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The term "history" and "history object" in this documentation refers to the history package, which is one of only 2 major dependencies of React Router (besides React itself), and which provides several different implementations for managing session history in JavaScript in various environments.

The following terms are also used:

  • "browser history" - A DOM-specific implementation, useful in web browsers that support the HTML5 history API
  • "hash history" - A DOM-specific implementation for legacy web browsers
  • "memory history" - An in-memory history implementation, useful in testing and non-DOM environments like React Native

history objects typically have the following properties and methods:

  • length - (number) The number of entries in the history stack
  • action - (string) The current action (PUSH, REPLACE, or POP)
  • location - (object) The current location. May have the following properties:
    • pathname - (string) The path of the URL
    • search - (string) The URL query string
    • hash - (string) The URL hash fragment
    • state - (object) location-specific state that was provided to e.g. push(path, state) when this location was pushed onto the stack. Only available in browser and memory history.
  • push(path, [state]) - (function) Pushes a new entry onto the history stack
  • replace(path, [state]) - (function) Replaces the current entry on the history stack
  • go(n) - (function) Moves the pointer in the history stack by n entries
  • goBack() - (function) Equivalent to go(-1)
  • goForward() - (function) Equivalent to go(1)
  • block(prompt) - (function) Prevents navigation (see the history docs)

history is mutable

The history object is mutable. Therefore it is recommended to access the location from the render props of <Route>, not from history.location. This ensures your assumptions about React are correct in lifecycle hooks. For example:

class Comp extends React.Component {
  componentDidUpdate(prevProps) {
    // will be true
    const locationChanged =
      this.props.location !== prevProps.location;

    // INCORRECT, will *always* be false because history is mutable.
    const locationChanged =
      this.props.history.location !== prevProps.history.location;

<Route component={Comp} />;

Additional properties may also be present depending on the implementation you're using. Please refer to the history documentation for more details.