History Files

Please help the History Files

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The History Files still needs your help. As a non-profit site, it is only able to support such a vast and ever-growing collection of information with your help, and this year your help is needed more than ever. Please make a donation so that we can continue to provide highly detailed historical research on a fully secure site. Your help really is appreciated.





The History Files

Help with the King Lists

The History Files underwent a large-scale style refurbishment between 2007-2008 which resulted in the general layout standards which are still employed today.

Since then there has been an ongoing process of updating and improving the site's general presentation and organisation. The site's front page design changes every few years to keep that fresh, while the king lists are still being expanded, section by section, to meet the 2012 standards for a detailed timeline history which were established when the pages for the Celtic tribes of Gaul were being researched and written.

More recent style changes - in 2019 - are the result of making the site mobile-friendly. That was not an easy task with a site of 2,200+ pages (Jan 2019), but Google's search index finally made it a demand which could not be ignored.

Further presentation changes have been added in 2021 too. See below for details.

How to read the data in the king lists

The king lists have been around for many years now. While the format hasn't changed particularly, the appearance of the lists have, so this page offers a brief guide to making the most of the data on each page.

Please note that the desktop presentation is being used here. Mobile versions may contain variations in presentation.

Firstly is the date on which the page was created and the date of the most recent edit. These dates are stored in the page's metadata. Each browser type offers its own method of being able to view metadata with, for instance, Firefox requiring you to right-click on the page and select 'View Page Info'.

Now for the visible page layout itself:

Features / Lists

Sample king list
This sample king list shows most of the standard formatting used in almost all king list pages on the site, with each of the main points being outlined in the text below this image

1. The primary or earliest place name or state name along with an introduction.

2. A sizable gap here, indicated by the space between the introduction and the start of the vertical 'timebar' line, indicates a gap in knowledge between the known or probable beginnings of the state and history's first information about it.

3. The name of the first ruler (usually in black unless otherwise indicated) or the first available background information or major events (in plum).

4. A break in the vertical 'timebar' line indicates a gap in our knowledge regarding events or rulers within the state.

5. All links become underlined when you hold your mouse pointer over them in order to make them more obvious.

6. Joint rulers or regents are shown inset from the timebar line with a small shaded bar before their name.

7. Important relatives who never reigned, or individuals who made a bid for power or who upheld a rival claim to a throne, are shown with a shaded backing.

8. Rulers who are usually known through sources which were written down several centuries after the event, and who are usually considered to be legendary or semi-mythical at best because there is no practical way of proving their existence, are usually shown with a pink backing. Alternative (and quite possibly conflicting) data from different sources is often shown in another text colour, such as green, red or grey.

9. Buttons to the right-hand side of the text offer links to relevant features (showing 'Feature' on the button face), maps ('Map'), and special indices ('Index'). Another button type which is fast being withdrawn from use is the 'Open' button. These open (opened) pop-up windows with extra information, but the advent of mobile browsing has made this method unwelcome. Instead direct links are being offered which lead to new windows which contain the same information as before.

10. Shorthand text is often used in the limited space in the notes column. The following conventions are used:

  • m = married
  • dau = daughter
  • b = born
  • d = died

11. The 'bio' link which connects the reader directly to a page which contained more in-depth biographical details of the individual in question (new for 2021).

Please note that no style is exclusive. There may be slight variations of usage throughout the site to fit in with regional differences or unusual circumstances.

From 2021 onwards, colour backing blocks are also being used to distinguish between changes of regime within a single section of a king list page. Pale blue and pale green are shown below as examples.

Sample king list with bands
A sample king list with coloured bands (blue and green, top and bottom) to better illustrate rapid regime changes within a single king list section


In the appropriate places, pictures are included in some lists. The styling is the same as for feature pages, and will always include an information bar at the bottom of the insert.

Notice in the sample below how the picture remains linked to the vertical 'timeline' bar with no gaps above or below, showing that there is no break in the records for this state.

Sample king list
Shown here is a sample king list (France, at the start of the Bourbon dynasty in 1589) which shows a picture insert and the connected vertical timeline bar running down the page between the dates and the relevant information