The history of religion refers to the written record of human religious experiences and ideas. This period of religious history begins with the invention of writing about 5,200 years ago (3200 BCE). The prehistory of religion relates to a study of religious beliefs that existed prior to the advent of written records. The timeline of religion is a comparative chronology of religion.
The word "religion" as it is used today does not have an obvious pre-colonial translation into non-European languages. Anthropologist, Daniel Dubuisson writes that "what the West and the history of religions in its wake have objectified under the name 'religion' is ... something quite unique, which could be appropriate only to itself and its own history". The history of other cultures' interaction with the religious category is therefore their interaction with an idea that first developed in Europe under the influence of Christianity.