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Old 01-21-2012, 11:50 PM
 
4,810 posts, read 4,886,413 times
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Default Which Countries Have the Most Obvious/Well Known History and Which Countries the Most Unknown/Obscure History?

I would like to see other people's opinions for this topic.


This is my Personal Top 10:
The top 10 countries with generally the most obvious/well known history:

1. France
2. United Kingdom/England
3. USA
4. Spain
5. Russia
6. Italy
7. Greece
8. China
9. Germany
10. Japan

The top 10 countries with generally the most unknown/obscure history:

1. Kyrgyzstan
2. Bhutan
3. Azerbaijan
4. Tajikistan
5. Thailand
6. Cambodia
7. Laos
8. Guyana
9. Gabon
10. Fiji

Last edited by Thepastpresentandfuture; 01-22-2012 at 12:16 AM..
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Old 01-22-2012, 06:57 AM
 
Location: Vancouver, Canada
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I'd say places with the longest history of civilization have the longest known history. Iraq, Egypt, Pakistan, areas of China... these places we have a historical record for that goes back thousands of years.

Comparatively speaking, we know far fewer stories and histories of, say, the USA pre-European invasion.
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Old 01-22-2012, 07:49 AM
 
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i wouldnt know about ranking them although for a westerner your first 3 are pretty obvious.
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Old 01-22-2012, 07:57 AM
 
Location: Victoria TX
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For unknown-obscure, I would say Madagascar. Also Ethiopia, Somalia, Morocco, Nicaragua, New Zealand, Mauritius, Hawaii, Hungary. (I'm limiting my list to those well-known countries that an American would have a fighting chance of finding on a globe.) At least from the standpoint of Americans, not many of us could answer even the most introductory questions about the history of those countries. Except maybe "Who was the last colonial power to occupy them?" and a lot of Americans would even get many of those wrong. Quick, name the European powers who had colonies in Cameroon? Quick, what do you know about the history of Egypt between the Pharaohs and the war with Israel?

The great majority of well-educated Americans don't even know that Germany and Italy did not exist as national entities yet in the middle of the 19th century. Texas was a republic (and then a state) before Germany or Italy were unified into nationhood. So it's hard to put them on the "best known history" list.

By the way, I think it is a pretty obvious given that the question is framed from the reference point of a person who does not have a natural allegiance to or association with the particular country in question.

Last edited by jtur88; 01-22-2012 at 08:20 AM..
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Old 01-22-2012, 07:57 AM
 
Location: Texas
28,103 posts, read 22,881,067 times
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Well known to who? A bunch of white people?
The answer will follow accordingly.

We know the most about western countries and people we do a lot of trade with.

Someone who grew up in Botswana might know their history back and forth and know nothing of French history.
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Old 01-22-2012, 08:44 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtur88 View Post
For unknown-obscure, I would say Madagascar. Also Ethiopia, Somalia, Morocco, Nicaragua, New Zealand, Mauritius, Hawaii, Hungary. (I'm limiting my list to those well-known countries that an American would have a fighting chance of finding on a globe.) At least from the standpoint of Americans, not many of us could answer even the most introductory questions about the history of those countries. Except maybe "Who was the last colonial power to occupy them?" and a lot of Americans would even get many of those wrong. Quick, name the European powers who had colonies in Cameroon? Quick, what do you know about the history of Egypt between the Pharaohs and the war with Israel?

The great majority of well-educated Americans don't even know that Germany and Italy did not exist as national entities yet in the middle of the 19th century. Texas was a republic (and then a state) before Germany or Italy were unified into nationhood. So it's hard to put them on the "best known history" list.

By the way, I think it is a pretty obvious given that the question is framed from the reference point of a person who does not have a natural allegiance to or association with the particular country in question.
I definitely agree with Madagascar, Mauritius, Somalia, and Ethiopia having relatively unknown/obscure history.

Some people think all African countries have the same exact history but that is not true in reality.

However, I still included only one 1 African country (Gabon) in my top 10 countries with the most unknown/obscure history. Those African countries you mentioned still would probably make my top 15.

I also agree most Americans seem a bit ignorant in World Geography and World History.

However, there are still some Americans with plenty of knowledge for topics like that, such as me, you, and a few other Americans as well.
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Old 01-22-2012, 08:47 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stan4 View Post
Well known to who? A bunch of white people?
The answer will follow accordingly.

We know the most about western countries and people we do a lot of trade with.

Someone who grew up in Botswana might know their history back and forth and know nothing of French history.
The thread subject question is referred to anybody of any race/ethnicity and also for any location that person lives in.

However, it seems it would be mostly Americans that would see this question on this forum as well as people from Canada, Australia, United Kingdom, France etc.

That is true the answers can vary based on someone’s location and country.

Since I live in the USA, I wrote my personal lists for this subject based on how Americans in particular seem to view history for different countries.

But I also would like to see personal lists from other people, including people that live in a different location/country from me.
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Old 01-23-2012, 12:09 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thepastpresentandfuture View Post
I definitely agree with Madagascar, Mauritius, Somalia, and Ethiopia having relatively unknown/obscure history.
To you.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madagascar#History

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Somalia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mauritius

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethiopia#History
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Old 01-23-2012, 01:10 AM
 
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For westerners, the history of China is probably at the top, relative to the historical records that are available. It's just too lengthy and convoluted for most people to get into. However, those who do will find a lot of resources in all the major western languages. Chinese dynasties usually had very strong bureaucracies with lots of scribes and recordkeepers, and that goes back a long while.

In terms of a country/region with a big impact on western history, probably Turkey, and all of its predecessor governments and empires going back to the Romans, and perhaps even going back to the Hittites. The story of the Byzantine Empire isn't all that well-told in modern Turkey itself, either, for various reasons.

Now, in global terms, if we're trying to pick one relatively sizable country that nobody knows much about, including its inhabitants, Papua New Guinea might win. This is because - while the country is the size of California - it has so many different tribes, languages, and historical migrations that nobody can even agree on the basic facts - just how many languages are there in PNG? How many distinct ethnic groups?

Not only are the "real" answers to those questions unknown - they are probably unknowable given the imprecision of our definitions of those things.

But there is certainly a lot of history there.
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Old 01-23-2012, 08:05 AM
 
24,774 posts, read 26,159,449 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtur88 View Post
For unknown-obscure, I would say Madagascar. Also Ethiopia, Somalia, Morocco, Nicaragua, New Zealand, Mauritius, Hawaii, Hungary. (I'm limiting my list to those well-known countries that an American would have a fighting chance of finding on a globe.) At least from the standpoint of Americans, not many of us could answer even the most introductory questions about the history of those countries. Except maybe "Who was the last colonial power to occupy them?" and a lot of Americans would even get many of those wrong. Quick, name the European powers who had colonies in Cameroon? Quick, what do you know about the history of Egypt between the Pharaohs and the war with Israel?

The great majority of well-educated Americans don't even know that Germany and Italy did not exist as national entities yet in the middle of the 19th century. Texas was a republic (and then a state) before Germany or Italy were unified into nationhood. So it's hard to put them on the "best known history" list.

By the way, I think it is a pretty obvious given that the question is framed from the reference point of a person who does not have a natural allegiance to or association with the particular country in question.
You know, you like to indulge in this kind of kneejerk nonsense a lot. As someone who has traveled the globe myself, I can tell you that ALL countries seem to be rather provincial once you get outside of the educated classes--and even then, it's an iffy proposition. I remember sitting around a table among otherwise educated Brits who argued about whether Mexico was in North or South America. Some wanted to put it next to Venezuela, while only a couple actually knew its exact location. I finally had to settle matters by pulling out an atlas on the shelf and showing them.

Heck, when I was in New Zealand a couple of summers ago, I mentioned that I would be taking the family on vacation to Toronto upon my return. Most of the otherwise well-educated film crew thought you needed to travel by air between the United States and Canada. And they thought Atlanta and New York were about three hours apart by car.

Now, back to the question at hand. Pretty much any country that lacked any kind of literacy would have an obscure history.
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