A historical story is a narrative work that chronologically and in detail tells a real and relevant episode in history. It is a representation of the story, cut out and more or less attached to the truth depending on the intention of the narrator. Historical account characteristics parts
In its development, one, several or all of the elements of its structure are directly related to a real and true event. The story as such is, according to the Royal Spanish Academy, a detailed narrative or story of an event. But this fact can be real or fictitious.
When it comes to a historical account, the component of veracity is added. Thus, all or part of the story will tell details that occurred in a specific and true space-time. Historical accounts can be purely historical (such as those created by historians, for example), or they can be partially historical.
For example, there may be a real character in the middle of a fictional plot, or a fictional character who develops his character within a time and place that really existed and that it is that time and place that you want to show. Historical account characteristics parts
Characteristics of historical accounts
The main characteristic of historical accounts is that they focus exclusively on themes of the past. The purpose is to record important events in the communities, and to do so in an expository way that is accessible and attractive to the general public.
It is based on events of the past
A historical account develops themes that have already occurred. Also, these must be relevant to a specific audience.
They may be from a distant or near past, but ultimately all stories of a historical nature develop events that have already happened.
Contains style elements
This type of story is considered a literary expression. This implies that the narrative in general must contain elements of style typical of literature .
Historical accounts are narrated in prose, sentences must be constructed with an emphasis on generating a harmonious and entertaining text for the reader.
Use chronological order
One of the most outstanding characteristics of historical accounts is the way in which the events are narrated: in general, the chronological order of events is respected.
The idea of this type of story is to express in a clear and precise way how certain events developed in a specific context, and through chronological order it is possible to present this idea efficiently.
It is worth noting that certain historical accounts make use of a non-linear narrative, through which they expose events that in reality occurred simultaneously; in this type of stories it is valid to use this resource.
Thorough knowledge of the historical facts to expose is necessary
The writer must know deeply what were the events framed in the historical moment that he will relate, as well as what were their causes, consequences and other implications.
For this, the writer must carry out an exhaustive investigation through which he can access reliable, verified and relevant information. Historical account characteristics parts
May include dummy elements
Within the narrative that the writer has developed, it is valid to incorporate elements —or even complete narratives— that have not taken place in reality.
However, it is important to clarify that they must always be based on the events that occurred. The most important thing about a historical story is that it must be reliable and true, even if it relies on fictitious elements for the development of the plot.
May include the writer’s personal gaze
Historical accounts show the gaze of the writer or writers, who are based on certain bibliographic and historical sources, as well as on their own criteria and critical analysis.
For this reason, stories of this type can offer an interpretation of the authors before a certain historical fact.
It has a beginning and an end
As we already mentioned previously, the themes that are developed must have already occurred in time. Furthermore, they must have experienced an ending; the idea is to take a complete situation, from beginning to end, and expose it through the historical account.
Historical accounts usually begin by describing the context in which the narrative takes place, as well as the most relevant antecedents that will allow the reader to place themselves at the specific historical moment.
The idea of the introduction is to present in a general way which are the main milestones that are related, as well as the elements that intervene and that shape the narrative.
It is the central area of the story. In this section the writer details precisely what are the events that give rise to the story.
As has been said before, the usual thing is that the story is reproduced chronologically. However, some non-linear license can be allowed, especially when events that occurred at the same time are narrated.
In some cases, the writers include real testimonies from people who have actively participated in the events reported. This adds more legitimacy to the text.
This section is intended to expose the main implications and / or consequences related to the historical event narrated.
It is also possible to add interpretations of the author in which he makes certain projections that link said event with others belonging to the present or the future.
What is the historical account for?
The main purpose of the historical account is to record a specific event, with special emphasis on the narration of everything related to said milestone, as well as the implications it has had on the subsequent development of the society involved.
Likewise, the authors’ interpretations can give rise to valuable projections to anticipate similar events in the future, which will help in handling situations. Historical account characteristics parts
They are the actors who gave rise to the event described. There may be fictional characters; if so, they must be inspired by real people who have been involved with the historical event narrated.
Dates or time
They are very important, since every historical account must determine precisely at what point in history it unfolds. These references need to be included throughout the story.
Places or space
They are also part of the context and are necessary so that it is understood in which environment the events took place. The physical space is essential to fully understand the characteristics of the events and their implications.
It is about the obstacles that the characters had to overcome in the midst of their circumstances. In every historical story there must be a knot, a problem that must be solved or a conflictive situation that affects the characters. Historical account characteristics parts
In addition to locating the reader / viewer in the precise space and time, it is also necessary to explain the antecedents, the framework, the reasons or grounds for which that historical moment was reached, in that place and with that character doing, thinking, living the way he will narrate it.
What motivations or impulses led them to carry out the actions that now deserve to be counted?
The goal is what the main character wants to achieve and is driven by motivations. For example, the goal may be to get rich financially or to move up the social ladder.
Types of historical accounts
There are several types of historical accounts:
They are short texts that are usually published in magazines, newspapers or web pages. Its purpose is to entertain, educate, or discuss a specific passage in history.
Historical academic text
They are texts especially present in teaching books. Its purpose is to educate.
The historical novel can have fictional characters, immersed in a real time and place that tells a story from the perspective of its author; This look may be more or less true to the truth, depending on your desire and purpose.
Historical novels commonly recreate an era in all its details (geography, clothing, architecture, customs, etc.) to put the characters in that scene. In historical novels, certain licenses are also allowed that “sweeten” or “spice up” the real story.
The biographies, in addition to recreating the external part that surrounds the characters, also narrates, in the most objective way possible, what the life of a particular character was like.
The documentary, for its part, does not have fictitious actors or characters, but it can and usually does have testimonies from real protagonists. It is a more journalistic narrative that tells the story in the first person.
That is, to tell the story, the writer / narrator stands next to the reader / viewer outside the scene, while recounting the events, whether they are from a very remote past or more recent.
Example of a historical account of the conquest of America
Christopher Columbus was an Italian navigator and cartographer, with extensive knowledge and experience in geography, theology, and maritime navigation. In the 15th century, Columbus claimed that he could reach Asia by starting from western Europe and crossing the entire Atlantic Ocean.
Columbus’s project required great financial sponsorship, which is why he appeared before King John II of Portugal requesting his support. Once he refused to finance his expedition, Columbus appeared before the kings of Spain. Historical account characteristics parts
After being favored by good fortune, Columbus managed to speak with the Catholic Monarchs, Isabel de Castilla and Fernando de Aragón, who agreed to pay for his expedition.
Columbus was given three sailing vessels (two caravels and a small ship), known as La Niña, La Pinta and Santa María.
Thus, after a little more than two months sailing, Columbus and his crew landed in Guanahani, a Caribbean island that was later renamed San Salvador (today part of the Bahamas). At this time, the conquest of America by Spain began.
Columbus arrived in America on October 12, 1492 and returned to Spain to present his report to the Catholic Monarchs on December 6 of the same year.
This report was published and widely disseminated, allowing Columbus to create an excellent reputation and recognition throughout Europe. This is how he received the title of “Admiral of the ocean sea.”
The expeditions carried out by Columbus at a later date, had greater financial support from the Spanish crown.
During his expeditions, Columbus believed that he had reached Asia, which is why the discovered lands were called Las Indias.
It was in the year 1499 that the New World came to be called America, in honor of the skilled Florentine navigator Américo Vespucio, who indicated that the Indies actually formed a new continent.
During the years to come, the Aztec (Mexico) and Inca (Peru) cultures were conquered and subdued by the Spanish, under the command of Hernán Cortés and Francisco Pizarro, respectively.
The northern territories, with more hostile geographical characteristics, were explored by Álvaro Núñez Cabeza de Vaca and Hernando Soto.
Álvaro Núñez Cabeza de Vaca’s travels from Florida to the Gulf of California were described in detail in his diaries. In them are stories of anxiety and bad weather during the trip, which is why he titled his blog ” Shipwrecks “.
Núñez Cabeza de Vaca had to face the attacks of the North American natives who occupied the territories of Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.
In 1536, he and his men joined a group of Spanish soldiers, charged with carrying out a slave expedition to northern Mexico. A few months later they had arrived in Mexico City.
The Mexican territory was conquered by Hernán Cortés and 150 men. This process took Cortés only 2 years, since the Aztec people believed that he was the incarnation of Quetzalcóatl, a white-skinned god. Historical account characteristics parts
In this way, Cortés managed to meet with the Aztec emperor Moctezuma, appropriating the Aztec capital and completely collapsing his empire between the years 1519 and 1521.
By 1532, Francisco Pizarro had kidnapped the Inca emperor Atahualpa. Pizarro requested a reward for his liberation and once he obtained it, he assassinated Atahualpa, also overthrowing the Inca Empire.