Historical sources are regarded as evidence that supports the claims of the historians. Sources for discovering facts about eventful past can be obtained from two different ways such as oral tradition and written evidence.

Oral Tradition

This is simply the unwritten source of history which is usually obtained from oral preserved information as handed down from one generation to the other. Under this source, we have:

Present generation reports – which have to do with the reports from people that are still alive.

Previous/past generation reports – This is concerned with the reports of the ancient people i.e., those that lived in the past generation. Examples of such reports are folktales, wise sayings, adages or proverbs, etc.

Written sources

These are handwritten or printed materials that provide or seek to provide detailed accounts of past events for reference purposes.

Such written sources can be obtained from newspapers, letters, memoirs, minutes of local meetings, reports, periodicals, diaries, journals, autobiographies, legislative acts, travelers’ accounts, official documents, etc.

Archaeological sources

These are concerned with the knowledge and study of ancient things especially remains of prehistoric times, cultures, fossils, tombs, and buried bodies/cities by careful analysis of their physical remains.

Archaeological sources help to analyze the remains in order to determine the possible date of such remains as well as providing information on the Physical form, pattern of settlement, the physical nature, and population distribution of the identified area(s) under study.

Note that archaeological sources help historians to form a complete and acceptable picture of life in an area, which was unavailable from records and oral traditions.

Geographical source

These have to do with the study of the physical features of a place, its topography, geological, paleontological, and climatic data.

Ethnological sources

These are also concerned with the study of the race or races of mankind and of a particular cultural group, their relations to one another, their lifestyle, norms and customs, beliefs, and other traditional/cultural practices.

Linguistic sources

These sources help in identifying the clusters of languages that have common roots. The information provided by the linguists can shed light on migrations in the past and therefore tell more about past distributions of peoples and the structure of their languages.

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