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Historical Events

From the Age of Enlightenment to the Christmas Truce, learn about some of history's most pivotal events.

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20 Memorable Moments of the 21st Century So Far

The world has come a long way since we were prepping for Y2K to potentially crash computers and the economy as we know it. We've witnessed some major moments since then. Here are 20 of the biggest.

The War of 1812: The White House Burns and 'The Star-Spangled Banner' Is Born

The War of 1812 ended in a stalemate, which enabled the fledgling United States to escape a devastating defeat and grow into a world power.

The Great London Smog of 1952

A blinding smog enveloped London in 1952, wreaking havoc on the city, bringing life to a standstill and killing thousands.

The Dyatlov Pass Mystery: Were the Hikers Murdered?

In 1959, a group of nine Russian hikers disappeared and were later found dead in circumstances that, to this day, have mystified authorities and armchair sleuths alike.

Handel & Hendrix and Other Famous 'Next-Door Neighbors'

Yep, Jimi Hendrix could have borrowed a cup of sugar from George Frederick Handel — in a manner of speaking.

Quiz: What's This Country's Former Name?

Yugoslavia is no more. Prussia? Vanished from the face of the Earth. From war to political unrest to rebranding, there are all sorts of reasons that leaders rename their nations. Can you pick the former names for these countries? 

Including More Stories of Hope in Holocaust Teachings

Is graphically recounting the horrors of the Holocaust the only way to honor the dead and educate the living about this tragedy? One sociologist doesn't think so.

Changing the Guard Is More Than Pomp and Circumstance

While it's technically just a glorified shift change, the British monarchy's Changing the Guard ceremony is steeped in history and tradition.

A Holocaust Survivor's Surprising Message of Hope

Magda Herzberger is in her 90s and was silent for years about the horrors she witnessed. But today she speaks freely of the Holocaust, and with a sense of urgency.

How Many People Died on the Trail of Tears?

A "trail of tears and death" is how a Choctaw leader described the experience of his people being forcibly removed from their tribal homelands and sent west of the Mississippi. How many people were affected?

The Tangled Line of Succession to the British Throne

Queen Elizabeth II has reigned over England for a record-breaking 66 years. But with Prince Harry and Meghan just announcing the birth of their new baby boy, how does the line of succession look now?

Why the Korean War Still Matters

The Korean War, which lasted from 1950 to 1953, ended with a stalemate and left North and South Korea as adversaries. It also changed the course of U.S. national security policy.

5 Polar Expeditions That Went Disastrously Wrong

Hundreds of explorers tried to locate the Northwest Passage. Many of those attempts ended badly.

What Really Happened in Salem Village?

The guys at Stuff They Don't Want You To Know break down some of the myths behind one of the darkest times in the colonies.

The Dare Stones: Forgery or Key to Lost Colony of Roanoke Mystery?

These engraved stones may hold the key to a 400-year-old American mystery, but they also might just be forgeries.

Why World War I Became the 'Forgotten War'

The 100-year anniversary of the end of World War I offers up a reminder — and a second chance — for us to remember the soldiers' sacrifices and to learn from our past mistakes.

The Incredible True Story of the Real 'Black Klansman'

Ron Stallworth was a black detective in Colorado Springs who infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan to the point that he was asked to lead a local chapter. How he pulled that off is now the subject of a major motion picture.

Was George Washington Really Offered a Chance to be King of the U.S.?

There's a popular story that George Washington was offered the chance to be crowned king of the U.S. but it turned it down in support of a true republication government. But what really happened?

Were Sacco and Vanzetti Guilty of Murder?

The trial of Sacco and Vanzetti, which involved immigrants, anarchy and chaos, is one of the 20th century's most controversial and famous.

Why Is Blackface Controversial? Just Look at Its History

Blackface is alive and well. HowStuffWorks explores the history behind the practice, from minstrel and Halloween costumes to Shirley Temple and Drake.

Who Owns the $17 Billion San Jose Loot?

When a shipwreck is found, who gets the loot? The case of the San Jose has got interested parties battling and legal scholars scratching their heads.

Chappaquiddick and the Mystery at Dike Bridge

What really happened when the late Senator Ted Kennedy's car plunged off a bridge in 1969 killing Mary Jo Kopechne?

How a Parisian Lemonade Craze Fought the Plague

The plague took millions of lives in the 1600s, but Parisians fought back with tart, sweet lemonade.

The Mysterious Case of the Newlyweds Who Vanished in the Grand Canyon

In 1928, Glen and Bessie Hyde embarked on an ambitious trip down the Colorado River. But their adventurous honeymoon came to an unfortunate early end. What happened?

How the Freedom House Ambulance Service Became the First EMTs in America

Their pioneering story is little known, but from 1967 to 1975, an ambulance crew recruited from a poverty-stricken black neighborhood in Pittsburgh became the first set of trained EMTs in America.

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