Finding Background Information - World History

When you are doing research on a topic, you will often encounter unfamiliar terms, or familiar ones used in a specialized way. Dictionaries can provide a quick definition and often some elaboration on the uses of the term. Encyclopedias provide background information on unfamiliar subjects, leading you quickly to key ideas and sources in developing your topic. Many encyclopedia articles will also include brief bibliographies which will lead you to further sources of information.

Dictionaries and encyclopedias covering World history topics include:

Battles That Changed History : An Encyclopedia of World Conflict
"Presents over two hundred battles that changed the course of history, including the date, place, participants, and the historical significance of each conflict."

The Cambridge Ancient History
A classic reference work for this period of history. Full bibliographies are provided at the end of each of the stand-alone vols.

The Cambridge Medieval History
A classic reference work, with full bibliographies at the end of each of the eight vols. Two additional volumes of maps supplement the set.

Chronology of the Expanding World, 1492-1762
Political events and international relations are listed by year on the left-side pages facing achievements in the Arts and Sciences. Includes a detailed Index.
REFERENCE D11.5.W48 1969b

Chronology of the Modern World: 1763 to 1992
Political events and international relations are listed by year on the left-side pages facing achievements in the Arts and Sciences. Includes a detailed Index.
REFERENCE D209.W59 1994b

Chronology of World History: A Calendar of Principal Events from 3000 BC to AD 1973
Provides a year-by-year listing of events by geographical region. An Index lists people, places, and topics with the dates under which they appear in the text.
REFERENCE D11.F75 1975b

A Dictionary of Contemporary World History
“Extensive surveys of every country...with detailed analytical entries covering political and military leaders, political parties, international organizations, and acts of war.”

Dictionary of Historical Terms: A Guide to the Main Themes, Events, Cliques & Innuendos of Over 1000 Years of World History
Intended for both students and scholars of history, this dictionary defines terms and phrases common to historical vocabulary (from medieval times onwards).

Dictionary of the Middle Ages
Articles in this 12-vol. set range in length from about 100 to 10,000 words. Each article is accompanied by a bibliography, and there is a separate Index.
REFERENCE D114.D5 1982

A Dictionary of Twentieth-Century World History
"Written both for a general readership and for students of history, politics, and international relations."
REFERENCE D419.P32 1997

A Dictionary of World History
Brief entries covering 4,000 years of world history.

Encyclopedia of Historical Treaties and Alliances
This two-vol. set covers from ancient times to the present. Each chapter begins with an introductory essay outlining the events of the time which sets the selected treaties in context and also reviews their impact. An index, chronology, and bibliography are included.
REFERENCE KZ1160.P48 2001

Encyclopedia of Invasions and Conquests from Ancient Times to the Present
The arrangement is alphabetical within historical periods. Each chapter provides a map to help readers locate key areas and geographical features, and bibliographic references appear at the end of each entry. A cumulative bibliography and a subject index are found at the end of the volume.
REFERENCE D25.A2D38 1996

Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800-1914 

Encyclopedia of the Renaissance
A six-vol. work covering the "cultural movement and the period of history called the Renaissance." Each article includes a bibliography. A chronology and detailed Index add to the usefulness of this work.
REFERENCE CB361.E52 1999

The Encyclopedia of World History: Ancient, Medieval, and Modern, Chronologically Arranged
This is a completely revised and updated edition of the classic reference work originally compiled and edited by William L. Langer, and long recognized as the indispensable, authoritative guide to all of human history. Includes a detailed Index and searchable compact disc. Also available as an e-book to the UPEI community.
REFERENCE D21.E578 2001

The Hutchinson Chronology of World History
A chronology of world history through 2013.

The Hutchinson Dictionary of 20th-century World History

The Hutchinson Dictionary of World History
One vol. covering from earliest times to the 1990s. A number of useful appendices including lists of political and religious leaders, significant wars and battles, and disasters, followed by a world chronology. An updated version is available as an e-book to the UPEI community

The Hutchinson Encyclopedia of the Renaissance

HyperHistory Online
"Over 2,000 files covering 3,000 years of world history." Covers not only wars and politics, but also science, culture, and religion. Includes text, timelines, and links to other websites.

International Dictionary of Historic Places
This five-vol. set is “designed to provide detailed and accurate information on places that have been the site of important events in human history and that have been preserved for the benefit of future generations.” Each entry is accompanied by a selective listing of relevant published works.
REFERENCE CC135.I585 1995

International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences
This 26-vol. set represents “the largest corpus of knowledge about the social and behavioral sciences in existence.”
REFERENCE H41.I58 2001

International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences
Although somewhat dated, this is a classic encyclopedia reflecting the development of the social sciences into the 1960s. Includes "the traditional subject-matter fields of history and the scope and methods of historiography." The 2nd ed. (2008) is available as an e-book to the UPEI community.

The New Cambridge Modern History
Covers from the Renaissance to the end of World War II. Each of the 13 vols. (and separate Atlas) stands alone. The bibliographies are listed in: J. Roach. A Bibliography of Modern History (REF: Z6204.R53)

Oxford Dictionary of the Middle Ages
This four-vol. set covers "all key aspects of European history, society, and culture from 500 to 1500 A.D., as well as the Byzantine Empire, Islamic dynasties, and Asiatic peoples of the era."
REFERENCE D117.O9 2010

Rulers and Governments of the World 
Lists heads of state and elected officials for each country from earliest times to 1975.
REFERENCE D11.5.R67 1977

Created by: Betty Jeffery, B.A., M.L.S.
Former Instruction & Education Services Librarian
Date Created: 31-July-2002
Date Revised: 22-March-2015