In the big picture, however, you are here because of history, i.e., because of past events and developments.
You are here (on the planet) because two people’s lives collided—in the past.
Before shrugging off this abstract notion, ask yourself another “easy” question: Why are you here at UNC-CH?
Maybe you’re at UNC because it was the best school that accepted you, or because UNC has great sports teams.
It took even longer for historians to figure out that the Vikings crossed the Atlantic long before Columbus.
And now we know that this world wasn’t really “new”—there were civilizations here that far predated organized cultures in Europe.
For some periods and cultures (20th century America, for example), there are tons of primary sources—political documents, newspapers, teenagers’ diaries, high school year books, tax returns, tape-recorded phone conversations, etc.
For other periods and cultures, however, historians have very few clues to work with; that’s one reason we know so little about the Aztecs.
You are here (at an institution of higher education) because long ago, some German scholars laid the groundwork for what we call the “modern university.” In other words, your presence on this campus is the result of many, many historical developments.
Although we are all unique, we share parts of our identities with past peoples and cultures.