What news stories of the 2020s will be included in respected history textbooks published in the 2050s?
Russia-Ukraine War
Israel-Hamas War
January 6th
US Withdrawal from Afghanistan
George Floyd Protests
The Rise of China
New York v Trump 2024
Violent repression of women in Iran
Tigray War
Private Spaceflight
BRICS Expansion
Meme stocks

Many news stories are gripping to read, but are not of serious world historical importance. Most will be considered trivial decades from now. Which stories are different? Which will be included in respected world history textbooks of the future?

Specifically, think about textbooks on modern/contemporary world history, in use by college or high school courses, and/or published by established textbook publishers in the 2050s.

Here are some current textbooks to look at for reference. What news stories from the 90s are recorded in these books?

Traditions & Encounters: A Global Perspective on the Past, from 1500 to the Present


International History of the Twentieth Century and Beyond


The Twentieth-Century World and Beyond: An International History since 1900


When resolving the bet, I will randomly select an active publisher from the list below and choose a world history textbook comparable to the ones above. I will continue until I have three such textbooks. I will then check each proposed story against the table of contents and index. If a proposed story appears in one of the three books, the bet will resolve as “yes” for that story.

Publishing Companies

Oxford University Press

Cambridge University Press

St. Martin's / Bedford Books


University of California Press

Cengage / Wadsworth Publishing

W. W. Norton


Columbia University Press

Pearson / Merrill Prentice Hall

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What territory are we considering for the textbooks to be published and used in?

@JuJumper I hadn’t explicitly considered, but my inclination is to say that any textbook that is translated into several languages would be a good start. I would probably want to privilege the more widely spoken languages too.

@ChrisThomas thank you. I guess we need more specific resolution criteria or ar least several positive and negative examples with explanations.

@ChrisThomas I'd be inclined to favour English just because authoritarian countries have a strong tendency to print the kind of history they want people to believe ...

@Lorelai I made the criteria significantly more specific in the description, so hopefully that will eliminate 90% of the ambiguity. I specified 10 prominent publishers in history that I’ll draw from. I realize there is some arbitrariness here, and I hope people don’t think I have moved the goal posts too much.

The Rise of China

Is this referring to any significant threat China poses to anyone? Or is it more specific, like the threat of a Chinese invasion of Taiwan?

@Christopher2001 maybe the rise of china would be a better way to phrase it, but I'm thinking about the confluence of factors including espionage (spy balloons, student groups, tiktok), business (e.g. US dependency on China), relationship with russia and north korea, and then also Taiwan

Could you give us a few examples of history books about the 1960s-1970s that you would consider for resolution had this market existed back then?

How does this market resolve if textbooks are no longer published in the 2050s?

Does everything resolve NO?

@ForTruth If there is something clearly comparable to textbooks, I would use that. Obviously the difficulty increases if historical scholarship is just radically different in the 50s.

bought Ṁ150 George Floyd Protests YES

Wish there was a more specific definition of "respected history textbooks", but I could not possibly imagine COVID, the Russia-Ukraine war, the Israel-Hamas war, Jan. 6, U. S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, the George Floyd protests, or Trump's trials not being mentioned in history books.

@PlasmaBallin Added a bit more description.

History books focused on what? The world? America?

@BrunoParga I was thinking a textbook focusing on contemporary world history.

@ChrisThomas This seems to slightly change the criteria. What if an event is discussed in, e.g., respected American history textbooks used in college courses, but not in world history courses?

@PlasmaBallin If an event was typically covered in American history textbooks, and typically ignored in world history textbooks, I would resolve it as no. But I know there will be difficult edge cases. Honestly though I think any major story in America, or in other major countries, are likely to be considered of world historical importance.

@ChrisThomas the world cares way less about America than you might think. Source: the American History course I took for my History undergrad degree in Brazil was a fairly low-popularity elective.

@BrunoParga I don’t actually disagree with that. I don’t think the world cares a lot. I just think world historians will pay more attention to the national stories of China, America, Germany, Russia, etc, than the national stories of many other countries.

@ChrisThomas I think the original question title/description was misleading then. It didn't initially say that it would have to be a world history textbook, and I imagine there will be lots of events that are discussed a ton in future history textbooks, bit still not considered globally significant enough to be mentioned in world history.

@PlasmaBallin You might be right. The spirit of the question in my mind was to identify news stories that are of world historical importance, which is why I didn’t mention a country.

bought Ṁ50 US Withdrawal from A... YES

Us withdrawal basically doomed a whole country. I cannot imagine that not being part of history books.