As always, I'd like to start out with mentioning that readers are different and that this is only my personal taste:
I am bored to death by historical or any other explanatory introduction. I don't like prologues. I want to get into the story from the first sentence onwards. I even skip long passages of history and other explanations, dreams, reflective monologue etc. later in the text, if they don't propell the story forward. I only read what happens.
If you want to entertain me, you'll have to make everything, that you want me to know, known through the events of the story.
For example, if there is a university in that town, don't just state it, let the characters visit the university or let one of them be a student or teacher. If they don't visit the university, and if none of them works there, I don't need to know about it. The same goes for history: I don't need to know the history of a country to understand the suffering caused by a civil war. The question is: What is your story about? If it is about the suffering of civil war, skip the history. I'll relate your story to real life history and understand the background of your story.
It's like you don't describe the advertisements on the outside of the bus your characters take. I simply put it there in my mind.
Your readers are not stupid, so don't bore them with what they know.