Historical Events

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

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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?

Ridiculous History: Breadfruit, the Bounty and the Birth of Globalization

You may know the story of how Fletcher Christian and his men mutinied aboard the ship the Bounty. But what was the voyage all about in the first place?

The Tangled Line of Succession to the British Throne

Queen Elizabeth II has reigned over England for a record-breaking 65 years. But with Prince Harry and Meghan just announcing their new baby how does the line of succession look now?

Shining a Light on London’s Epic 1952 Smog

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

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.

John Brown's Failed Raid on Harper's Ferry Was a Major Impetus for the U.S. Civil War

The raid amplified tensions between the North and South and intensified fear of slave rebellion.

The Women-led March That Changed the Course of the French Revolution

In 1789, thousands of women frustrated by good shortages marched to Versailles with some serious demands for King Louis XIV.

Ridiculous History: When Doctors 'Prescribed' Alcohol During Prohibition

Getting a prescription for alcohol back was once kind of like getting a prescription for medical marijuana today.

Why Does Nova Scotia Have a Latin Name?

Most North American names are a mix of colonial and indigenous languages, so how did the Canadian province "New Scotland" end up with a moniker from a dead tongue?

How Butter Fueled the Protestant Reformation

Martin Luther had many grievances against the Roman Catholic Church. Including their ban on butter.

How North Korea Works

Often described as "The Hermit Kingdom," North Korea is a source of mystery for those living in the West. How has it survived so long and how worried should Americans be about a nuclear attack?

Throughout History, Humanity Has Marveled at Solar Eclipses

These historical images remind us that marvel and awe go hand-in-hand with science (and eclipses), and have been a part of the human experience for as long as we've been a species.

'Almost' Edible Historic Fruitcake Found Preserved in Antarctica for 106 Years

The century-plus pastry outlasted its owner Robert Falcon Scott, the explorer who took it with him on a race to the South Pole from which he never returned.

6 Famous People Who Were Unlikely Neighbors

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

3 Times Total Eclipses Influenced World History

Can a solar eclipse change the world as we know it? If the past is any indication, it might.

In 1680, the Pueblo Peoples Revolted Against Spanish Colonists … And Won

After enduring decades of brutal physical punishment and forced religious conversion by the Spanish, the pueblo peoples of the Southwest rebelled successfully.

How White America Tried to Eliminate Chinese Restaurants in the Early 1900s

Local governments, newspapers and unions waged a xenophobic campaign against "un-American" eateries, hoping to protect white jobs, and women, in the early 20th century.