506 Interesting History Topics to Research

Did you know that time travel is possible? Researching historical topics allows us to do that. It not only reveals the origins of our existence. It also tells us who we are, and even enables us to glimpse into the future!

The process of investigating a topic in history is called a historical inquiry. Here are some recommendations on how to get started:

  • Select an interesting history topic. It can be focused on an event, a person, or an idea.
  • Define a research question within that topic. Make it narrow and manageable.
  • Analyze historical data from different sources.
  • Create a historical narrative using the data you’ve found. Use evidence to support your ideas.

Remember: working on a history project can be easy and fun if you find a research idea that excites you! Custom-writing.org experts are here to help in case you’re stuck when choosing a history topic. In our collection below, you can find cool historical events to write about. There are numerous topics on ancient and modern history of the US & the world. Go on reading to find the most inspiring idea! After you’re done but still not sure about a suitable variant, you can try a history topic generator with all the keyword options from our list.

🔝 Top 10 Interesting History Topics

  1. The US’s role in World War I
  2. Child labor during the Puritan era
  3. Religion during the Aztec times
  4. Causes of the Battle of Germantown
  5. Economic impact of the Titanic’s sinking
  6. Bracero Program’s economic effect
  7. Cultural impact of the Spanish-American War
  8. Industrial Revolution’s impact on the environment
  9. The goal of Protestors at the 1968 Democratic Convention
  10. Women’s employment during the Great Depression

🇺🇸 Interesting US History Topics

The history of the United States starts before the European colonization. Then it follows a turbulent period of building an entirely new nation. In a short time, America became a global superpower. From the first colonies to Roaring Twenties and the Cold War – discover the highlights of American history!

New-York city skyline.
  1. What were the relations between the first American colonies? That is a fascinating historical question for a research paper. See how the early settlements co-existed before the 1760s. Learn how their alliances were used for asserting defense and control.
  2. Alternatively, you could study the Stamp Act crisis of 1765. See how it helped to unite the colonies and set the basis for future partnerships.
  3. The society of Puritans: truth and myths is a fascinating topic for those who are interested in people’s psychology and motivations. Puritans were a rigorous and highly religious society rooted in misogyny. See if they were really as prudent as today’s media portrays them.
  4. Tobacco Trade in early American colonies is another great US history topic. Tobacco plantations in Virginia became a way for laborers to be granted freedom. This caused a rapid expansion of the New World colonies.
  5. What are the reasons behind the Salem witch trials? That is one of the best US history research topics. A group of girls caused mass hysteria in superstitious Puritan society. Learn about their possible motives and the gruesome consequences of their actions.
  6. In the early colonies, there existed laws aimed at restricting slaves’ behaviors. Choose Slave Codes and their influence on society as your essay topic and learn about the ruinous consequences of this practice.
  7. The Boston Massacre and the Boston Tea Party were the culmination of the growing tension between the colonists and the British authorities. You can write an excellent paper about the reasons behind these events. 
  8. One of the iconic documents in US history, the Declaration of Independence, can be the subject of your essay. See how different colonies contributed to the drafts of the Declaration.
  1. The American Revolution was a conflict between America and Britain. You can write about the way the two countries perceived each other and how it influenced the outcome of the revolt.
  2. You can choose to write about an important person in US history. What made George Washington a key figure in Revolutionary America? That is a fascinating paper topic. One of the greatest leaders in US history, he proved that he could be trusted with power.
  3. How the Battle of Saratoga changed the course of the war? This one is another excellent history research essay topic. The victory in this battle provided Americans with much-needed confidence and gave them a new ally – France. 
  4. What factors helped Americans win the revolutionary war? That is an exciting topic for high school students who want to understand early American history. You can mention the difficulties faced by the British, as well as the most prominent advantages of the American army.
  5. You can write a fascinating argumentative essay on the American Revolution and its effects on society.
  6. Another topic is life after the Revolution. Discover how life in America changed for women, African Americans, and Native Americans after the Revolution.
  7. The creation of the American Constitution is full of twists and turns. Americans had many different views on how their country should be governed. See how they managed to reach a compromise. 
  8. Southern society before the Revolution is a topic that includes the analysis of the most prominent features of the Old South, such as its conservatism and emphasis on honor.
  9. Closely connected to it is the topic of the American South as a slave society before 1865.
  10. See how the early Americans justified slavery from the Biblical, historical, and economic points of view.
  11. The American North before the revolution had many intriguing features, such as Manifest Destiny, progressiveness, and a riotous optimism… you can discuss it in an essay! 
  12. Reconstruction of the South took place after the Revolution. See how it was planned and carried out over the course of 12 years. (You can focus on a particularly interesting aspect, such as the lives of African American people during the Reconstruction.)
  13. How the US became the world’s largest industrial nation? That is an interesting history research paper idea. During the second half of the 19th century, the US developed very rapidly. See how the Industrialization led to the birth of Capitalism as we know it today!
  14. Women in American society of the late 19th century were on the way of transforming the old values. They didn’t like the cult of domesticity and wanted to take an active part in society. Learn how the traditional female roles were changing during that epoch.
  15. The cowboy era: truth and myths is an exciting topic about one of the quintessential American images. Discover how the cowboys really lived, and what led to the decline of the cattle industry.
  16. The conflicts with Native Americans in the late 19th century is an important controversial topic. The closure of the final frontier was achieved through bloodshed and horrifying violence. Learn about the reasons behind these events.
  17. An exciting essay can be written about urbanization and immigration of the early 20th century. The glamour of American big city life was alluring to many people from different countries. Unfortunately, the reality was not all that glamorous…
  18. If you choose the Progressive Era of the USA as your essay topic, you can learn about the origins of modern activism groups. See how they were fighting with organized crime, inequality, and many other vital issues.
  19. A closely connected topic is women’s suffrage movement. The long struggle for women’s right to vote resulted in the Nineteenth Amendment. It was an essential step towards equality.
  20. The preservation movement of the early XX century is another topic concerning activism. President Roosevelt recognized that industrialization damages America’s wildlife. See how his policies gave rise to nature conservation and even Scouting!
  21. You can write a great essay on what caused the financial panic of 1907. The financial panic rocked Wall Street and exposed many problems with the American economy at the time.
  22. The Spanish-American war: causes and consequences is an intriguing essay topic. Learn how the United States managed to win the war while not being prepared for it at all. 
  1. Write an essay about American expansion after 1877 and see how America was stretching its boundaries overseas. There were many reasons for it, including nationalist, economic, and religious.
  2. USA and Asia: the Boxer Rebellion is a topic closely connected to the expansion policies. In 1900, an attempt to occupy China resulted in disaster. Discuss the conflict and its consequences in an essay.
  3. An essential part of American history is wars. When Germany sank the ship Lusitania, killing many Americans, the country stopped being neutral. Choose the USA in World War I as your essay topic and see where it led.
  4. One of the most fascinating United States history research paper topics is Roaring Twenties: the culmination of the industrial era. During that epoch, the standard of living increased like never before. See how the country changed in just ten years.
  5. Prohibition era: the rise of organized crime is a topic that includes many interesting aspects, such as highly romanticized gangsters. However, the reality was not all that romantic. You can write about the reasons why Prohibition era turned out to be a disaster.
  6. The birth of mass media: radio, cinema, early television is one of fun and easy history topics for research paper for middle school students. Learn about the origins of the entertainment culture and mass media stars in times of great uncertainty.
  7. Alternatively, you can focus on the question of what led to the birth of consumerism? Back in the 1920s, there were many technological advances for the middle-class people. This gave rise to advertising as we know it today.
  8. When America seemed to be at the peak of its triumph, everything fell apart. The beginning of the Great Depression is an intriguing subject. Learn about the chain of events that plunged the US into the longest and deepest crisis in its history.
  9. Write about the role of the USA in World War II and see how unresolved tension left after World War I influenced the political decisions of the Allies.
  10. The Vietnam War has left many scars on the American nation. Learn about the causes and consequences of the war that kept influencing US foreign policy for many decades. 
  11. Watergate scandal and its lasting legacy is one of the most interesting American history topics. Discuss how the scandal led to paranoia and disillusionment in the US government.
  12. You may like to explore the question: who won the Cold War? While no one actually won the Cold War, it did influence ex-Soviet countries and the US in many negative ways. Discuss them in your essay!

Here are some other samples of American history research paper topics:

  1. Quakers: their views and legacy.
  2. Survival in the Jamestown colony.
  3. French intervention in the American revolution. 
  4. The true story of Pocahontas.
  5. Eleanor Roosevelt and her role in American history. 
  6. How did Valley Forge change the course of the Revolutionary war?
  7. What is Manifest destiny as a concept?
  8. American political and economic history.
  9. Daniel Boone and the Wilderness Road.
  10. Donner party: the true story of survival.
  11. American revolutions in Early 19th century 
  12. The historical significance of the Oregon Trail.
  13. Californian Gold Rush: outcomes and consequences.
  14. Why and how did the US get involved in the Korean war?
  15. The Lewis and Clark expedition.
  16. Railroads and their impact on the US economy. 
  17. Social welfare history in the USA
  18. What were the relations between America and France during the revolutionary war?
  19. The Underground Railroad: history and impact.
  20. Colonial unrest in Virginia, New York and Massachusetts. 
  21. African Americans in the Civil War.
  22. The Civil War. The letters from the soldiers. 
  23. How did the Federalist Party create the basis for the national economy and foreign policy?
  24. In what ways was the Whiskey Rebellion important?
  25. Benjamin Franklin’s biography.
  26. The American identity during Revolution: Loyalists vs. Patriots.
  27. James Madison and his role im shaping the American Constitution. 
  28. Founding Fathers and republicanism. 
  29. In what ways does the Constitution reflect the principles of both republican and democratic forms of government? 
  30. Shay’s rebellion and its aftermath.
  31. What is the legacy of the Amistad Case?
  32. Malcolm X as civil rights activist.
  33. Women in the Civil War.
  34. Racism in America between 1783 and 1836.
  35. Alexander Hamilton and the foundation of American government.
  36. The legacy of John Brown.
  37. The civil rights movement in USA.
  38. Roger Sherman and the Connecticut Compromise.
  39. How did the Missouri Compromise trigger the Civil War?
  40. Dunmore Proclamation and its impact.
  41. What was the controversy around the Tenure of Office Act?
  42. How did the Mexican-American war help to shape the geographical boundaries of the USA?
  43. How did Black Laws affect the lives of African Americans?
  44. Ulysses S. Grant as a military leader and as a president. 
  45. The true story of the notorious Wyatt Earp.
  46. Frederick Douglass’ fight for freedom. 
  47. What are the reasons behind the lasting legacy of the Monroe doctrine? 
  48. Indian reservations: truth and myths.
  49. Native Americans in the 19th century: assimilation and resistance.
  50. Outstanding Native American leaders: Sitting Bull, Tecumseh, Geronimo.
  51. What was the impact of the Great Chicago Fire?
  52. Muckrakers and the birth of investigative journalism.
  53. Rockefeller, Carnegie, Vanderbilt: the first tycoons. 
  54. Why did the Homestead Strike fail?
  55. Child labor in the 19th century US.
  56. The 19th century nationalism in America.
  57. World War I and the Christmas Truce.
  58. The Battle of the Somme and its legacy.
  59. How did the building of the Panama Canal affect world trade?
  60. San Francisco earthquake: immediate and long-term effects.
  61. The history of the Pinkerton National Detective Agency.
  62. The reaction of the American citizens to the US entry into World War I.
  63. What was the impact of the Spanish flu epidemic in the US?
  64. Outstanding women: Dorothea Dix, Ida B. Wells, Alice Paul. 
  65. The controversy of the Scopes Monkey Trial.
  66. The beginning of the Hollywood industry.
  67. Woodrow Wilson’s first and second administrations.
  68. Presidency and post-presidency of Theodore Roosevelt. 
  69. What factors fuelled the rise of the Ku Klux Klan?
  70. Dust Bowl: causes and consequences.
  71. Harlem Renaissance and its impact on art and culture.
  72. What was the role of women in World War II?
  73. The American Dream in the postwar US. 
  74. Howard Hughes: magnate, aviator, eccentric.
  75. Mississippi Freedom Summer in 1964: whites in the movement. 
  76. How did the 1968 Democratic Convention change America’s political landscape?
  77. Orangeburg Massacre: reasons, backlash, and the aftermath.
  78. 1969 Moon landing and the Space Race. 
  79. The legacy of the Woodstock Music Festival.
  80. What was the cultural impact of the Kennedy assassinations? 
  81. The Freedom of Information Act: pros and cons.
  82. Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society.
  83. Women in the Vietnam War.
  84. Manson family: truth and myths.
  85. The changing attitudes of the 60s.
  86. The history and legacy of Pop Art.
  87. Three Mile Island: the worst commercial nuclear accident in the history of the USA.
  88. The global nuclear arms race and the anti-nuclear movement.
  89. What were the lasting effects of the energy crisis?
  90. McCarthyism and Red Scare. 
  91. Richard Nixon: presidency and impeachment.
  92. Ronald Reagan’s foreign policy.
  93. How did the Exxon Valdez oil spill change the oil industry?
  94. Bill Clinton’s New Economy.
  95. The aftermath of 9/11: Ground Zero.

🌎 Interesting World History Topics

World history studies past, present, and future from a global perspective. It includes many cultures and nations, each with their unique qualities. You can focus on differences or common features between cultures. Choose a global history research paper topic that you find particularly interesting and write an excellent world history research paper!

Cultures by ethnicity.
  1. Genghis Khan is an outstanding Mongol leader who can be the subject of your essay. Learn how he managed to establish the largest land empire in history while bringing together the East and the West.
  2. Or you can choose to write about an extraordinary woman, such as the Empress Dowager Cixi. She has been called a ruthless despot for many years, but currently, her legacy is being re-evaluated.
  3. An exciting period in the history of China, the fall of the Qing Dynasty, marked the end of the Chinese Empire. A study of these events could be a great essay subject.
  4. Alternatively, you can write about the fall of the Aztec civilization. It’s one of the most interesting world history research paper topics. Discover what led to the end of the most intricate civilization in Mesoamerica. 
  5. Persian Gulf War is one of the most significant military operations of the past 50 years. What started as a “limited” war turned into a decades-long conflict and had severe environmental consequences, which you can discuss in your essay.
  6. Alternatively, you can choose the Korean War. The conflict between Soviet-backed North Korean and pro-Western South Korean countries was the first military manifestation of the Cold War. The peninsula remains divided to this day. 
  7. Or you can write about the Russo-Japanese war. It is sometimes called World War Zero because the consequences of this conflict influenced both subsequent World Wars.
  8. You can also choose a significant event from the Vietnam War, such as the fall of Saigon. It marked the end of the war and the unification of Vietnam into the Socialist Republic we know today.
  9. The Russian Revolution lasted for ten days in the 1900s. It shook the world and led to the rise of communism. You can write about the chain of events that triggered it or discuss its long-lasting consequences.
  10. Samurai culture is a fascinating world history topic for those interested in Japanese history. The influence of samurai and their philosophy – bushido still manifests itself in Japanese culture.
  11. The political activism of Dalits in India is a great and inspiring topic. See how the activism of a minority group formerly known as “untouchables” led to drastic changes in Indian politics and mentality.
  12. Another topic concerning human rights activism is Nelson Mandela. The first president of South Africa and a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, he is considered to be an icon of democracy.
  13. Yet another outstanding person who influenced human rights activism, Mahatma Gandhi. See how his philosophy of nonviolent resistance shaped the ideas of Martin Luther King and others.
  14. The Great Wall of China is an excellent topic for an essay. See who and why built the longest wall in the world, and learn about its legends and myths.
  15. Taj Mahal is one of the world’s most beautiful and majestic buildings. You can discuss the history of Mughal architecture and the Taj Mahal in particular in your essay.
Global network connection world map.

Here are some other ideas of interesting world history research paper topics:

  1. Korea in the Middle Ages.
  2. History of Aztec music 
  3. Unification of China: the “warring states” period.
  4. How did the Han dynasty develop its highly efficient civil service?
  5. India’s first empire and the rise of Buddhism.
  6. The revival of Persia: the period of Sassanid rule.
  7. What were the key reforms during the Song dynasty?
  8. Lost empires: Khmer, Pagan, Dai Viet.
  9. The Persian war and Athenian progress.
  10. The rise of the Ottoman Empire.
  11. The age of Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent.
  12. Why was the Tang dynasty considered China’s golden age?
  13. The tribes of the steppes: Scythians and Kushans.
  14. Prominent figures of Classical Antiquity.
  15. What were the major trading centers south of Sahara?
  16. Palestine and the Crusades. 
  17. Women empowerment: role of women in Chinese society. 
  18. Constantinople: the capital of the Byzantine Empire.
  19. The rise and fall of Babylonia.
  20. Baghdad as the Islamic world in 8th-11th centuries 
  21. The cities and civilization in the Indus Valley.
  22. The cultures of South America and Mesoamerica: Maya, Zapotec, and Nazca. 
  23. What were the three kingdoms of ancient Egypt? 
  24. How did the Islamic faith spread around the world? 
  25. How were the islands of the South Pacific colonized?
  26. Bastet the Goddess and her role in Egyptian history.
  27. Japan’s “great peace”: the Edo period.
  28. Japan’s development of a unique cultural identity during the period of isolation.
  29. The “prosperous age” of China and the tree emperors.
  30. India: the jewel in the crown of the British Empire.
  31. What were the high and low points of the Byzantine Empire under the Palaiologan dynasty?
  32. The Seven Years War: the first global conflict.
  33. How did Europeans colonize the African continent?
  34. The Young Turks revolt.
  35. How and why were Africans sent to work in colonial plantations?
  36. The rise and fall of Assyrian civilization.
  37. The Soviet rule: collectivization, industrialization, and oppression. 
  38. How did the former colonies in the Middle East and Southeast Asia assert their independent rule?
  39. The State of Israel: its foundation and effects on the Middle East.
  40. The foundation of the Islamic state of Iran.
  41. The end of the system of Apartheid.
  42. Tiger economy and the economic boom in Asia.
  43. What are the reasons behind Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Over Jerusalem?
  44. How did the Soviet satellite states become independent?
  45. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon – truth or myth?
  46. Delhi Sultanate: the great Islamic state in India.
  47. Pre-Columbian Americas: Aztecs and Incas.
  48. The struggle for freedom in the Spanish and Portuguese colonies.
  49. Opium Wars and other conflicts between Britain and China.
  50. Mikhail Gorbachev and the collapse of the USSR.
  51. Protests Theatre role in Apartheid South Africa.
  52. What factors led to the Yugoslav wars? 
  53. The colonization process of New France. 
  54. Oil crisis in the Middle East.

🏰 European History Research Topics

Europe is the cradle of modern civilization. From the Roman Empire to the Renaissance and the Industrial Revolution – the history of Europe is vibrant and colorful. The countries of Europe are very diverse, yet many leaders attempted to unify them. Discover how geography and definition of Europe changed over time!

Europe is the cradle of modern civilization.
  1. The philosophy of Niccolo Machiavelli is an excellent topic for history students. Discover the individual whose name inspired the term “Machiavellian.” You can also include the analysis of some “machiavellian” characters.
  2. Great artists of the Renaissance period is a fun history topic to research. It can be even better if you make a presentation to accompany your essay! 
  3. Marie-Antoinette is a fascinating person. You can choose to study her public image or her role in the Revolution.
  4. Another topic related to the French Revolution is Maximillian Robespierre and the Terror. The Reign of Terror was a period of massacres and executions. It’s an example of what fear and paranoia can lead to.
  5. Or you can research the question why was Louis IV known as the Sun King? Learn how he transformed France into one of the most powerful countries in Europe. You could also discuss Versailles in your essay.
  6. Choose How did Bismarck unite Germany?” as the topic of your essay and discuss the policies of the Iron Chancellor. See how his policies influenced both World Wars.
  7. Alternatively, you could write about Napoleon’s campaign in Egypt. Learn how it influenced Egyptian language studies and more!
  8. Bastille Day is an essential date in the history of France. Discuss how the Bastille fortress became a symbol of Liberty.
  9. What was the role of Joan of Arc in the Hundred Years War? is one of the best history research paper topics. Joan of Arc‘s charisma helped her lead the French army to victory. Despite her tragic demise, she continues to be celebrated today.
  10. Voyages of Ferdinand Magellan can be an exciting topic for your essay. Discuss the impact of Magellan’s explorations, his background, and more!

Here are some other ideas of European history research topics:

  1. The policies of Cesare Borgia.
  2. Mercantilism in Europe 
  3. Medici family and their impact on the Renaissance.
  4. What philosophical movements triggered the Renaissance?
  5. What were the characteristics of the Third French Republic?
  6. The effects of French Revolution on European peasantry. 
  7. What was the influence of the Communist Manifesto? 
  8. Scientific discoveries of the Renaissance period.
  9. Why was Galileo Galilei accused of heresy?
  10. What made Pope Alexander VI controversial?
  11. The War of 1812.
  12. Torquemada: the great inquisitor.
  13. What was the legacy of Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile? 
  14. The creation of Austria-Hungary.
  15. Rise and fall of the Carolingian Empire.
  16. Great Viking leaders: Leif Erickson and Eric the Red.
  17. What are the characteristics of Gothic art and architecture?
  18. Renaissance and Ancient Greece: a comparison.
  19. What were the first universities in Europe?
  20. Why is Charlemagne considered “the father of Europe”? 
  21. Feudalism and social hierarchy in medieval Europe.
  22. What were the achievements of St. Thomas Aquinas?
  23. Enlightenment in philosophy, politics, and art.
  24. What led to the emergence of Romanticism? 
  25. Ludwig II of Bavaria: the Fairy Tale king.
  26. Great composers of the 18th century: Mozart, Bach, Beethoven. 
  27. Peter the Great and Catherine II: cultural revolution of the Russian Empire.
  28. Legacy of the Crusades.
  29. How was printing invented?
  30. Spain under the reign of the Bourbon kings.
  31. How Prussia influenced the history of Germany?
  32. Turkish war: background and consequences.
  33. Why did Napoleon lose the battle of Waterloo?

💂 British History Research Topics

The history of the United Kingdom begins in 1707. However, the nations have existed on the British Isles long before that. Many invasions, wars, and revolutions have shaped Britain as we know it today. There is plenty of interesting research topics in the history of the UK. Learn about major events or study the lives of extraordinary people – the choice is yours!

Oscar Wilde quote.
  1. Paston family letters is a fascinating topic for a history research paper. The first-hand account of a family surviving the Plague offers a unique glimpse into the past.
  2. Alternatively, you can study Henry V: myth and facts. See how literary works and propaganda shaped the public’s perception of the king.
  3. Perhaps you would like to learn about the origins of everyday things. The King’s Posts is an interesting topic concerning the beginning of the English Mail and postage system as we know it.
  4. Another great topic is the marriages of King Henry VIII. Learn the fate of all six wives: from Catherine of Aragon to Catherine Parr.
  5. Or you can write an essay about one of Henry VIII’s wives. For example, Anne Boleyn in popular culture is an interesting topic that lets you explore the real person behind the myths.
  6. Princess Diana’s influence on British culture is an intriguing topic. Explore the legacy of Diana and charitable acts that made her a legend.
  7. >What if the Gunpowder Plot didn’t fail? can be the theme of an exciting essay for college students. Study the available theories and formulate a what-if scenario.
  8. Highland Clearances is an important and controversial topic. See why many people were dispossessed of their land, and what is the cultural impact of the evictions.
  9. Another good history topic for a research paper about Scotland is Edinburg: the Athens of the North. See how Edinburg grew from a small town into one of the most important cities in Britain.
  10. Margaret Thatcher’s influence in 20th century Britain was immense. Still, her legacy remains controversial. Present your point of view on the Iron Lady in an essay!

Here are some other ideas of British history research paper topics:

  1. What is the difference between the English Law before and after Henry II?
  2. Normans and their reforms.
  3. Humanities and justice in Britain during 18th century
  4. What tactics were used by William of Normandy during the Battle of Hastings? 
  5. The creation of Magna Carta.
  6. King John and Richard I: the “good” king and the “bad” king.
  7. How did the Hundred Years War change England?
  8. Political influence of William Shakespeare in XVI century in England.
  9. What led the crisis of authority during the reign of Richard II?
  10. Marriage of Margaret Tudor and James IV: what were the long-term consequences?
  11. How and why did England become Protestant?
  12. English colonization in the 18th century. 
  13. How did Mary I earn the nickname “Bloody Mary”?
  14. What was Elizabeth I’s approach to religion?
  15. Characteristics of the Elizabethan Era.
  16. What makes Oliver Cromwell a pivotal figure in the history of England? 
  17. The public’s reaction to the execution of Charles I.
  18. The Great London Fire and its aftermath.
  19. What caused the Glorious Revolution?
  20. What were the tactics used by the commanders of three armies at the battle of Waterloo?
  21. Admiral Nelson and Battle of Trafalgar: consequences and legacy.
  22. Britain’s reaction to the French Revolution.
  23. British Empire in the East.
  24. How did the industrial revolution cause social reforms in Britain? 
  25. Industrial revolution and its effects on British workers’ lives. 
  26. British Naval supremacy during the Victorian Era.
  27. What caused the Potato Famine in Ireland? 
  28. How did the Crimean War influence World War I?
  29. The Home Rule movement in Ireland.
  30. Urbanization and rural exodus in Victorian England.
  31. How did women’s status in Britain change after World War I? 
  32. Winston Churchill: a politician, a soldier, a hero.
  33. The role of Britain in World War II.
  34. Britain as a member of EU.

📜 Topics in History of Ancient World (before 1500)

This section includes ideas for history research papers starting from ancient civilizations up to the pre-modern era. At that time, many cultures had their “golden age” epochs. Ancient Greece and Egypt, the Roman Empire, Mesoamerica, and the Byzantine Empire still fascinate us today. Discover for yourself some of the greatest civilizations of the past!

Ancient egypt hieroglyphics.
  1. Probably the most interesting subject in ancient history is Egypt. For example, you can write about the Old Kingdom of Egypt – an epoch known as the “Age of Pyramids.”
  2. Or you can write about the iconic personalities of ancient Egypt, such as Imhotep. He was not only an outstanding architect, but also a priest, a poet, a physician, and an astronomer!
  3. Science and technology of ancient Egypt is a great essay topic in itself. The inventions and scientific achievements of ancient Egyptians continue to fascinate us even today.
  4. Besides, their civilization was very progressive when it comes to gender roles. Write an essay about women in ancient Egypt and discover it for yourself!
  5. Another iconic civilization of that period is ancient Greece. You can choose to write about the beginning of Greek culture – the Mycenaean civilization and its mythology.
  6. Or you can discuss the Golden Age of Greece: science and philosophy in your essay. Democracy, drama, history, atomic universe theory – ancient Greece is the birthplace it all!
  7. Sparta and its fighters is a fascinating essay topic. Learn about the legendary Spartans, their society, and their military.
  8. Or perhaps you would like to learn about another great civilization, the Roman Empire. Choose several great leaders of ancient Rome (for example, Julius Caesar, Pompey the Great, and Marcus Antonius) and compare their policies. 
  9. In an essay about Pompeii before the volcano eruption, you can discuss the daily life of ancient Romans. See what discoveries were made on the richest archaeological site in the world.
  10. There were also other civilizations with an exciting history in the ancient world. Hammurabi: the conqueror of Mesopotamia is an excellent topic for high school history essay. Learn about his Code that served as a blueprint for many civilizations. 
  11. Or you can write about Phoenicians as traders. See what helped Phoenicia become one of the greatest trading powers of its time!
  12. You could even write an essay about the production and trading of chocolate in Mesoamerica! Chocolate was immensely popular across the Americas. It was often enjoyed as a drink and even used as a form of currency.
  13. Tartessos and its culture is a fascinating history essay topic. Discover the place that gave rise to the legend of El Dorado.
  14. You could also write about the Akkadian Empire during the reign of Sargon the Great. Sargon came from a humble background. Learn how he rose to power and created the first multinational empire in history.
  15. Women rulers of the ancient world can be the topic of an excellent essay. Hatshepsut, Cleopatra, Semiramis – these outstanding women changed history and became legendary.

Here are some other ideas of history research paper topics before 1500:

  1. Ancient Rome: economy and trade.
  2. The murder of Caligula: what were the circumstances?
  3. Who were the five “Good Emperors” of Rome? 
  4. What was the role of trade contacts in Greek colonization?
  5. Women in ancient Greek society.
  6. Ancient explorers: Hanno, Polybius, and others.
  7. The fall of Jerusalem and its consequences.
  8. Antiquity: the Golden Age.
  9. Akhenaten and the Amarna Period.
  10. How did Amenhotep IV reform Egyptian religion?
  11. Wari civilization and their art.
  12. The Lost City of Atlantis.
  13. Vandals and the fall of Rome.
  14. Battle of AlQadisiyyah
  15. How and where did the Vikings travel?
  16. What were the main attributes of ancient Chinese philosophy?
  17. What was the importance of the Olympic Games?
  18. First Punic war: causes and consequences.
  19. The foundation of the Caliphate. 
  20. The destruction and re-development of Carthage.
  21. Achaemenid Empire under the reign of Cyrus II.
  22. The Arab conquest of Egypt.
  23. Cambodia: the Angkor period.
  24. How did Harold I unify Norway?
  25. Rurik and the founding of Russia.
  26. How did Boleslav I turn Poland into one of the most powerful nations at the time?
  27. What was the origin of Christianity?
  28. Alexius I and the First Crusade.
  29. Who was Leonidas I of Sparta?
  30. The amazing life of Telemachus 
  31. The rise and fall of Gauda Kingdom.
  32. What was the role of Corinth in the ancient world?
  33. The Koryo Dynasty and the unification of Korea.
  34. Why did the Second Crusade end in a disaster?
  35. Valdemar II: the expansion of the Danish Empire.
  36. What were the possible causes of the Bronze Age Collapse?
  37. Korea: the Three Kingdoms period.
  38. Confucius and his philosophy.
  39. The Umayyad-Hashemite civil war and the birth of the Sunni-Shiite islamic schism. 
  40. What did Alexander the Great do for the popularization of Greek culture?
  41. The architecture of Toltec civilization.
  42. What is “the great migration”?
  43. What was the usage of Circus Maximus?
  44. Ptolemaic dynasty: Greek monarchs in Egypt.
  45. Sumerian religion and mythology. 
  46. The early history of Franks.
  47. The Hatti and their culture.
  48. Why is Justinian I considered one of the greatest Byzantine emperors?
  49. The Lombard kingdom under the reign of Alboin.
  50. How did the Roman Republic become the Roman Empire?
  51. Rome from 140 BCE to the reign of Octavian
  52. Octavian: the first and greatest Roman emperor. 
  53. Etruscan society, religion, and art.

🏭 Topics in History of Modern World

From the late medieval period up to the 19th century – modern history covers a period of intense development and industrialization. Old civilization fell, and new ones replaced them. Almost every major country faced a revolution, and the standard of living around the world started to grow rapidly. There are many good history topics to research – choose one for yourself!

Andre Maurois quote.
  1. How the Aztec military compared to the Spanish army? is an interesting essay question that can help you in better understanding Mesoamerican culture. Aztecs had a complex military structure and tactics specific only to them.
  2. Witch hunts in England and America is an interesting essay topic. You can also include your opinions on why witches were usually women.
  3. Discussion of positive and negative outcomes of the Columbian Exchange can be a basis for an excellent essay.
  4. Re-evaluation or Greek and Roman texts by Humanist authors is a topic concerned with philosophy and art. You can include an analysis of authors such as Petrarch and Machiavelli and discuss the influence if classical texts in their works.
  5. Or you can focus on the daily lives of people from the past. Food and diet during the Industrial Revolution can be an interesting health topic. (This includes changes in people’s health.)
  6. You can choose to write about the Golden age of piracy and learn the truth about one of the most romanticized periods in the history of early modern Europe.
  7. Or choose life in the Wild West as the topic of your history essay and see if the popular perception of the era is accurate.
  8. Thomas More’s Utopia and its legacy is an interesting topic for history research paper. Learn about the origins of Utopia and how it influenced the Communism in the 20th century.
  9. The Great Famine was a turning point in Irish history. Study the aftermath of the Great Famine and see how it influenced rebel movements in Ireland.
  10. Alternatively, you can write about extraordinary people from the modern era. For example, the childhood of Elizabeth I includes the education and upbringing of the future Queen, as well as the development of her qualities as the nation’s leader.
  11. Lucrezia Borgia is a prominent historical figure whose legacy is now being reevaluated. You can explore popular myths about Lucrezia Borgia and see if they have any factual basis.
  12. You can focus your research on great explorers, such as David Livingstone: a missionary in Africa. He greatly influenced the popular perception of Africa in positive as well as negative ways. 
  13. Another good topic for a history research paper is the social impact of the Little Ice Age. Learn how emerging cultures survived in a colder climate, and what psychological effects the Little Ice Age had on people.
  14. The Dutch East India Company is an interesting example of an early corporation. See how it pioneered business practices that we still use today. It’s a good topic for International Studies students.
  15. Russia in the 17th century was a multiconfessional and multiethnic country. You can write about the exploration of Siberia and other ways by which Russia was expanding its territory.

Here are some other ideas of modern world history research paper topics:

  1. The history of London Underground.
  2. What factors brought about the Age of Enlightenment? 
  3. Mona Lisa and Renaissance humanism 
  4. Muhammad Ali of Egypt and his modernizing reforms.
  5. Nationalism in 18th century Europe
  6. The French in Vietnam: reasons and aftermath of the conquest.
  7. Key features of the Commercial Revolution.
  8. History: the decline of Rome in the 3rd century 
  9. How did the spice trade shape the modern world?
  10. The impacts of war on social development in Europe between 1500 and 1815. 
  11. Technology that influenced the Age of Exploration.
  12. The impacts of peinted press on European society.
  13. Isolation policies of Ming Dynasty: causes and consequences.
  14. What’s the difference between shogunates and the “Tokugawa period” in Japan?
  15. Culture and science in the Mughal Empire.
  16. Patriots: The rebellions in Lower Canada 1837-38 
  17. The use of elephantry during the battle of Plassey.
  18. What caused the Protestant Reformation? 
  19. The role of gunpowder in wars during the modern period.
  20. Inquisition and censorship.
  21. The role of indulgences in religious life during the Middle Ages.
  22. Abolition of slavery in the US.
  23. Characteristics of serfdom in Russia.
  24. Ivan the Terrible: the first Tsar of Russia. 
  25. What were the reasons behind Alexander II’s assassination?
  26. Frankfurt Parliament and the concept of Germania.
  27. What led to the decline of Spain in the 17th century?
  28. What caused the economic and social decline of Venice?
  29. What was the role of merchants in Europe’s development?
  30. The Paris Commune: the world’s first socialist government.
  31. The reforms of Maria Theresa.
  32. The assassination of Abraham Lincoln.
  33. What caused the Russian peasant uprising of 1773?
  34. How did Martin Luther influence the Great Peasant Revolt of 1525?
  35. How did Darwin’s theory of evolution affect society?
  36. How was the Spanish Armada defeated?
  37. The fall of the Habsburg dynasty.
  38. Cromwell and the Puritan Revolution.
  39. The consequences of the serfdom abolition in Russia.
  40. Russian anarchism and its legacy.
  41. Absolute monarchy in Germany and its decline.

📡 Historical Topics on the 20th Century

The last century of the second millennium saw many drastic changes. They directly influenced our contemporary world. On the one hand, there were the World Wars, revolutions, pandemics, and nuclear disasters. On the other hand, we had new technology, human rights activism, and a high standard of living. Choose the best 20th century research topic for your essay!

P. J. O'Rourke quote.
  1. During the Gandhi-led revolt against British rule, the police attacked the unarmed crowd. See how Mahatma Gandhi and his followers managed to emerge victoriously.
  2. Stalin’s collectivization policy was aimed at increasing of the food supply. It turned out to be a disaster that severely damaged Soviet agriculture. Discuss why it happened in your essay.
  3. The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand was the event that triggered World War I. You can write about the reasons and the consequences of the murder in your essay.
  4. Similarly, the assassination of King Carlos of Portugal was carried out in hopes of provoking a revolution. See why it didn’t work out as planned.
  5. World War I was a devastating conflict that forever changed Europe. Its course was strongly influenced by the first battle of Marne. Write an essay about how it stopped the advance of Germany.
  6. Or you can choose another battle, such as the Second battle of Ypres, during which poison gas was used for the first time.
  7. One of the best 20th century European history research paper topics is the Troubles in Northern Ireland. Learn about the reasons behind these conflicts. (You can include the definition of IRA and “low-level war.”)
  8. History department students can write a great essay on the aftermath of Pearl Harbor. Initially, Japan considered the attack a successful move. In reality, it doomed them to defeat.
  9. Juan Peron and Evita is a very interesting topic. See how Evita helped her husband become immensely popular, and discuss the influence of Peronism.
  10. Communism propaganda is another fascinating topic. The promotion of communist ideology was carried out in many forms. Discuss its influence on society. Use a presentation to illustrate your points.
  11. Instead, you could write about anti-communist propaganda. Discuss where it comes from and its effects on Western society.
  12. Another topic closely connected with the Cold War is the contacts between USSR and the USA after 1945. Study the events when the leaders of the two countries visited each other. Describe how the relations changed over time. 
  13. The Cuban missile crisis was an event that almost triggered a nuclear war. Write an essay about it and learn how the conflict was resolved.
  14. The most notable atomic bomb explosion is an important topic connected with the current issues. Trinity test, Operation Crossroads, and Japan explosions changed the world forever. Discuss if it’s possible to justify these events.
  15. A closely connected topic is the nuclear disaster at Chernobyl. Learn about the factors that led to the tragedy, and discuss its long-term consequences. 

Here are some other ideas of 20th century research topics:

  1. How did the union between Norway and Sweden end?
  2. The Senkaku islands territorial disputes. 
  3. What were the consequences of Fidel Castro signing a friendship treaty with the USSR? 
  4. The policies of Nikita Khrushchev.
  5. The art of the Weimar Republic.
  6. The “watershed” history moments between 1960 and 1990.
  7. History of postmodernism.
  8. What were the consequences of Germany’s invasion of Belgium?
  9. The Velvet Revolution and the aftermath of Communism.
  10. Why are the Nuremberg Trials considered to be the greatest trials in history?
  11. Che Guevara’s biography and revolutionary path.
  12. The legacy of Che Guevara.
  13. History of post WWII.
  14. India’s nuclear weapons program.
  15. How did the US react to the launch of Sputnik?
  16. Cuban missile crisis and its aftermath.
  17. The Arab defeat reasons in the 1967 War
  18. What were the ambitions of the Nazi party during World War II?
  19. Zionism and anti-Semitism in Nazi Germany.
  20. Nazi propaganda in cinematography.
  21. How was the European Union formed? 
  22. Invasion of Poland: the beginning of World War II.
  23. Social and economic Life in the Soviet Union during the 1930s.
  24. How did the dissatisfaction with the Treaty of Versailles impact Mussolini’s rise to power?
  25. What’s the difference between the Red and White Russian Army?
  26. Concentration camps and “Death Camps”: a comparison.
  27. What caused the Beer Hall Putsch?
  28. U.S atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
  29. What factors helped spread Communist ideology across the world?
  30. Night of the Long Knives and Hitler‘s rise to power.
  31. Mao Zedong and Maoism.
  32. What events led to the Kashmir Crisis?
  33. Fall of the Berlin Wall: what was the immediate effect?
  34. Kosovo war and propaganda.
  35. South Pole expeditions: Roald Amundsen.
  36. The invention of the PC and the Internet. 
  37. What was the role of Lawrence of Arabia in the Arab Revolt?
  38. Francois Mitterrand: legacy and controversies.
  39. What was the political atmosphere during the 1936 Olympic Games?
  40. What factors led to the Communist victory in China?
  41. The consequences of civil war in El Salvador.
  42. 1968 student revolts.
  43. Kristallnacht and the world’s response to it.
  44. What is the difference between Fascism and National Socialism?

🔝 20 History Research Questions

Research questions are derived from research topics. You answer the research question in an essay or paper.

Broad questions can be used for theses, Ph.D. dissertations, and proposals. Narrow questions fit better for essays. You can also use them to prepare for AP US essays.
Research questions can be focused on different aspects:

  • What caused a historical event,
  • The consequences of an event,
  • The origin of something,
  • The role of a particular person in history,
  • The cultural context of an event, etc.

Here is the list of top 20 history research questions for you to choose from:

  1. What was the role of Alexander the Great in the creation of the modern world?
  2. What was the importance of Roman Peace?
  3. What impact has Christianity had on Western culture?
  4. How did the Plague influence European society?
  5. How was Constantinople conquered?
  6. In what ways did the Renaissance improve life in Europe? 
  7. Why is the Printing Press considered one of the greatest inventions?
  8. What were the positive and negative sides of the Protestant Reformation?
  9. Why did Europe eventually lose control over its colonies?
  10. In what ways did the American Revolution inspire other countries?
  11. How did the French Revolution influence the Enlightenment?
  12. What would have happened in the North lost the Civil War?
  13. What challenges did the Industrial Revolution provide for lower classes? 
  14. How did the Medical Revolution change the world?
  15. What aspects of the industrial Revolution triggered World War I?
  16. What factors led to the popularity of Communism in Russia?
  17. How did the Great Depression influence World War II?
  18. Why was Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Party popular in 1930s Germany? 
  19. What is the Iron Curtain, and why was it created?
  20. In what ways did Space Race advance technology?

🤔 Historical Topics FAQ

❓ Why study history?

The importance of history can’t be underestimated. It plays a crucial in understanding other cultures as well as our own. It teaches us to think, compare, and draw conclusions. It provides us with role models and examples of how to manage societies. Besides, it covers every single facet of life, from art and television to sports and video games. That’s why history is not only important but also relatable and fun.

❓ How to write a history research paper?
  • Choose a topic that will be interesting for you to research.
  • Decide on a solid historical argument.
  • Formulate a thesis statement.
  • Find reliable sources and study them from a critical standpoint.
  • Make an outline for your paper.
  • Write the first draft.
  • When you quote, cite your sources correctly.
  • Proofread and write the final draft.
❓ How to write an art history paper?
  • Find reliable resources and analyze them.
  • Describe the imagery of the artwork
  • Provide a brief analysis of imagery or symbolism.
  • Describe the stylistic category to which the artwork belongs.
  • Write about the time in which the artwork was created.
  • Discuss how it relates to the author’s life.
  • Discuss the place of the artwork in a broader historical context.
❓ How to write a research paper on a historical person?
  • Choose your subject.
  • Formulate your thesis statement.
  • Find credible sources, biographies, and articles.
  • Write a draft plan.
  • Describe the formative years of the historical person.
  • Discuss their most important achievements that relate to your thesis statement.
  • Include particularly interesting lesser-known facts about them.
  • Describe their legacy and impact.
  • Write a conclusion.
  • Proofread your paper.
❓ Which is the best example of a primary source document useful in the study of history?

Primary sources relate directly to the subject of the study. This includes art, literature, and documents from that period. Primary sources are created at the time of the event, usually by people who participated in the event. The best examples of primary source documents would be diaries, interviews, and letters.

❓ Which is the best example of a secondary source document useful in the study of history?

Secondary sources are the sources created after the time of the event. They are usually scientific, written from a historical point of view, and include evaluation of the information derived from the primary sources. The best examples of secondary source documents would include academic analyses, research papers, reviews, critiques, scientific journals, biographies, and encyclopedias.

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🔎 References

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