Essays About History: Top 5 Examples and 7 Prompts

History is the study of past events and is essential to an understanding of life and the future; discover essays about history in our guide.

In the thousands of years, humans have been on earth, our ancestors have left different marks on the world, reminders of the times they lived in. Curiosity is in our nature, and we study our history on this planet by analyzing these marks, whether they be ancient artifacts, documents, or grand monuments. 

History is essential because it tells us about our past. It helps us to understand how we evolved on this planet and, perhaps, how we may develop in the future. It also reminds us of our ancestors’ mistakes so that we do not repeat them. It is an undisputed fact that history is essential to human society, particularly in the world we live in today. 

If you are writing essays about history, start by reading the examples below. 

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5 Examples On Essays About History

1. History of Malta by Suzanne Pittman

“The famous biblical figure St. Paul came to Malta due to his ship getting wrecked and he first set foot on Malta at the beautiful location of what it know called St. Paul’s bay. St Paul spread Christianity throughout Malta which at the time has a mostly pagan population and the vast majority of Malta inhabitants have remained Christian since the days that St Paul walked the streets of Malta.”

Short but informative, Pittman’s essay briefly discusses key events in the history of Malta, including its founding, the spread of Christianity, and the Arab invasion of the country. She also references the Knights of Malta and their impact on the country. 

2. Why Study History? by Jeff West

“Every person across the face of this Earth has been molded into what they are today by the past. Have you ever wondered sometime about why humanity is the way it is, or why society works the way it does? In order to find the answer, you must follow back the footprints to pinpoint the history of the society as a whole.”

West’s essay explains history’s importance and why it should be studied. Everything is how it is because of past events, and we can better understand our reality with context from the past. We can also learn more about ourselves and what the future may hold for us. West makes essential points about the importance of history and gives important insight into its relevance.

3. History a reflection of the past, and a teacher for the future by Shahara McGee

“While those stories are important, it is vital and a personal moral imperative, to share the breadth and depth of Black History, showing what it is and means to the world. It’s not just about honoring those few known for the 28 days of February. It’s about everyday seizing the opportunities before us to use the vastness of history to inspire, educate and develop our youth into the positive and impactful leaders we want for the future.”

In her essay, McGee explains the importance of history, mainly black history, to the past and the future. She writes about how being connected to your culture, history, and society can give you a sense of purpose. In addition, she reflects on the role black history had in her development as a person; she was able to learn more about black history than just Martin Luther King Jr. She was able to understand and be proud of her heritage, and she wishes to use history to inspire people for the future.  

4. The Most Successful Crusade by Michael Stein

“Shortly afterwards, Egyptians and Khwarazmians defeated an alliance of Crusaders-States and Syrians near Gaza. After Gaza, the Crusaders States were finished as a political force, although some cities along the coast hung on for more than forty years. The Egyptian Ayyubids occupied Jerusalem itself in 1247. The city now was not much more than a heap of ruins, becoming an unimportant backwater for a long time.”

Stein describes the Sixth Crusade, during which Emperor Frederick II could resolve the conflict through diplomacy, even gaining Christian control of Jerusalem by negotiating with the Sultan. He describes important figures, including the Popes of the time and Frederick himself, and the events leading up to and after the Crusade. Most importantly, his essay explains why this event is noteworthy: it was largely peaceful compared to the other Crusades and most conflicts of the time.

5. God, plagues and pestilence – what history can teach us about living through a pandemic by Robyn J. Whitaker

“Jillings describes the arrest of a Scottish preacher in 1603 for refusing to comply with the government’s health measures because he thought they were of no use as it was all up to God. The preacher was imprisoned because he was viewed as dangerous: his individual freedoms and beliefs were deemed less important than the safety of the community as a whole.”

In her essay, Whitaker explains the relevance of history in policymaking and attitudes toward the COVID-19 pandemic. She first discusses the human tendency to blame others for things beyond our control, giving historical examples involving discrimination against particular groups based on race or sexual orientation. She then describes the enforcement of health measures during the black plague, adding that religion and science do not necessarily contradict each other. From a historical perspective, we might just feel better about the situations we are in, as these issues have repeatedly afflicted humanity. 

Writing Prompts For Essays About History

1. What We Can Learn From History

In your essay, write about the lessons we can learn from studying history. What has history taught us about human nature? What mistakes have we made in the past that we can use to prevent future catastrophes? Explain your position in detail and support it with sufficient evidence.

2. Analyzing a Historical Source

We have been left with many reminders of our history, including monuments, historical documents, paintings, and sculptures. First, choose a primary historical source, explain what it is,  and discuss what you can infer about the period it is from. Then, provide context by using external sources, such as articles.

3. Reflection on a Historical Event

What historical event interests you? Choose one, whether it be a devastating war, the establishment of a new country, or a groundbreaking new invention, and write about it. Explain what exactly transpired in the event and explain why you chose it. You can also include possible lessons you could learn from it. You can use documentaries, history books, and online sources to understand the topic better. 

4. Your Country’s History

Research the history of a country of your choice and write your essay on it. Include how it was formed, essential people, and important events. The country need not be your home country; choose any country and write clearly. You can also focus on a specific period in your country’s history if you wish to go more in-depth. 

5. Your Family History

For a personal angle on your essay, you can write about your family’s history if there is anything you feel is noteworthy about it. Do you have any famous ancestors? Did any family members serve in the military? If you have the proper sources, discuss as much as you can about your family history and perhaps explain why it is essential to you. 

6. The Impact of War on Participating Nations

Essays About History: The impact of war on participating nations
Briefly discuss what occurred in the war and how it ended, and describe its impact on either or both sides

Throughout history, war has always hurt one or both sides. Choose one crucial historical war and write about its effects. Briefly discuss what occurred in the war and how it ended, and describe its impact on either or both sides. Feel free to focus on one aspect, territory, culture, or the economy.

7. The History of Your Chosen Topic

From the spread of Christianity to the horrible practice of slavery, research any topic you wish and write about its history. How did it start, and what is its state today? You need not go too broad; the scope of your essay is your decision, as long as it is written clearly and adequately supported.

For help with your essay, check our round-up of best essay writing apps.If you’re looking for inspiration, check out our round-up of essay topics about nature.