Who Wrote the First History of the World?

When it comes to the question of who wrote the first history of the world, there is no simple answer. The concept of history itself is one that has evolved over time, and different cultures have had different approaches to recording and interpreting the past. In this article, we will explore some of the earliest examples of historical writing and try to understand how they fit into the broader context of human history.

The First Historical Records

One of the oldest known examples of historical writing comes from ancient Egypt. The Egyptians had a rich tradition of writing, and their hieroglyphic script was used to record everything from religious texts to administrative records.

One famous example is the Turin King List, a papyrus document that lists all the pharaohs who ruled Egypt up until around 1200 BCE. While not a comprehensive history in the modern sense, it does provide valuable insight into how the Egyptians viewed their own past.

Another early example of historical writing comes from ancient China. The Shiji, or Records of the Grand Historian, was written by Sima Qian in the second century BCE and covers Chinese history from its mythical origins up until his own time. It includes biographies of important figures as well as accounts of major events such as wars and political upheavals.

The Greek Tradition

The Greeks also had a strong tradition of historical writing, with Herodotus often credited as being the “father of history.” His Histories, written in the fifth century BCE, covers events such as the Persian Wars and provides valuable insight into ancient Greek culture and society. Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War is another famous work from this period that provides a detailed account of one specific conflict.

Religious Histories

Many early historical writings were also tied closely to religious traditions. The Old Testament, for example, contains a wealth of historical information about the ancient Israelites and their relationship with God. The Hindu epic the Mahabharata also includes historical elements, as it tells the story of a great war between two factions of royal families.


In conclusion, the question of who wrote the first history of the world is a complex one with no clear answer. Different cultures have had different approaches to recording and interpreting their own pasts, and many early historical writings were closely tied to religious traditions. Nonetheless, these early examples provide valuable insight into how humans have understood and recorded their own histories throughout the ages.