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Contemporary history

Contemporary history describes the period timeframe that is closely connected to the last day
it is a certain perspective of modern history. The term "contemporary history" has been in use at least since the early 19th century. In the widest context of this use, contemporary history is that part of history still in living memory. Based on human lifespan, contemporary history would extend for a period of approximately 80 years. Obviously, this concept shifts in absolute terms as the generations pass. In a narrower sense, "contemporary history" may refer to the history remembered by most adults alive, extending to about a generation. As the median age of people living on Earth is 30 years as of the present (2015), approximately half the people living today were born prior to 1985.

From the perspective of the 2010s, thus, contemporary history may include the period since the mid-to-late 20th century, including the postwar period and the Cold War and would nearly always include the period from about 1985 to present which is within the memory of the majority of living people.

The present age possesses a distinct character of its own.

More than most periods of like duration, it is the direct consummation of the years immediately preceding. It differs from them as the harvest differs from the seed-time.
—Contemporary History of the World, Edwin Grosvenor

While there have been scientific accomplishments and humanitarian achievements during the present age (i.e., the modern age), the contemporary era has seen scientific and political progress, not so much in what has been originated as by what has been developed. Notable achievements have been those such as the redefinition of nationalities and nations and the ongoing technological advances that marked the 20th century.

In contemporary science and technology, history notably includes spaceflight, nuclear technology, laser and semiconductor technology and the beginning Information Age, and the development of molecular biology and genetic engineering, and the development of particle physics and the Standard Model of quantum field theory.

In contemporary African history, there was apartheid in South Africa and its abolition, Decolonization, and a multitude of wars on the continent.

In contemporary Asian history, there was the formation of the People's Republic of China, the independence and partition of India, the Korean and Vietnam wars, the ongoing Afghan civil war, and the stationing of US Forces in Japan and in South Korea. In the Middle East, there was the Arab-Israeli conflict, the conflict between Arab nationalism and Islamism, and the (still ongoing) Arab Spring. In contemporary European history, there were the Revolutions of 1989 which contributed to the dissolution of the Soviet Union, and the ongoing process of European integration.


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