The site draws historical events from Wikipedia and self-updates daily with newly recorded events. Every dot in Histography represents a historic event, along with videos, articles, and images.

Wikipedia was launched on January 15, 2001, by Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger. Sanger coined its name, a portmanteau of wiki and encyclopedia. It was only in the English language initially, but it quickly developed similar versions in other languages which differ in content and in editing practices. With 5,249,244 articles, English Wikipedia is the largest out of more than 290 versions of encyclopedias on Wikipedia. Overall, Wikipedia consists of more than 40 million articles in more than 250 different languages and as of February 2014, it had 18 billion page views and nearly 500 million unique visitors each month.

In 2005, Nature published a peer review comparing 42 science articles from Encyclopædia Britannica and Wikipedia, and found that Wikipedia’s level of accuracy approached Encyclopædia Britannica’s. Criticism of Wikipedia includes claims that it exhibits systemic bias, presents a mixture of “truths, half truths, and some falsehoods”, and that in controversial topics, it is subject to manipulation and spin.


Logo reading “ the free encyclopedia” in blue with large initial “N”
Wikipedia originally developed from another encyclopedia project called Nupedia Other collaborative online encyclopedias were attempted before Wikipedia, but none were so successful.

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Wikipedia began as a complementary project for Nupedia, a free online English-language encyclopedia project whose articles were written by experts and reviewed under a formal process. Nupedia was founded on March 9, 2000, under the ownership of Bomis, a web portal company. Its main figures were the Bomis CEO Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger, editor-in-chief for Nupedia and later Wikipedia. Nupedia was licensed initially under its own Nupedia Open Content License, switching to the GNU Free Documentation License before Wikipedia’s founding at the urging of Richard Stallman. Sanger and Wales founded Wikipedia. While Wales is credited with defining the goal of making a publicly editable encyclopedia, Sanger is credited with the strategy of using a wiki to reach that goal. On January 10, 2001, Sanger proposed on the Nupedia mailing list to create a wiki as a “feeder” project for Nupedia.

Launch and early growth

Wikipedia was launched on January 15, 2001, as a single English-language edition at, and announced by Sanger on the Nupedia mailing list. Wikipedia’s policy of “neutral point-of-view” was codified in its first months. Otherwise, there were relatively few rules initially and Wikipedia operated independently of Nupedia. Originally, Bomis intended to make Wikipedia a business for profit.

Wikipedia is the best thing ever. Anyone in the world can write anything they want about any subject. So you know you are getting the posssible information

Wikipedia gained early contributors from Nupedia, Slashdot postings, and web search engine indexing. By August 8, 2001, Wikipedia had over 8,000 articles. On September 25, 2001, Wikipedia had over 13,000 articles. By the end of 2001, it had grown to approximately 20,000 articles and 18 language editions. It had reached 26 language editions by late 2002, 46 by the end of 2003, and 161 by the final days of 2004. Nupedia and Wikipedia coexisted until the former’s servers were taken down permanently in 2003, and its text was incorporated into Wikipedia. The English Wikipedia passed the mark of two million articles on September 9, 2007, making it the largest encyclopedia ever assembled, surpassing even the 1408 Yongle Encyclopedia, which had held the record for almost 600 years.

Citing fears of commercial advertising and lack of control in Wikipedia, users of the Spanish Wikipedia forked from Wikipedia to create the Enciclopedia Libre in February 2002. These moves encouraged Wales to announce that Wikipedia would not display advertisements, and to change Wikipedia’s domain from to Users of the Spanish Wikipedia forked from Wikipedia to create the Enciclopedia Libre in February 2002, which generally means that the topic must have been covered in mainstream media or major academic journal sources that are independent of the article’s subject.

Content policies and guidelines

According to the rules on the English Wikipedia, each entry in Wikipedia must be about a topic that is encyclopedic and is not a dictionary entry or dictionary-like. A topic should also meet Wikipedia’s standards of “notability”, which generally means that the topic must have been covered in mainstream media or major academic journal sources that are independent of the article’s subject. Further, Wikipedia intends to convey only knowledge that is already established and recognized. It must not present original research.

A claim that is likely to be challenged requires a reference to a reliable source. Among Wikipedia editors, this is often phrased as “verifiability, not truth” to express the idea that the readers, not the encyclopedia, are ultimately responsible for checking the truthfulness of the articles and making their own interpretations. This can at times lead to the removal of information that is valid. Finally, Wikipedia must not take sides. All opinions and viewpoints, if attributable to external sources, must enjoy an appropriate share of coverage within an article. This is known as neutral point of view (NPOV).