from the crowning of King Robert II in 1371, until the death of Queen Anne in 1714. That country was ruled by the Stuarts throughout.  However, English history articles should only discuss the time between King James VI of Scotland ascending to the English throne too as James I (1603) and the aforementioned death of Anne.

During this time, there were colonies attached to England, as the British Empire began its early conquests. Those countries may also be included, but only during the years when they had a Stuart monarch.

There is some considerable overlap between this category and the Jacobean one. Blame me and Alexandria Ingram for that, as we asked for the Stuarts to be added, in order to talk about Charles I and II, James II, William and Mary, plus Anne.

Some public discussion ensued, and we decided to use Jacobean for the conflict (later named the Jacobite Rebellion), and Stuarts for all of the rest.  It would render everything nice and tidy if you followed suit, though naturally Alex and I aren't the boss of you, and you deserve your say in the discussions too.

Of course, this also leaves some nasty implications for the whole period of the English Civil War, and the years when various British countries were technically republics.

Here's where I dropped the other shoe, and my reasoning for it:

And I further propose including the Commonwealth period under the heading Stuarts.  Ok, Oliver Cromwell would turn in his grave, but he was a git anyway.  Plus the Stuarts came back.  It would keep things much tidier on Wizzley, even while riding roughshod over the efforts of the New Model Army.  Call it revenge for Galway.

For the record, I'm a flag-waving Socialist, suggesting all of that in the full knowledge that most like-minded friends will want me lynched for it.  Nevertheless it was accepted at the time by Wizzley (by which I mean Alexandria, who was the only other historian in the conversation), and that's how it currently stands.

I'll update this should the consensus change.

Modern History (1630-1949)

Look how many centuries this one covers! Let's consider this a safe house for almost everything in recent history. Hurrah!

This is a beautifully catch all category, which reaches from the end of the Post Medieval era (as it's commonly seen, I added a few years onto the Wizzley category to take in the last salvos) and takes us to Post Modernism.

However, the latter is usually seen as an artistic movement only.  There is a case that Modern History could still be happening.  But there are so many categories on Wizzley to describe the late 20th and early 21st centuries, it's unlikely we'd need this one too.

The Age of Enlightenment (1637-1804)

Also known as the Age of Reason, your safest articles will be in the 18th century alone. You can get away with pushing it to 1804, but some historians will frown.

Image: Philosopher Giving A Lecture at the OrreryNo-one quite agrees on when The Enlightenment really began.  You could argue that it was when we first worked out how to light our own fires.

For most though this is the glorious Age of Reason, when scientists and philosophers started noting what they could see, touch and test, rather than what religion held in faith.

Naturally many people got killed over it.

The date of 1637 is due to the publication of Descartes' Discourse on Method.  It would take us through Britain's Glorious Revolution (not so glorious for anyone Celtic or not Protestant), and the work of Isaac Newton.

Along the way, we can stop off with such thinkers as Kant, Paine, Rousseau, Jefferson, Locke, Hume, Voltaire etc.  As well as exploring the scientific achievements of Watt, Hutton, Thompson, Kelvin, Buffon et al. ; and enjoying the music of Bach, Haydn and Mozart.

If anyone ever mentioned 'liberty' and/or demanded quantifiable evidence in the 18th century, then articles about them probably belong here.

It all pretty much ended in France, whether you're going to choose the French Revolution (1789) or the rise of Napoleon, as your cutting off point.

Books about the Age of Enlightenment

Georgian Era (1714-1830)

This period covers the reign of the Hanoverian monarchs in Britain, with the exception of Queen Victoria. She gets her own historical era.

Image: George IAnother easy era to define, this one begins with the coronation of George I, then passes through the reigns of Georges I-IV. 

There's a brief stop off in The Regency, as George III became too ill to rule. But as the Prince of Wales, ruling in his stead, was also called George, it's often included here too.  He became George IV eventually anyway.

All of these people were the Hanoverian kings in Great Britain, which became the United Kingdom during their reign.  There's another two monarchs of this house, who come in at the end.  William IV (1830-1837) could sneak into this category, even if his parents broke with tradition over his naming.

The final Hanoverian was a queen, but articles about Queen Victoria should more correctly go into the Victorian Era.

As this is a British designation, most of the stories will be based there.  But this was a time of huge expansion and empire building.  The country was fighting wars everywhere, or so it seemed, which would play out on a global scale.

Industrial Age (1750-Today)

The glory and the sorrow of this tremendous, terrible, awesome and horrific age is still not over. Everything got much, much bigger.

Everything changed with the Industrial Revolution.  This is what I've taken as the starting point of the Industrial Age.

It's a story of mass production, transformed landscapes and the explosion of mega-cities.  But it's also a tale of protest, civil rights and trade unions on the one hand; and greed, genocide and profit over people on the other.  We are all products of the Industrial Age, for good or ill.

While this is a convenient catch-all category for the past two and a half centuries, I anticipate that it'll mostly be used for articles about the first Industrial Revolution, and the technology that takes us up to the end of the Second World War.

Beyond that, Wizzley has separated the staccato industrial age sub-categories that followed - the Atomic, Space, Information, Digital, and Imagination Ages are all present and correct.

The Age of Revolution (1775-1848)

'Give me liberty or give me death!' 'Ok!' One of the bloodiest periods in recent history kicks off with not having a nice cup of tea.

Image: Anarchy SymbolThe downside of Enlightenment tends to be dangerous ideas like 'liberty', 'equality' and 'fraternity' getting lots of people killed.  I'm looking at you, France.

However, the Gallic Terror wasn't the only overthrowing of millennium old theocracies going on in this period.  The two other huge notable revolutions were in America (soon to be the USA) and Haiti. 

Nor were they alone.  All over the world a whole domino effect was going on, which saw colonies break away from Empires and slaves free themselves forcibly from their erstwhile masters.

On paper, it's all great, but we didn't have to live through it.  The reality was a lot of people dying in horrific ways, until the point was made.  The end result was largely quite good though, give or take the Napoleonic Wars, and the fact that the fledgling USA scuppered any hope of Haiti ever developing a decent economy. 

Nearly two centuries on, we do take such words as they died for as fundamental rights.  Their ghosts would tell us to beware our complacency.

Books about the Age of Revolution

Revolutionary America (1763-1783)

As the name suggests, this is a category named by and devoted to what would become the United States of America.

Image: Cup of teaWatch the British woman define the American Revolution and attendant American War of Independence.

Usually this period begins in 1775, with said war, but I think there's a lot of scope for including articles leading up to it.  That would fit in nicely with ending the US Colonial Period in 1763. It would also take us from the beginning of the trouble - the end of the Seven Years War - as none of these eras begin or end in a vacuum.

So here is my very British-centric interpretation for this period of Criminal Acts of Abuse Against Cups of Tea.

The French had attempted to take American colonies to add to their Canadian territories.  The British navy sailed over there and, along with 25,000 militia raised in the colonies, saw them off.  The war was very expensive and so was the aftermath.

The bill for all of this landed mostly on the British people.  Riots and protests ensued, as they pointed out, quite rightly, that the actual beneficiaries (the Americans) were only paying a fraction of the costs.  So the order went out to raise the taxes in the colonies.

Despite the fact that these increases were still disproportionately tiny compared to what was being asked of their British counterparts, the American representatives refused.  They mostly just didn't want to pay, but it all emerged in the much more media friendly, 'No taxation without representation'.

This blithely ignored the fact that hardly anyone footing the bill in Britain could vote either.  Indignation back home caused the British government to pour oil on the fire in America.  Loads of draconian laws turned the grumblings of free-loaders into a fully fledged War of Independence.

Amongst the most famous and heinous of events, millions of pounds worth of tea was tipped into Boston Harbor.  To add insult to injury, those revolutionary Americans DID NOT then boil up the water in the harbor, add sugar and milk, then drink it.  

It could have been the world's biggest teapot, but no, the tea was spoiled.  And the British were still left paying the bill for the Seven Years War.  But we're not bitter.

Didn't happen like that, Americans?  Then write some articles for Wizzley in this category to teach me how wrong I am!

US History (1779-Today)

We hold these truths to be self-evident...

While the category above could technically drag in Britain and France (though the emphasis at all times should be on America), this one is solely the United States of America.

I've dated it from the instant that name could legally be applied to the country through to the modern day. 

In short, from the United States Declaration of Independence, on July 2nd 1776 (the 4th was just the printing date in Pennsylvania) onwards.  I can't see that being too controversial with that designation!

However, please note that there is a lot of over-lapping with this category and later ones.  That's fine, as all of those others can maintain some focus. 

US History should largely be viewed as a general one. It can accommodate articles which don't easily fit elsewhere in American history.

Books about US History

America The Story of Us: An Illustrated History

America The Story of Us is a groundbreaking series that brings to life the epic story of our nation in a new way for a new generation. The companion book, America The Story of U...

View on Amazon

A People's History of the United States: 1492 to Present

Known for its lively, clear prose as well as its scholarly research, A People's History of the United States is the only volume to tell America's story from the point of view of...

View on Amazon

Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong, Revised and Updated...

The national bestseller and winner of the American Book Award, thoroughly updated for the first time since its initial publication to include textbooks written since 2000 and fe...

View on Amazon

The Young Republic (1783-1815)

'I had rather be a free citizen of the small republic of Massachusetts than an oppressed subject of the great American empire.' Anonymous

Image: Star Spangled BannerWe're still with the USA here!  This is actually a named historical era for the USA, so I've lifted the dates wholly from that country's text books.

This is the period when the fledgling nation went from 'oh wow, we're self-governing' to actually putting in place the infrastructure to make that work.  Most notably, and wonderfully, that led to the Bill of Rights.

It all began with the Treaty of Paris, signed on September 3rd 1783, which gave recognition to American Independence.  However, there followed a period when all thirteen of the states wanted their own governments. 

It took until 1815 to perfect the political framework whereby there would be a central Federal government, but thirteen state governments working within it. After that was agreed, it was all systems go for the new country.

Books about The Young Republic of the United States of America

These histories should be essential reading for all who still believe that the Founding Fathers had democratic values in mind.

French Revolution (1789-1799)

This is a category reserved for France, though the Age of Terror playing out there did fling aftershocks across the globe.

Image: French RevolutionOne of the easiest ages to define is this Wizzley history category. 

Taking their cue from the American Revolution (which had been heavily funded by France) and the ideology of the Age of Enlightenment, the French working and middle classes decided to do away with the Ancien Régime, in perhaps the most bloody way possible.

As with any major social change, there's no precise date upon which we can say it all began.  Maybe it was the pamphleteering in January 1789, which asked inflammatory questions like 'Qu'est-ce que le tiers état?'  Maybe it was the Estates-General conference, which began on May 5th 1789 with demands that the delegates show their credentials.

Most people look to the storming of the Bastille on July 11th 1789. 

However, every one of these events occurred in the same year, so that is the obvious starting point for Wizzley too.  As for the end, I've gone for the coronation of Napoleon Bonaparte, which happened on November 9th 1799, and ushered in a new era for France.

Women's Movement (1792-1928)

The struggle for female suffrage is the main subject for this category, though many side-issues did get pulled in along the way.

For Feminist historians, the Women's Movement is also known as First Wave Feminism.  So how to date it?

It was tempting to start with the Suffragist and Suffragette movements, as they are the big stories for this category.  But they did not spring up fully formed and ready for militant action.

Instead, I'm pushing us back to the first major prelude, which was the publication of Mary Wollstonecraft's A Vindication of the Rights of Woman.  That occurred in 1792.

By 1928, the Women's Movement had secured the vote in most Western countries.  Though care will have to be taken to match that with each nation.

Read A Vindication of the Rights of Woman

Napoleonic Era (1799-1815)

For some historians, we're still in the French Revolution here. But with two categories to play with, we might as well divide the articles sensibly.

Image: Napolean BonaparteWhile this is still fundamentally a French category, Napoleon's imperialism means that much of the globe is also involved.

I've dated this period from the coronation of Napoleon Bonaparte until his exile to St Helena, on October 16th 1815. 

The latter date could be expanded on, as the leader's personal story, until May 5th 1821. But that's not so much an 'era' as a biography.

Until 1815, Napoleon's policies and actions affected France and many other nations too.  That, to my mind, is the actual period of concern for those writing in this category. 

But I certainly wouldn't sniff at chronologically later articles about Napoleon himself.

Books about the French Revolution and Napoleon Bonaparte

Learn how the Enlightenment and revolutionary precedents abroad ignited France in the Reign of Terror; and how Napoleon went for world domination.

Victorian Era (1837-1901)

Queen Victoria was on the throne from June 20th 1837 until January 22nd 1901. Easy!

Image: Victorian Royal FamilyTo say that this category should be a British story is both correct and horrifically wrong. 

The British Empire during this period covered most of the globe. In many ways, this is the category where half of Wizzley will be lining up to lodge their complaints against my own country. 

While nominally this could be a category devoted to a single monarch, it's much more than that. The British exported their values, language, religion, industrialization, politics, 'stiff, upper lip' and, of course, cricket everywhere that they went.  Which means that the Victorian era encompasses a lot more than a crown.

It's both Britain's glory and shame; a cautionary tale to tell around the world today, but one which successive superpowers are doomed to ignore.

So what cautionary tales do you have to tell, Wizzley?  I'm sure I can rustle up the odd half a million, time permitting.

Edwardian Age (1901-1918)

Also known as La Belle Epoque or the Gilded Age. The ultimate in style, elegance and an absolutely catastrophic industrialized war.

Purists might point to the dates of the reigning British monarch, whose name has been lent to the era itself.

King Edward VII was the British monarch from January 22nd 1901, until May 6th 1910.  That is the true Edwardian Age. 

But that's only nine years, which isn't long for an historical period, particularly one which had just shaken off the constraints of over sixty years of being Victorian.

It's generally thought of being much neater to take it up to the First World War, when things really did change.  Or else to include said war, thus ending the period in 1918. 

Take your pick, you'll find some historian somewhere ready to back you up.

Books about the Victorians and Edwardians

The Victorians: An Age in Retrospect

A major study of changing attitudes to the Victorians, from Lytton Strachey to the present day.>

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The Rise and Fall of the British Empire

Great Britain's geopolitical role has undergone many changes over the last four centuries. Once a maritime superpower and ruler of half the world, Britain now occupies an isolat...

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The Edwardians: the Remaking of British Society

Everyone who lived during the reign of Edward VII was an Edwardian, not merely the rich, the literary or the scandalous. In this book, Paul Thompson records the life stories of ...

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At the beginning of the 20th century, this was the historical period when Edward VII was on the throne of Britain. A lot happened.

NO GAP HERE! Remember that you still have that Modern History category to cover you until 1945. Enjoy it!

Cold War (1941-1991) and Atomic Age (1945-1991)

These are two totally different categories, but with enough over-lap that I want to deal with them together.

There are so many different dates given for the Cold War, that the beginning is largely a matter of subjective opinion. 

In the spirit of awarding the greatest scope possible, I've gone for June 1941 as the starting point.  That is when Germany invaded the Soviet Union, during World War II, thus bringing Stalin into the war. 

While the Allies and the Soviet Union were nominally on the same side, there was a great deal of (justifiable) distrust between them.  Once Germany surrendered, all gloves were off and tension bubbled, and bubbled, and bubbled.

The reason that it didn't actually erupt into World War III (or an extension of the second one) is because we were now also into the Atomic Age.  Another global battle would likely end in nuclear devastation, particularly as the USA and the Soviet Union engaged in decades long one-upmanship over who could have the biggest, most deadliest atomic bombs.

If there is some debate over the start date, then there is none on the ending.  On December 25th 1991, the USSR was officially dissolved and everyone breathed a huge sigh of relief.

Of course, the Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) of ridiculously large nuclear weapons is still there, but we collectively assumed that no-one would use them after 1991.  It's easier than considering the alternative.

As for the Atomic Age, that began with two atomic bombs actually being used by the USA on Japan.  August 6th 1945 was the date when Hiroshima was obliterated and the whole world stared on in shock.

While many of the articles in this section will be about the bombs, that isn't the whole story.  For a while atomic energy was going to solve everything.  It was going to take over from fossil fuels and lead us into a new age of prosperity.

But the money went into bombs instead.

Hiroshima: Dropping the Bomb

The world's first nuclear bomb attack occurred on August 6th 1945. Only the USA has ever used these horrific weapons on human beings.

Books about the Nuclear Age, Atomic Age and the Cold War

Learn about the history of this era of such huge scientific energy potential, which will be forever mired in the terror of atomic bombs.

Postwar America (1945-1960)

This really is what it says on the packet. It's that halcyon period between the end of World War II and the start of the Vietnam War.

It encapsulated a Golden Age of industry, inventions and consumerism, but had a darker side in the testing of atomic bombs and the paranoid terror of the Cold War.  It was a time of rock'n'roll and teenagers with disposable incomes.  In fact, lots of people with disposable incomes! 

Appliances for the home and automobiles flourished, while holidays began to be regular events. 

Civil Rights finally made it on the legislature and it looked like the good times were here to stay. Then the Vietnam War happened.

I've taken these dates from the actual US historical era.

Space Age (1957-1990)

On October 4th 1957, the Soviet Union propelled Sputnik into space. 

Suddenly the future was the solar system.  Aliens in flying saucers were on the way, and the human race was going to colonize Mars by Christmas.

It didn't quite work out like that, though humanity has certainly left the Earth's atmosphere in the meantime.

It could be argued that we're still in the Space Age.  There is the International Space Station up there and astrophysicists are devising ever more genius ways to explore beyond our planetary orbit.

Unfortunately, we're all now too busy surfing the 'net to care.  Hence The Space Age really died in the blossoming of the Computer Age (aka the Digital Revolution and the Age of Information). I've placed that as being around 1990 for full digital take off.

Books About The Space Age

Red Moon Rising: Sputnik and the Hidden Rivalries that Ignited the Space Age

For the fiftieth anniversary of Sputnik, the behind-the-scenes story of the fierce battles on earth that launched the superpowers into space The spy planes were driving Nikita K...

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Sputnik: The Shock of the Century

On October 4, 1957, as Leave It to Beaver premiered on American television, the Soviet Union launched the space age. Sputnik, all of 184 pounds with only a radio transmitter ins...

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First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong

On July 20, 1969, the world stood still to watch thirty-eight-year-old American astronaut Neil A. Armstrong become the first person to step on the surface of another heavenly bo...

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Hippie Movement (1960-Today)

The safest ground here is the Summer of Love in 1967 through to Woodstock in 1969.

This was so much harder to date than I anticipated!  As far as I was concerned the hey-day of all that peace, love and sexual freedom was 1967-1969, despite me frequently labeling myself an 'old hippie'.

But there's an argument which could see the earliest hints in the Bohemian and Fabian movements of the 19th and early 20th centuries. 

No historical age begins and ends very definitely, unless it's denoting a reign or a war.  This one is no exception.

I finally decided to go with the emergence of Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters, along with the whole Beat Generation (Beatniks).  That takes us back to 1960, as a decent enough starting point.

Of course, some of those original hippies are still living the life now.  Can we truly say that it's over?

The Vietnam Era (1961-1975)

This is a very specific USA story, about a very specific war.

The Vietnam Era is used by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs and, accordingly, we can date it precisely.  The Code of Federal Regulations (chapter 38, 3.2f) lays it out:

'The period beginning on February 28, 1961 and ending on May 7, 1975, inclusive, in the case of a veteran who served in the Republic of Vietnam during that period. The period beginning on August 5, 1964 and ended on May 7, 1975 inclusive, in all other cases.'

In short, this is for anything connected with America's Vietnam War.

THE Classic Vietnam Memoir

Digital Revolution (1980-Today) and Information Age (1989-Today)

I've linked these together because one led so succinctly into the other that they are largely interchangeable.

Image: Sir Tim Berners-LeeWelcome to the Third Industrial Revolution!  We've all moved out of the fields, out of the factories and behind the screen of a computer instead.

While the history of computing can be traced all the way back to the invention of the abacus in about 500 BCE, it really took off from 1980.

Also included in here are all the other gadgets which have filled our working and social lives - the cell phone, the fax machine, the millions of other ways in which we can communicate across the globe.

All of this in turn hurtled us directly into the Age of Information.  Now we don't have to find out things in classrooms, libraries or through the media.  We can type anything into a search engine; and the collective knowledge of all humanity is there for the keyword searching.

Our friends no longer have to live next door.  They can be on the other side of the world; and it's so much easier to find and chat with people who share your interests.  This is why this era is also labelled The Social Age. 

That began with the wonderful Sir Tim Berners-Lee inventing the World Wide Web.  The internet was born and I, for one, am thrilled to have lived in The Computer Age.

Books on the History of the Internet, Computing and the World Wide Web

Sir Tim Berners-Lee is our God; Hackers is a brilliant book; and I haven't read the Kate Hafner one, but it has good reviews.

Imagination Age (The Future)

Do you know where we're going to? Do you like the things that life is showing you? Where are we going to?

I've labelled this 'the future', but really the concept came from a paper by Rita J. King in 2007. 

The cultural philosopher had identified a trend which was already emerging, so really we could date any articles back to then.  However, she was looking forwards, following the patterns of history to view the near future.  That is, after all, part of our job.

As the philosopher George Santayana once wrote, 'The one who does not remember history is bound to live through it again.'   It's more commonly rendered in the west as, 'those who ignore the past are bound to repeat it', but the sentiment is the same.

For those determined not to do so, the past can be mined for trends leading onwards.  This is precisely what King did.  She said that the Age of Information has blossomed into an era when productivity is out of the hands of the few into the many.

Creativity and imagination are the new by-words. People can become famous on YouTube, if they are innovative enough.  Music no longer has to go through the approval of record companies.  Movies can be made and distributed on-line without passing through Hollywood.  The internet has placed success and stardom into the grasp of us all.

We just have to be brilliant enough to shine through.  It is popularity by common vote (up-votes, likes and viral purchases), not mass marketing campaigns.  And this, she concluded, will be our next, great historical age.

Books about Internet Fame and Making it Rich On-line

If Justin Bieber can do it, then so can you. These guides look at the themes and strategies for the next great historical age.
Updated: 07/18/2014, JoHarrington
Thank you! Would you like to post a comment now?

The Debate Starts Here! Which era(s) would you like to amend, move or change completely?

blackspanielgallery on 06/14/2015

I have had little interest in history until I started looking at my ancestry. Now I am very involved in finding out about them and the times they lived. Yet it spans several of your categories. And the time and place I am most interested in studying is often neglected, Metz in the 600s.

CruiseReady on 05/13/2015

But . . . I don't want the space age to end at 1990! I am admittedly quite biased on that issue for several reasons. (Grain of salt time)
Seriously, it's a wonderful article that will should prove useful, not only for categorizing Wizzley articles, but also as a general resource.
Congratulations on a well deserved Editor's Choice Award!

JoHarrington on 08/12/2013

Thank you very much too. :D

cmoneyspinner on 08/12/2013

@JoHarrington - 2uesday said what I was thinking. Amazing!

JoHarrington on 08/11/2013

Thank you very much. :)

2uesday on 08/11/2013

Putting this informative and useful article together is an amazing achievement.

JoHarrington on 07/14/2013

I'm glad to see that I've inspired you to write about history here. Or was that personal research?

Lilysnape on 07/10/2013

It is very informative, putting everything in order in this way, I am going to start some history research

JoHarrington on 07/04/2013

Maggie - Sometimes we have to create our own strong platforms, and history is well in the mix on Wizzley. I look forward to reading your articles.

MaggiePowell on 06/25/2013

My degree is in history, and I've often thought of writing about my studies online, but I always figured the information would be lost behind the party ideas and weight loss articles. Nice to learn that Wizzley has a strong platform for history.

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