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European History

No matter how knowledgeable you are about European history, there's always more to learn! Get an in-depth look at European history in these articles.

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Do All Scottish Families Have a Tartan?

The kilt is synonymous with Scotland but does that mean everyone with a Scottish surname has his or her own tartan?

Albania's Doomsday Bunkers Fed a Dictator's Paranoia

In the 1970s, Albanian dictator Enver Hoxha ordered a massive building program of bunkers throughout the country, allegedly for protection. But their real purpose was to create fear and paranoia in its citizens.

17th-century Plague Doctors Were the Stuff of Nightmares

Contaminated water, poor hygiene and the lack of sanitation caused most epidemics prior to the 20th century, but the plague doctors believed that germs were spread through the skin and nose and they costumed themselves accordingly.

Is Holland the Same as the Netherlands?

People often use the words Holland and the Netherlands interchangeably when talking about the country in Western Europe. Are the two places the same?

Shhh! Don't Tell. There's a Secret Apartment Atop the Eiffel Tower

Did you know that the iconic monument in the French capital city is topped by a secret apartment? But who built it, and why?

Groom of the Stool: A Crappy Job With Royal Benefits

It may sound degrading to modern ears, but the groom of the stool, the person who helped the British king with his toileting duties, had an extremely prestigious position and was a close confidant of the monarch.

The Strange History of Neuschwanstein Castle is No Disney Fairy Tale

This very famous castle (and the inspiration for Cinderella's castle at Disneyland) was built for just one person, often called Mad King Ludwig. But was he really insane or just slandered by his enemies?

Big Ben Is Getting a Big Facelift

The famed London clock tower marks 160 years in silence as its historic restoration continues.

Notre Dame Cathedral: What It Took to Build Her

One of the most famous buildings in the world has burned. What did it take to build it in the first place?

Norway's Ridiculously Short Border Fence

What was behind the building of possibly the world's shortest border fence?

How the European Union Works

Britain has voted to leave the European Union, a group of 28 European countries. What does the EU do and why would countries want to leave — or join — it?

Drought Reveals Ancient Henge in Ireland

Ireland's severe drought has been alarming to some, but a new archaeological discovery has provided a silver lining.

What's the Difference Between England, the U.K. and Great Britain?

There's a whale of a difference between the United Kingdom and Great Britain. But whatever you do, don't call someone from Scotland "English."

Medieval Villagers Mutilated Corpses to Prevent the Dead From Rising

A mass grave from a medieval England village provides archaeological evidence that people wanted those lain to rest to stay that way.

Knight

Knight, in the Middle Ages, a warrior horseman. A knight was called Sir, and was usually of a noble or a genteel family.

How the Crusades Worked

The control of Jerusalem and conflicts between Islam and the Western world may read like topics from today's headlines. But they were also at the heart of the Crusades.

Free City

Free City , a town or city that governs itself and is independent, or largely independent, of the country in which it is located.

Golliard Songs

Goliard SongsLatin songs written from the 10th to early 13th centuries. They are among the earliest examples of Western secular music.

Guild

Guild, in medieval Europe, an economic and social association of men in the same business or craft.

Miracle Play

Miracle Play, or Mystery Play, in medieval Europe, a dramatization of a story from the Bible or the life of a saint.

Middle Ages

Middle Ages, a period of about 1,000 years in European history. It is also called the medieval period (from the Latin for “middle” and “age”).

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