Over the past three decades, more and more research has been spent on understanding software evolution. However, the approaches developed so far rely on ad-hoc models, or on too specific meta-models, and thus, it is difficult to reuse or compare their results. We argue for the need of an explicit and generic meta-model that recognizes evolution as an explicit phenomenon and models it as a first class entity. Our solution is to encapsulate the evolution in the explicit notion of history as a sequence of versions, and to build a meta-model around these notions called Hismo. To show the usefulness of our meta-model we exercise its different characteristics by building several reverse engineering applications.