There are several ways in which to answer this question. Here are a few perspectives.
First, Orwell had a pithy quote in the novel 1984. It said that the one who controls the past controls the future. From this perspective, knowing history can shape a nation or group of people. For example, knowing that there was enslavement or colonization can create a desire for justice. This can turn into a movement and shape the course of a nation or group. Think of the Civil Rights movement.
Second, since the world is a history of violence, past injustices and acts of brutality can affect a country or people for years to come. For example, incessant war or wars or proxy can hinder development for years. Think of Afghanistan and the involvement of the former Soviet Union and then the US, not to mention the many civil wars.
Third, religious traditions can also exert profound influence on nations. If a country embraces a religious tradition, in time there will be practical effects. Buddhism has undoubted changed South East Asia. Christianity has shaped America, and Islam has shaped the Middle East.