What is a historical text?
We know as historical texts all those documents in which we can find knowledge and information after an interpretation, in relation to the human past. In this type of text we find a series of events that took place in another era, so that it is possible to find a summarized chronological narration of important events that took place in a certain place and time.
One of the most important aspects, and in which its closeness to other texts is evident, has to do with the format it employs, since it is similar to that used in expository texts. This is due to the fact that the historical text must present the facts following a logical and objective line, limiting subjective comments.
Main characteristics of historical texts
According to the above information, let us look at some of the most important features of this type of text in order to identify it and, to this extent, distinguish it from other types of non-literary text. Among its main characteristics we find the following:
The historical text sets as its purpose the exposition of information, but this time with a sense oriented to teaching. This is due to the fact that for the authors of this type of text the format is necessary to teach and show the importance of a great diversity of events that took place in previous times.
One of the most important axes of the historical text is directly related to the chronological order, since it depends on it to be able to give continuity to the facts. This is real information that requires an approximate, if not exact, location, which is why the importance of maintaining chronological order is crucial.
Another fundamental element in the historical text corresponds to the writing style that must be handled so that it can fulfill its purpose of exposing and informing the public. This implies that the text must handle a clear and direct writing style in which there is no room for the configuration of interpretations or random elements, although it is clear that in history there are still many unknowns and approximate theories that have tried to explain a great variety of events.
Thus, the historical text should be written in prose, maintain a chronological order and continue with a linearity that provides the central information to the reader according to the theme being developed.
In addition to the information written by the author as a result of research, records and others, it is possible that in the historical text other resources are added, such as anecdotes of his process as an individual, but it is also possible to find statements of the characters, particularly if it was possible to record the information while they were alive.
Another important point to consider in the historical text is that it often contains analyses that are developed by the author, so that although we are talking about non-literary texts with a certain degree of objectivity, in this type of text in particular the interpretations are a fundamental aspect in which they explain the facts based on their vision.
Although aspects such as the meaning of the events, as well as the dates, places and other specific and immovable data, the interpretation that the author makes about them, the selection of the facts he tells and the moments he analyzes within the final result constitute an element of great importance.
Structure of historical texts
The objective of this type of text is to present information about an event in an organized way, which is why the structure of the content is similar to that of the expository text. Thus, the structure follows the following elements:
Regardless of the event or historical event to be reported, it is important that there is an introductory part in which the reader can have a first approach to the topic that will be developed throughout the text. In this sense, the introduction, which can be very brief or relatively brief, exposes information such as the purpose of the text, the procedure and the facts that are going to be developed.
Generally, the introduction of the historical text answers several specific questions, such as: why, how, and what?
Development of the text
In the central part of the text, all the information about the events is presented in a detailed, chronological and organized manner. In this section the author clarifies and explains the topic in depth, also presenting an analysis such that the information will be organized in different contained structures. Basically in this section the information must answer the question why?
Closing or conclusion
Finally we move to the closing part of the text in which the author exposes a closing idea about the topic that has been developed in the course of the text. For this section it is important that the author begins with the exposition of conclusions and main ideas about the development of the information presented in the content. In addition to this, the author can add aspects such as recommendations or requests according to his own considerations.
Types of historical texts
According to the focus of the text, it is possible to identify several modalities that allow us to organize these characteristics according to a series of possible paths. Thus, we have several types of historical text that we present below:
Personal historical text
These are texts written by people who decide to make a compilation of their experiences, memories and, in general, events that are relevant to them and that, at the same time, may be vital in their time. These texts correspond to other formats such as memoirs, autobiographies, diaries, travelogues, among others.
Official historical text
This refers to those documents that are produced by a government during a period of mandate. It corresponds to texts or documents that dictate crucial information for societies among which are, for example, marriage records, birth records, among others. Also included are data and records from different regions, national censuses, among others.
Within this category it is also possible to identify texts that are elaborated within the academic field according to geographical location, also generated in many cases by the ministries of education and that become official records.
Tips for writing a historical text
According to the structure, intention and/or type of historical text you want to write, the elements may vary. However, it is necessary to consider a series of aspects that should be included in each of them as far as possible. For this reason, here are some key tips for the preparation of this type of text:
Preparing the information
This is the first step before starting to prepare the text. You must have at hand all the information, sources and resources with which we complete our exposition in the historical text. The preparation of the necessary, reliable, and fitting resources involves a period of time dedicated to it in which we have the key, truthful, and reliable information.
The way in which the information is presented is crucial when reading a historical text, since it must be organized in such a way that the subject matter is understood in perspective. Ideally, this organization should follow a chronological order that allows a correct narration within the text, as well as association on the part of the reader.
Method of explanation
The author must choose a method of explanation that allows him to develop the content of the information. He can use a progressive or linear method in which there is an order in the text based on its development in time. There is also the logical method in which ideas appear and are classified in hierarchies, so that the most important ones are presented and then the secondary ones are grouped and later commented on.
The author may even opt for a method that includes both the literal or progressive method, with the logical method in the development of classified ideas, which is usually the most recommended, since it allows the reader to go through the ideas presented. This implies the need for a correct connection between them.
Configuration of the commentary
When the initial exposition of the historical text is ready, it is time to move on to the section in which the author develops the commentary, which in fact will facilitate the presentation of the information he wants to locate. According to the organization of ideas and information, as well as the theme, synthesis and method, the author can directly extract the key content of the text to configure his commentary. This is also a point that favors reading.
In the literary field there are many types of text that we can find, both literary and non-literary texts, among others. That is why if you want to continue learning about other types of text or other formats and manifestations of this art, we invite you to continue browsing our section dedicated to the world of literature, where you can find much more information.