Many history classes in both universities and high schools spend time teaching dates and locations of important events.

Yet, History, as a subject, is important, in my opinion, because of the lessons we can learn from the historical events. Yet, the dates and locations of events is really only important in cases where they overlap, and thus interact, with other events.

Am I underestimating the frequency that dates and locations play a critical role in History, or am I missing something else?

I am looking for times where dates and times have played a major role in the study of History (or when the lack of accurate dates and times have been a major detriment to the study of History)

  • 1
    Dates and locations are easier to grade in a test. – congusbongus Jan 11 '15 at 23:50
  • This is a good question, actually. Yes, many might have opinions on that, but if "exact dates" are still predominantly considered important, there must be a reason. Opinion might be if that reason is good or good-enough, but the reason itself should be known. – o0'. Jan 12 '15 at 10:23
  • 1
    Question is based on an unfounded and unprovable assumption (that courses spend time teaching dates), followed by an explicit assertion of opinion "in my opinion....", and finishes with an unanswerable, incommensurate request for opinion "Am I underestimating....". OP hasn't provided an estimate, merely an opinion. This is a request for a discussion, not a question. The answer is "yes". Furthermore, the question cannot be answered by historical research. – Mark C. Wallace Jan 12 '15 at 12:12
  • 3
    History without dates/locations is like math without numbers or physics without units. – sds Jan 12 '15 at 22:01
  • I would vote for reopen, the question has some theoretical meaning, and can be explained. – CsBalazsHungary Jan 13 '15 at 14:21

Because historical events are normally related to each other and the timing is important, for example think of the October Russian revolution of 1917, do you think it is a coincidence that the very same year there was the Feb revolution, or that at that time WWI was happening (1914-1918), also you need to consider the Russian revolution of 1905.

The same can be said of the French revolution and the arrival of Napoleon or the discovery of America and the Spanish Empire, timing is important, very important.

| improve this answer | |
  • Maybe it's just me, but I think this response more or less states the obvious. I think what the OP was getting at is why so much emphasis is placed on memorizing the number, when really knowledge of the relative ordering would suffice. – David H Jan 12 '15 at 2:05
  • @DavidH If that is the case, the question is not really a question but some kind of complaint regarding the educational system. I do understand that memorizing is not always required, however, as explained, the timing is important, and the implications of the america discovery in 1492 would not have been the same as in 952. But I see your point. – Juan Antonio Gomez Moriano Jan 12 '15 at 3:47
  • @DavidH I don't think he claims "only the order is important", as much as "the exact date is important only if they overlap, otherwise you don't need to know the exact date". – o0'. Jan 12 '15 at 10:25

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.