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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Scattered around Tuscany in Italy, you'll still find beautiful little windows through which wine was passed during the plague – an early social distancing measure that's back in use today.

By Katy Spratte Joyce

This sprawling garden of a landscape cemetery sits in the middle of Paris and holds the remains of some of its most famous, and infamous, citizens.

By Nathan Chandler

The tin or lead pins medieval pilgrims wore on their hats or cloaks, some playfully risqué, were meant to protect against plague.

By Jesslyn Shields

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Lots of things contributed to Napoleon's loss at Waterloo — including bad weather, superior British defense tactics and perhaps a bad case of hemorrhoids.

By Patrick J. Kiger

This wealthy banking dynasty of Florence rubbed shoulders with Michelangelo, Botticelli and Galileo. They counted two popes and two queens in their clan. How did they get so powerful, and how did they lose it all?

By Dave Roos

The modern city of Istanbul, Turkey, has a long and tumultuous history. Once known as Constantinople, it was the capital of the Ottoman Empire, the center of cultural and religious activity and a hub for trade in Eurasia.

By Tara Yarlagadda

Göbekli Tepe is thought to be a possible archaeological bridge between nomadic hunter-gatherer societies and stable, settled agricultural communities that built temples and produced art.

By Jesslyn Shields

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Before the advent of gunpowder, enemy combatants used a powerful siege weapon called a trebuchet to forcefully launch projectiles — sometimes a large stone, a decapitated human head or a dead horse — at intended targets.

By Dave Roos

This brilliant, ruthless leader invaded England in 1066 and utterly changed the course of British history. In fact, he is the 'father' of every British monarch since.

By Dave Roos

The Druids were a class of Celtic-speaking purveyors of magical and religious practice who inhabited northwestern Europe around 2,000 years ago, but almost everything we know about them is from secondhand sources.

By Michelle Konstantinovsky

Many of the kings and queens of the Spanish Habsburg dynasty had a distinctive facial malady known as the Habsburg jaw. What caused it?

By Maria C. Hunt

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"I came, I saw, I conquered" encapsulates Julius Caesar's entire approach to ruling.

By Jesslyn Shields

In 1919, 30 nations met to formulate the Treaty of Versailles, the treaty to end World War 1. The Allied nations wanted Germany to pay huge fines and take responsibility for starting the war. But were the terms too harsh?

By Dave Roos

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

By Dave Roos

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.

By Nathan Chandler

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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.

By Jesslyn Shields

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

By Wendy Bowman

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

By Laurie L. Dove

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.

By Nathan Chandler

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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?

By Dave Roos

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

By Carrie Whitney, Ph.D.

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

By Jesslyn Shields

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

By Dave Roos

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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?

By Patrick J. Kiger

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

By Jesslyn Shields